Student places studies ahead of talent

It’s not everyday you come across an artist who found her passion for art at such a young age. Fourth-year Sonoma State University student, Yolanda Gillotte began her interest in art in a unique way. Growing up as a young child in Thailand, Gillotte was involved in summer camps and often chose to be in the art camp. During these times, she found herself immersed in different forests and beaches where she would use water color, acrylics and other mediums to re-create the landscapes.

Gillotte is currently majoring in kinesiology at Sonoma State, studying to become an occupational therapist. Besides painting, Gillotte enjoys going to the gym frequently, which she says helps her with stress, as well as hiking and eating. 

Gillotte’s parents are extremely supportive of her passion in art, her dad even suggested that she should drop her kinesiology major and pursue art full time. 

“We all know daughters have a way of surprising their parents; Yolanda excelled at singing and volleyball. But, what I didn’t expect was her strong interest and ability to translate those passions into paintings. From oils to watercolors, from impressionism to abstract canvases, there seems to be an eager intellect mixed with passion and curiosity in her work,” her father Donald Gillotte said.

As much as she enjoys art, she disagrees with her dad due to the fact her heart has been set on becoming an occupational therapist for quite some time. 

When asked what her inspiration for her artwork is, Gillotte confessedshe does not have a certain person or thing that serves as her inspiration, rather she enjoys creating art that she thinks is nice to look at. Gillotte’s preferred style of artwork is painting. 

“I started [painting] when I was very young, it’s easy to love because I actually enjoy it. As opposed to my other classes where homework or studying is considered ‘work’, when I have to put time in on my paintings I consider it leisure time. I get to listen to music and just paint for hours,” Gillotte said. 

“I enjoy a lot of the pieces I make, but none I would consider a favorite,” Gillotte said.

With plans on attending graduate school to achieve a master’s degree in kinesiology after graduating from Sonoma State, Gillotte doesn’t see herself pursuing art as a career in her post-grad life. 

Although Gillotte has received multiple offers from her friends to buy her artwork, or even requests to create special pieces, she has declined these offers due to her time consuming schedule of school and work. 

Balancing time is a skill Gillotte has really had to perfect in order to balance the many responsibilities she currently holds. 

“I’ve gotten multiple comments from my professor saying my pieces could be better if I put more time into them. Although I understand and see his point of view, my semesters are always so busy. This year I’m taking 20 units, four classes here at Sonoma State and one at Santa Rosa Junior College,” said Gillotte. “I also work four times a week and there’s not a single day where I don’t have either work or school. I plan on squeezing more time to work on projects into my planner but it’s hard to balance.”

Gillotte also noted some helpful advice that her art teacher has given her. 

“The main thing that my professor always tells me is that you just have to care; care about the work you’re making and put in the time to get it done right. I think that advice can not only be applied to art but anything in life,” Gillotte said.