Artist explores metaphors of self


Loma Dielentheis

“Andromeda/Selkie/Self Portrait II”

Lorna Dielentheis, originally hailing from Minnesota, brings her unique illustrative style to Burlington. Dielentheis’ love of fairytales and mythology shows through her illustrations, self-portraits and paintings, and she has an abundance of new work from the internet movement of “Inktober.”

Dielentheis graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, where she double-majored in studio art and art history. “My senior show was titled ‘Self-Portraits I-III’ and was three large, six foot by three-foot oil paintings,” said Dielentheis. “Each painting in the self-portrait series became an amalgamation of three separate stories: two outside stories and my own personal story. They are titled: ‘Lucretia/Persephone/Self Portrait I,’ ‘Andromeda/Selkie/Self Portrait II’ and ‘Snow White/Eve/Self Portrait III.’”

Dielentheis has been illustrating and creating fantastical realities since she was a little girl, although of course she had no idea she was an illustrator or artist. She said she wasn’t taught what illustration was until after college. “The program I was in was more focused on high-brow fine art,” Dielentheis said.

As a young girl, Dielentheis used to fill up sketch books with princesses and their life stories and now, as an adult, Dielentheis is trying to pay homage to that with her works titled, “Crown Jewel.”

“In ‘Crown Jewel,’ I write stories of princesses I’ve imagined and illustrate them. I think this project is really what got me back into doing illustration. I do some freelance illustration too, and hope in the future to work with authors to illustrate their stories,” said Dielentheis.

Dielentheis doesn’t just draw fairytale beings, though. “I also like drawing unicorns, just because I think they’re beautiful. On a deeper level, though, I really like to draw things that have a personal meaning to me,” said Dielentheis.

Dielentheis has various small projects going right now such as zines titled “Key” and “Girls Only.” Both embody personal aspects of her life and artwork. “‘Key’ tells the story of a girl who finds a mysterious key in her attic. The story is a metaphor for my own personal struggle to find meaning and success in my artwork, so it was really emotional for me to make those illustrations,” said Dielentheis.

After moving from Minnesota, Dielentheis got inspired to create a zine, or self-made publication, titled “Girls Only.”

“I was having a really hard time making friends and getting involved with the arts community here. It felt very closed off to outsiders, and especially finding other female artists was difficult,” said Dielentheis. “I really missed the atmosphere of being an artist in college; I missed having peers around me all the time to challenge me, critique me and encourage me.”

Dielentheis is not alone in this feeling, though. Many artists who are recent Johnson State College alumni have trouble organizing shows and publicizing them. Dielentheis felt that there weren’t many female artists’ platforms where just women could independently support each other. “As an artist, an art historian and a woman, I am deeply aware of the sexism that is still prevalent in the art industry,” she said.

I heard about Lorna Dielentheis from a friend on Facebook from the Burlington area. The span of zine-art and social media is very far-reaching, and thus has inundated Dielentheis with zine submissions for both her first and second edition, as well as the new third: “The Harvest.”

“For the third issue, I had the help of my two guest editors, and we talked about themes together and chose ‘The Harvest’ because we wanted the theme to be a bit more specific than the previous two,” Dielentheis said.

Since her name and publication are growing, her production must be equally swift and reliable. Dielentheis prints on Xerox machines either at Staples or FedEx buildings, and only in black and white. In the future, she hopes to have the funds to print in color.

The zines are packed full and free to those who submit. Each copy has a leaflet inside, usually of an enlarged poster or print an artist submits.

Other recent projects for Dielentheis include “Inktober” sketches throughout October, ranging from spider webs to anything like cult costumes. This movement was started by Jake Parker, an illustrator from Utah. The rules are as follows: make a Halloween themed drawing in ink, post it online, and use the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2016.

Dielentheis has used this project to extend her love of oil painting and recently did an oil paint illustration of a cloaked woman covered in moths for her new series titled “Inner Sanctum.” Oil paint is one of her favorite mediums because of the long drying time and the amount of detail you can get into a piece.
“Right now I’m inspired by a lot of other living artists whom I follow on Instagram. Caitlin Hackett, Happy D. and Bill Crisafi are a few, but there are too many to name. One of my most constant inspirations has always been Dame Darcy, author and illustrator of the comic book ‘Meat Cake,’” said Dielentheis.

As for coming up with ideas, she usually goes off of intuitive instincts: “I often don’t have a concrete story about the characters I create — unless they are illustrations for a specific story — but I like to think about vague details, such as ‘she misses someone’ or ‘she takes no shit,’“said Dielentheis.

Dielentheis also had a table at Burlington’s annual Art Hop, which featured embroidery work, oil paintings and zine prints, along with other great New England artists such as Julie Kenniston, Emily Dumas and Alex Weiss. Dielentheis was stationed at the Hive studios behind Speeder and Earl’s coffee shop on Church Street.

She also has an Etsy shop where she sells her finished works at, and you can find her on Instagram @lornadielentheis and on her personal website, which includes her works from St. Olaf,