by Dennis Dalman
Award-winning artist Jabreel Abdi of Sartell loves to extend his cultural horizons in directions that lead him to new ideas, new techniques, new styles.
Abdi, a graduate of Sartell High School, recently won first place in an art contest titled “Be HumanKIND: A Way to Honor Community Healing.” The contest at St. Cloud Technical & Community College, was one of the college’s ways to honor the legacy of the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Abdi, a first-year student at SCTCC, is the son of Abdi Abdi and Audra Abdi of Sartell.
For his winning art work, Abdi created a portrait of King. He used acrylic paint mixed with water and a thinning medium to blend the image layer by layer, starting with light shades and moving to darker ones.
It’s a technique he learned in Sartell High School, thanks to the teaching of art instructor Deb Rollings. He credits Rollings with helping him discover his own artistic style, his own aesthetic strengths.
“She was my painting class teacher,“ Abdi said. She taught me that every artist has a unique style, and the artist has to discover that style in his heart. I discovered my own style is more stylistic, more abstract.“
At SCTCC, Abdi is studying marketing design/graphic design. He is not yet sure of a career direction, but he thinks he might like to work in an urban business culture, perhaps as a graphic designer for an ad agency.
Abdi also enjoyed making music and songwriting, but he decided to branch out to other arts, including photography, drawing, painting and design.
“I like to extend myself into all the arts,” he said. “I want to open my mind to new knowledge.“
Abdi, who is part Somali, is also a firm believer that cultural and racial diversity will create an intriguing new blend that will spawn many new kinds of art works, outlooks, styles and new ways of seeing and interpreting the world.
For artistic inspiration, Abdi often goes for walks and listens to music.
Abdi’s winning portrait of King is also now entered in the Dexter R. Stanton Art and Essay competition at St. Cloud State University.