Week 15- Artist Conversation- Chelsea Blecha

Artist: Chelsea Blecha
Exhibition: Mixed Aesthetic
Media: Pencil, paint, pastel
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Website: chelseablecha.com
Instagram: chelseablecha

Chelsea Blecha is a 6th year student in her last semester here at CSULB. She is a member of the Illustration program in CSULB’s School of Art, and the vast majority of her art-making revolves around drawings and illustrations. The artist is originally from San Francisco, and grew up deeply involved with the art scene in the city. The reason she came down to Long Beach was for school, and she was in search of living someplace with good weather, so naturally she chose Southern California. One of her favorite places to relax is the beach, or a quiet, corner, coffee shop, as she finds she is most ready to draw and illustrate if she is relaxed and has a free-mind. Besides illustration, she is also interested in science and space, but claims to be no good at it. She also enjoys her mythology class, and likes to learn about old cultures and what their life was like. Her work implores elegance and class mixed with nature to create a strange reality.

Most of the work in her gallery consisted of small portrait sized illustrations with pictures of natural elements. All of the work is done with pencil, pastels, and paint and all have a white background to give it an elegant feel. The vast majority of her illustrations are of organic characters, such as 2 hands touching, someone’s face, a dog, or a flower. The remaining pieces are a compilation of many different sketches, that she says takes 5-10 minutes each. She emphasizes her use of spontaneity in her work, as she begins many sketches without knowing where they will go. The main reason she draws and is an Illustration major is because she likes to sketch and see where her unconscious mind takes her. Her favorite piece was done on the bottom part of a skateboard deck, and consists of many layers of painart 110- week 15v artist pict and pastel that form a beautiful, colorful flower on the wood. She uses very plain colors, except for with the skateboard flower, and combined with the all-white background, gives off a feel of a quaint, elegant, trendy coffee shop. All of the work is relatively small, under 2 x 2 feet, with the exception of the skateboard deck.

She said herself that there is no specific meaning to her work. Rather, her art is a reflection of her subconscious, due to her use of spontaneity and a general lack of motive. Her work is inspired by the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and her experience growing up in the “trendy” San Francisco, thus she is trying to make her work appear a certain way, rather than mean a certain thing. Art is subjective to each viewer, and her reason for creating the art was not to make people think a certain way, but rather feel a certain way. She wanted viewers to feel a sense of elegance and class by just being around her illustrations. Her intention was for viewers to be “taken” to a place where they feel as if they are in a trendy coffee shop, or even on the set of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The reason she creates her art this way is because she is nostalgic, and misses her hometown of San Francisco. This is a way for her to feel at home, as her art reminds her of a place she likes to be.

I sympathize with the artist in the sense that I too am nostalgic, and have a way of making myself “feel at home”. There are a few methods I have to feel comforted and care-free, by doing an activity or going to a place that reminds me of home, or a place I like being. Obviously, the beach is a place for me to go and relax, as it reminds me of my carefree time in Hawaii the past two summers. I find that whenever I go to Hawaii, I come back careless and stress-free, so I try to simulate that action by going to the beach down here in Southern California in hopes of finding that feeling again. Another place I go to is the gym, because I played a lot of basketball back home and it reminds me of what used to be. Basketball is one of the few activities that completely clears my mind of all worry and problems because the only thing I think about is basketball. All people do this in some sense or another, and although our techniques may be different, Chelsea and I have the same motive and same nostalgia.

Week 15- Classmate Conversation

This week I talked and met with Charles Watson whom is a film major from Huntington Beach. He is a 4th year, but only in his first year here at art 110- week 15 classmateCSULB. The reason he is in Art 110 is because it is a pre-requisite for film school. His favorite film is 2001 Space Odyssey, but said he shared an interest for Martin Scorcese films. He likes the office and breaking bad, and he would go to Paris if he could go anywhere. Favorite beer is Modelo, and he likes to eat Japanese food or simply cheeseburgers. He prefers chucks over vans so I like this guy a lot. If he could have drinks with anyone it would Hemingway or Obi wan Kenobi. Chill guy, glad I was forced to meet him through this process.

Week 14- Japanese Gardens Drawing

Not sure if we were supposed to make a blog post about the drawing or not, but here is my pencil drawing of the little walkway over the pond in the Japanese Garden. Very peaceful experience drawing it, it was definitely one of my favorite art experiences that we have done this semester.

art 110- week 14 jap gardents

Week 14 – Activity Feedback

My 3 favorite activities we did throughout the semester consist were the Landscape with a Corpse assignment, the Graffiti writing assignment, and the group video project. All of these were the most entertaining to me, which is why they are my favorite. The graffiti was fun because I’ve never used spray paint before, the landscape with a corpse allowed for a lot of creativity and freedom in the assignment, and the video project was just a good time. I had a lot of fun with my group making that video and that was easily the most fun activity of the year. My least favorite activities were the plaster casting in the sand, cuisine, and the art care package. I didn’t understand how these activities pertained to the course, and therefore thought they were useless. They were a hassle to complete outside of class, due to the fact that I didn’t have a car at the start of a semester. I think that you should assign projects that do not require materials or driving any distance whatsoever. I even missed some assignments (not saying it was your fault, I am also lazy) partially because of the difficulty finding a ride, or finding materials to do the project. Also, if you are accepting any constructive criticism about the course, you should get rid of the classmate conversations. It was a waste of time and effort and didn’t pertain to the course at all. I think your objective was for people to be social and meet one another, but it ended up being quick conversations just to get credit for a pointless and tedious assignment. Otherwise, I enjoyed this class a lot, and most of the activities were entertaining and informative.

Week 13- Art Experience- Fiber Art

I tried to cut up an old tank top I owned and manipulate it to look partially tattered and art 110 week 13 project 2
partially weaved. The end result was much more tattered than I intended, but I am clearly not invested into the weaving, sewing, or crocheting art form. Never before have I attempted to manipulate fiber, and I must say that it is a pain in the ass. The scissors I used to cut the fabric were dull, and the fabric was rather thick, art 110- week 13 projectso cutting long vertical incisions into the shirt was painful and tiring. Also, one has to cut multiple long incisions in order to make even a small braid, or any form of weaving. I tried to use some magic marker on the shirt but it didn’t show up well and is hard to notice in the pictures. The activity was pretty frustrating to be honest. I thought the process was going to be a lot easier than it was, butart 110 week 13 project 3 I got a good forearm workout so I can’t complain. The images you posted got me very intrigued with fiber art, as I had never known it was even an art form. I personally won’t create any more art consisting of fabric or fiber, but now that I know it exists, there is a good chance I’ll invest in someone else’s work

Week 13- Artist Conversation- Nick Bamford

Artist: Nick Bamford
Media: Sculptures made of random materials
Gallery: Gatov Gallery East
Website: none
Instagram: nickbam4d

Nick Bamford is an undergraduate student in his last semester here at CSULB. He is a member of the Ceramics program in CSULB’s School of Art, but his work expands beyond just the media of ceramic. During his senior year of high school, he took a ceramics class and fell in love, which made him decide to be a ceramics major. After he finishes his undergrad he wants to go to either UCLA, BCU, or Yale in order to get a Masters degree in sculpting. Art making in general is his main hobby, whether it be ceramics, sculpting, painting, etc. he loves to do it. Aside from art, he doesn’t have many other interests, but he fills his time with work at Home Depot, which non-coincidentally supplies his random materials for sculpting. His work implores the ideas of self-evaluation, as each viewer can take a different viewpoint on his artwork.

All of the work in this particular gallery consisted of tall, skinny, alien-esque sculptures with no particular shape or color scheme. It looked like a bunch of random construction materials stapled, glued, and taped together without any specific pattern or means of natural shape, and that’s exactly how it was made. He receives a lot of material from the Home Depot he works at, and most of it is garbage and low grade construction material. From a plastic arm, to a birdcage, an upside down stool, to half a poster board, Nick will find a way to manipulate it and make it work with the surrounding material. There was a blacklight on in the room which gave an eerie yet futuristic look to his wart 110 week 13 artistork, and he purposefully used materials that he knew would glow in the blacklight. The sculptures are very jagged in shape, and rugged in appearance, but the randomness actually comes together to make some interesting pieces. The work is relatively large in the dimensions of the gallery, standing about 7-8 feet tall and varying in width less than 4 feet.

When asked about the meaning of his work, he laughed and struggled to come up with a solid answer. He eventually settled on telling me that he had created the work 5 days ago, and said that most of the work is random and has no specific meaning. The fact that his work isn’t about anything in specific, it does not hinder its ability to mean something to a viewer. The artist stressed the importance of realizing that art is all subjective in the sense that one person can view a sculpture or painting differently than another person even if the artist intended it to mean something in specific. People only connect with things that are relevant to their life, and art is a way for people to make their own connections to a piece regardless of if that was the artists’ intention. He enjoys the process more than the final product, because people concern themselves too much with the final piece and its meaning, rather than just enjoying the work. Also, his process of sculpting is a very entertaining procedure, including nail guns and destroying old Home Depot trash.

As the artist said, all work is subjective, so regardless of what Nick’s intentions were for his work, I think it is exploring the idea of the future of art. As time passes, humans have evolved more and more, and so has our art. There are still your standard paintings and sculptures but nowadays we have visual media like movies, graphic design, as well as the art of architecture, which is an overlooked art form. Sculptures like Nick’s are the way of the future, such that the artist tries to incorporate modern day technology to his work (blacklight, old light-up materials). The artist himself stated that he was trying to experiment with special effects, which is an untapped media that will most likely one day be uncovered by some futuristic form of visual media. Our world grows more and more dependent on technology, so it is pleasing to see that manual sculpting and painting is still present in our society. However, the incorporation of technology with the creation of sculptures and other forms of physical art are the way of the future, as shown by the artists’ creation.

Week 13- Classmate Conversation

This week I talked anart 110- wek 13  classmated met with Devon Carus whom is a 2nd year communications major here at CSULB. He lives in Redondo Beach and commutes from there. He came to CSULB because it is not too far from home, and in order to save some money. He loves surfing and skating, and also likes to play music. We both play guitar, piano, and percussion so that’s fun. If he could go any place in the world he would go to Tahiti so he could surf some gnarly waves. He prefers Vans over chuck’s but to be fair I was wearing 2 articles of Vans so this kid’s cool in my book.

Week 12- Artist Conversation- Justin J Smith

Artist: Justin J Smith
Exhibition: Stay Golden
Media: Paint on canvas
Gallery: Gatov Gallery East
Website: none
Instagram: none

Justin J. Smith is a graduate student in the School of Arts’ Drawing and Painting program. He is from Akron, Ohio, and moved to the Los Angeles area when he came to CSULB for school. He grew up very close to his family, as his extended family all resides in Akron, and is naturally very family oriented. Throughout his life, he has been constantly influenced by his families values and interests, so his mother and sisters’ interest in art caused him to discover his passion for painting. Although he is far from his family, he enjoys living out in Long Beach because of the ability to go to nearby beaches, and visit cool spots in LA. In his free time, heart 110 week 12 artist likes to draw, paint, play with his dog, and go to the beach. His work explores the maxim, “there’s no place like home”.

All of his work consists of large portraits, and include bizarre shapes and colors to draw the viewers eye in. It all consists of paint on canvas, and includes both vibrant and dull colors. The offset of a bland brown and a neon pink cause for quite the shock to the eye of an observer, and that’s exactly what he intends to do. Each piece has the use of gold coloring to unify the elements throughout the artist’s series. The gold is meant to symbolize the feeling of belonging, which is intentionally ironic due to the fact that the feeling of belonging is independent of economic class, and the color gold implies wealth. Red is also included to represent Justin’s passion for the art that he is creating, and the experience he is going through. His thesis has a Byzantine and somewhat Egyptian feel with the bizarre shapes he uses, the lack of mixed colors, and the consistent use of gold. All of the paintings are relatively big compared to the size of the room, about 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide (or reversed).

Simply put, his artwork is about human nature’s strive to belong. The artist himself stated that his work is, “reminiscent of a traveling circus… not a quest of financial status, but a journey firmly rooted…” Humans have a natural need to feel like they belong in order to have some sense of security in their life. The artist creates the work due to his own desire to feel secure in a foreign area, when he used to feel so settled in his hometown surrounded by his close family. He is trying to have readers make a connection to some aspect of the work that reminds them of their own security and what croart 110 week 12 moneywd they feel they belong to. In order to have viewers make connections to their own life, the eye must be drawn in initially, and Justin does so by intriguing viewers with vibrant shapes and colors. He wants to make the viewer happy, but also make them reminisce and question whether or not they are secure in life.

I sympathize with the artist in the sense that we all have trouble feeling like we belong at times. Every time I have moved, which is a lot of times, I have a moderately long period of time where I don’t feel comfortable, and feel like I don’t belong there. The first time I moved, it was from California to Chicago, and I didn’t know a single person except for older cousins, so it took me a few months to make strong friendships. After that, I moved back to California and knew some people, so the transition wasn’t as difficult, though I still had a period of about 4 months where I felt as if I didn’t belong. It is a process that everyone goes through, especially once kids leave their home for college. Justin just misses being home with his family and his artwork is a healthy way for him to channel his emotions and feelings into something he is passionate about.

Week 12- Classmate Conversation

art 110 week 12 clasmateThis week I talked and met with Eli Yee. We ended up having a lot in common, we are both 2nd years, 20 years old, and live in the same apartment complex. He is a fashion merchandise major and is originally from Fresno. In his free time he likes to paint and draw, and has even started a website to sell the artwork he makes. He likes indie music, alternative, and hip-hop, and one of his favorite foods is pizza which i appreciated because I am 25% Italian. classic. He prefers vans over chuck taylor’s though, so we can’t be friends. Chill guy, smooth conversation, just not my cup of tea.

Week 11- Activity- Turning Pages

art 110- week 11 picIt is difficult to document short lived moments such as the Art Experience that we did this week. These moments pass so quickly and are hard to explain or represent with just a picture and some words. Certain experiences can be captured by images or videos (such as sight-seeing or museums), but one can not capture the feelings of an experience. Turning pages in particular can’t be fully captured by images or words because it was more about the feelings and environment than the physical appearance of the experience. The style of how the pictures or words are used can affect how one interprets an experience, but in this case it doesn’t matter what form is used. Sharing experiences has always been tough for me, because no amount of images or wild stories can quantify what it feels like to actually be there. I can look at pictures of the Sistine Chapels and read up about it all day long, but no amount of research will compare to physically going to Italy and witnessing the beauty. I agree that sometimes attempting to document an experience takes away from the moment, but I understand the obsession with it. We want to remember these experiences and the best way to do so is to document it is with our phones or cameras. I can take myself back to my trip to New York, or my senior trip to Disneyland simplyart 110- week 11 pig 2 by looking at pictures or videos I took. Sharing these videos is what is not useful. Without the actual memories, it is simply looking at an image or iPhone screen, and the stories have no real value unless one experienced it themselves.

The experiences in the Library and the Bookstore were hardly different to me, because the documentation of it didn’t hinder my ability to observe and live in the moment. Snapping a few pictures in the Bookstore didn’t take away from my experience in any way, but to be fair, it didn’t truly capture the experience either. My experience with this activity was strange to put it simply. I felt strange when we were in the library with huge children’s books, because everyone was staring at us as if we were doing something outrageous. The bookstore was strange because I never truly thought about how our “bookstore” is more of a spirit store than anything else. Both are places I frequently go without putting much thought into what is actually there, and what used to be there. This experience opened my eyes to how our world has developed, and to how the university system is similar to a corporation. Education has become an industry for many, and seeing as our chancellor makes over $400,000 a year, I’d say that industry is booming. I don’t know when education became about money, probably forever, but I think it’s time we take money out of the equation. Learning should be something that all people of all ages can do, and my experience in the bookstore pushed in that direction.