Gena Destri Keffer is from Kansas. "All my friends thought Leonardo Dicaprio was really cute," Gena says, recalling her first days as a painter. "So, they asked me to draw him. I ended up selling copies at my locker for $5 each. That was one of my favorite memories of junior high school. I also drew a portrait of my dad with his scraggly beard, eagle feathered straw hat, and aviator glasses."
Majoring in studio art, Gena paints high ambitions for the future. "I hope to be a full time artist someday," she says, "and I hope that my art can touch people in ways of grace and redemption. Some day, I want to own a studio where I can hold workshops and teach people how to live beside their creator and worship him while recreating the world through art. I want to call it "Pigs Are Flying" to relay the idea that through God anything and everything is possible. Just look for it, try your wings; it's there."
Gena heard about OBU from family friends. "I had been looking for a school where I could take courses in religion alongside incredible art classes," she says. "Now, I have fallen in love with the professors and the close-knit family that makes up the art department. The professors encourage me, push me to do better, and allow me to experiment with many art forms and ideas."
Various artists come to mind when Gena thinks about inspiring work. "I love Paul Gauguin's use of color; it's bold and dramatic, yet calming and appealing," she says. "What mainly draws me to artists is their way of portraying the human figure, the way they capture movement, moods, and spirit. It makes my heart race when I can look at a painting and know how it was done. I feel connected."