Featured Artist: Cellsdividing
Jennifer OToole, or Cellsdividing, creates a world that pulses with a dreamlike energy. Every graphic — whether it is a cat skull in a bowl of ramen or a delightfully imagined Lotus Blossom creature — gives her audience the chance to take a step into a world of illusion that is nothing like they’ve seen before.
Although Cellsdividing is currently in Indiana, she has lived throughout the United States and thinks that every place has its own unique “advantages and disadvantages.” She believes that it is not so much the place that makes you settle down; rather it is the “people that make the place home.”
Jennifer considers “drawing as a basic level of self-care, like exercising.” She must have a creative outlet or she will start to feel “disappointment and negative thoughts” without it. She understands that “finding the motivation to create when I’m overwhelmed or down” is her greatest obstacle, but that “drawing every day keeps the creative momentum going.” However, she similarly needs to schedule personal time for herself or for her daughter because she can “slip into workaholic tendencies” when left to her own devices.
Cellsdividing is proud that she pursued her passion and started her own small business. She jokes that when she was young she would make “small stuffed cats” to sell to her neighbors and, afterward, she would treat herself to a frozen yogurt with her earnings. She says that, even as a child, she loved “the idea of developing my own products and selling them for a living” but that she also recognized it would be difficult to make that dream a reality.
She believes that being able to start her own business and support her family “doing something I love” was only possible with the internet. In fact, she considers Tim Berners-Lee, or the inventor of the World Wide Web, a true visionary and her muse because the “world would be so limited without the internet.” With it, she gained access to new worlds and endless possibilities. Nevertheless, she sometimes worries that society has become too dependent on technology. She envisions that her future art might even “take a break” from the digital world and return to traditional mediums instead.
She admits that although “some people think [my art is] strange, some people think it’s great” but ultimately it matters because of what it means to her; a particular piece of artwork is only complete once “the fun is over” for her.