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Student Artist Starts College at 16 in Rocklin


For most kids, turning sixteen means getting a drivers license, having a bit more freedom from the household you grew up in and that you don't have much longer to wait for your high school graduation.

But for Jilliane Cardinal, being sixteen represented the age that she started college. A freshman at William Jessup University, Cardinal is one of 23 students enrolled in Jessup's new Creative Arts program. An artist at heart, Jilliane moved from the San Diego area to attend the growing liberal arts Christian university last fall.

"During my junior year in high school, I realized I could graduate early if I really worked hard, so that's exactly what I decided to do," she explained.

Cardinal graduated from West Coast Baptist School that operates both as a K-12 Christian school and a Bible Institute. She first learned of Jessup through a church youth group leader who is an alumnus of the 74-year-old university when it was located in San Jose, CA.

Cardinal is not only a scholarly student, she is also gifted artistically. Currently, her artwork is on display in Jessup's Paul Nystrom Library. The show runs through December 18 and features artists who are instructors, staff and students of the new multidisciplinary Creative Arts program.

A self-taught artist, Jilliane remembers spending hours drawing when she was just three years old. "My parents always had lots of scrap paper and encouraged me to draw," she recalled. "By the time I was enrolled in school, I loved to draw for people there and was inspired by the positive feedback I received."

At the age of 12, the young artist was posting her artwork to an online forum to get responses from other artists about her work. "I found it so helpful to be critiqued by other artists and that really pushed me to learn as much as I could," she said. "Overtime, I started drawing people in most of my artwork; maybe because both of my parents are nurses, I was pretty familiar with anatomy and enjoyed drawing people."

Later, she began to incorporate Anime into her style that can be seen in her work displayed in Jessup's current art show. Jilliane is truly encouraged by Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, producer, and screenwriter Hayao Miyazaki and even plans to deliver a presentation about him in one of her classes.

For the past three years, Cardinal has attended the Anime Expo in Los Angeles. "I'm encouraged by the people and caliber of art that is displayed there and would one day love to display and sell my art there."
Interested in capturing the relational aspect of people, Jilliane's art focuses on friendship and community.

As Jilliane puts it, "Friendship is a beautiful thing; without friends, I don't know where I would be."

While at Jessup, Julianne has befriended several students and credits her roommates for helping her to feel at ease on the 128-acre campus. "They are like the older sisters that I never had," she said. "My roommates are so sweet and have helped me to adjust and really looked out for me."

Cardinal recently celebrated her seventeenth birthday with her roommates out playing miniature golf followed by a Mongolian Barbeque dinner and gelato.

With her first semester of finals just around the corner, Jilliane plans to head home to Vista, CA for the winter break. "It will be great to be home but I'm glad I decided to come to Jessup because the campus community is so relational which seems to fit in perfectly with my artistic style."

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