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Chris (left) and Meghan

Graphite and Ink on Paper, 8” x 8” and 6” x 8”, Tom DesLongchamp, Adjunct Instructor of Art

By Colleen Steelquist

Chris (left) and Meghan

Tom DesLongchamp believes creating art requires curiosity. For him, it’s not just a matter of seeing the world differently, but of using materials unexpectedly.

Keen to add some color to a pencil portrait a few years ago, the Seattle Pacific University art instructor rummaged around and found a cast-off Crayola marker. He used his fingers to smudge and stamp the ink onto the paper, creating a watercolor-like effect.

He continues to use the chubby markers more commonly clutched by children, sometimes dragging his fingers to blur the color or dabbing, leaving the distinct mark of his fingerprints. He cuts a series of paper “swoops” to protect areas where he doesn’t want color. It takes up to five hours to create each portrait.

“There’s just a belief in me that causes me to explore, no matter what it is: portraits, teaching, driving across town in my car,” he says. “I experiment, because I very quickly become impatient and there are always new things to learn.”

DesLongchamp, who teaches SPU’s illustration studio course in digital animation, loves teaching and empowering young artists: “It’s up to them to find and embrace the creative work that the Lord has for them. They don’t have to be given permission to start looking for it.

“The creative path is as dark as it is light, but hope is always in the fact that we have a purpose, and there is work to be done. And it’s possible for a lot of that work to feel more like play than toil.”

DesLongchamp on Instagram

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