German art student shares experience, perspective

Andrew Smith

Student Reporter–


De’Jean Clement, a Rose State College art student, was born in Oklahoma, but spent most of his early life in Geilenkirchen, Germany, and has a specific view of American culture as someone from the outside.

John Clement, De’Jean Clement’s father, was in the Air Force. When De’Jean Clement was 4-years-old, his dad’s job took them from Oklahoma to Germany. There, De’Jean Clement participated in activities like skating and biking. He discovered his passion for art in Germany.

“I got started in art at the old school Geilenkirchen,” he said. “This guy with cornrows … came up to me while I was trying to draw a vase and he said, ‘Hey man, I have an easier way to try and draw a vase … That’s how you draw a vase; practice that.’”

“And so I did and then I drew more stuff and more stuff,” De’Jean Clement said.RaiderSpotlight

De’Jean Clement said he hopes to become a manga artist. “I watched anime and manga … I had a mindful eye for this stuff and so I critiqued it a lot,” he said. “During school, I started making my own manuscripts and then I kept redoing stories and making them better. I found the key components for making a really good manga.”

De’Jean Clement plans one day go to Japan to continue his work and achieve his dream.

“I even got my dad going along with it and he’s going, ‘OK, OK and are you going to Japan for this?’ And I’m like, ‘Hell yeah I’m going to Japan for this.’”

While in Germany, he acquired a Chickasaw card that identified him as someone eligible for benefits, such as being able to study at American universities with lowered tuition. His family decided to take advantage of this and move back to Oklahoma. De’Jean Clement attended East Central University in Ada for a year.

One difference he experienced in Germany was being able to spend time in the local pubs, despite being too young to drink.

“We went to other villages to hang out,” he said. “You can’t drink if you’re 14 or lower, because the (drinking) age was 16. We would just hang out there. They were really cool about it,” he said.

He also said that it isn’t an issue to see young people with marijuana in Germany. “That’s one thing I figured out about here; you can’t just go into bars and coffee shops, and ask for weed,” he said.

His dad taught him about changes he was going to have to make in order to keep his possessions safe in America.

“My talk with my dad was about ‘lock down,’ and then I got my first padlock and I said, ‘What the hell is this,’” De’Jean Clement said.

De’Jean Clement said the thing he misses most about Germany is the safety.

“A lot of the neighborhoods in Germany are very, very low crime,” he said. “I’m not even kidding; we left our door open almost a week … I’m pretty sure there was nothing missing, unless this thief was very precise.”

De’Jean Clement said he also faced a transition when he found out about the food in America.

“People are going, ‘How are these kids getting so fat?’ I don’t think it should be a question,” he said. “Because like you saw the pizza, right? Cheesecake pizza, barbecue pizza, taco pizza … and chocolate pizza,” he said. “The proof is in the pudding, but you’d probably eat that too.”

To check out De’Jean Clement’s artwork and interests, visit his blog at


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