Senior Jini John explores, develops passion for art

Gigi Cepeda & Josie Schneider, staff writers

Quiet. First impressions of senior Jini John are mostly consistent among her peers and teachers. But as people get to know John and her talent shines through, according to those who know her best, it is made clear that the volume of her voice is irrelevant; her artistic talents speak for themselves.

John is the president and co-founder of Art Club. She also illustrates for Calliope and the Oracle. According to John, she has been drawing for as long as she remembers.

“Since I’m not very talented in sports or music, art’s kind of been my go-to way to express things,” John said. “I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid. I try to still keep going with that.”

Natalie Ingaunis, art teacher and Art Club sponsor, has worked closely with John over the past few years. According to Ingaunis, John puts forth an incredible amount of effort, working furiously in and outside of the class.

“She could do everything I was teaching her and then some,” Ingaunis said. “Where other students struggled to make one project meet the deadline, she did two.”

Ingaunis has many memories of her artistic expertise.

“When we did our first animal project, she finished in three classes, so then I gave her another project and she did this Japanese water with a pagote in the background and trees,” Ingaunis said. “It was incredible, and it was nothing for her.”

According to Ingaunis, she has witnessed John’s talent in action through art classes and Art Club meetings.

“Painting and drawing are both strengths of hers,” Ingaunis said. “Realism is an incredible strength. She can look at something and make an identical copy of it using various different media, whether it’s charcoal, graphite, ink [or] paint.”

John’s dedication is something her co-president Suvd Davaadorj recognizes as one of her biggest strengths.

“She’s always kind, and wherever she goes she’s always doing something with art,” Davaadorj said. “Even with the [yearbook] layout, she made it so artistic with the font and everything.”

John has impressed her peers with her art for many years, according to Ingaunis.

“All of her peers think she is just a rockstar when it comes to art because, technically, she is just magnificent,” Ingaunis said.

According to Davaadorj, she and John met freshman year when they were involved in yearbook and Art Club together. However, John explained how Art Club died out soon thereafter due to a low attendance rate. Together, Davaadorj and John worked together to revive the club.

Ingaunis said, “After the year that there was no Art Club, Jini, she had really missed it because we had it her freshmen year. So she made every effort to make it possible to bring it back, and I really want[ed] to give students the opportunity to have that club […] So she went to Dr. Shellard and got permission to rerun the club and got me to, again, sponsor.”

Additionally, John and Davaadorj share many responsibilities within the club, including bringing in snacks, helping formulate what activities will be done with the other members, taking attendance and creating Art Club’s Facebook page. According to John, she has found her refuge in focusing on art and, consequently, can see art becoming a lifelong interest of hers.

“[I may not pursue art] as a career, but I will definitely keep doing it in the future,” John said. “I’ll probably always make time for art because it’s really important to me.”

Her advice for South students is simple.

“Find some time in your high school life to spend on your passion,” John said. “Don’t just be like study, study, study. Even though that’s good, you also want to enjoy yourself a bit […] To be honest, it comes down to you. So if you have that passion, go for it.”