For the love of art; Danielle Jondal pursues her visions for creativeness
Published 7:01 am Monday, June 22, 2015
Editor’s note: This is the first in a four-part series on Austin artists. This series celebrates artists who do their art as a passion rather than a career. Versions of these stories appear in the July/August edition of Austin Living magazine.
Danielle Jondal tugged at the glittery end of an artificial branch.
“This can totally live in a vase, which I think is where it was intended to be,” she said with a laugh.
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But Danielle, 24, decided to make it the focal point of “L’hiver Vient — French for “Winter is Coming” — perched just above textured whites and blues on an acrylic and mixed media painting.
Though Danielle has painted for several years and displayed work at the ArtWorks Center and ArtWorks Festival along with shows and sales through Mayo Clinic, she’s quick to note she doesn’t paint to make money or for business.
That would take the joy out of it, she says.
Danielle lives in Austin, is a 2009 Austin High School graduate and a 2013 Concordia-Moorhead grad with a degree in biology and minors in chemistry and French. She works in a Mayo Clinic interventional radiology research lab primarily focusing on liver cancer in Rochester, and she’s also thinking of going back to medical school.
While Danielle loves her job, she — like many of her Mayo co-workers — enjoys coming home and focusing on her creative side.
“It’s amazing the crossover you find all the time of people who love science and that sort of thing but also find a lot of passion in art as a hobby,” she said.
But to Danielle, science and art aren’t that far apart, as she notes that advances and ideas in science require a deep creativity.
“It’s nice too to have that other side of my brain engaged, so that even when I’m doing the science, it’s like, ‘Here’s a unique way we could try this,’” Jondal said. “Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.”
In fact, Danielle deals with a lot of visual-based work in the interventional radiology lab, as it uses imaging to guide procedures that are less invasive.
An eye for detail and contrast from art can be beneficial when working with the images, Danielle said.
“Even just preparing papers and figures, there’s a lot of art and balance and making things conceptually appealing in that,” she said.
Danielle praised Mayo Clinic for embracing the arts. Not only are several pianos placed throughout the campus, but the clinic hosts an annual fall craft sale at Mayo Civic Center for the art of clinic employees, and there’s a summer gallery for employees. Danielle has participated in both.
“They want to bring together everybody’s differences and their skills for the greater good, including the arts,” Danielle said.
‘I love to brag about her art’
While Danielle has shown her work at ArtWorks and Mayo shows, her mom, Mary Lou, calls Danielle a closet artist who doesn’t always like to promote herself.
“She does not brag about her art,” Mary Lou said. “I love to brag about her art.”
But for Danielle, art has always been something she does on the side while taking classes or working.
She does it for herself.
“I’m not an artist for the sake of putting it out there and having a message,” she said. “That’s not my ultimate goal. My goal is to make things I find visually appealing. So you know, a lot of these are things I do for myself.”
“I like showing it, but I don’t necessarily care if everyone sees it and wants to appreciate it,” she added. “I do it for me.”
But Danielle is eager to share her work, especially with family and friends. She and Mary Lou tell a story about Mary Lou asking her daughter to paint her a winter-themed painting for Christmas last year.
Her mother gave her a basic drawing of a path, a tree and a snowman as a template for the piece she wanted to put up on a wall in the house. After she finished the piece, Danielle posted her mother’s picture and her finished painting on Facebook, which drew quite the response from friends and family.
“I’m OK with that,” Mary Lou said. “That made me love and appreciate art even more.”
Danielle has had work at the ArtWorks Festival and ArtWorks Center too, but Danielle admits she’s not typically proactive about selling her pieces, mostly because she likes and wants to keep her pieces.
“I’ve had people ask and normally I’m not really willing to let them go yet,” she laughed. “Not a very good business stance.”
‘It definitely is time well spent’
Danielle especially enjoys painting in winter, when she’s stuck inside. She’s done several mixed media winter paintings, but she’s planning to do a similar summer series. She typically paints acrylic and mixed media landscapes and draws people, either with charcoal or digitally. She’s also made jewelry, painted iPhone cases and dabbled in upcycled crafts.
The iPhone cases have proved to be popular, and she started making them after deciding to paint them herself after not being able to find an iPhone case she wanted.
“They’re an original painting that you can carry around on your phone,” she said.
Several of her drawings are inspired by pop culture, movies, music or TV shows — Matt Smith from “Doctor Who,” Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, Gandalf from “Lord of the Rings,” Benedict Cumberbatch from “Sherlock,” Neil Patrick Harris from “How I Met Your Mother,” and composer Samuel Barber.
“That’s a lot of where the portraits and things have come from — whatever story I’m addicted to at the time,” she said.
She also enjoys the work of Leonid Afremov, who does oil paintings with very vivid colors of rainy sidewalks. She’s done similar pieces she compares to copy painting, where she’ll pick a few of his pieces and try to emulate parts of a few of his pieces into one painting.
“His use of color is very astonishing,” she said.
Danielle admitted it can be challenging to find the time for her art, especially because she often likes being able to set aside a big chunk of time. With a busy schedule, finding the time for her art can be difficult, but she sees it as a way to give back to herself.
“When you get the time, it definitely is time well spent,” she said.