Artist Follows Family Tradition


Isabel Owens, Lifestyle Editor

Raised by a family of artists, junior Dahlia Theriault has used her artistically stimulating childhood to develop an animated, personality-infused point of view and a knack for breathing spirit into her characters.

“My father’s an artist, my cousin’s an artist,” Theriault said. “When I was little, I would read those Disney witch magazines – they’re really ambiguous – and I would try to copy the art. I was totally into cartoons and stuff so I’d be drawing all the time. That’s how I kind of developed a style.”

Theriault’s father is a pen and ink artist. “He draws futuristic landscapes. I’m pretty solid at pen and ink but it’s not my preferred medium. I’m more much more into pencil. His [style] is much more space-odyssey-greek-building stuff,” Theriault said.

Art teacher Jill Langston praised a pen and ink work of Theriault’s: “The one that we sent off to the congressional art show, that was this great pen and ink of a woman holding a pie that said ‘Golly’ and that’s perfectly Dahlia. It has a lot of personality.”

“When she’s really strong is when she’s doing figures that have a lot of personality to them,” Langston added.

“I like a lot more Disney style stuff because I want to work at Disney when I get older so I’ve kind of adapted that style. I draw a lot of ‘60s girls, like vogue-burlesque type of stuff,” said Theriault.

“For years I developed this one girl character, this one guy character, these multiple characters that I draw always the same way, but I also come up with different people too,” she added. “The person I draw the most is this one girl; I call her Annie because I like that name but I’ve never really named her. She’s just like what I find easiest to draw. If I ever need to draw something I just sketch her out.”

Theriault’s favorite part of the art program at Campolindo is being able to put her own spin on projects. “I have a specific style so I bend the project towards my own thing. She [Langston] gives us the instructions but they’re pretty open ended on what we can do; she gives us leeway when it comes to ‘you can do this, you can do that,’ it’s just a matter of if she likes it or not.”

In comparison to her previous art classes, Advanced Art poses greater challenges for Theriault. “You have more freedom but also it’s much harder. You’ve gotta keep in mind that this is what colleges will be looking at so you’ve gotta focus on that a lot. I went to Stanley Middle School so you just did pretty basic projects, they weren’t worth much, [but] this is very important,” she explained.

“Sometimes you like an idea and it gets shot down, or sometimes you have a vision in your head and you put it on paper and you look at other people’s and you’re like ‘oh my god, so good, oh gosh,’” Theriault said of times that she has doubted herself.

“At the beginning of the year we did charcoal peppers and that’s like the worst thing I’ve done in this class by far, it was just horrible, but I think I’ve made a rebound since then,” she added.

“Her skills have gotten a lot stronger in a wide variety of mediums. She can draw, she can paint, she can do just about anything,” said Langston of her pupil’s development over the years.

Theriault’s favorite art project of the year has been the candy pastel project. “I had my picture hanging up at the office; it was the one with the green stripes and the lollipops. I liked drawing the candy and pastels pretty relaxing so that was nice,” she said.

Theriault has embraced the way that art somewhat consumes her life. “I draw at home like every day, I carry sketch books with me, I draw on my tablet, on the computer. I’m gonna be taking [academic] classes over the summer so I have more time to focus and do art for my portfolio,” she said.

“I get inspiration from stuff I see online. Whenever I get the feeling that I just want to draw something I go get a sketchbook and do it. I think art makes life a lot more interesting because you get to see things from a different perspective and it’s just relaxing too,” Theriault said.

Theriault is excited about a career in art. “I want to work as a storyboard artist or character designer so I come up with conceptual stuff and I’m very good at creating characters, creating landscapes, so I feel like that can adapt well into what I want to do when I get older,” she said. “It’s just a matter of getting there.”