Jordan Lentz is an illustrator, teaching artist and the Director of the Drawing & Painting Department at Lillstreet Art Center. Jordan is one of the newest additions to the Lillstreet team of directors. A graduate of SAIC in 2014, she joined Lillstreet last summer and brings positive vibes, creative enthusiasm and hardworking spirit to the leadership team.
Q. Congratulations on your solo exhibition, Natura. Are you taking a break, or working on what’s next?
Thank you! It’s hard for me to be the center of attention and take compliments, but this exhibition has been a really good experience. Actually, the solo show really inspired me to get back to work. I’ve started working on several large scale pencil drawings. My goal for 2017 is to finish those and get my work shown in galleries in Chicago.
Q. Your artwork gives the impression that you’ve been at this for some time. Did you always know you wanted to be an illustrator?
Yes, I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. My mom said when I was four, she knew I would be an artist the day I drew a potbelly pig in 3D.
Today I would consider myself a technical artist. I prefer scientific illustration and very detailed, realistic work with subject matters that interest me.
Q. Your work is astounding and so real. Do you really think it’s possible to teach that type of skill, or is it innate?
I do think it’s possible to teach drawing at that level. I’ve seen a few of my own students who have never drawn a day in their lives turn into some pretty impressive illustrators.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor or mentor?
I tend to get stuck in my work at a certain point and just call it quits – either out of frustration or boredom. I had an instructor who forced me to keep going back into the same piece over and over again, and I think my work has improved immensely. It was a small piece of advice, but it made a big impact on my work.
Q. What are your favorite classes to teach at Lillstreet?
I love to teach fashion illustration and Cabinet of Curiosities, which is a lot of fun because we draw from a collection of oddities – bones, skulls, taxidermy, bugs.
I love being surrounded by so many creative people with such diverse work. I am constantly being inspired by this wonderful artistic community.
Q. It’s clear that bugs are a reoccurring theme in your work…why?
I collect bugs – I’m so fascinated by them. People tend to immediately dismiss them as scary or creepy, but if you really take time to look at them…their colors, wings, body styles – they’re actually incredibly beautiful. I draw them because I enjoy ‘over glamorizing’ things that people tend to think are ugly.
Q. What artist(s) or movements have had an impact on your work?
Lucian Freud, Ivan Albright, tattoo art inspires a lot of my work.
Q. Tattoo art! Your work seems like it would translate well into that. Would you ever consider being a tattoo artist?
Yes! I actually have had two apprenticeships in tattoo shops here in the city. It’s one of the hardest mediums to master, but I love it. I would love to have my own, private shop some day in the future. It’s definitely an ultimate goal of mine.
Q. We look forward to your success in 2017 and beyond, and tattoos by you in the future! Let’s sign off with two truths and a lie?
- I was spit on by a llama at the Wisconsin State Fair.
- I love pickles.
- I had a terrifying cat dissection experience in middle school, and I’ve been a vegetarian ever since.
(We’ll leave the guessing up to you). In the mean time, check out Jordan’s current and upcoming Lillstreet classes here.