This 9th week’s artist interview was one that was equally captivating as the ones before. The artist was Michael Rollins with his very own exhibit called New Digs. Michael’s work deals with oil on canvas that show intricate patterns or soft swirls that seem to flow straight out of a dream. It is very colorful and a lot seem to be going on in each painting yet there seems to be some sort of order amidst the chaos. Looking at the paintings, I feel like each part is exactly where it needs to be and fit in really well. I later found out that each painting that was on display usually takes a month to complete. That was impressing to me and I thought about how much time, effort, and devotion goes into each piece. Furthermore, Michael often undertakes two or three paintings simultaneously. It was hard for me to imagine how such a thing could be possible. Wouldn’t you forget where you left off when dealing with multiple works? When asked, Michael stated that he is able to switch his train of thought across the multiple ongoing works. It’s also beneficial as he can borrow or carry over ideas from one to another.
Currently, Michael tries to focus on one art work at a time to avoid “mistakes”. I put quotes around mistakes because I did not fully understand what he meant. He could easily make multiple mistakes on his works and I would not notice because of how intricately everything seems to blend together in a seamless manner. So there really is some sort of order or plan to his pieces? Besides, I have always believed that art is one’s expression so mistakes are irrelevant. How can you say someone’s expression is a mistake? Simply let art take you where it wants to go. Michael stated that art is like “problem solving” because of how you overcome all the obstacles and how you organize your works. He also brought up a very interesting point of how painting theoretically shouldn’t be here anymore because of the prevalence of modern technology such as photography. The fact that this hobby called painting still exists must mean that it still holds some value. Perhaps it could be a way of preserving our ancient tradition of expression through drawing it out ourselves instead of letting a camera shutter snap and instantly do all our work. Regarding his work, Michael tries to express without trying to express and simply feels his way through it.
For this week’s classmate interview, I interviewed Hayden Leach. I was pleased to find that he is from Irvine which is quite nearby and is a place I am familiar with. It is always nice to find someone from an area close by. Hayden went to Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach. He and his family moved there from Irvine before he attended high school so that he could pursue his sport of water polo. It was very interesting to me to find someone who enjoys partaking in water polo, a sport I do not hear a lot about of. It felt very special to talk to someone with such a unique hobby such as water polo. Hayden has played water polo here in CSULB but quit after three concussions in sophomore year alone. He is currently an American Studies major in his junior year credit-wise but is actually a fourth year because he took a year off from school due to all the concussions he received.
Hayden’s hobbies were as unique as him. He enjoys to skateboard just like me but additionally, he also likes to bodyboard (which I later found out from him was a type of surfing) and tie-dye almost anything ranging from clothing to bedsheets and even tapestry. I was very interested to find out what his aspirations were because he seemed like a person who knew very well what he wanted in life but was surprised to find that he doesn’t know what he was going to do. He stated that he didn’t “want a timeline in his life” and I thought that was an awesome thought. A life of spontaneity would seem endlessly interesting. Though Hayden stated that he has no idea what he will do in life, he knows that he will enjoy it. However, he adamantly stated that he will eventually be a teacher at some point in his life. I was relieved that he at least had a goal for himself later on. Hayden has always liked to draw but never thought he was good at it. He has gotten more into it since college started due to some influence from friends. Lastly, he took this art class because he needed credits but still thinks the class is fun. Hayden likes how the class allows us to meet new people and enjoys the non-lecture style.
For my eighth week’s artist interview for art class, I walked into the Gatov West Gallery and saw a familiar face. This was because the artist there was Maccabee Shelley who returned to the galleries for what seems to be a second time to exhibit his different works. He was very familiar because he was who I interviewed for my very first artist interview back in the second week of this class. I remember he previously exhibited his works with glass. However this time, he returned with something completely new but just as interesting. He was in the middle of trying to make a functional electric drum pad out of a slab of cardboard amidst a messy desk full of wires, cables, tools, a fan, and electrical equipment as shown in the picture above. A second yet different project he was simultaneously showing was geomancy, which is a method of interpreting markings or patterns. I did not know what geomancy was at the time and I had to search it up in order to know what was going on.
To try to explain all of this madness, the interesting red box that is interactive with a red button in the foreground of the picture on top seemed to be the geomancy exhibit. According to Shelley, it possesses the ability to “tell the future” when someone places their finger on the metallic pads on top. Apparently, this is made possible by the typewriter on the side that has been transformed to become a makeshift magnetic field generator to power the box and electric drum pad. This generator is in turn powered by a tank of liquid nitrogen sitting by the base of the table. The magnetic field that is generated is transmitted to the box that interacts with the touch of a finger that gives off a unique response. Shelley also has a hammer with the handle coated in silicon by his side which he uses to bang against the typewriter when needed to adjust the magnetic field. There was so much technical stuff that I wasn’t able to fully comprehend. It was interesting nonetheless. I’m not even sure if this can be considered art but I guess he can have his own category called “electronic art”. Shelley states that art is an expression and a language that we all chose how to interpret. In this way, it breaks barriers and brings all of us together. This is yet another example to me of how far the boundaries of art can be pushed.
I interviewed my fellow classmate Matt Cruz for my eighth week’s classmate interview in art class. He was born and raised in San Francisco prior to moving down here to LA to attend Cal State Long Beach. It was quite unexpected when he told me that he is currently in his senior year of his civil engineering major because I thought he was younger than that. Aside from academic details, his hobbies are quite similar to mine as he enjoys working out and hanging out with friends. Additionally, he enjoys playing video games such as World of Warcraft which is another aspect I found similar between us, except I like to play League of Legends. It’s always nice to find someone who I can relate to and in this case, it was our mutual interest in video games.
There seemed to be a lot about Matt that I did not expect. When asked about his future career plans, he cleverly stated that he “just wants to make some money”. He does have professional experience in construction management because he was involved in a couple of projects by providing oversight a couple years back. This seemed very intimidating to me because of how intricate managing construction projects sounded to me and that he has legitimate experience in that area. Regarding exposure to art, Matt has drawn and doodled a lot when he was young so art does not seem to be a stranger to him. Not surprisingly, he has played lots of video games when he was young as well so he felt that it was a big influence on him and his thoughts towards visual arts. Matt also stated that “architecture is sexy” and likes straight lines which I can draw a connection to earlier regarding his experience in construction. Lastly, this art class is a requirement for him before he can graduate but enjoys this class due to how unorthodox it is and all the talking involved instead of the traditional lecture setting.
This week’s activity for my art class requires the use of a very modern form of art – photography. But this isn’t just any photo, it has to be one of me portraying some sort of imaginative death for myself. In this way, I leave behind my corpse as part of the landscape where the parameters of the photo show. Fortunately, my friends and I took a trip up to Big Bear over the weekend so I decided to take advantage and take a photo of myself on a landscape new and unique to Los Angeles residents – snow – instead of any other boring old landscape I see everyday. I got to mess around and play in snow but I would never have guessed I would face my end on it as well.
This photo was a very fun and interesting experience. I normally do not like to lie on and cover my clothing in snow but I made an exception for this activity. Additionally, I must give credit to my friend Raymond for helping me out and taking the picture. Aside from that, I can easily justify why I would prefer setting my death scene on a landscape such as snow over any other landscape. I have always imagined my life to be different than those of others. At least, I hope my life will be an extraordinary one and not one that will turn out to be average and conform to others. That is why I thought snow would be the perfect setting. Even in death, I wish to be in a different and rare circumstance that separates me from others, or at least the majority. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the activity.
For this week’s artist, I experienced something that is a very different and radical use of art yet conveys a heartwarming feel. To begin, the work of this artist is not something I personally consider “traditional art” like previously such as drawings, paintings, etc. – it is of photography. The artist, Juliette Angulo, deals with photos that she personally took herself of her sister in the U.S. Air Force over a two year span. This ranges from the time her sister was back in basic training to her recent departure last November to a nine-month deployment to Kuwait. I suddenly felt how distinctive her works are from previous exhibits as her works deal with real life photos instead of abstract and representational paintings. To me, there was no more interpretation or thinking, these photos get straight to the point and show it as it is. For Juliette’s work to also be considered art intrigued me immensely. However, it didn’t stop there.
Juliette’s work is a connection to her sister that makes it very personal to her. Her sister works on the infamous Apache attack helicopters, which I couldn’t help but start thinking how cool she was after I heard it. Additionally, the photos were placed and arranged in a chronological order of the pictures taken of the events that happened around the room. I feel like that was a nicely executed idea because it clearly presents the feel of a coherent timeline of the events taken place to the viewers. But without a doubt the most distinctive feature of her photos are that though all of them shown are of her sister, she never actually appears on the photos. This is because of an ingenious idea where only her sister is cut out of each and every photo shown leaving a blank space showing the wall instead of where her sister should be appearing. Juliette did this to creatively and cleverly represent and express her sister’s absence from home for long periods of time in real life due to her military service. That was truly something I have never experienced before.
I had the pleasure of interviewing an international student named Jeremy Lai this week. I have never done such a thing and it felt incredible to hear about what he had to say about his culture half a world away. Jeremy is from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I discovered that he came to the U.S. back in August of last year for the first time to begin attending Cal State Long Beach. Jeremy is a pre-film major because he aspires to make movies and documentaries as his career. He made it very clear how passionate he was of film and photography without even having to tell me too much about it. His enthusiastic body language when talking about the topic said it all, including the way he cradled his camera that I can safely guess never leaves his side. Seeing such a person with a firm passion never fails to inspire me to do what I love to do as well. Aside from taking pictures and recording videos, he also loved to write stories. But as Jeremy so eloquently stated, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
When young, Jeremy started out as a photographer first. He was greatly inspired by his dad to capture the world in images rather than words alone when he handed Jeremy his first camera. From then on, Jeremy found work as an apprentice at a photo studio for a couple of years which greatly honed his skills. His progression into his passion was gradual but meaningful. He makes me wish I had such a passion that I was so dedicated to. However, Jeremy enjoys playing video games as well. Regarding the class, Jeremy took the class because of a requirement but thinks it is fun and different and enjoys the time spent. Jeremy is a third year.