Arts

Eleanor Dehoog ’24 Incorporates Traditional Portraiture Skills Into Modern Merchandise Design

COURTESY OF ELEANOR DEHOOG

Working in traditional and modern art, multi-style artist Eleanor Dehoog ’24 demonstrates her versatility by experimenting with both intricate graphite portraits and bold clothing—specifically merchandise—designs. With about five years of traditional drawing experience and seven of fashion design, intersectionalities of the two different art styles and their contrasting challenges come into light through her work. 

Trained in classical art, Dehoog dabbled in fine portraiture—mainly using graphite, vine charcoal, and pastels as mediums—for most of her life. Her experience with traditional art comes from a classical portraiture course she took in her hometown of New Orleans, where she had a unique experience drawing from live models that motivated her to further pursue art. 

“New Orleans itself has a really rich history of art and culture in terms of music, art, and intersectionalities between that, and in one of the courses that I took, my teacher hired live musicians and live bands, and I [got really] interested in it, and I decided I wanted to keep doing it,” said Dehoog. 

In middle school, Dehoog first delved into fashion merchandise design by participating in class t-shirt design competitions and student council activities. Since then, Dehoog has created apparel mainly for teenagers, taking inspiration from clothing brands such as Ripndip, Playboy, Free City, and Hollister, and adapting them with a unique twist. 

“I [try] to produce [clothing for] people my own age, and a lot of them aren’t gonna want to wear a working t-shirt…they want something more fun, like a lot of color, stuff like that, so here, [the other class representatives] have typically been the ones to find the images, and then I replicate it but with an Andover-esque style to it,” said Dehoog.

However, according to Dehoog, transitioning from a traditional art style to merchandise design also has its challenges, as traditional portraiture and the modern pop-art of merchandise design are visually very different. While the former utilizes multiple shades of color and puts strong emphasis on detail, modern pop-art—done digitally— prioritizes clean line-art and simplicity. Yet there are underlying connections between the two that Dehoog takes advantage of. 

“The same idea of values, contrasting lines, bold lines versus soft lines, a lot of the quite literal style that I’ve learned from being trained classically has transferred into what I’m working on with designs for merchandise,” said Dehoog. 

Dehoog also works with fellow Class of 2024 representatives Emelia Yang ’24 and Tina Zeng ’24 on merchandise ideas. Having known Dehoog since she released her original class representative platform design, Yang comments on Dehoog’s greater experimentation with elements of modern-pop art as well as the development of her unique style. 

 “I think Eleanor has a very distinct style, in that she’s constantly communicating and is very adaptable to what the audience and what the target consumers want out of the design…she’s very flexible, on her feet and very creative…she uses a lot of neon and bold colors that compliment each other very well. Her art knowledge pairs colors very well together [in terms of] the degree of saturation and shades,” said Yang. 

Though Dehoog does not think of her art as having a major impact on the Andover community, she appreciates the positive campus-wide response that her designs have been getting. According to her, the feedback that she receives from both peers and upperclassmen has been very gratifying. 

“I’m not used to having my art on display, and having it on sweatpants and sweatshirts is very much a visual display, especially when you see it everywhere. It’s cool to see people who enjoy my art, especially considering the amount of time I put into it,” said Dehoog.