My name is Isabelle Berthelot and I am currently in the Class of 2024 at Sewanee University in TN. I attended the Episcopal School of Acadiana in Cade, Louisiana. I was born and raised in Louisiana, surrounded by festivals, music, and other artists.
From a young age, I've been passionate about art and creation. I have many childhood memories of painting in my back yard, working at a newspaper-covered kitchen counter, or doodling in a notebook at a crowded family event. Art has always been my greatest hobby.
During my freshman year of high school, I began taking photography classes, where we had to critique work and back up our artistic opinions with specific reasons why we liked or disliked something. This built my artistic eye, allowed me to evaluate my own work, and helped me to develop strong, knowledgeable opinions of another’s pieces. With this foundation, I developed more art in fields beyond photography: I began painting and drawing again, and finding new ways to create art.
In the second semester of my freshman year, I was invited to pioneer a new film development class at ESA with 4 other students, three of whom were seniors. I was the youngest student in the class, and the only girl. My drive and creativity were challenged more in this year than ever before. I stayed in the editing studio after hours, on weekends, and even during school breaks in order to produce work that I could be proud of and that I felt was on the same level as my peers. I used my knowledge of composition and design from photography to create and justify my work, constantly asking for feedback and fine-tuning my videos until they were perfect. At the end of the semester, a challenge was set up for the students to see who would attend an internship in California with filmmaker and marketing executive, Brett Landry.
My video was chosen, and in April of 2017, I flew to Morro Bay, California, to study and create more. After this experience, my drive to produce more films and art skyrocketed. I returned home bursting with ideas. I continued taking the film development course at my school, and by the end of sophomore year, I was the only original student left. In that new role, I pushed myself in my work, and helped others to create work that they were proud of. By the end of my sophomore year, I was submitting my films to festivals around the world. Each experience inspired me more and fed my creative energy. During all of this, I began to do commissions for people across the state, in every category of art, and I gained a more professional point of view as an artist. My senior year in high school, I was the Assistant teacher for the video production class that sparked my desire to create art again.
Now, I am studying Environmental Studies in the Arts and Humanities and double majoring in Biology at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN.
During this process of finding myself as an artist, I realized how crucial it is to study the world around you, but more importantly, to be in touch with yourself. There are three main purposes for developing art: to express your own personal experience, to evoke emotion and/or curiosity in others, and to inspire others to act.
I realized that as an artist, I don't just find inspiration in the things around me, I am inspired by everything around me. Every person, place, object, etc. has a story behind it that can be expressed. I strive each and every day to observe and listen to the world around me and to myself. I have discovered that this is the most important factor in my life for creativity, inspiration, and expression.
Along with attentiveness to the world around me, another part of my philosophy is helping others to explore their creative side. Now that I have had the opportunity and time to develop my own art, I want to help others in their own journey. This year, along with heading the rebirth of my school’s yearbook, I have worked with my school and teachers to bring back ESA’s art and literary magazine. With this, I want to give students an outlet to not only share their personal work, but be exposed to the creative community that is here, within the school, from 3 year olds, to faculty, to other seniors like me. This will give the community a chance to observe and listen to the artists within our community, and find inspiration for themselves. In my senior year, I also began exploring the teaching and mentoring side of art in my position as Assistant Teacher for the video creation class at my school. This has shown me that an outlet for people to share their work and learn the process of critiques and observation is the first step in growing an artistic identity.
I couldn’t make this website or talk about myself as an artist without giving special thanks to my art teacher of 4 years, Jennifer Graycheck. She has been my art mentor every step of my journey. She was my photography teacher my freshman year, and she helped me develop a critical eye for art. She was the teacher that started and invited me into the film development class. Most of all, she has helped me develop my philosophy on art and life, teaching me that the crucial part of being an artist is understanding myself and listening to the world around me. She has inspired me to inspire others.