Student Stories: Jeanette Andrews

Jeanette Andrews

Major: Graphic Design

Jeanette Andrews held her first paid job at the age of 6.

However, it was not the typical gig that a youngster would have, such as running a lemonade stand. She was a magician.

“I first got into magic after seeing a Siegfried & Roy TV special when I was about 4 years old and I knew right away that I was interested,” Andrews said. “It started with me coming up my own magic tricks like making my stuffed animals disappear. That year, my parents bought me a magic set for Christmas. I practiced a lot and did my first performance for my preschool class. By the time I was 6, I was being paid for it.”

Thanks to the continued support of her parents, Andrews knew early on that it was possible to make a career out of magic.

“My parents took me seriously. They got me Siegfried & Roy’s autobiography and would read it to me in lieu of traditional bedtime stories. So I grew up learning about the journey of these two people who became extremely successful, and it never even entered my mind that one could not make a profession doing this.”

Andrews initially didn’t plan to go to college because she already had begun her career. However, she saw value in taking several courses that could help her business, so she enrolled at College of DuPage.

“COD allowed me the flexibility of not being locked into the typical timeframe of getting a four-year education or degree,” she said. “My coursework at COD was focused on graphic design and philosophy, both of which have served me extremely well in my career. My mom is a full-time freelance graphic designer and has been my whole life, so I had a great foundation going in, but it was wonderful to further develop my design skills. I do all of the graphic design for my business, and not only is it great to not have to outsource the work, but it also allows me to really make sure that there is a consistent visual style to have my work get represented.

“I took numerous classes on philosophy, including independent study on phenomenological philosophy and magic, which I was subsequently asked to present on for the Theory and Art of Magic Conference at Muhlenberg College when I was 19. What I learned about aesthetics and epistemology at COD continue to inform my work, especially as I begin to write more as part of my work.”

COD was a great place for me to take classes on my own schedule while I was really building my business full-time.

Today, Andrews is a contemporary magician and artist who specializes in creating interactive sensory illusions, possessing what she calls a contemplative take on the art of the impossible.

Jeannette Andrews Sensory Illusions

“My vision is to take the art of illusion back to a high art, with the prestige it held in the 1800s, by returning it to the arts sector and presenting contemplative works. I enjoy finding historic magic illusions and modernizing them for today’s audiences, where impossible feats are performed by the viewers themselves.”

Her unwavering confidence in herself as well as her craft turned out to be well-placed, as Andrews has become one of the most successful performers in her industry. She has staged hundreds of performances for Fortune 500 companies, museums and universities across the United States, including sold-out and standing-room-only crowds at the International Museum of Surgical Science, Birmingham Museum of Art and Chicago Ideas Week. She has completed multiple series of performances for the Museum of Contemporary Art, including “Invisible Roses,” commissioned by the museum in honor of its 50th anniversary, and “Invisible Museums of the Unseen.”

She is also the only magician to be awarded an artist’s residency, including being a High Concept Labs Sponsored Artist and artist in residence for The Institute for Art and Olfaction.

Andrews supports people who are considering careers that may be viewed as unconventional.

“Only you know what’s really going to make you happy or what will be best for you,” she said. “One of the most fascinating parts about the world is that people have all types of different skills and talents, and we need that. I think the ideas that people have in terms of what’s considered a ‘traditional career’ are changing. There is time for you to figure things out. Just trust yourself.”

As for COD, Andrews said it played a role in her success.

“COD was a great place for me to take classes on my own schedule while I was really building my business full-time,” she said. “It allowed me to tailor my education to focus on courses that would be most helpful to my career goals as I moved forward!”

Photo by Saverio Truglia

Learn more about the Graphic Design program at College of DuPage