From fashion sketches to drawings, paper collage, photography, digital collage, design, and so much more, Eleanor Shemtov (C’22) has been testing different creative mediums and evolving as an artist from a very young age. Gaining most of her inspiration from image–based social media like Pinterest and old family photos, Eleanor creates art that draws on her past. Now, in both her academic and extracurricular life, Eleanor continues to explore artistic expression.
“Penn has one hundred percent helped me grow as an artist, and change,” she says. “It’s been really exciting for me to experiment and see what I can do.”
In terms of her scholastic endeavors, Eleanor’s pursuit of a cognitive science minor in tandem with a design major exemplifies her interest in the intersections between art, technology, engineering, and science. Eleanor was intrigued by the convergence between multiple disciplines, so she founded a magazine, called t-art, dedicated to its exploration.
After the end of her freshman year, Eleanor, a former photographer for 34th Street, felt inspired to start an art club that provided creative students with a space to form community, collaborate, and learn from one another. After intensely brainstorming the summer before her sophomore fall and working with a peer turned co–founder, t-art began to develop into the synergistic and interdisciplinary publication it is today. During this remote semester, Eleanor and fellow club members are working on ways to stay engaged and involved. “We are developing our website, [and] we are trying to organize a virtual, VR gallery this year of student work—not just people who are part of the club, but all Penn students,” she says.
During this tumultuous and distanced time where students are dispersed across many different time zones instead of living across the hall from one another, Eleanor believes t-art is taking on a new and important role. “We can be an important platform that can highlight artists at Penn, in Philadelphia, [as well as] emerging artists, underrepresented artists,” she says. “The magazine can take on a greater meaning now and be a new creative force. I’m really excited to see where it goes and how we can contribute to conversations across art, tech, activism, design, politics. I think there’s a lot to explore there.”
Aside from being a founder and an editor–in–chief of the publication, Eleanor also explores her design interests as a member of the MUSE Creative branch, where she works with clients on branding. She has also taken multiple art and design courses that have challenged her to flex her artistic muscle in new ways, like working on silkscreens, monoprints, and digital compositions using Adobe Suite.
One of these courses was a photography class, for which Eleanor shot a series of portraits as part of a project. For this series, called “First Impressions,” she approached shoppers in a Repo Records and asked them to pose for a picture covering their face with a record of choice. “It was a really fun project, and it got me very much out of my comfort zone in terms of being able to go up to people and ask them to take part in this project. I think it was really rewarding,” Eleanor says.
When asked what advice she would give to fellow artists, Eleanor draws on both personal experiences and wisdom from a professor. “I would say to try as many things as possible. It’s important to look to other artists and what other people are doing, but to also try to create your own voice,” she says. “Think about why you are making art. One of my professors in a fine arts class always asked us…‘What’s the reason for this line or that form? What’s the reason for this color? More broadly about the art, why do you want to create?’”
As an artist that is continuing to learn, grow, and change, Eleanor is still working to fully internalize her own advice, but maintains that she is committed to following her creativity wherever it takes her.