Humans of Parkland: Liza Wynette

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Tucked away in the basement of the D-wing is graphic design professor and freelance graphic designer and illustration artist Liza Wynette.

Wynette grew up in southern Minnesota surrounded by nature, something that has stuck with her and influenced her art.

“I grew up in the country on this little farm, so I was really surrounded by nature,” she says. “It just kind of stuck. I still love hiking, camping, and exploring outdoors.”

This love of nature is seen through Wynette’s recreational art, which she does whenever she gets the chance.

“My passion is natural history illustration, actually still using traditional media,” Wnyette says, describing her works as “elaborate graphic drawings of insects and mushrooms and invertebrates.”

In order to capture the individual characteristics and unique textures of her subjects, Wynette will often look at insects under a magnifying glass as she draws.

“I work as a plant expert in the summer time at a local greenhouse and I have the ability to collect all of these little insects,” she explains. “I have a pretty large insect collection and I have lots of magnifying devices and I’ll just sit there with the insect on one side […] with my magnifying tools and then draw next to it.”

Wynette’s dream is to travel, exploring different places and the nature which exists there.

“If I could do anything in the world I would be one of those traveling artists that accompanies scientists, like to the Amazon,” she says.

Wynette makes use of graphite when she is drawing insects, but uses computer software for her classes and commercial artwork.

“I still enjoy graphite drawing. It’s still my favorite; I find it the most rewarding, but one thing about working on the computer: it’s quick and you get a lot of work done in an amazing amount of time once you’re proficient with the software. So, for commercial purposes you have to know how to use the computer.”

While Wynette recognizes the need for computer software, she still believes the creative process should start away from any digital screens.

“When you’re off the screen with pencil in hand and paper in front of you—and even if you’re not a skilled draftsman—just the act of putting pencil to paper and sketching your ideas, it kind of brings forth, I think, more concepts, more ideas. It’s as if the subconscious has more room to participate in the creative process.”

Wynette has been teaching since she got out of college, beginning with a community center where she taught ceramics and drawing.

“I had done some teaching in Minnesota at a community art center and a little bit during graduate school,” she says.

Wynette has been teaching at Parkland for two years. One of her favorite experiences is watching students be able to go out and achieve their dreams beyond school.

“One of the most satisfying things that happened as an instructor was […] I had a few students in my classes that really took to the courses really well—they seemed to learn a lot. They graduated Parkland or went out to the workforce and looked for jobs, and very quickly they found employment,” Wynette says.

Wynette says it is great to see her students “be able to get a job that they love.”

As for her own job, Wynette says she is very happy to be at Parkland.

“Teaching is very rewarding,” she says.

Wynette is happy to be able to pursue her art outside of her profession, as she has known that she wanted to be an artist since she was a child.

“I started drawing when I was really, really young and I just never stopped,” she says.