Elizabeth Dunn is double majoring in English and Art. She is a Centennial Honors College student, a member of Kappa Pi (an Honors Art Fraternity) and a member of Sigma Tau Delta (an English Honor Society). She has done numerous art work for Sigma Tau Delta and is an active participant in many of the events, including presenting an essay at the society’s convention in Portland, Oregon in 2013. She also works in the Archives and Special Collections Department in the Malpass Library as well as the Art Gallery. On top of all of that, she also writes for The Western Courier. But, who is the girl behind these great accomplishments?
Dunn is an Omaha, Nebraska native. She wanted to leave the comfort of her own home and experience something new. First, she attended school at Benedictine University in the Lisle/Naperville area to be close to Chicago; however, after two years there she thought her education was becoming a bit stifled. She further spread her wings and landed in Macomb, to attend Western Illinois University.
Attending college and focusing on one subject is hard enough on many students, but Dunn rose to the challenge and wanted to double major in both English and Art. “Throughout school I decided I was best at writing and reading,” Dunn explained. Her love for literature made her certain she wanted to pursue that into a degree. However, her studious-drive didn’t stop there. After taking an art class for a general education class, Dunn realized she was hooked. “I don’t know how to fully describe the feeling but art consumed my life,” Dunn said. She explained she started to sketch daily and even began doodling and creating pieces while she was in class. “…I became obsessed,” Dunn said. Becoming an Art major has been one of the best decisions she has made.
English and art correlate with one another in that they both require creativity and imagination to some extent. It is no surprise that Dunn possesses both of these qualities being that she grew up in a creative atmosphere. Her grandmother was an artist; her art reflected her eastern European lifestyle Dunn explained. “Her art could be described as folk art and I think bits of her style shines through my work,” she said. Right now Dunn is focusing on printmaking, the primary form being silkscreen. “Silkscreen (printmaking in general) is exciting because there are so many techniques and you have an edition of work at the end, instead of only one piece,” she explained. “…Sometimes when I create a silkscreen print I feel overjoyed.”
As for her love of literature, that didn’t come from a family-oriented trait. Dunn expressed her love for fantasy fiction because she loved being involved in a world beyond her imagination and becoming invested in characters that she previously had no attachment to. “I guess that is what fascinates me, the fact that I am temporarily part of someone else’s world,” she said.
Double majoring adds more stress than one might imagine. “I think splitting my time between the two can be very difficult,” Dunn explains. “Art is more about developing ideas and conveying them through your chosen medium, which required you to spend plenty of time in the studio while English is more heavily invested in written assignments and reading texts.” However, Dunn doesn’t see this as negative, but instead finds this as beneficial. “It is amazing to have multiple ways to express yourself, your opinions, and your feelings, which is why I love being a double major,” she said.
Dunn admitted to enjoying reading and writing outside of her schoolwork. Another passion Dunn holds is a love of classical film. She explained the first classic film she saw was “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Neuman. “I was so moved by their performances that I knew I had to keep watching,” Dunn said. Her preferred classic film genre ranges from 1935-1955. Dunn’s nickname, Bette, pays homage to her favorite actress Bette Davis. “I think there is beauty, class and talent in classic film that will forever be unrivaled,” Dunn said.
Dunn exemplifies an exciting, passionate and creative student. After graduating from Western, she plans on receiving her MFA in printmaking and eventually wants become an art professor. Dunn will continue to keep her writing alive and hopes to find a publication to write for. Attending Western has been a positive move on her life. “I am really thankful to be receiving my education from Western,” Dunn said.