Artist Spotlight: Rachel Dormal ’16

Rachel Dormal

Story by Valentina Garcia, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Rachel Dormal

Wednesday mornings aren’t usually for waking up early, but with a muffin and a sketchbook in hand, Senior Rachel Dormal is ready to attack the day. Dormal meets with me in The Moose before heading off to her job as a caterer in the B.O.B., located in downtown Grand Rapids. She does not describe this as an exciting job, mostly because drawing and painting are not involved with it. Rachel’s passion lies within drawing and painting, and this is what her Bachelor of Fine Arts focuses on.

Only a glance at Dormal’s drawings is needed to see her immense talent. Drawing is something Dormal has done “as soon as she could pick up a pencil,”  as she put it. Painting is something relatively new for Dormal; she picked up painting during high school after taking an art class. She enjoyed the class’s painting assignment, and with her teacher’s encouragement, she decided to paint some more. One of her favorite painters is Claude Monet. His work does not necessarily influence hers, but she delights in looking at it.

While Dormal likes both painting and drawing, she finds herself preferring ink-work and line-work. She likes sketching “comic book-like” animals in black and white.

“When I’m drawing for myself, it’s more fantasy,” she said.

Dormal makes her beautiful fantasy drawings truly come to life with only the use of ink. Her sketches are intricate and look like something you might see in a relaxing adult coloring book or people getting tattooed onto themselves. When asked if she had considered becoming a tattoo artist, she said people had mentioned this to her before, but she does not know for certain how someone becomes one. Also, she does not have any tattoos and she feels like she would have to get one if she were to create tattoos for others. Regardless, her sister is getting a work of hers tattooed, and she did create one for a friend, although the friend did not go through with it.

Rachel Dormal 2

Courtesy Rachel Dormal

Usually in her free time Dormal would be found doodling, but with graduation being so close, she hasn’t had much leisure time. Finishing the five-year Bachelor of Fine Arts program in only four years, Dormal states that not having free time isn’t necessarily something new for her. Currently, she is working hard at getting everything ready for her Bachelor of Fine Arts Show. The opening ceremony will take place on April 10 at 2 p.m in the Arts & Music Center.

After graduation, Dormal will still find herself without much free time; she leaves for Paris on May 9, and comes back on the 26 with the Art Department as part of Drawing and Art History classes. In Paris, a packed itinerary awaits her with only two days to relax. She will be carrying a sketchbook with her everywhere, something she does already. After Paris, she will continue with her summer job, making this her third year with Kaman’s Art Shoppes. This is a company that hires artists to draw caricatures in amusement parks and zoos. They hire people nationally and Dormal is based in the Detroit Zoo, close to her home.

After completing her summer job, she hopes to find an illustration job. She is contemplating many things for her life after graduation, including hosting her own art classes or going back to school for a teaching degree. Dormal has recently been getting more into the digital art world, and she might take some classes in that for fun after graduating. Dormal is open to the possibilities of the future, but whatever it is she finds herself doing upon graduation, drawing and painting are certain to be included.

About the Writer…

IMG_4545Valentina Garcia is a first year student who loves sunny days, Jane Austen, and preferred tea to coffee until she started college. 

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