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Jackson prefers art media that’s hands-on. Lately, she’s been creating acrylic paint pours like this one.

When Rachel Jackson initially came to Valpo, she was an art major. But after a few years of exploring and strengthening her skills, as a senior she’s a communication major with an art minor -- and very passionate about doing what she loves. No matter what the resulting degree was, Jackson knew art was going to be a huge part of her college education.

“Ever since I was little I’ve been dabbling in art. I’ve always really liked it,” she said.

In high school, she became more actively interested in art, taking art classes and strengthening her craft.

Jackson prefers art media that’s hands-on. Lately, she’s been creating acrylic paint pours. However, she's also made a number of digital creations. As a member of the University Programming Council (UPC), Jackson has created many of the posters for various events. She’s also been helping Heath Carter and Liz Weurffel with the graphic design aspects for their city council campaigns.

“I took Intro to Design and Digital Media, and Graphic Design I two semesters ago, and those really got me into the digital aspect [of art].” She’s found the graphic design experience she’s gained very helpful, noting that graphic designers are highly sought after in the workforce, and so jobs are everywhere.

“I really enjoy [graphic design], and so I feel like I could definitely do this and not be struggling through life,” Jackson said.

While she’s looking at graphic design jobs after graduation, Jackson is leaning more towards a career in the marketing field, which would allow her to use her communication major while continuing to create art on the side.

“I like doing [art pours] a lot because I sell them on my Etsy...I’ve sold a couple of them, which is really exciting, because it’s like, ‘Oh, it isn’t just a hobby, people actually want [the art],’ so that feels really good to me.”

As far as the emotional reasoning behind her art, Jackson simply sees it as a way of fulfilling a desire to create.

“I think in terms of the [art] pours, it’s just the colors for how I’m feeling or what kind of look I want to achieve. But I don’t know if feelings are really into it,” she said. But she doesn’t shy away from using her art as a helpful stress reliever.

Jackson’s studied a variety of artists in her art history classes, but her favorite is Banksy.

“He has those really big statement pieces, and they don’t know who he is...I just like that, he’s not afraid to push those boundaries and kind of scare people.”

When asked what she had to say to other artists, Jackson said, “Whether you decide to make a career out of it or not, don’t stop doing it, because if it makes you feel good then you should keep pushing. Don’t be afraid to push your boundaries and test the limits.”

More of Jackson’s art can be found on her Instagram @spookypenginart. Individuals interested in purchasing her art can find the link to her Etsy account in her Instagram bio.

If you would like to nominate someone for an artist spotlight feature in The Torch, please contact torch@valpo.edu.

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