Profiles of Parkland: Destiny Norris

Photo of Destiny Norris by Scott Wells

Photo of Destiny Norris by Scott Wells

Scott Wells

Staff Writer

Sophomore Destiny Norris knew from a young age that her heart was in the arts. She often found herself questioning her artistic abilities, however, all the way up to the minute she first registered for classes.

“I knew that I had to pursue a degree in art,” she said. “But, I never felt like I had the skill set that I needed.”

Norris, the youngest of four siblings, grew up in Champaign, though she was born in Texas. Her mother hails from California and her father from Missouri.

“We’re a bit of a mixed bag,” she said.

Norris graduated from Centennial High School, where she was a part of both the theater department and the soccer team, before coming to Parkland.

She remembers the time she first sat down with her counselor as though it was yesterday.

“It was one of the scariest and last-minute decisions I’ve probably ever made; I was so afraid that I would be inadequate, so much so that I didn’t make the decision of what I would major in until I was sitting in a counselor’s office,” she said. “I think I said something like, ‘I guess I’ll do art and design. That sounds pretty good.’” While Norris has an eye on entering the world of fashion, she also finds her creative inspiration everywhere.

“I love-love-love color,” she said. “I love beautiful things. I love texture and simplified images. There’s so much out there.”

Her creative influences traverse from the classical to the modern day artists.

“I absolutely love Caravaggio and Rembrandt; their colors and lighting and detail are just breathtaking,” she said. “There’s so much personality in Rembrandt’s work. I also really love artists like Helen Frankenthaler, who says so much and evokes such emotion just with color. And Peter Max, who makes such trippy, surreal stuff. I love it all.”

Norris enjoys pushing her creative boundaries and bringing traditionally-separated mediums together.

“I recently began painting with acrylics over photographs I’ve taken,” she said. “It’s way too much fun.”

Norris will complete her on-site Parkland studies in the coming Spring semester, after which she plans to move to England where she will ultimately complete her degree online.

“One of the biggest things I’ve loved most about Parkland is all the wonderful things I’ve learned here,” Norris said.

“My favorite classes have been the art history courses I’ve taken with Denise Seif. She’s such an excellent teacher, and all the fun facts she knows about the artists and their work makes the course so much fun,” she said.I also have really loved the black and white photography course with Peggy Shaw. She’s a wonderful person and teacher, and all my classmates were so unique and so different, and we all had so much fun together.”

Ultimately, Norris aspires to start her own company.

“I would absolutely love to own my own business someday,” she said. “I love shoes and I love people, and I’d love to own a company that produces ethically and empowers people to embrace their creative capacity.”

In a way, Norris credits her older sister for giving her the push she needed to pursue her dream.

“After I finished high school, my sister gave me a sketchbook,” she said. “She told me that if I wanted to do anything in fashion, I was going to have to learn how to draw.”