IMG_1673During this last week of Artist Conversations, I had the pleasure to interview Makaila Palmer about her artwork. In the Gatov Gallery, she had a total of three paintings in her show to represent the stages of her life as a child transforming into ending her college career.  She considers her style of artwork as psychological landscapes using oil on canvas.  All of her pieces contains a figure within the painting and it is on a path of figuring out who you are.  Makaila uses high contrasting colors to represent the moods and feelings associated with that stage in life.  She quotes, “There’s a path but you don’t know what you’re going to do yet.”  This is articulated through her works displayed at the Gatov Gallery.  On display, she had her Dusk, Day, and Dawn pieces; however, her midnight piece is still in the works.  Her inspiration for this kind of art came about through her study abroad program in Florence where she studied Michaelangelo.  She tried to emulate him by mixing landscapes with a figure.  Beginning this showcase, she did not know if this was the direction she wanted to head in, however a professor gave her the motivation and confidence to translate her feelings into these pieces of art.

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Throughout my conversation with Makaila, I couldn’t help but sympathize with her in her college career journey.  She admitted that graduating did take a little longer than expected but she finally made it.  It’s not just about the journey to the end, but the all of the things in-between that you learn and see throughout the process.  It’s all of the careful choices one makes in life to help guide you to your finish line.  By examining her life, she can realize that at one point, she had no clue where her life was going, but then with hard work, she was able to conquer it and finish her BFA.

I can sympathize with Makaila here because my own journey through school has been atypical to say the least.  I first went to UNM in 2006 as a pre pharmacy major.  I took all of my pre requisite classes but did not do as well as needed to so I then changed majors to nursing.  That didn’t work out either so I took a break from school to work.  Knowing that I needed to eventually finish school no matter what, I then re-enrolled in school and this is my final week of my undergraduate career.  The journey has been bumpy and atypical, but I persevered and made it.  Relating to Makaila, her journey in her college career took a little longer than expected, however she learned valuable lessons along the way that has allowed her to reach her end goal and enjoy.

You can reach Makaila Palmer through her website or email at makailap10@gmail.com.

Wk 14 – Classmate Conversation – Tony Nguyen &

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During the last week of Classmate conversations, I met up with a previous classmate that I had met during the semester, Tony Nguyen.  Together we met Luis Rangel and we interviewed him to get to know him.  He is a Freshman majoring in business.  He just recently changed his mind from being a communications major.  10 years from today, he would like to work in the marketing field to advertise and have something of his be on a billboard.  He likes to listen to alternative music and some of his favorite bands are the Killers and The Arctic Monkeys.  While growing up, he liked to read the goosebumps series of books.  If he had 3 wishes to be granted, he wants to have unlimited Korean Barbecue, gas, and Internet on his phone.  He also likes to watch the Walking Dead like myself.  We asked him what art has made the biggest impact in his life and he said it was Kiyomi Fukui.  She was the artist that drank tea and made an impression on the paper covering the table, which represented an imprint of the interaction.  He feels like this  has impacted his life by taking this class.

Wk 10 – Artist Conversation – Angel Franco

IMG_1520During week 10, the artwork of Angel Franco depicted a real life struggle that is happening everyday and it is tearing humanity apart.  Upon entering the Dutzi art gallery at CSULB, a full sized wall resembling a jail cell was the first thing that caught my eye.  Within the confines of the jail bars, lay clay fists, bullets, and toys, with a large clay model of a little girl.  There was also a projected connected to a laptop playing a video on a loop.  The video cycled through instances where police brutality was caught on film.  The purpose of the film was to show the social injustice for the 43 students that were arrested in Mexico while protesting.  These students were handed off to the drug cartel and have not been heard from since.  The bars in this exhibit represent the struggle that people face trying to get equality and not being heard.  The bullets represent the bloodshed and the toys represented the childhood that the kids have not had the chance to live.

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Through talking with Angel, I get the feeling that this is a topic that truly resonates deeply with him.  He shared to me that he lives in Compton California , and has been profiled when driving home.  He lives in a gated community and has been stopped by the police to ask what he was doing and where he was going.  Things like this make it this issue of power more troublesome.  Mr. Franco does not feel that all cops are bad, but just the ones that abuse the power and there should be more awareness brought to the fact that this is an issue and people should be more loving towards one another.

The topic of police brutality on the minority is one that interests me greatly.  These videos showing the brutal murders of unarmed individuals show a total lack of control of individuals with power.  There really needs to be something done about the abuse of power from authority that we trust to protect us.  I am so glad that Angel had the opportunity to voice his opinion and share his views regarding this subject.  This abuse of power is something that is ruining the childhood of many kids and creates an environment where people may be scared to live.  Harsher punishments and consequences need to be handed down to the guilty.

Currently, Angel does not have any website to link to.

Wk 9 – Artist Conversation – Maccabee Shelley

IMG_1510 IMG_1509 IMG_1507In week 9 of the Fall 2015 semester, Professor Glenn invited one of his previous students and artist currently featured at the Gatov West Gallery at CSULB.  His name is Maccabee Shelley and he was given the microphone and the floor to speak to us students.  He urged us to follow our passion because pure talent can only take us so far, and one day, talent alone isn’t going to motivate us to be great.  Passion is something that will continue to drive us moving forward.  On Thursday afternoon, I had the pleasure to meet with Maccabee on a 1 on 1 basis to ask him about his artwork and to view inside the mind of the artist.  His art has smooth texture with contrasting colors.  A lot of his art uses materials that are found and free.  A lot of bottles of glass, cones, suitcases, books. With this raw material, he combines them together to create a new identity for the material.  Some materials, he chose to stack them together to form the base, and others, he melted together to create a new object.  Mac was an environmental science major who decided to switch to art but still use the knowledge gained from his science background to further his art.

Through talking with the artist, he has articulated the ideas of understanding the  different things that can happen when combining two objects.  When starting, he does not have an idea what will happened, so therefore, doesn’t get disappointed with the results if it didn’t go the way he wanted it to.  Instead, everything is an opportunity to learn and observe how it made him feel.  The next time he wants to recreate that same feeling, then he knows exactly how to do so.  This is him documenting what happened and his process on how he creates his art.  Using his mistakes and turning them into his art is a way to always learn and progress.  Another take on his art is to show ordinary things to people in and unordinary way.

After talking to Mac, it made me realize the fragile nature of the objects in the world.  A small change in the physical properties of the object has the ability to change the whole make up.  And by trying and trying again, you learn from your mistakes and learn from every action you do.  Instead of being disappointed in your failures, you should learn from it and turn it into something positive instead of thinking of it as a failure.  This resonates an important message in life because when people get frustrated and quit, then they have closed a door to an opportunity to learn and progress through whatever task was at hand.  Thanks Mac for putting this into an easy to understand perspective.

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Wk 9 – Classmate Conversation – Zeida Gonzalez

IMG_1509While in the Gatov West gallery, I met Zeida Gonzales while admiring the artwork of Maccabee Shelley.  She is a 3rd year film major living in Whittier and the oldest of 6 siblings.  When I asked her about her tastes in art, she told me she likes the creepy and eerie vibe.  She mentioned some of the artists of previous weeks that she was interested in because they gave her that feeling.  One was last week, the artist that had skulls and skeleton bones as drawings.  I noticed that she had teal hair so I asked her what it meant to her and she told me it was just something she wants to do, and eventually going to magenta hair.  However, it’s hard for her to achieve that because of life events that she has to change her hair back to a normal color.  A funny coincidence was that Zeida had matching hair with our professor Glenn that day. LOL

Wk 8 – Mobile Public Art: Somebody

This week I downloaded and tried the Somebody app.  I signed up by making an account through Facebook and as I understand, this app is supposed to allow users to send messages to their friends through other people delivering the messages.  So I would write a message to my friend, but a person nearby would record the message and deliver it to my friend.  This is a very cool concept and I would like to give it a try.  I was not able to get this app to work.  When I try to insert emails to add classmates as friends, it sent them an invite email to use the app, however that’s the furthest I got.  I was not able to send any messages.  I feel that this application definitely has a lot of bugs left to fix before it becomes mainstream.  I know the general public would not be very happy to download an app that doesn’t work.  Hopefully this app gets the bugs worked out because it has the potential to be a very fun and unique way of communicating.

Wk 8 – Artist Conversation – Alice Andreini

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Here is Alice Andreini and she could be reached through her website here. Her artwork was on display in the Gatov West Gallery at CSULB.  Her pieces of art are paintings using oil on canvas.  She uses contrasting colors to bring out different symbols within her paintings.  The image she brings to life is a zoomed a zoomed in aspect of a garden.  Within the garden lies plastic army meyn toys scattered throughout the painting.

I asked Alice what her paintings represent and she said she chose the garden to represent a conversation with space.  In her words, she wanted the “code and recode peaked space.”  The army men represent an opposing force to the garden.  I understood this to be a sacred area protected by the army.  Not all people get to experience the beautiful garden because in order to achieve the beauty of the garden, one must maintain and protect it.  In order to have a garden, it needs to be in a safe condition and can represent the progression of history.  One would not find a garden in the middle of a war stricken country.

From speaking with Alice, I feel that the relationship between nature and people have a unique bond.  A garden needs to be tended to and nurtured in order for it to grow.  This is just like a newborn baby, because it needs a mother to take care of it until it is big enough to sustain on it’s own.  And as humans go through life, we have to continue and tend to the garden if we want to be beautiful and as we grow older, gardening becomes a lot of people’s hobby.  A person is born and dies in the garden.

Wk 7 – Artist Conversation – Angela Nicole Drew

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During this weeks trip to the CSULB student art galleries, I had the honor of meeting a young artist by the name of Angela Nicole Drew.  She is a senior about to graduate and had a gallery titled “Layers” up for display.  I’ve posted a few pictures of her work to give an example.  Her pieces are made up of six different types of clay, each having a different color to represent the layers in the Grand Canyon.  These layers of rock sit on top of a wooden pedestal made from cypress wood, the type of wood believed to have made The Ark from the flood story in the bible.  The clay had a rouch surface, and had a lot of similarities to real rock.  Ms. Drew did a wonderful job of recreating the Grand Canyon as a miniature model.  Inside the sculptures, is a light illuminating representing God’s hands creating the Canyon.  Her inspiration in creating these pieces was to recreate the story of how the Grand Canyon was formed.  Scientists have studied rock formations for years but can never agree on one single explanation for how the canyon was formed.  Angela believes the Canyons were formed from the “Great Flood.”  Which is a biblical story that explained how God had a hand in making the Canyons.

Angela has been working with the ideas of Christianity for the last two years.  She feels that through her art, she can be more in touch with her beliefs and religion.  From talking to Angela, I get a sense of motivation to get more in-touch with my own religion.  I feel that many people don’t explore their religion or express it because they don’t know how to.  However using art as a medium, it can make it a lot more easier and fun at the same time.  Because of her Christianity and artsy nature, Angela is planning to join the peace corp after college and traveling to help children from different nations.  And in doing so, she wants to continue making ceramics in a more functional way, meaning making things that she can  use in everyday life.

Angela’s art work is very simple to interpret from the title because it is obvious that there are layers in her pieces.  But without speaking to her and hearing her explain the deep meaning behind the art, one wouldn’t be able to appreciate how personal and powerful her message is.  This is one of the artists that have allowed me to dare myself to explore my religion.  There is no right or wrong way to do it so I should give it a shot.  It is very cool to see an idea of the creation of the earth be brought to life using art.

Wk 6 – Artist Conversation – Sery Kwon

IMG_1458In this weeks artist conversation, Sery Kwon caught my attention with her abstract paintings in the Gatov-East Gallery.  The paintings had many lines and colors spreaded throughout.  I originally thought of some sort of map when trying to analyze her work. She had 4 pieces of artwork on the wall, all on canvas prints.  One of her pieces had paper like material that was within the painting itself.  Her Gallery was titled “Site Lines,” which is a play on words for the meaning behind her art.  After talking to her about her displayed art, she explained that they are maps from various locations from an aerial view.  The colors within the map each represent different aspects of the map such as the traffic, the metro lines, and her routes while traveling the set location.  She uses pastels on canvas, but not with the typical brush.  She lays her canvas flat on the floor and drips the paint over to create her lines and color.

Hearing Sery explain her art, it allowed me to look into her personality.  One painting was a map of Dublin where she explained to me that the red lines was the route she took all over the city when she got lost on the metro, while the green lines was the route that she took to get back home.  This was such an adventure that she recreated the map through her artwork to create another memory.  One of her favorite paintings is one that she actually messed up.  She then turned that painting into a roadmap of her mind.  By talking to Sery, I can understand her love for traveling.  She has traveled to various places around the world and loves to document it through her artwork.  Here is Sery posing in front of my favorite piece of work, her map of LA: IMG_1457

Sery’s art definitely makes me want to travel more.  Hearing about her adventures in Dublin and Seoul how it inspired so much is a great motivator for me to travel myself.  Recreating a map of a location that has so many memories will be forever documented in the piece of art.  Makes me feel that the trip is still living on again in another form, the canvas on the wall.  I have always wanted to travel the world and Sery introduced me to a unique method of capturing memories. Please visit and support Sery through her website and instagram

Week 4 – Artist Conversation

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I had the pleasure to meet with artist Jamie Strassenburg’s “Inuit Mythos,” located in the Merlino art gallery at CSULB.  She is a unique artist using photoshop to express her artistic beliefs.  Jamie was inspired to do this type of art from a Native American Art History class at Long Beach State.  Due to her interests in anthropology and fantasy, she is able to articulate legend tales through her drawings.  By utilizing photoshop and this drawing tool:IMG_1369

Her drawings have amazing contrast in colors and extreme detail.  After composing her drawings using this tool, she then prints them on photopaper and enlarges them to show off her masterpieces. Here is an example of some of her works:

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The previous three pieces are all interconnected together in a story about the sun and the moon and the tale of why the sun is brighter than the moon.  In the first of the 3, she is known as the Sun Sister, who is carrying the sun across the sky.  The original tale shows the second character, her brother Annigan, raping his sister.  Because of the dark, she was not able to see her attacker, but when she grabbed a nearby candle, she realized it was her brother and began running.  This story is further shown in the 3rd piece.  It shows Malina, the Sun Sister running with the candle, also representing the sun moving across the sky.

From talking to Jamie, she is a creative artist wanting recreate stories with pictures to tell mythical tales of the Inuit Indian tribe.  Because of her amazing artistic skills, she can use this to help launch her way into creating video game art.  By being able to create these images from a story, is an essential skill to have in creating video game characters.

I believe Jamie’s art is very unique because of the medium that she chooses to articulate it with.  The artist has many ideas that she wants to share with others.  I am impressed that a course offered at CSULB could inspire her to do so much  with her art career.  Seeing her use photoshop in this way is impressive because I have dabbled with photoshop in the past and it is a difficult program to master.  Even though I have taken a photoshop course in the past, the level of skill needed to create these pieces of art cannot be taught in any class.

Please visit Jamie Strassenburg’s website