College of Architecture + The Arts alumna Jessica Ortega (BFA ’12, BA ’13) is currently in Japan as a JET Programme participant. Ortega lives in Date in Hokkaido, Japan, and teaches at four elementary schools and one middle school. While there, Ortega is also gaining inspiration for her artistic portfolio. She is doing research for a series of works she plans to complete during her excursion in Japan, which will last until August 2015. She wants these works to be a mixture of paint and digital media, a gesture towards her interest in applying to a graphic design Masters program in the future. To enhance her artistic vision, Ortega attends an art academy in the Date Funka Bay Art Village, which is run by well-known Japanese painter Hiroshi Noda and his student Yuko Nagayama.
Ortega has also gotten used to the Japanese language during her time in the country. “I am nowhere near fluent,” she said, “but everyday I become a little more capable of taking care of myself….I can read and write hiragana (Japanese alphabet), katakana (alphabet used for emphasis or foreign words), and some kanji (Chinese characters).” She jested, “Ordering food at a restaurant, getting a shirt dry-cleaned, making hotel reservations, and telling a gas station attendant I want exactly half a tank of gas are among my achievements.”
The featured image is provided by Jessica Ortega.