The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Jeff Hendricks: Q&A

What inspiration do you take from your local surroundings? 

Local surroundings definitely are a big source of content inspiration, particularly around dusk when the light is changing quickly as the sun fades. Even the most unassuming scenes take on a new life for a brief time before the sun sets. A lot of my work is either a direct representation of or an interpretive take on the rich life of those fleeting moments in transition. I try to capture the depth that resides in the liminal moments of life.


Are you self-taught or did you study art? If you studied, where did you go to school?

I was an AP art student at LHS with Ray Gossell as my instructor. I was kind of aimless back then and really didn’t think much about what I was doing or wanted to do with my art (or life). Mr. Gossell was very patient with me and gave me the critique I needed, though I wasn’t ready to focus seriously on art yet at that time. After continuing to wander uncritically through college and getting a job, I finally realized that art is a big part of who I am, but I still didn’t know what that meant so I started to take my free time more seriously. I began reading from a wide range of disciplines and studying the work of American painters like Edward Hopper, Edgar Payne and Maynard Dixon, I started forming deeper ideas about life and painting scenes that I felt compelled to explore.

What are the goals for your career? 

I am a graphic designer now as my primary “career,” but my hope is to continue developing artistically to a point where I can transition to painting full time. The biggest barrier is not the technical skills, it’s developing a clear idea of what I’m trying to say with my work and for me, I’ve learned I just need to be patient and acquire time/life experience. I hope one day to have a really clear vision for exactly what I’m doing with my art, and perhaps share that body of work with people by exhibiting locally, but I’m not there yet and may never get there, which would be fine as well.

How has COVID affected your art (style, topic, materials, etc) and business?

Fortunately the pandemic has not affected my graphic design work yet, and it’s really too soon to know if it will affect my art. My overall concentration as an artist is still developing, but it seems like my work is kind of independent from current events. It’s trying to drive at the idea of human life as a period of transition, as straddling the threshold between pure/impure, progress/demise, blessed/cursed, saved/condemned, life/death, so perhaps there is a right way that COVID can be incorporated as a subject matter, but I’m not sure that it needs to.


What is a piece of advice you would like to give high school students who are interested in going into an art career?

Try to develop a “why” before you take too many steps down the road, both in life and art. Read and spend time in nature. Try to find areas of study that get your mind to think about life in new challenging ways. It will help you form the “why” behind your art (and your life) that far outweighs any technical artistic skill (which is also important, but secondary). My art is influenced much more by studying the Gospel and authors like Dostoyevsky, Postman, McLuhan or Ellul than anything else. Having a “why” transforms art into an extension of yourself rather than just a practiced technique or a cool ability.

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