Student artist profile: Cinnamon Janzer

The art major has her own style and gives back to the community.

PHOTO COURTESY CINNAMON JANZER

PHOTO COURTESY CINNAMON JANZER

John Sand

The word âÄúartistâÄù is usually accompanied by a sweeping vision of brooding, wounded Hemingway-type characters doubled over in some cruddy motel in Paris. This is not so for University of Minnesota studio art major Cinnamon Janzer. Upon meeting her, Janzer is sipping coffee with a lime green piece of chewing gum stuck to her to-go cup. We rendezvoused at the Dunn Brothers on University Avenue to discuss her work in what will be a continuing series of student-artist profiles. JanzerâÄôs sprite-like personality shines through in her art as she works with brightly colored ceramics and heavily saturated drawings. Not only does she stand out in several media, but she has incorporated her creativity into her hipster/preppy-fusion style and taken her art to the next level by channeling her energy into social justice and education. Tell me about your major. What are you working on right now? My major is studio art; my concentration is tied between drawing, ceramics and photography. This semester, IâÄôm just working on photography and I have an art history class. Do you still work on art outside of class? As much as I can, but school and work and everything [get in the way]. IâÄôll get random ideas, but itâÄôs never anything planned out. I donâÄôt get real great projects done during school. WhatâÄôs your favorite medium to work in? Ceramics. ItâÄôs just such a satisfying feeling to be able to complete something that feels so tedious. You have to be in Regis with the wheels to do it, so it gets difficult âĦ IâÄôm there maybe two or three times a week. ItâÄôs all about practice, practice, practice. Plates were really hard to do, though. I know you are working with a bunch of different media. Do you try and incorporate experience from your life? How do you decide what to work on? Right now for photography, this sounds so lame and weird, but IâÄôve really been interested in jars. So, IâÄôm using jars for my photography project and filling them with small pictures. ItâÄôs often things that are just coming and going through my life. What are you taking pictures of to put in there? On the outside of the jars, there is going to be this quote by some French guy. ItâÄôs talking about death in flames and he mentions wings and butterflies. One jar is going to be filled with little flames. I took a bunch of pictures from anatomy books of intestines that are going to go in one jar for death, and I found pictures of wings to go in another jar. IâÄôm trying not to do what I should do for these prompts, but do what I want to. I was like, âÄúI want to use jars!âÄù I just started using one to weigh my paper down, and I realized it just has so much potential to be beautiful. WhatâÄôs your favorite prompt that youâÄôve worked with so far? For my drawing class last semester, we had to think big. We did a 4-foot-by-5-foot drawing. That was so terrifying, but so satisfying; it covers our entire living room wall now. I drew the corner of a dingy hotel room on this huge piece of paper and put bugs in it and stuff. Where do your ideas come from? The projects for our classes always have prompts and the more advanced you get, the more free they are. For example, this class was text. You have to use text and pictures. IâÄôm using text by labeling the outside of the jars. Is there any specific kind of music you listen to while youâÄôre âÄúart-ing?âÄù I listen to more relaxed music while IâÄôm doing art stuff, otherwise I get too âÄúughhhaaâÄù about it. I need to be focused and not worked up about it. Right now IâÄôm listening to Citizen Cope. I just got tickets to see him in March. Do you have any favorite artists that inspire what you work on? Yeah, [contemporary German photographer] Uta Barth. She works a lot with light and depth of field, and IâÄôve always loved Jackson Pollock. I saw some of his work in New York, and IâÄôve loved him ever since. Is there any period or style of art that you enjoy? Contemporary art is the most exciting. IâÄôm taking a class called âÄúArt NowâÄù [Professor Jane Blocker] is really great. She was like, âÄúWhen I took contemporary art, the closest we came to now was the âÄô60s âĦ âÄù but we talk about whatâÄôs going on here and now. What career do you want to pursue after you graduate [in May]? Aw, man. I donâÄôt want to think about art or career stuff for a while. I just want to travel and teach English abroad. Somewhere in Asia, but right now, Korea is at the top of my list. Where do you want to be with art in 10 or 15 years? There is a lot happening [right now] with art and social change. IâÄôm volunteering with [the after-school program] Free Arts Minnesota for underprivileged kids. ItâÄôs about teaching kids to express themselves and understand that art should not be a luxury.