Week 12- Activity- Teach One (Origami)

The art concept I would like to teach you today is Origami, which is a traditional art form in Japan. Many people know what origami is, but they don’t really understand how it started, that there are different mediums, and that there are different techniques to origami. The word origami comes from ori meaning “folding”, and kami meaning “paper”, and is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. Origami started in the 17th century AD during the Edo era and was popularized outside of Japan in the mid-1900s.

There is evidence that the art form of origami originated in China for funerals. In Japan, the earliest reference to origami is in a short poem by Ihara Saikaku in 1680, which described paper butterflies in a dream. Origami butterflies were used during the celebration of Shinto weddings to represent the bride and groom, so paperfolding became a significant part of the Japanese ceremonies by the Heian period (794–1185).

The number of basic origami folds is small, but they can be combined in a variety of ways to make more intricate designs. Basic folds include valley and mountain folds, pleats, reverse folds, squash folds, and sinks. The best known origami sculpture is probably the Japanese paper crane. Usually, these designs begin with a square sheet of paper and can be different colors or prints. Normal copy paper is used for simple folds, such as the crane and waterbomb. Heavier weight papers can be wet-folded. This not-well-known technique allows for rounded sculpting of the model, which becomes rigid and sturdy when it is dry, which I found interesting. My favorite origami medium is foil-backed paper, as its name implies, is a sheet of thin foil glued to a sheet of thin paper. There is also hand-made tissue foil, which is made by gluing a thin piece of tissue paper to kitchen aluminium foil. Both types of foil materials are suitable for complex models. In Japan, Washi is the traditional origami paper used. Washi is tougher than ordinary paper and is made from wood pulp,but can also be made using bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat.

There are many different types of origami practiced.

Action origami: Action origami includes origami that flies, or uses the movement of a person’s hands, applied at a certain part on the model, to move another flap or limb.

Modular origami: Modular origami consists of putting a number of identical pieces together to form a complex model. Usually, the individual pieces are simple but the final assembly may be tricky.

Wet-folding: Wet-folding is an origami technique for making models with gentle curves rather than geometric straight folds and flat surfaces. Also, it can be used to produce natural looking animal models.

Pureland origami: Pureland origami is origami with the restriction that only one fold is done at a time. More complex folds like reverse folds are not allowed.

I chose to teach about origami this week because I went to a seminar on Tuesday that talked about Japanese culture and art. Their culture fascinates me and I thought it was funny that this art form is pretty mainstream yet there is so much people do not know about it. Thank you!


Week 11- Activity- Student Choice (Gouache Painting)

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This week, I experimented more with my new-found favorite medium, gouache!

Actually,I started using gouache after being inspired by this class. I wanted to make the piece for this week extra-special so I worked with some charcoal and colored pencil as well. The pictures above show the progression of the painting. All in all, it took me about seven hours to complete, mostly because of the fine lines and detail. I have done a few cherry blossom paintings before and my boyfriend wanted me to make him one. This activity finally gave me the motivation to do it. He asked me to do black and white cherry blossoms with doodles in the background. He recently started a second job as a sushi chef, so I thought I’d make my painting Asian-inspired. I decided to use red as an accent color to make the whole picture “pop”.

First, I used red color pencil to draw an outline of the Mandarin writing and the cherry blossom branch. The three characters at the bottom say “I love you”, the two above that are “perseverance”  because relationships take a lot of overcoming obstacles. I drew a yin and yang because he is the light to balance me out. On the right side from the top, the characters represent our Chinese zodiac signs, saying “Dog + Pig” because he is the year of the dog and I am the year of the boar. Plus, I thought it was kind of funny. The characters below that say “Together Forever” and the one below that is “lust”. I already knew I wanted to incorporate a lotus flower so I placed that around the lust because lotus flowers often symbolize fertility. After I outlined all of this in pencil, I painted with gouache and filled in the lotus flower with charcoal to give it a different texture and more dimension.

After all this, it didn’t feel complete, I needed more to the back ground. I then searched “Chinese paintings” on google and found that many had two birds. I wanted my birds to be in flight and moving in a circular pattern around each other to resemble “Infinity”. I had them circle the forever characters to give it an “always and forever” meaning, explaining the infinity sign I later added in. I painted the birds in gouache as well. I then decided I loved the look of the charcoal and wanted more of that. I thought the picture looked to feminine for my boyfriend and decided “What’s more masculine and Chinese than a dragon?” I outlined the dragon in gouache and filled him in with the charcoal to give him synthetic scales. Then I added a few doodles to compliment the scheme in gouache and viola!

I had a lot of fun with this painting and will be experimenting more with gouache in the future.

Week 11- Artist Conversation- Romina Del Castillo

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This week I fell in love with multiple works of Romina Del Castillo. Romina is a drawing and painting major at CSULB. She explorers the human condition, her sensations, and the relationship between her as the artist and her live models that she depicts in her works. Romina tries to reach out to a range of people with her art, hoping to make them slow down and identify with what she has created, trying to harness and portray the human experience. Many of the works above, especially the first and last are experiments of hers. I call the last piece above “Inception” because the first piece I’ve put above is also pictured inside of her last piece. Romina experimented with herself as the model in the first piece, as the saint holding the child. Romina was inspired by this saint after learning about her after a trip to Peru. The last “Inception” piece is a portrait of her drawing the first piece. Yes it is confusing, but it is also brilliant.

The second piece was an experimental and playful piece for Romina. The playfulness can be seen in the colors of the blanket. Romina wanted to show a type of pleasure that comes with being young. I think this girl’s style and pose shows that she is ready to take on the world in confidence. That she is young and fun and ready to experience all the moments of life that are worth living. I identify most with this piece.

The third portrait was my favorite. The woman in the piece is a friend of Romina’s. Romina wanted to showcase her beauty and extend her unique hair. She had her live model pose in the pose of Venus, a goddess known for her beauty. She is the modern venus. I loved this, it shows, for me, that everyone is beautiful. This woman is exposed and usually that would mean vulnerable, but to me she  reflects power and strength and the love that she has for herself. It is a very raw drawing for me, many emotions, especially because I am a woman, are evoked. We shouldn’t want to hide our beauty and our body, we should embrace it.

Week 11- Classmate Conversations- Anna Floresca


Thiss week I met the very sweet, Anna Floresca. Anna is a freshman at CSULB pursuing a pre-nursing major. To her, nursing majors are sort of taboo because of the competitive nature of the medical field and all of its uncertainty. Despite the obstacles facing her, Anna continues to work toward her goal because of her desire to help others. This is inspiring, we need more people like Anna that are willing to sacrifice for the the well being of our society. Anna started with a similar dream at a young age, fantasizing about becoming a pediatrician and helping kids. Though she still adores children, she’s widened her scope in the medical field.

Anna is full Filipino and was born in the Philippines with her mother, father, and two siblings. In 2006, Anna and her family relocated to America and settled in Chicago. In 2009, they moved again to Long Beach, California where they currently reside. Anna had a dream for a while to move back to Chicago, but isn’t quite sure anymore. I think moving from such long distances has given Anna a love for traveling. She has gone to Mexico on a carnival cruise to Catalina and Baja, and has gone back to visit the Philippines back in summer of 2013. Though she grew up there, she didn’t enjoy the trip much because of the monsoon weather and the crowded city filled with pollution. However, Anna found the Philippine countryside to be beautifully simple and fresh.

For fun, Anna likes to read, especially mystery stories. Anna started young with Goosebumps and worked her way up to reading all 13 of the Series of Unfortunate Events. Besides reading, Anna likes to write. She writes a diary, poems, hiakus, and does doodles. Anna also creates Zines which are self-published works/magazines that she uses to pass on smiles an good vibes. Anna gave me her third edition and I found it to be very cute, it worked to put a smile on my face!

I really enjoyed meeting Anna, if you would like to learn more about her, you can visit her website at:ajfloresca.wordpress.com

Week 10- Artist Conversation- Jessica Bardales

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This week I was able to talk to Jessica Bardales, a Fine Arts major at Cal State Long Beach. Jessica is in the photography program, and it is easy to see why: her talent for capturing the human experience. Jessica is very interested in the power dynamic between the photographer and the person being photographed. She works to break that barrier, so that the person in the photo does not feel vulnerable to the photographer, but open so that she may capture the true human nature. This piece titled “Youth: Portraits of Identity and Expression”, was probably my favorite piece so far in the galleries. I think this is because I could relate to the people in the photos, especially the girl with the blue hair. Jessica state that she wanted to reach a range of people with her photos, and I think that is exactly what she achieved by making them relatable to the common person.

This piece came from Jessica’s idea that some people’s experiences in life are more valued than others, and that all experiences and identities should be valued. Jessica believes in socialization, people being shaped by institutions and those around them. She believes that society pushes people to take on certain identities, that the youth are “conditioned” by their parents and other peers. Personally, I agree and I think that is what made me fall in love with her photographs: that these are all people that are struggling against stereotypes or are following the status quo. The two photographs I liked most were the ones shown above and were interestingly, both of women struggling against society’s stereotypes. The young woman with the child, only fifteen, is photographed in a manner that makes her look almost empowered, which conflicts with society’s idea that getting pregnant while young is a negative thing. This negative ideal was most likely brought along by media such as “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom”. I really enjoyed that Jessica’s photograph showed a different, more positive side to being young with a child. Instead of highlighting the young mother’s inexperience, Jessica shows that being with child made the girl transform into a woman. A mother who is supporting her child, strong and protective.

I identify most with the girl with the blue hair in the second photograph above. Jessica photographed her because of her abnormal hair and the style of her clothing/room decor, thinking she was sort of “punk rock”. Though the normal is definitely not blue hair, this girl owns her nature and identity, even if it is not a popular one. I think that is why I identify with her, because I have always been some what abnormal with the way I act, dress, and think. I have had to own my identity and realize that being different is not a bad thing. When I realized that, I grew to love myself and the things that separated me from everyone else, I didn’t want to be like anyone else. What is funny about learning to love yourself is that when you become confident in who you are, people tend to accept you more. I think this is a valuable lesson to be learned, especially in a society that supports uniformity.

I absolutely loved Jessica Bardales work, if you would like to learn more about this piece you can visit: http://www.daily49er.com/diversions/2014/10/28/portraits-of-an-honest-youth/

Week 10- Classmate Conversation – Jack Taylor


This week I met Jack Taylor, a third year at Cal State Long Beach. Jack is working towards his BA in Dance with a Dance Science emphasis. Jack was born in Pittsburgh, PA and moved to San Jose in Northern California when he was two. At age eight, Jack and his family moved to Long Beach and he has been here ever since.

After he graduates, Jack would like to move to New York with hopes of performing on Broadway. Jack has a dream of performing in a “newsie” where the dance is mostly tap. He also would like to be in a newsie because of the fact that they have many people contributing to the story, rather than few main characters. After his time in the spotlight, Jack plans on using his knowledge in dance science to become a pyshical therapist for dancers, doing both preventative and post-injury work. He would like to focus on athletic dancers so that he may help them perform in their best shape.

Interestingly, Jack got into dancing after taking taekwondo classes at ages 6-10. His parents noticed he was really into the choreography aspect of taekwondo, always playing with the movements his body would make. They thought he would enjoy dancing, so they enrolled him in a tap class to try it out. From the first class, Jack knew he had found a passion. As he got more involved in dance he learned a variety of styles: ballet, contemporary, jazz, lyrical, etc. Today, Jack teaches dance at two studios: one in Long Beach and one in Ranchos Santa Margarita. He teaches, tap, contemporary, jazz, lyrical, and competition. His favorite teaching is done for competitions, because he enjoys creating choreography.

To learn more about Jack, you can visit his website at:jackandrewtaylor.wordpress.com

Week 10- Activity- Photography



On Sunday, November 2nd, 2014, Maeghan Renae McBee was found dead on the property of an abandoned farm in Brentwood, California. Cause of death: a slit of the throat with a kitchen knife that was found protruding from the wooden fence near Maeghan’s corpse. The victim bled to death while hanging by chains. Maeghan had been missing for three months, assumed to be taken from her home in Buena Park, California. Officials theorize that the victim may have been captured, tortured, and killed by someone who knew her well. In the photo, there is a single red rose, assumed to have been left by the murderer. Was it an ex-lover? Or was it something more sinister, a person who couldn’t accept rejection of her affections? We may never know.

Personally, being a Criminal Justice major, I found this photography assignment to display ourselves deceased, to be very fascinating. I wanted to create something grotesque but somewhat beautiful using the contours of my body and facial expression. I tried to appear stiff, like my body had been chained up so long postmortem that my muscles had contracted. I used red lipstick for fake blood and brown eye shadow to make my face appear more pale and bring attention to my eyes. I wanted to create a story with my photograph, using the knife, chain, and rose as props to achieve this.

This activity has been one of my favorites. Photography is probably my favorite medium and I loved I could use my creativity to create a story. Because I want to be a homicide detective in the future, I wanted to create something more realistic, a crime scene I may have to investigate in the future. A tale of someone who had disappeared in life and then reappeared in death.

A Place To Share My Views On Today's Criminal Justice System