Week 5- Classmate Conversations- Allison Wendell

.allisonLast week, during the plaster casting activity at Seal Beach, I met the lovely Allison Wendell. She was very easy to talk to and I wanted to get to know more about her, so this week I got to know more about Allison through our classmate conversations.

Allison Wendell is a freshman majoring in Film at California Sate Long Beach. She is from Northern California, which is something we have in common, and came to southern California for the school. She fell in love with the campus, the beach, and liked all of the opportunities for film that are located in Southern California/ Los Angeles area so she left her home in Benicia near the East Bay Area. Allison wants to pursue a career as a writer for films. She would be interesting in directing if there wasn’t so much pressure that came with it.

Allison enjoys movies, mostly comedies and science-fiction films, but also likes fantasy/adventure, and romantic comedies. When it comes to art, Allison enjoys music, painting, and architecture. When it comes to music, Allison likes soft rock, alternative, and com genres. Allison came to enjoy paintings when she visited galleries in London and France.She loves detailed and realistic pieces that incorporate nature. She especially enjoys art that includes mythology.

I loved getting to know Allison, she seems very talented and is extremely friendly.

To learn more about Allison, you can visit her site at: http://allisonwendell.com/

Week 5- Artist Conversations- CSULB Photo-Symposium

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This week at the galleries at Cal State Long Beach, I fell in love with the photograph above. Unfortunately, I could not identify the artist of this piece. My favorite part of this piece was the colors and reflectivity of the last photograph above. I loved that you could see water dropping, the sky, and the street. I find the picture beautiful, stunning even. But Even though the color is beautiful, there is an ugly truth about the piece, the fact that this beauty exists because of pollution in our environment.

Though I do not know who took this photograph, the other pictures surrounding the photograph give evidence of what the artist’s statement was.One picture shows a pillar of smoke explained as “Black Gold”. I take this title and wonder what black gold could mean. Black has a negative connotation while gold has a positive. This nasty smoke is poisoning our atmosphere while producing something profitable and important to daily life and our industrial society. It is making something good and bad. On the postcard above, it says that there are natural gas and crude oil pools (located in Texas). This makes me wonder if the oil in the water shown in the photograph is man-made or natural in origin.

The piece may be saying that good comes with the bad and we should be more aware of what we are doing to our environment with industrialization. Or it could be saying that it is natural for the good and the bad to mix, that nature also produces water with natural pollutants. Lastly, it could be showing the beauty in things that are considered ugly. It is hard to say without knowledge of the artist. But I take from this that there is beauty in everything and that good often comes with bad and our environment pays for our progress which will ultimate damage us and our Earth.

Week 5- Activity – Counterfactual Identity

IMG_20140421_112133_934.artaltidentity2.artaltidenity.artaltidentity3This week, I chose a counter-factual identity and had a lot of fun with it. Thursday morning I woke up and wasn’t sure where I was going to take my look, classy or more grunge-hipster? Last year, I attended Warped Tour and I dressed up for it in an outfit similar to the one above. I thought I’d make a play on my facial piercings: nose ring and lip ring. I have always wanted facial piercings and tattoos but somehow my style has never matched the look most people associate with tattoos and piercings. I usually dress more like the first picture above but I realized through this activity that I don’t identify with my usual “look”. The funny thing is, I felt more like myself when I dressed up to play the part of my “counter-factual” identity. I was filled with confidence, felt good about how I looked and found myself smiling more as I walked around campus with my head held high. I felt almost liberated. Maybe my personality along with my tattoos and piercings do fit into the stereotype, maybe I am not a stereotype at all but someone who enjoys feeling empowered with red bold lipstick and tight black clothing. That’s what made me feel beautiful, different than everyone else, I felt empowered because I felt like an individual, someone mysterious and unique. I felt my fun and rebellious side coming out and I loved it. I grew up so fast, got ahead in life so quickly that I had forgotten that fun, crazy, slightly wild side within me.

Maybe it was the confidence I was radiating that made people treat me different that day.

I am usually a shy person, mostly a people-watcher and generally keep to myself, scared t say anything too bold so I don;t scare people away. With my combat boots clicking on the cement I felt like I was floating on air, people were opening doors for me and I know this might sound funny-but recognizing my existence more than people usually do. I had more eyes looking my way, it was almost as if my confidence demanded a level of respect or appreciation. Maybe it was all in my head and the confidence made me notice things that normally happen, maybe I was looking for reactions.

I posted a picture of my new identity on Instagram, and I got a lot of likes, and more comments than usual which were nice and complimentary.

I found that maybe I fit this identity more than my usual persona, that everything I was emitting and everything that I said I was into (punk rock, the Ramones, tattoos, piercings, grunge music, singing, concerts, music festivals) were actually things I’ve always liked. I got a lot of compliments that day and even got asked out on a date.

I was flying out to Northern California later that day and found my new look allowed me to not be so shy, I felt good so I became more social. I made friends with the people sitting next to me, the girl complimented my makeup and boots and I found myself enjoying more conversation with all kinds of different people with different stories.

Also, I realized people noticed my facial piercings a lot more than usual. Normally, it takes people meeting me 4 to 5 times to realize I even have them. One time I got hired and was working for a whole month before my employer noticed I had a nose piercing the whole time. But Thursday, people were like “wow, I didn’t even know you had that”. Maybe it was the bold makeup or just my counter-factual style, but it definitely was not like any other day.

Week 4- Activity- Plaster Casting

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This week’s activity was plaster casting, and was probably my favorite activity so far.

On Saturday, I went to the Seal Beach Pier with a shovel, bucket, carton of plaster, and a stir stick.

At first I was the only one there and I was getting a lot of weird looks carrying a shovel to the beach. As I began to dig my whole, and older man in his 60’s came up to me asking me what I meant to do. He was being polite and when I told him I meant to plaster cast my foot he was very intrigued. He even gave me an idea to incorporate sea shells from the beach into my plaster before I poured.

I went back to digging and creating my mold. Right as I was about to make my plaster, a rogue wave came up father than any of he others and filled by mold up with water and sand. I was agitated at first but hoped my second would turn out even better. As I went to work digging a second hole, others from the Art 110 class began to show up and I met some amazing people I hadn’t met in the class before. I helped them -Allison Wendell, Antonio Lavermon, and Devante Lindsey- by letting them borrow my shovel and by helping them create their molds. Devante and Allison were from northern California like me and we found it funny that we were happy with the weather and the temperature of the water while others were seeking jackets. They were a lovely group of people and made me laugh, it was nice meeting some new people. Hopefully I can do my classmate conversations with them in the future and learn more about them.

When it came time to remove our molds I was astonished to see that mine came out almost perfectly, with my toes prominently displayed. Antonio didn’t have the best luck with his foot, but Allison’s and Devante’s hand came out beautifully. It was a fun project at the beach, but what made it my favorite activity was definitely the people I met that day.

Week 4- Artist Conversation- Maccabee Shelley

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This week at the galleries was definitely my favorite. Mostly because of Maccabee Shelley’s glass-work sculpture pieces.

They intrigued me because of the mix of colors and different shapes. A lot of the glass initially looked like crystals or precious gems excavated from the Earth. Every piece looked so delicate, but also fierce with it’s jagged edges. I noticed pretty quickly that none of his pieces had titles but was interested in all of them and wondered what he was trying to convey. I loved the blue piece above mostly because of it’s beautiful coloring and also because it looked like a mineral that was dug up from the ground.

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The piece above puzzled me because I couldn’t understand it’s purpose or place it into a category, my imagination was coming up short. So I went to talk to Maccabee Shelley to find out his inspiration behind the pieces and why he did not put titles on his works. What I found was pleasing. Shelley informed me the the glass medium in itself is what inspired him to create these sculptures. He, like myself, finds glass fascinating to look at yet dangerous. It is fragile, but can endure lifetimes. He collects the glass from recycling centers to renew the glass, to use it differently than we do every day. He aims to take the ordinary and make it into something foreign, so that we question what it is.

The piece below was my favorite and when I looked at it, it reminded me of an underwater reef with corals and anemones but I wasn’t sure if that was what I was supposed to see. When I asked why he didn’t have titles to go with the works he stated that he didn’t want to put a statement on it so it only belong to one category, to one world. Shelley wants people to look at his work and imagine a world where it would exist, to create our own story and our own interpretation. He believes that once you have categorized an object, that you loose interest in further exploring that object. I had never though of that before, but I found that I agreed. I might have not put as much thought into his work if I had a title to tell me what it was.

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The process of each piece, each tower like in the picture above can take up to a week of intense work. The sculpture above could have taken between 2-3 months. First he collects the material from recycling centers, then he creates molds to shape the glass. Next, he melts the glass around he mold in layers, creating different colors. Lastly, he removes them from the mold and sometimes uses vinyl or enamel paint to add even more colors to the opaque glass. I really admire the process and his dedication to creating something uniquely beautiful.

You can learn more about Maccabee Shelley at:

http://maccabeeshelley.com/

Week 4- Classmate Conversation- Anthony Diaz

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This week I met the very nice Anthony Diaz.

He is currently a Junior at Cal State Long Beach and studies Computer Science, though he is considering taking on a career in the music industry. He has been looking into LA Recording School so he may learn more about pursuing a career in the recording studio. Anthony originally decided to go into Computer Science because he is good with computers, especially when it comes to coding and the patience needed to work with computers.He is considering changing career paths because of his love of music and distaste for a desk job like he would have when working with computers. Part of this comes from his dislike of repetition and routines, Anthony seems to be a bit of a free spirit so I agree with his choice to switch directions.

Regarding art, Anthony’s favorite form of art is music. He had 17,000-18,000 songs on his Ipod and loves going to music shows/festivals. His favorite genre is psychedelic music, his least favorite is country, and his favorite group overall is Pink Floyd. I haven’t ever met anyone into psychedelic music, but I have to say I always enjoyed the psychedelic undertones in The Beetles’ music. He has been to Coachella and FYF, though he prefers music that isn’t mainstream. A majority of the music he listens to comes from surfing the internet.

Another medium of art Anthony enjoys is drawing, he does many sketches like the one below. He enjoys making detailed and intricate drawings with patterns in the background to give the illusion of texture. He showed me a few of his drawings, and I think he definitely has a talent for it, plus I appreciate the originality of his pieces. If you pay attention to the line-work and the patterns he uses, you can see he has a psychedelic flare, that could be inspired by the music he listens to.

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To learn more about Anthony Diaz, you can visit his site at:

http://diazzzzzz.wordpress.com/

Week 3- Artist Conversations- Christopher Vavrek

Christopher Vavrek is an artist who makes sculpture installations by using mixed media and performance based elements. He uses materials that are usually discarded like outdated technology, electronic waste, and old media. He uses these pieces to create a landscape that responds to the mass technological era. That in this search for new technologies and rapid turnover, we are creating many useless entities that are left unwanted and are not easily disposed of.

Christopher identifies with the unwanted materials and shows us that we are part of this obsessive technological condition. We want the new-est and best technology there is, hungry fro more and never satisfied, creating junk.  His purpose is to give us messages like these through his work and to give life back to these purposeless technologies.

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His “Server to Protect the Virus I” was very appealing to me, and I understood his message almost instantly with old drivers and large computers scattered across the floor. Broken wires strewn along the ground and old vhs videos stacked above my head, I thought “This is what the end of our society will look like”. His work evoked a kind of terror in me; I realized the further we go technologically wise, the more we create this wasteland. How will we recycle all this metal and hard plastic? Instead of an apocalypse brought from outside our control, will we be our own demise? Searching for the next big thing without searching for ways to conserve is not a way to live, it’s a way to make our planet and environment inhabitable.