Week 15: LAST Artist Interview- BFA Illustration/Animation Group Exhibition

For the last artist interview blog in our art 110 class, we had something special in store: A BFA Illustration/Animation Group Exhibition that is basically an annual show to showcase the works of all graduating BFA students. There were many different artists represented as well as many artistic styles/ideas represented. For these BFA students, it is clear that the work being presented today is their pride and joy. There were many pieces that caught my attention and having a detailed explanation about each one would do them justice, but alas, time is limited. There were some artists that came to speak to us, but the works that drew the most of my attention did not have an artist physically present to explain the creation.

One of my favorite pieces evoked strong feelings of curiosity: A colorful motorcycle helmet.


When I initially examined it, I didn’t look INSIDE the helmet. I believe that this is because the helmet was positioned to be facing the wall. Whether or not this was intentional, I do not know- I wish I did, however. Anyways, seeing a skull inside the helmet was a little surprising. Perhaps the skull alludes to some sort of motorcycle culture? Or perhaps a more stark interpretation would imply that the skull represents death, and perhaps this is hinting towards the “dangerous” aspect of motorcycles- the reason why motorcyclists are referred to as “organ donors”. These interpretations could be off, but the motorcycle helmet is eye-catching nonetheless.


The pictures above shows the work that was presented by an artist named Nathan Lewis. This was the first thing I walked to when I initially entered into the Gatov galleries. It is a milestone for me: this is the type of art that I could see myself paying cash in order to transfer ownership of the pieces to ME. The artist is emulating his passion for art and design through his works. They seem to be skateboards with intricate drawings on them. It is very aesthetically pleasing in person with GREAT detail in the drawings.

Here are other images of other works that I felt were interesting:

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The last artwork (picture above) definitely made me think about Vietnam. I’m fairly certain that the artist was trying to depict Ha Long Bay.


Week 14 Artist Interview: Liminal Exhibition

The exhibit this week took place in both the gatov west and gatov east galleries. This was indeed a group exhibition, so there was a wide variety of artworks displayed belonging to a number of different artists. Although there was a collection of written artist statements to go through, I only found reasonable interview time with one artist, Yiren Kwak. I felt that she looked familiar and then quickly realized that she had displayed her art in the past, and I had written an interview blog on her.

The exhibition is titled Liminal, and it is a senior painting/drawing BFA show. The title suggests that the artists have navigated through new practices and periods of transition. All the works seem different but are connected because of the atmosphere of support and learning in which they are formed. “All of the artists have developed their own visual language and personal practice”. This explanation for the title and the premise of the exhibition makes sense: the word liminal is typically defined as “Of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process”.

Here are examples of pieces I found to be particularly interesting:

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Yiren Kwak’s work in particular draws some familiarity to her previous art show. She specializes in detailed oil painting and retains some common themes: landscapes, nature, and the outside environment. The basic premise behind making all of these oil paintings was that “nature reacts accordingly to how humanity treats it”. They hoped to evoke many emotions from their viewers, like peace, joy, confusion, and frustration. Yiren Kwak stated that all/most of her works of art were inspired by where she lived. She also mentioned that she lives on a hilly area, which enables her to have a vast vantage point of the environment around her. If you noticed the painting she is standing in front of (featured image on front page),  that would have been a painting that imitated a gold course that she knows. Yiren Kwak also finds that oil painting (in comparison to acrylic painting) takes much more finesse and skill, which is clearly demonstrated in her works

Week 9 Artist Conversation: Michael Rollins


ARTIST: Michael Rollins

Located in the gatov-west AND gatov-east galleries this week was an exhibit by Michael Rollins, titled “New Digs”. The works being displayed in these galleries caught my attention because of the unique use of bright colors. They can almost be described as mesmerizing, in a sense. Michael Rollins is currently progressing along in attaining a degree for Master of Fine Arts, and this particular art exhibit is helping fulfill some of the requirements for that program. Rollins made a statement that his work tends to lead back to “visual pleasure” and “visual disruptions”. I find that this is an accurate depiction of emotions that tend to be invoked upon viewing his work. The blend of colors are visually pleasing to the eye, but the distorting blend is a sort of “disruption” in the art work. The blend and use of colors does not seem to follow a uniform structure, and this is reflected due to Rollins’s embodiment of freedom and directness in the work that he creates. The art work that he presented would fall under the category of “instinctive painting”. For me, this style of art appeals to my free spirited mind set. The work seen here is symbolic of Rollins’s personality, and it is interesting to know that art can be constructed from instinct and specific tastes/sensibilities. Upon listening to Michael Rollins speak about the specific influences on each art work, I discovered that the colors are indeed representative. Rollins says that the colors are representative of ties to the world we live in, as well as Rollins’s own personal tastes. He describes the process of making this art to be more or less “throwing paint” and then working from there. For example, the red color is representative of flesh/bodily color.

The art work itself is very interesting to behold. However, I would have really loved to see how Mr. Rollins creates one of these art pieces. I believe that the though process behind this and the actual making of these paintings would be something quite captivating to behold.

Week 8 Conversations: Artist + Classmate

Artist: Nolan Reiter

“Nolan Reiter’s BFA show features a series of silkscreened posters highlighting his most recent work.”


Located in the Gatov East was an art exhibit that featured silk screened art. These works belonged to Nolan Reiter, who is a BFA printmaking major. Nolan has spent many years on this particular passion, utilizing his five college years (at Cal State Long Beach) as well. I felt that I was most drawn to this exhibit for this particular week because of the graphic design and the bright colors that were used. I have to say that I am not familiar with the process of making silk screen posters: I did end up looking it up myself for a more in depth analysis, and it is definitely a pain-staking process: “..A screen is made of a piece of mesh stretched over a frame. A stencil is formed by blocking off parts of the screen in the negative image of the design to be printed; that is, the open spaces are where the ink will appear on the substrate..” Anyways, the silk posters had a greater significance than to look aesthetically pleasing. Each piece gave the viewer a particular piece of information that should make them pause for a while and then leave seeing the world in a different view. My favorite piece is shown above. The title is: “4.5 miles”. Conveniently, Nolan left a small excerpt near each of his pieces so that we, the art 110 students, would not be so clueless as we stumbled around the gallery. My first initial impression was total confusion. I saw that the other silk screen posters had a figure or something that commanded more attention. This particular piece just had a bright hue of yellow, but I thought that it got my attention the fastest. It was just an oil canister. What is the big deal about that? The title is the biggest hint towards what this particular piece illustrates. The number in the title is the average distance that the inhabitants of rural Africa/Asia travel in order to gain access to clean, drinkable water. It was also noted that it weights around 45 pounds. This definitely changed my perspective on my life and life in remote countries. I just couldn’t imagine having to walk one mile for water, let alone 4.5 miles. Not only that, they have to make a return trip with a 45 pound canister? 45 pounds might not seem a lot to carry around for a fit person. However, carrying 45 pounds over a distance of 4.5 miles is a different story. I’m a runner and an “ex” judoka, and I can definitely understand the fatigue and frustration that I would experience if I had to make such a trip. I will definitely cherish my comfortable life in the good ol’ USA.

Classmate interview: Khoa Do

I interviewed Khoa Do about two weeks back, and I’m particularly glad I did so. I’m always sure to greet him when I run into him at our art 110 Thursdays, and we share laughs even though we finished this classmate interview portion some time ago.


Khoa is a fellow Viet (he actually holds the same name as my brother) and is actually from there. I find this to be interesting to me since I learn the most about my own culture from other Viets. One thing to note about Khoa is that he is very talkative. I find this to be an admirable quality as Khoa knows how to humor people and easily connects with everyone. We share a number of other things in common: we are in our first years at Cal state long beach and we commute to school. I also found out that Khoa is somewhat fond of cars like myself. As for his major, he is currently undeclared. He is conflicted between the many paths he can take in order to fulfill his dreams of becoming a success. For now, he is looking into communications or health services. I strongly believe that either one would suit him well, based on what I quickly learned about him. Let’s hope that he finds his true passion in either one of these and gets himself to a bright future. Khoa enrolled in this art 110 class for one of the same reasons I had: he wanted to view and appreciate good art. As for Khoa’s interests, he is an avid gamer, spending the bulk of his time on League of Legends. He had no shame in telling me that he plays ALL DAY. Other than gaming, Khoa enjoys sleeping (he’ll need plenty of it with that gaming habit), soccer, or football. He also has a fine taste in music, his favorite artists being Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. We share the same favorite television show: The walking dead. Khoa was fun to talk to and I look forward to interacting with him in the future.

Week 5 Conversations(Artist + Classmate)

Artist: Work Hardened

Introduction(given on the art 110 website): The Metals group show features a variety of student work utilizing copper, brass, silver, steel and found objects.

I was quite relieved to find a unique art form available for viewing on this particular week. Although paintings is a visually pleasing medium form of art, I’d be much more excited seeing craftsmanship from a different and creative standpoint. I was also drawn to the idea that the works would be made out of metals, as I assume that there are a number of complications in forming works of art using metal.

I arrived to the Gatov east with notebook in paw, ready to take in as much information as I could. However, found that I was very observant of details- much more than usual. I also found out why this particular exhibit didn’t have a specific name attached to it on the website: it was more like a group showcase, so there were different artists involved with different pieces. The works varied from large pieces to small but astonishingly detailed pieces.


There were some very interesting items such as miniature t.vs and water towers, and I am sure the detail put into those pieces were painstakingly difficult. However, my most favorite piece of all was the chess piece (see thumbnail/featured image). The bronze and aluminum chess pieces were well done but I was most fascinated by the actual “board”. Closer examination will show you that the board is made of sand…white and black sand, to be specific. I felt that this had to be in a pain in the ass to finish so perfectly but it is worth the effort because the end result is a fascinating piece of art that brought up many questions about its creation.

Classmate Conversation: Khoi Nguyen (https://sktfaker.wordpress.com/)

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(*Yes, I failed to get a proper picture of Mr. Khoi Nguyen as my phone died Thursday. I will update this post promptly when I am capable of fixing it).

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Khoi Nguyen, a fellow Viet. He presents himself as a “generic” Asian, but I found him to be very funny and easy to talk to. He is a first year student here at CSULB, and is studying the field of civil Engineering. I commend him on such an effort because I also have some sort of a desire to do engineering. Anyways, I asked him where he is from and he responded with Westminster, much to my amusement. (There are so many Vietnamese people from Westminster that I have a habit of asking other Viets if they come from there). Khoi is also a gamer, and enjoys “League of Legends” the most. I found it interesting that he also wants to become a PRO-gamer, and was quick to tell me that professional gamers can actually be ballers and make lots of money. I bid him good luck on this endeavor…maybe he’ll have the hard decision of choosing between playing games late or studying late? During his free time, Khoi hangs out with friends and takes naps. He has many tastes when it comes to his favorite music: he likes dupstep, edm, jazz, and classical music. Finally, he also has a passion for art. He seems to have great love for drawing, stating that he often likes to paint or use scratch boards. Khoi was easy to approach and I was immediately able to joke around with him shortly after meeting him. I wish him good luck with the rest of his time at CSULB.