Interview with Pencil Sculpture Jessica Drenk

Interview with Pencil Sculpture Jessica Drenk

Below is the Pencils for Africa Editorial Team’s interview account of pencil sculpture Jessica Drenk.

Jessica Drenk is a full time sculptor who creates organic styled art work.

From growing up in the scenic, outdoorsy state of Montana, she was influenced and inspired to construct sculptures made out of ordinary items that are very simple, like a pencil. She has created many elaborate three-dimensional sculptures just using basic everyday materials. From creating sculptures with basic everyday materials, Jessica says “anything can become art”. Below is one of Jessica’s pencil sculptures:


By making many sculptures out of pencils, Jessica views the pencil not just as a writing tool, but she takes into consideration its shape and the material it is made of.

We asked Jessica how she decides on a form for a sculpture, when sculpting with pencils. She explained that she starts out with a basic shape and builds from there, without really knowing exactly what her sculpture will look like when finished.

Montana Wilderness

The wilderness is filled with greenery, animals and nature all around. When asked about what elements of nature inspired her, Jessica mentioned that she loves all of nature.

Jessica is interested in forms from the trees, including moss and lichens.

As well as forms from the oceans such as corals.

Jessica is interested in small things, like twigs and pebbles that have interesting textures and shapes.

Even microscopic bacteria that would be seen through a microscope is very inspirational to Jessica.

Jessica also addressed in detail about connecting man-made objects with nature.

She explained that when she makes a sculpture, she tries to create a natural feel on the outside and when the viewer recognizes the pencils on the inside, the sculpture projects a man-made feel on the inside. The idea is that the wood in the pencil is from trees as well as the graphite which comes from nature. The pencil is a transformation of these two natural products which have been turned into a man made object. Through Jessica’s sculptures, she connects it visually back to the idea of nature …

… Like this sculpture below:

Jessica explained that when someone looks at her sculptures, she hopes they will be surprised that such an unexpected simple material was transformed into a sculpture that looks like something from nature.

Secondly, she hopes that in thinking about the objects used in the sculpture, the viewer will also think about where the materials come from and understand that everything man-made originally came from the earth and that we will think about saving and recycling materials that are ultimately from nature.

This can make us look at everyday things around our house that we can turn into a creative form through art, instead of throwing it away. When asked about how sculptures using pencils will evolve in the future, Jessica wants to explore making her sculptures bigger and with different shapes and forms.

Jessica also wants to learn and discover new things as she creates her art - like this sculpture below:

By looking at the world around us we too can start imagining, like Jessica, that anything, even a pencil, can be used to create new art.

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