Engineering Student Garners Statewide Art Recognition

By Dennis Walikainen | Published

Schlueter and Kilpela work on another sketch.
Schlueter and Kilpela work on another sketch.

A mechanical engineering major and art minor has already paid dividends for one Michigan Technological University student. Jared Schlueter’s sketch has been selected for display in the Michigan Legislature’s House Office Building in Lansing.

Schlueter’s artwork, a self portrait in pencil, was chosen as part of the Sixth Annual Art in the House competition, along with artists from other Michigan public universities. The art will hang from October 2011 through September 2012.

Susanne Kilpela, instructor in Michigan Tech’s visual and performing arts, chose the drawing that was sent downstate.

“Jared had to draw a self-portrait, not using a photograph, but directly in front of a mirror,” Kilpela says. “Drawing your own portrait in this way is quite difficult to achieve, as any artist would tell you. His first portrait was good, but the one that was accepted for the state show was excellent! He had to draw himself with an expression—an added difficulty—and the resemblance is quite striking.”

Schlueter has been drawing for many years, focusing mostly on portraits, including two stunning sketches of Clint Eastwood and Megan Fox. He’s also done wildlife and dabbled in stippling, which reduces the sketches to dots --a technique most famously used in the Wall Street Journal.

“I don’t really do rough drafts,” he said. “I do a grid sometimes to get the proportions right, and I’ll use a reference photo.”

Schlueter, in his final year, hopes to use his hobby in his career, perhaps the designing side of engineering.

“It’s already come in handy for sketching ideas for mechanical components,” he says. “It’d be nice to do some drawing for work someday.”

“Even though his talent and abilities were quite apparent when he took his first class, I have also witnessed his growth as an artist,” Kilpela says. “It has been a joy having Jared as a student, and I hope that he will continue his practice of drawing once he graduates!”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.