Art Inspired: Life Advice from a Dear Grandpa

Written by Dana Wallace, Campus Librarian 

Jena Johnson had a special bond with her grandfather. She can remember him telling her “if you work hard, even through the rough stages of life, everything will work its way into place.” She lost her grandfather recently, but he left her with her life’s motto as his legacy, and she lives her life this way in everything she does.

Jena’s art is indeed an indication of this motto. From inspirational quotes to the beauty of nature, we are proud to feature Jena Johnson’s art this month in the Globe University-La Crosse library.

Jena began her art as a pastime. When she was a child, she was always doodling but this pastime grew into more than a hobby. It helps her “relieve stress and simply relax. The doodling started my love of creating art, but I decided I needed color and that later led to painting, which is where I find myself now in my art,” Jena said.

What many people may not know is Jena started college at age 17. She may not act serious (in fact, she always has us laughing), but she is committed to her education.

“I am very dedicated to my schooling which is why I took the opportunity to get a head start,” she said. Jena has been one of our star high school advantage students!

Jena is attending Globe to “work towards a medical assistant degree and I [sic] plan to graduate in March 2016 if not sooner. My degree will enhance my life because I can help people in my community by taking care of them and making sure they’re healthy,” she said. In ten years, she plans on working in a hospital doing what she loves – helping others.

Jena posing with her art in the library

But Jena’s passion for helping people doesn’t stop with her studies—helping with the family business has encouraged Jena’s artistic sensibilities. “We have two family businesses where we make car and other graphics as well as printing business accessories like clothes, cups, pens and more,” she explained.

Her family is small. She has one younger sister who is 15, and they live in Hokah, Minnesota with her parents as well as her boyfriend of three years. A sweet spot in her life is her niece, who she spends a lot of time helping care for.

“Babies make me happy in any situation.  My niece always cheers me up when I’m down,” Jena noted. “Who doesn’t love a giggling baby with a big grin on her face?” 

Jena sees herself starting a family of her own and looks forward to showing her children what life is all about.  One of her top priorities is to inspire her niece to “work hard, because I’m learning it really pays off.” So Jena is passing her Grandpa’s words of wisdom on to a new generation. 

Her advice to her fellow students is “If you ever get stressed out, draw!  You’d be amazed at what you can create in the blink of an eye!” Stop by the library this month to see Jena’s amazing, inspirational art and photography.