Wk. 15- Art Experience- Finger Painting

Well I have to say I was kind of interested to try this experience. That is until I saw the colors the art store decided to foist upon me. A vivid yellow paired with an almost black shade of purple, along with white. But the paper is white. I got essentially two colors that are nothing like ones I usually gravitate towards. So my initial experience wasn’t that great. I quickly realized that there was a very small amount of paint given to us, so I practiced spreading the yellow paint into thin lines first. I didn’t have a picture in mind, which was the idea, but it ended up looking like tree branches. So when I brought in the purple I started making cloud-like shapes at the top like leaves. I liked working with the purple because I found that since I had to spread it so thinly it ended up looking like light charcoal. I even was able to use the white to spot over the purple. Making the piece was about as difficult as I expected. The difficulty more came from both the unpalatable colors along with the small amount of them. It forced me to improvise, which did lead to me finding that the purple made a nice hue when spread lightly. As for not using a brush, that was also a bit difficult. I work with paint on occasion with brushes, and found my fingers hard to use because they do not soak up paint (understandably). So I would get a nice blob of paint on my finger and try to spread it around and instead find that most of the paint had gone to the sides of my finger. I would just have to keep getting more paint, and it was rather frustrating. As for the abstract part, I can’t say that it was easy. Abstract art just goes so against the kind of art that I most love to create. Most of my pieces do not perfectly convey reality, but I still strive to make them semi-realistic or at least representational. My style also relies heavily on clearly defined lines and careful details. This was a different experience to say the least, and I can’t say I immediately got anything out of it. I always support trying new styles so you know what you like and what you can do. But from this experience it still isn’t my favorite. It isn’t yet and may not be something I find enjoyment in. As for how this experience is similar to the graffiti writing project I suppose they are both similar because I feel they both require a bit more emotion than some art pieces. Also with both I felt a little more connected to my art work. In the graffiti writing project I had to put my whole body into the piece. And in the finger painting activity, I used my hand directly to create my art piece.  Both techniques brought me closer emotionally to my art work. Though that didn’t necessarily mean I was more impressed with the end result. For me the two are different because I feel with graffiti writing I had a lot more control over my piece, while with abstract finger painting I could have done anything. As for the two being used to create visual experiences I would assume for others, I think they are fairly similar because both must use emotion to be created and that emotion comes through in color choice, style, and size. Both can be used to make immediate and bold statements if desired, though graffiti I feel might be better at this because it is more specific. However, abstract finger painting might be better for sharing a specific feeling. For instance, if you finger pained a whole room in somber blues or energizing yellows, an observer might feel that emotion more completely than if they were to see a smaller graffiti work. It was an interesting exercise to compare the two works, though I still find I favor  graffiti writing for my own artwork.

-Hannah Adams

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Wk 15- Artist Conversation- Krystal Ramirez

Exhibition Information

Artist: Krystal Ramirez

Exhibition: CSULB School of Art Holiday Art Sale

Media: Metal

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Website: None

Instagram: @kgrmetalcraft

About the Artist

Are artists the product of necessity or of a personal desire to create? This week was a slightly different conversation than others I have been posting. Generally the artists I have been speaking with have a gallery devoted entirely to art they have created from a strong personal desire to share some kind of message. Their art may not have been pleasing to the average viewer, but that was alright because it was art not meant to be sold but to change perspectives or to appeal for action from the audience. This week was completely different however. The art shown was not made for the artist, instead it was made more for the pleasure of the audience. So no doubt this post will be somewhat different from my previous ones. The artist I interviewed this week is named Krystal Ramirez. Art may be her passion, but she finds time for many hobbies. Currently she most enjoys thrifting, antiquing, and crafting. We share these interests, and traded stories of the wonderful clothing that we have found for almost nothing. Krystal’s love of crafting has led her to her most immediate career choice as well. To wet her feet to the art world she would love to work at craft shows selling her own work. She believes her most desired works currently would be her jewelry. She was able to get into the field because she is studying in the metals program at CSULB. She is an undergraduate with plans to have her own gallery next semester. When asked why she chose jewelry over other paths for metals majors, she said the desire started in high school. Her school was always heavily focused on the arts, and when she took a jewelry making class, it became a love. We talked for a while about the art Krystal was selling and I came to learn it wasn’t a good reflection of art she most enjoys making. When asked if her art in this sale meant anything deeper than being functional or pretty, she scoffed and said not at all. While she is accomplished at making objects for sale to the general public, these objects don’t reflect the feelings she generally wants her art to have. I will explain the art she makes more for her own enjoyment later in this post, though I must mention something on a bit of a side note. Something interesting I have been doing is asking each artist during what time of day they most enjoy working, and with Krystal the time has been put almost unanimously as late at night. Just an interesting finding. The reasons have varied, and Krystal’s was that she enjoyed the peace and solitude.

Formal Analysis

Since, as I mentioned, this week was a little different I will describe both Krystal’s work in the gallery as well as describe the work she told me she generally does for her own enjoyment. For sale Krystal had two copper pots with succulents inside. The color was bright and shiny. They  looked like they had been recently tooled with no evidence of patina. The shape was also quite rigid and cylindrical. They looked ordered and machined, quite a contrast to the more natural plants inside. Krystal also had a small selection of her jewelry, specifically earrings. They were made of cooler colored metal that may have been silver. They were hoops, but on close inspection it could be seen that they were not circular. Instead they were many-sided polygons. The edges were rounded, giving the overall pieces an organic feeling. They looked much like plant cell walls under a microscope. When asked to describe her work outside this gallery, Krystal said it is generally more utilitarian, with a continued influence of metals in most of her works.

Content Analysis

One of the first questions I asked Krystal was what the difference is between art you do for others and art you do for yourself. The reason I asked was because I had so far exclusively interviewed artists about their galleries that they had made out of their own personal desires. There is a completely different dynamic when you make art to be sold, and I wanted to know Krystal’s take on this question. Her answer was more or less expected. Krystal said that art she makes to sell is generally more economical, as she put it. Generally they hold little personal value, but are objects that are either functional or pretty. They have her own unique flair, but they don’t mean anything special. Art she makes for herself is much different. Krystal says it is far more conceptual. Her art is not something to be used or worn, it is a tool to convey a message. She is most excited about the work she will feature in her upcoming gallery. Krystal does not yet have a name for her gallery, but she is decided on her theme. She has always had a great love of both nature and family, which has also become part of her artwork. Krystal’s work emphasizes most strongly the theme of connection. This comes from both her closeness to her family as well as having a garden full of edible plants like fruit trees. She enjoys her connections with others, and wants to use art to foster these connections. For Krystal, metals are the easiest tool for this. She hopes to create rather utilitarian objects to show how they can also be objects of interaction. Krystal hopes to show how objects like kitchenware are more than functional. They are also tools of intimacy. They are the objects we use in our homes generally for making meals which are in turn often the focal point of human interaction. In the age of social media, texting, and the internet, old-fashioned connection is a rare and precious commodity.

Synthesis/ My Experience

To begin I suppose I should answer my own question I posed at the beginning of this post similar to the one I asked Krystal. It’s a hard question to answer, and as much as I would love to have a strong opinion, I really don’t. I feel that artists can be formed from either, and it depends on the circumstances. I say this because I have seen both. I was having a caricature done once and struck up a conversation with the artist about how he got into the field. He said it was purely out of necessity. He needed money, and so he forced himself to practice until he could make a living from his works. He is quite talented now. But also I have seen many artists who choose art because it brings them joy, and become talented doing what they love more for themselves than for an audience. This leads to the question I asked Krystal about the difference between art we make for ourselves and that which we make for others. I enjoyed hearing her views because I too have often been in a position where I have been asked to make art for others. In church I would usually volunteer to make posters and paintings for activities. While I enjoyed making them, I often had to adjust my own ideas to fit my audience, because generally what I wanted to make didn’t fit the theme of the activity. This week was far different from the other activities, but in a way it was the most meaningful. From this discussion I feel I saw more the real side of art that isn’t always highlighted. Art made for ourselves and art made for others will always have a fundamental difference that may not always be recognized.

-Hannah Adams

 

Wk. 14- Art Activity- Instagram

This was my first time ever trying the social media site Instagram. I’m usually not that into social media; I don’t have a Twitter or Snapchat, and only occasionally use Facebook. So I was intrigued to start using Instagram. It was pretty enjoyable to post pictures and chose ones that were important to my day. I really liked looking at every one’s pictures at the end of the day though. It was neat to see how their choices reflected mine, and how beautiful some of the pictures were. I was pleased to see quite a few pictures from Chemistry and Bio labs after a bit of searching. I also saw a strong theme of Christmas in the page of group photos. I too took some pictures of my decorations, as well a my stuffed animal cat, Jiji, in a Santa hat. There was a strong theme of food as well, which I am more ambivalent about. I know some people hate seeing people’s food on their screen over and over, but I didn’t mind. Food is such an important part of our life and culture that it’s kind of neat to see what you choose. I wasn’t that surprised by any posts, though. There were a number I enjoyed because they were either taken well, or because they were of things I felt close to like libraries, school, pets, Christmas, or labs. As for if it felt like I was part of some community I have to say no. It was interesting to see such a large group all posting from different corners of Instagram for the day. But it didn’t make me feel really close to my peers. Pictures are fun to see and all, but they don’t make me feel all that much more connected to a large group. Maybe that is just who I am. I get very close to a very small number of people. So becoming slightly connected to a huge group just isn’t my style. I feel like there were a few people who are similar to me though. Maybe I can get to know just a few people better in the future.

-Hannah Adams

Wk. 14- Classmate Conversation- Esmeray Lopez

This week was a very enjoyable class. I had the pleasure of meeting Esmeray Lopez, and we were able to spend the period talking and drawing our ID cards together. Esmeray is a 3rd year political science major. She has set her sights on law school. When she has finished this no doubt rigorous field, she hopes to to go into criminal justice. But while law is her career choice, it isn’t her passion in her free time.If she knew she could follow any dream career path though, Esmeray would love to be a surgeon working with cancer patients. She told me about a documentary on a woman who had a tumor that spread over her entire face that a talented surgeon removed. She said she would love to bring about that kind of change in other’s lives. Beyond her dreams, Esmeray is already a talented individual. She is currently a skilled make-up artist. She works hard to get perfect blends and colors. But Esmeray’s talent can go beyond simple beauty. She also is quite good at make-up for costumes. Generally she enjoys anything with a slightly sci-fi theme. This Halloween she did her own makeup and managed to pull off transforming herself into an open-heart surgery patient. Quite a feat. We also shared some of our childhood hobbies. Esmeray told me about her obsession with the slot machine stickers. The ones that cost nearly a dollar and were outside all the major grocery stores. I found it funny though that she never actually stuck them on anything. Instead she would just hoard them in sticker books and occasionally look through them. As a young adult she has matured in her collections. Right now she collects CDs in all different genres of music. She hasn’t settled on a particular one as of yet. She also enjoys school, and told me her favorite class is actually Art 110. She likes the break from solid memorization, and the chance to express herself in a meaningful and creative way. College itself though has taught her some important life lessons. Esmeray says she has learned how to enjoy being alone. In high school you were frowned on for eating alone or studying by yourself. But in college there is no such pressure to always be with friends. She says she has learned to enjoy her own company and has had fun exploring the campus. As for this week’s question, predicting what the college experience will be like for a student in 2036, Esmeray has a well thought out answer. She thought that face to face interaction would be come less and less common. Instead universities would favor online and hybrid classes more and more. To both compensate for more students and  to cut down on costs. Online classes still can’t replace many classes like labs, but I too see a movement in this direction. Whether it will be for the better or worse remains to be seen. I was pleased to have this infromative conversation with my classmate, Esmeray Lopez, and if you want to know more about her, check out her website at

https://esmerized.wordpress.com/

-Hannah Adams

 

Wk 13- Classmate Conversation- Daniel Puentes

I got to meet two really neat people this week. During class we all had the pleasure of hearing a presentation by the Vlogger Carla Dauden which was an amazing and insightful experience. We also had individual conversations with a classmate, and I was able to meet Daniel Puentes. Daniel is a tall but quiet Junior in Mechanical Engineering. He chose the major because he has always had a love for fixing things. Originally he had his heart set on being a car mechanic. However his parents were less than enthusiastic about him getting anything lower than a Bachelor’s Degree. So he went with the major that would be more likely to pay the bills. Daniel still hasn’t lost his love for cars, however. He is always striving to understand how they work. Daniel also enjoys seeing cars in action in events like racing. He is going to Mexico to watch an off-road event over break. In the theme of our visiting artist, I asked Daniel if he was to make a Vlog about anything, what topic would he choose. He couldn’t think pf any specifics, but thought some kind of social commentary would be nice with a good mix of humor. Though Daniel enjoys art, he has never had any experiences with it in the class. Interestingly though, when I asked what he would dream about doing as long as knew he would never fail, he said he would love to be a sculptor. As for the Matrix based question of the week. Daniel believes that he would want to know if the world is real or not. For him knowledge is more important than comfort, so even if it would bother him, Daniel would still rather know the truth. An overall interesting person to meet, and I hope everyone gets the chance to talk with him in the future.

Check out his website at:

https://dannypsite.wordpress.com/

classmate2

Wk 12- Artist Conversation- Sage Garver

Exhibition Information

Artist: Sage Garver

Exhibition: BIO

Media: Mixed media sculpture, metal, plastics

Gallery: Dutzi Gallery

Website: None

Instagram: None

About the Artist

Some say seeing is believing, but in the case of Sage’s exhibit, seeing is only half the story. In paintings, drawings, and other such 2-D artworks, a simple picture of the work can give the same feeling as seeing the picture in its entirety. The scale might be off to some extent, but the overall feeling can usually still be attained. This is not so true with the art of sculpture, and especially not with Sage’s exhibit. When the entire gallery is the artwork, how can a single picture capture it all? Sage uses the walls themselves as a sculptural canvas for her works, amorphous shapes that appear to be bulging out from the white backdrop. She uses the center space as well to drape gold chains and a crumpled, dark ball. I’ll describe specifics of the exhibit in my formal analysis, however I’ll say that it is an exhibit that can’t be fully enjoyed by just the few photos I was able to take, so I will describe it the best I can later. But now for the artist herself, Sage. Sage is an undergraduate student at CSULB working on her BFA in sculpture. She is the first of her family to study art, so she has had little influence from them. Sage finds her interests in science, particularly biology. Being sick much of her childhood is what Sage believes is what may have prompted her to do art. While much of the time she would feel too sick to really do much of anything, she said sometimes she would force herself to work on something small that day. Often she felt better for doing something, and so she has continued with art today. Sage finally decided on sculpture because she enjoys the more physical nature of her pieces. She says sculptures are in a way more impactful than a simple painting. Sculpture may be Sage’s favorite medium to work in, but it is not her favorite type of art to observe. She enjoys a rather unique type of art, stop-motion animation. Movies like Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas are made with this interesting technique. Sage likes the way sculpture is used in a more interactive way, where the sculptures aren’t static, but instead move in a variety of ways to make an entire film. An interesting choice for a favorite type of art, and I would have to say I never thought of it before. Though I must say I love animated movies like the film Kubo, which was just released. While quiet, Sage has much to say if you take the time to speak with her. And learning about her background is important to understanding her art

Formal Analysis

The exhibition uses three of the four white walls as part of the exhibit. From the smooth blankness, rounded shapes emerge. The same shapes are often repeated. Small rings are very common, often grouped together to look like bubbles or cells. There are also half circles and rounded bullet-like shapes, along with some flattened and striped strips. These forms are all rather regular. The have an organic quality, but a regulated one. They have the look of healthy, functioning cells. Interspersed in this mix are shapes that do not seem so normal. One cluster of half circle shapes show the forms flattened with nodules breaking the smooth surface. One malformed circle farthest from the group looks as if it has burst, since thick, fungal-like tendrils are growing out from it towards some of the more ordered “cells”. These more chaotic loops that grow out are found dispersed throughout the ordered shapes. The feeling is a bit sinister, like watching a toxin or disease slowly invade a healthy system. The color white almost contrasts with this, since white is generally the color of cleanliness and sterility. But it is also the color of hospitals, and generally you wont be in a hospital because you are well. This piece can also be looked at in a slightly different way. The white color with white shapes coming out of the plane resemble what is called an unstained brightfield microscope slide. Essentially, cells are plated directly onto a slide and viewed with no enhancements. This makes the cells appear to be only slightly contrasted against the white backdrop of the slide. With this view the exhibit walls could be seen as more scientific. The scale, though, is quite overwhelming. A slide and the cells on it are small, smaller than your hand. But this exhibit makes the microscopic organisms big enough to touch. Any scientist who has looked into a microscope to watch paramecium devour each other in a drop of water, will feel definite discomfort in an exhibit that seems to put them right in the middle of that microscopic frenzy. The overall feeling of the walls is disconcerting and distinctly alien, a feeling heightened by the dim lights. The center piece is slightly different from the walls, though. It is composed of draped gold chains brightly lit, with a crumpled, glittering, bluish ball in the center. This part seems more artificial, like an unusual centerpiece at a glitzy party. The contrast between the two produces more discomfort in the viewer.

Content Analysis

In order to understand Sage’s work, one must first understand the title: BIO. This three letter abbreviation is not as simple as it seems. These three letters are the shortened form of two very different words: biology and biography. Though upon closer analysis the two are much more closely related than thought, and in this exhibit they are brought even closer. They both contain the prefix bio, meaning life. Put simply, a biography is the story of a person’s life, while biology is the study of all living organisms. They share some basic meaning since both deal with the understanding of some kind of life. In Sage’s exhibit she explores many themes and this interplay between the two words is one of them. Her exhibit was inspired by an illness that has greatly affected how she lives her life. In a way this exhibit is then a biography of her, since it details a part of her that has affected so many aspects of herself, even down to the foods she can and can’t eat. The biology part comes from the origin of her illness. It had a biological source, and so her exhibit reflects this, with many parts representing the transition from health to sickness at the cellular level. The walls of her exhibit are meant to represent this transition. The walls are meant to represent the interior of a body, with the clean, white space being a healthy and functioning system. The malformed shapes are meant to be representative of malfunction and disease emerging from this healthy system. Sage had less to say about the centerpiece of the exhibit, however. She only told me it is representative of the connection between outside appearances and inner sickness. Attached to the golden chains is a small gold fork. This is connected to Sage’s inability to eat her favorite foods, one of her most unpleasant ailments. It is also an example of a surface manifestation of her illness connected to the internal cause. Sage was successfully able to use sculpture to show the connection between her disease and her life story.Through metal and, plastics, and other materials, she showed the deep connection the biology of her disease has with the biography of her life.

Synthesis/ My Experience

Of the many sculpture displays I have seen, this one had the most immediate feelings associated with it. Most sculpture exhibits I have seen have just been about smaller, individual works, and understanding them separately. Though they were generally connected by a hidden theme.  Since the whole exhibit was the sculpture, nothing could really be escaped and every part was important to the whole. I have to say I really enjoyed this experience. Going into this exhibit, was like going into another world. The scale would make anyone feel small. And since the theme caused the walls to resemble microscopic organisms, this feeling of smallness was heightened. This was quite fascinating. Being a Biology major, I have to spend a lot of my time looking through microscopes often at live samples. It never ceases to amaze me when I see the huge variety of life that exists in a tiny drop of pond water. I enjoyed this exhibit because it brought me closer to the microscopic worlds I so often observe, but can never experience first-hand. But I also related to Sage’s more personal story behind the piece as well. I have thankfully never had to deal with a chronic illness other than occasional migraines, but my brother has. He has severe asthma, and so is often out of school for many days when he is sick. I found it interesting that Sage used her time to turn to art, because my brother did the same. He can spend hours with calligraphy, making amazing pieces with just a simple pen and paper. I talked with Sage a bit about the connection between chronic illness and art, and she said she hadn’t given it much thought. I wonder if Sage herself may have never found her creative streak if not for her unfortunate sickness. It would be fascinating to know if others have had similar experiences. It would be interesting to see if prolonged sickness promotes artistic creativity in more than just Sage and my brother. Because we can’t escape the biology of our bodies, maybe they can at least influence the biology of our lives for the better.

-Hannah Adams

 

 

Wk 11- Artist Conversation- Caryn Aasness

Exhibition Information

Artist: Caryn Aasness

Exhibition: Waste of Time

Media: Yarn

Gallery: Merlino Gallery

Website: None

Instagram: @levelyellowproblemchild

About the Artist

Art isn’t confined to traditional mediums, and Caryn in definitely not one to follow tradition. The art galleries at CSULB have been home to many unique displays, but most find there roots in paint, photography, metal, or other classic mediums. Caryn’s work is the first exhibit I have seen to be exclusively done with weaving. Weaving is an ancient practice, with the oldest known weaving found in Peru being from 10,100 to 9,080 BCE. Weaving became much more popular with advancements in the loom, a device used to weave cloth quickly from thread. Caryn uses a more modern loom, but she says it is still quite time consuming. She really has to want the final result and be willing to put in the hours and days to make it. Caryn is currently an undergraduate in the BFA Fiber major, so she deals with textiles constantly. She is very tactile, and incorporated her need to touch objects physically into her art. Like most artists I have interviewed, Caryn works late into the night and early in the morning, when she says there are no people to distract her. She is well on her way to graduating soon, though she doesn’t want to stop after a Bachelor’s degree. After working for a few years at a more regular job, she hopes to go back to graduate school. Being young though, she is still unsure what path she will eventually follow for a career. Much of her life has been wrought with uncertainty, and the ever-present desire to be herself. Caryn described to me all the statements, rules, and norms she learned as a child, and how so many conflict with what she feels she wants to be. This is the central idea that drove her to create her gallery. The need to create herself, and not be the product of others. I hope to delve deeper into her feelings and the meaning behind her pieces further in this post.

Formal Analysis

On the surface, one would think that Caryn’s pieces are exact copies of each other, and one might leave frustrated because these works are nothing special on the surface. Allow me to first describe the physical characteristics of all of the pieces. They are made of thin, soft thread. Each has a vertical pattern of colorful stripes in shades that gently transition or compliment the stripes near to it. There are also horizontal lines, but these are difficult to see. They look faded against the bolder, vertical stripes. Overall, though, one can observe a faint grid pattern in each piece, with squares 1″ by 1″. One square per row was overlaid with thicker thread, making it bulge outwards slightly. Even though there is great precision in these fabrics, they appear organic. The pattern is ridged, but the surface of the cloth is lightly wrinkled, and the edges curve and curl. This makes it easy to see the handmade quality of these works. At the bottom of each piece, the stripes are finished by tying the loose strands into a decorative hanging piece, like the fringe on a fine rug. This gives then a more complete feeling. Since most of the pieces are longer than they are wide, this also makes the pieces look a bit like a roman standard, the flags that were hung sideways. This is the physical description of the pieces, but they held a deeper meaning. Each piece had exactly 26 columns, each corresponding to a letter of the alphabet. Each row has one square that is highlighted by thicker thread, so each row’s square represents a letter. This becomes important when one pieces all the squares together to see the hidden message in the deceptively simple fabric. Each piece seems so similar, but they all have a unique phrase encoded into the very thread itself. The works, like Caryn, aren’t as simple as they appear.

Content Analysis

As I stated above, each of Caryn’s works has a message encoded in it. So before I begin analyzing the content of these weavings, I should probably tell what the content is. I’ll go in order, telling the number of the piece and then the statement it holds. (1) In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man. (2) “Takes one to know one. I’m rubber you’re glue. I know you are, but what am I”. (3) “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I have ever known”. (4) “To call it cute is to misunderstand”. (5) “Exclamation point question mark”. (6) “First comes love then comes marriage then comes the baby in the baby carriage”. (7) “Speak up keep it down”. (8) “I’m still looking for sureness in the way I say my name”. These are the statements in each weaving. They seem so unconnected when you read them without knowing the full story. But for every letter, hundreds of lines of thread had to be used and hours had to be spent. This places a special kind of importance on each statement. They had to be chosen with unique care, because the investment of time and energy would be so great. But from snippets one might hear on an elementary school playground to song lyrics, they don’t have an  apparent joining thread (no pun intended). It would take a serious conversation with the artist to find the connection. Caryn is not one to follow traditional ways of thinking in her art or in her life. As a child she said she was constantly taught what she should and shouldn’t do. You are supposed to be quieter, this is how you should act, you should get married and have kids when you are older. These were just statements that everyone told her, ideals that others felt she should share. This is the common element in the messages in the weavings. They are statements that she heard over and over as a child, interjected with her own feelings often from songs and books. Like the quote “nothing in me is original, I am the combined effort of everyone I have ever know”. This was Caryn’s feeling as she matured. That she wasn’t her own person, just the combined wants and ideals of those around her. As she aged, she wanted to unlearn as much of what she had learned to be correct in society as she thought she should. Particularly with marriage. Caryn has constantly heard others telling her she needs to find a husband, get married, settle down and start a family with children. This is what she learned from others as the way to have a happy and successful life, but upon her own contemplation, this isn’t something she completely agrees with. Caryn says she wants to know who she is before finding a serious relationship, and even then may not want children. She has always learned from society that this isn’t what she should do, but Caryn is fiercely independent. She wants to build her own ideals, figure out what she really wants and believes. She thinks that what is generally taught and accepted can be limiting. We need rules and guidelines, but everyone should have the freedom of their opinions. One piece of artwork I have left out because it actually isn’t a part of the collection, though it connects to theme. It is the title. The title itself is a weaving like the others, but it takes quite some time to decode. The final message is at first humorous. It is the statement “waste of time” repeated over and over. It would make anyone who spent the last 10 minutes or so decoding it laugh because they essentially did just waste their time decoding the same repeating message. But it has a deeper meaning. This is one of the statements that Caryn is working her hardest to fight because she hears it all the time now; that art is just a waste of time. This is the opinion of many around her, an opinion Caryn hopes to fight. Art is time consuming, but it is not a waste of time. For Caryn, as for many others, art is a way to share feelings with the world. To change the opinions of at least a few for the better.

Synthesis/ My Experience

I can’t say i have strong feeling one way or the other for this piece. With other galleries I have visited, I could generally connect what I saw with something personal. If not immediately, then at least after talking with the artist. But this just wasn’t the case. I can’t think of a way this relates to me powerfully, though I suppose that is alright. Almost all art has a message, but the number of people who need to hear that specific message is generally quite small. It would follow then that there would be at least one gallery that I wouldn’t find personally meaningful. Though that doesn’t mean I don’t find it important. For me I have always been sure of my own identity, and mostly able to recognize the social norms and opinions that I agree and disagree with. But not everyone is me. For someone struggling to go against something they are told to do that might not necessarily be right for them, this would be a helpful exhibit for them, to know they are not alone. Caryn’s exhibit didn’t resonate with my own needs, but I know there will be at least some who will see this exhibit and feel their own struggles in the weavings with a hidden message.

-Hannah Adams

 

Wk 11- Classmate Conversation- Linda Nguyen

I had the pleasure of meeting a classmate I hadn’t talked to yet named Linda Nguyen. We sat in the nice bit of shade in the SOA galleries. It seemed like we shared a little bit of everything with each other, but first, some basics about Linda. She is currently a sophomore in the Biology program, but hopes to soon switch to Bio Health. Linda would love to be an orthodontist or a physicians assistant. Though these are quite different fields, she said she has a passion for both because they are both involved with helping others. She would love to see people who have braces smile confidently, instead of hiding their teeth. Linda admits a physicians assistant may be an emotionally challenging job, since she would need to be able to be alright with the idea of losing patients. Like me,Linda is a science lover. It’s currently her favorite subject because she likes that there is a decidedly wrong and right answer. She told me that though she did well in her English classes, she never felt comfortable in them. Linda found there were too many ways to interpret writing, and none of them were necessarily right.In science there is always one right answer, whether it be the best way to get the greatest yield or whether a bacteria is gram negative or positive, there is no gray area. Though Linda enjoys the topic of science, it hasn’t affected her hobbies. She most enjoys spending time with her friends, and when she is alone she enjoys watching Korean dramas. We actually had quite a discussion about the difference between a Korean and American dramas. Linda has seen many and she told me about how much more conservative they are than in America. There are few scandalous scenes which she enjoys since she was raised Catholic. She likes how sweet the love stories are though they can be a bit cliche. As for the question of the week, Linda had a decided opinion on fan art, or more so on people’s reactions to it. She believes that art, like speech, shouldn’t be regulated. That it is an artists right to draw what they feel is important. Linda also believes that in the case of celebrities, perhaps they could be more appreciative of fan art that is made of them, instead of criticizing. She believes if an artist, even one of little talent, takes the time to draw you, then you should at least not be unkind. It was great being able to meet with Linda this week and hear so much about her. If you want to learn more about her as well, check out her website, Linda’s Universe, at:

https://lindalinhblog.wordpress.com/

classmate

Wk 10-Art Activity- Fiber Art Social Network

Fun project this week both in class and at home. I got to put up my little node on the wall early on in the creation of the web. I went downstairs for a bit to interview an artist for my artist conversation. It was interesting to come back and see the progression of the project, and the huge number of strings that connected me to so many other people in the class. But as for the questions, (1) I definitely find the term social network applying to my everyday life, since I really don’t use social media enough to make stable relationships with anyone online. I use it more to communicate occasionally with people I meet outside the web. I certainly have a network of friends, family, and acquaintances in real life. I tried to map out every single fairly close relationship I had, and I couldn’t fit them all on a single page. It was even harder when I tried to connect the individuals to each other. It looked less like a web and more like someone dropped a ball of yarn. (2) Dunbar’s number is an interesting generalization, but of course it wont apply to everyone the same way. I think a maximum of 150 people you are close to is a fairly reasonable number. I don’t go that high, but I am actually closer than I thought. I consider a fairly close relationship to be meeting and talking with an individual at least once a week. So with that I actually have quite a few relationships from church, school, and home. Still not at 150, but closer. I think significantly less time spent with a person would weaken the relationship, and since people only have so much free time, then 150 is a good limit before relationships start to fragment. (3) I think the term Facebook friends is misleading, since for me friends implies a close relationship. Having thousands of friends on Facebook really only means that you make a lot of acquaintances. You will probably only be close with a handful of that group. I have 230 Facebook friends, but I am only close to probably 20 of those people. The people I am close to are my friends I see once a week at least, my lab partner, my family, some church friends, my boyfriend, and a few other scattered relationships. For everyone else, I have a weaker relationship. Some people are old high school friends, teachers, family members from San Diego I only see at family gatherings, and the like. I don’t check in with them enough to build a close bond. (4) There wasn’t anything extraordinarily surprising about my node. I had a few more connections than I thought, mostly red strings, but a few white as well. It was fun to see the connections as physical strings though. (5) My personal number I would originally think would be small, maybe around 10. But when I think of all the people I know, my stepbrothers, cousins, church friends, etc., that I have a fairly close relationship with, I would imagine that number is probably about 50. For me 50 is a good number of close relationships to have. Its about what I can handle with school and work responsibilities, and leaves me with many people to be close to. (6) I have more friends on Facebook than actual friends, but not by a lot. My relationship to these other people I stated a bit. I know them from school, sometimes through a closer friend, or they are family I only occasionally see. I think these weak ties will be important when I get out more into the world. Currently I haven’t gotten much from my own weak ties, other than the occasional old family picture or fun memory I shared with my high school friends. Anyway, I made my own Fiber Art Social Network a bit more unique. I only did the people I was really close to to save space. I used an octopus for the base, and each arm represents a different way I am connected to each group. Fun one to draw.

-Hannah Adams

octopus-tree-wholetree-1tree-2tree-3

Wk 10- Artist Conversation- Tony Nguyen

Exhibition Information

Artist: Tony Nguyen

Exhibition: Neoteny

Media: Mixed media, primarily metal

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino

Website: http://eltigresite.wordpress.com/

Instagram: None

About the Artist

For all of the artist conversations I have done, never have I had so much fun as with this one. Perhaps “fun” isn’t the most eloquent of words, but it fits the feeling I had from this exhibit so well I have to keep it. The overall emotion may come instinctively to me, but the exhibit itself is far less straightforward. I should begin by describing the creator himself: Tony Nguyen. His personality is so like the feeling from his exhibit that one could almost see him as one of the work of art. He draws anyone he talks to in instantly, fascinating them with stories that he has told many times, but still has the same unbridled enthusiasm for. But if you don’t get to hear him speak, you would at least be drawn in by his choice in clothing. Tony clearly has fun choosing his outfits. He wears a vest over a blue checkered shirt rolled to the elbow with a black hat he periodically removes as he talks. He has a leather cuff bracelet on one wrist, and a thick silver ring he made himself on the other. But as I first mentioned, his most notable feature is his talent with conversation. He is always willing to tell a story about his own life, or the real or imaginary story his metal creations are based on. Tony is close to his family, and so he often shares stories he has heard from them, and how they have shaped who he is. What he considers his greatest work, a necklace based on a bridge, was based on one of the more powerful stories he heard from his mother. I will go more in depth into this story later. Tony’s skill with metal may have even come from his father, whom he described as a handyman. He is the family member who can always fix anything.  Tony isn’t a carbon-copy of any one family member, however. He says he is a bit of a black sheep. He is currently enrolled at CSULB in the Metal-smith program as an undergraduate, and he is the only member of his family to go into an art related field. He hopes to use his degree to go into prop making, creating equipment for movies and TV shows.On the side he could make jewelry as well, like the rings he wears himself. Even if his goals are different from anything his family has ever attempted, they still support him. And Tony hopes to stay close to them throughout his life. His fascinating works have certainly been worthy of their praise now that they see the extant of his talents.

Formal Analysis

Tony’s metal sculptures all have the element of child-like playfulness about them, but each collection of works is unique in style and execution. One group of little sculptures that Tony made as different representations of himself is most different. The figures are stubby and seem almost crudely made, though purposefully so. The lines are organic and the pieces soft-looking, as if they are made of clay, though really they are made of aluminum. The black finish is almost hastily applied to fill the cracks and make them stand out, further adding to the clumsy feeling of this collection.  Another collection consists of an armored glove, a crown, and a leather and metal arm guard. These pieces are much more ordered. The metal pieces are all the exact size they need to be in order to fit with the next piece. There is a feeling of great precision in this collection. The finish on the metals gives them a smooth, flowing quality. There is a bit of a clash between the elegance of the design on the arm guard with the sturdy leather beneath it. Another piece with a definite function was a piece of snake jewelry. It could be worn as either a necklace or bracelet. The braiding of the metal on the body took six weeks to complete, but the final product makes the production look effortless. The snakes appear to have scales weaved out of silver. The lack of finish make the final work gleam in the studio lights. Other pieces didn’t have such defined uses, however. One was a study of the pattern a pill-bug would make splashing on its back into water. This was more of a sculpture to be enjoyed. The pounded metal was left rough and the edges wavy to make the piece mimic rippling water. There were more pieces, but they would essentially be described like one of the pieces above, so to save space I won’t specifically describe the formal qualities of every piece, since I would be saying the same thing.

Content Analysis

The name of Tony’s exhibition is Neotany. An interesting title and a word that would probably be used more to describe subjects in a biology class than in an art gallery. The word is used to describe animals that retain juvenile characteristics into their adult forms. For instance, salamanders usually have gills as hatch-lings, but lose them as they reach sexual maturity. An Axolotl would be considered a neotenous species since it retains its gills throughout its adult life. In Tony’s exhibition, the word takes on more than just a physical meaning. He struggled for a long time with finding a theme for his work. It spanned such diverse topics and ideas he just couldn’t describe them all with one title. He might not have come up with anything had it not been for a fortuitous meeting with a well known metal-smith/jeweler. Sometimes one needs fresh eyes for an old problem, and this is exactly what Tony needed and got. His friend saw the connection immediately, and thankfully he had the vocabulary to find the word Neotany. This is the idea Tony’s exhibit, and ultimately Tony himself reflects.He has grown and matured, but has still kept the essence of childhood with him. He kept his spontaneity, his curiosity and sense of wonder. He knows how to have fun and he seeks to show his playfulness in his work. His collection of sculptures of himself is the first set that comes to mind when I think of Tony’s child-like side. He originally wanted to make toys, not so much art. His sculptures were his first attempts to make his own toys, these ones based off different versions of himself. But his creations have a serious side. He said each sculpture is a different version of himself that he projects on the world. All but one sculpture, a clear plastic one hidden behind a bust with a necklace. Tony said that this sculpture represents the part of himself he will never share with the world. He says that no person can be “100%” with anyone. There will always be something or some part of you that no one will know about; a self only you can know. A few more works were based somewhat on toys. One was a little planter that looks a bit like Tiki mask crossed with a robot with pose able arms and legs. Or the first object in the exhibit, a gumball dispensing machine with bright red and gold colors. Even the crown and armor he created could be used in play. Not all of the metal sculptures are only meant for play, though. Many of Tony’s works are based off of stories he heard in his youth or that are part of his past. The crown he tooled was based on a story of a monkey king who brought Buddhism to India. Many of his works are based off of stories. One in particular he will tell to every person who asks; the story behind the necklace of bridges. Before Tony’s birth his mother found herself in the middle of the Vietnam war. As she ran to escape the bombs falling behind her and her baby cousins on her back, she came to a bridge. It was either cross or be trapped behind enemy lines. Tony’s mother made the choice to cross the bridge and just as she reached the other side a bomb flew down and destroyed the bridge. She made her journey safely to america after, but if she had not crossed that fateful bridge, she most likely would have been killed. For Tony this story was immensely powerful, and he set to work making a piece to do it justice. His necklace consists of five bridges, the largest is for his parents and the four smaller ones are for himself and his brothers. Beneath each bridge are two footsteps made of metal that Tony said actually have the patterns from his parents’ and brothers’ toes. Tony made a bridge for each family member because he believes at each point in our lives we will be required to make a difficult decision, to cross some bridge that we don’t know is safe. Tony said he himself is crossing his bridge, working hard to make a career out of art, and he believes he is doing so successfully. If his works aren’t based off of stories, then Tony said they are meant for the audience to create their own based on what they see. The connections his works have to toys or stories help nearly all of Tony’s works bring back the forgotten experience of childhood. Tony wanted all to be reintroduced to the parts of them they once were more familiar with as a child. Their inquisitive and unassuming  natures that have been hidden as they matured. Tony stated that we are not entirely at fault for losing these traits, since it is necessary as one reaches adulthood. But the end goal of his work, is simple. To rekindle the childhood spirit we once all had. Childhood may be behind us, but the qualities we once possessed may give us more joy than we knew before.

Synthesis/ My Experience

My English teacher in high school one asked a question that, for one reason or another, I haven’t forgotten to this day. She asked us to tell her the difference between the words “childish” and “child-like”.  The denotative meaning of both is the same, to act after the manner of a child. But the connotation is different. Childishness implies the negative aspects of childhood: immaturity, stubbornness and the like. “Child-like” has a much different feeling. It conjures up the traits of a child many would like to emulate: sweetness, innocence, and curiosity.  This is what I saw in Tony’s exhibit and in Tony himself. That innate desire so many have lost. The desire to play, to have fun with the world and everything in it. I was drawn to this exhibit because I never lost that joy. I want to say I went into the biology program because of some kind of intellect or intrinsic ability. But I didn’t. I joined for one very simple, very child-like reason. I joined because I love it. Nothing really more. I’m quite good mastering the subject, I have learned, but that isn’t why I love it. I have a passion for the subject because it feeds my curiosity. There is always something new to be learned, and something amazing just waiting to be uncovered. And like Tony I want to share this feeling with others. Tony took his passion and talent with metals, and created a gallery with a hope for going into prop making, where he will be able to share his works with viewers around the world. I too want to share my joy in biology, but I hope to become a teacher. We have to mature for a reason. With maturity comes many strengths. But perhaps we can all be like the neotenous Axolotl salamander, and retain some of our childhood traits. Because it may do us well to retain some of that innocence and curiosity we once knew so well.

-Hannah Adams