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