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 7 Conversations: Breakdown + Classmate

Artists: Breakdown (an exhibition by the CSULB Photo Club)

I will readily admit that this Thursday was the longest I have ever spent snooping around in a single art gallery. (I left the CSULB galleries well past 12:15PM) This exhibit, titled “Breakdown” was located in the Gatov-west and featured art photography from a number of different artists. There were MANY pieces that grabbed my attention for quite some time.


I thought that this art gallery was made out to be much more interesting because I did not see/read any introductory statements beforehand. Although there was some previous fallout (trying to not refer to a distasteful argument) from engaging in such actions for art 110, I STRONGLY believe that the photography art has a much stronger voice when viewers try to construct their own analysis of what is being presented.

I walked into the Gatov West and immediately noticed the pictures of the planes (see above). I guess that I was attracted to it since I’ve always been fond of airplanes. Upon closer examination, I discovered that I knew exactly what the planes were. These images were iconic: I had seen them MANY times over: these were the two hijacked planes on 9/11 that hit the world trade center buildings. I shuddered as I thought about this very chilling and dark time in American history.

The images seemed to be washed out, and I started to wonder why the images were all so similar to each other. The artist’s explanation for this piece is quite amazing, and I felt that the artist knew exactly what emotions the pictures would create. The artist (Lourdes Martinez) states that the significance of the pictures were to portray the television coverage of the attack on 9/11. In this respect, television broadcasts changed the way the world perceived such catastrophic events. As the images (of the planes) were continuously being broadcasted all over the nation, there is a surreal quality of the ordinary becoming a scene of horror. Through this piece, the artists shows the effect of repetition and filtering of the same information: it is greatly distorted through mechanical reproduction: we are numbed to other realities, such as the chaos inflicted on New York subsequently after the attack.


On another note, I also spent some time looking at the three photos above. I noticed some very attractive ladies but could not discover a reasonable premise/meaning behind three ladies doing the same pose for the camera. This piece was created by Austin Durant, and the ladies in the pictures are named Adrenalynn, Luna Star, and Lucy Thai. (If those name don’t ring a bell- look them up but be warned that you’ll find not-safe-for-work material: they are pornstars). The title is a good hint: “Behavioral Confirmation”. Apparently, this photography art is not specifically focusing on the subject of the porn industry, or anything related to that matter. It is meant to represent human stereotypical behaviors, and how it affects the perception of people. Because of these stereotypical behaviors, we are reminded that we find it easy to treat people of different social groups (in this case, pornstars) as copies of one another. We see that the porn stars are using the same pose: they want to show off the physical attractiveness of their bodies. In such a case, it is uncommon to view porn stars as unique individuals. This poses an important question: how much control do we have over our own identities as individuals? Great stuff.

Classmate: Hoc Nguyen


I interviewed Hoc Nguyen a week ago, so I’ll finish a blog on my interview with him before I lose the info I got down on him.

I met Hoc through one of his friends that I interviewed previously (Khoi): turns out that both of them went to the same school: Westminster high. What I found interesting was that they do not actually know each other that well: apparently they did not talk to one another until the end of their high school years. This is quite funny because now they seem like close friends. Anyways, Hoc was very easy to talk to and seems to be a cool dude. His favorite interest/hobby is building kits (mostly Gundam), and he keeps them to add to a collection. He also likes to embrace his own creativity by modifying these model kits with his own touches. I can personally confirm that building model kits is quite fun: although I’ve only built model airplanes. He also talked a lot about his pets: mostly about his SNAKES. I was shocked to hear that he owns a boa constrictor: I was pretty sure that those snakes were huge. However, Hoc informed me that the particular boa that he had would not grow more than 4 feet long. So he’ll be able to keep it for the duration of its life, which is about 20 years or so. Also, Hoc has a great passion for art, which is one of the reasons that he chose this class. He is thinking about majoring in this field. I wish him the best of luck in such future goals. If you see Hoc: be sure to have a chat: it’ll be interesting.

Week 6 Conversations(Artist + Classmate)

Artist: Alanna Marcelltti 

Located in the gatov west galleries this week was an art exhibit titled, “Thread Bared”, which quickly caught my attention.


I’ll be brutally honest: I walked into the gatov-west gallery and this particular art work (see above) immediately caught my eye. From a distance, the left panel looks like a depiction of a gunshot through wallpaper. This particular work is titled “Reflect”, which make sense dude to the positioning of the two panels at the corner of the walls in the art gallery. Most of her artwork is “unconventional” in the sense that they instill a great sense of creativity. Her artwork is meant to represent (in a very symbolic manner) portions of her human experiences, and since human experiences are full of blemishes, she also represents this idea with her art rather than concealing them with an aesthetically pleasing work in the conventional sense.  There are many elements being played out with these art works: she hints towards architecture, psychological atmosphere, and theatricality. She combines such elements in her art works in order to evoke emotions that are associated with aspects of life, such as home, work, and motherhood. She hopes to embrace both the positive and negative results of such outside influences on the individual psyche, which includes societal pressures such as established gender roles and the need to get married. On a more personal note, Alanna Marcelltti is a person who follows her artistic passions and does not limit herself by hesitation with experimentation. This is obvious upon observing the “Cocoon” hanging near the furthest gatov-west wall, which is acrylic and wire in tulle. Although the piece is simplistic in nature, it was one of the art pieces that evoked many questions and speculation.

Classmate Interview: Ngoc Pham


I had the great pleasure of talking with Ngoc some time ago. (two weeks ago?) Here’s some basic things I learned about Ngoc: She lives in Newport and commutes to school daily (she has classes outside of CSULB so that’s interesting), and is a first year college student like myself. Ngoc is a little conflicted about her major, it seems: currently, she is a communications major, which she chose because she enjoys social interaction very much. However, she is looking into the medical field as there are also exciting but more lucrative opportunities with such a path. Speaking to Ngoc gave me the impression that she is a very busy person. She works (but doesn’t get paid) at some sort of car dealership and she also mentioned that she travels every weekend out-of-state: how she manages such a hectic weekly schedule- I’ll never know. Ngoc was also planning to study in foreign schools, specifically in Australia. However, she ended up staying close to home. I felt that Ngoc was a very free-spirited individual based on these facts: she seems to have a burning desire to see new places and find new experiences…I hope she doesn’t feel too “trapped” in sunny California. When Ngoc is not traveling all over the place, her favorite hobby is surfing, which is fairly hefty on the badass scale since I know for a fact that surfing is not as easy as it looks.

I was very surprised to hear facts about Ngoc’s family: it’s a fairly large one. She has 6 other siblings: an older brother and 5 other sisters. Get this: they ALL live outside the state of California with the exception of one. They also live at completely different corners of the world: such as the UK, Australia, etc etc.

I found it funny how Ngoc took this class thinking that it was going to be strictly some sort of painting/drawing class. I wonder if she is disappointed with what she the actual class content?

In conclusion: I found Ngoc very easy to talk to as we continued with the interview. I was able to share a number of the more “personal” facts about myself on account of her being a very kind and well-spoken person. I can see why she contemplated being a communications major: I’ll even admit it was my fault for making the interview awkward at moments when I wasn’t able to think of anything interesting to say. I’ll end the blog with this: Thank you, Ngoc, for putting up with my dull self during this particular week of art 110 interviews. Thank you for being interesting and understanding. You appear to be a bright individual, and I wish for nothing less than the best of outcomes in whatever you choose to do with your life. I’m sure you’ll find everything you are searching for.

Week 4 Conversations(Artist+Classmate)

Artist: Makaila Palmer

For week 4 of CSULB Art 110, I chose to interview a Makaila Palmer for the artist portion. Her brief description on the art 110 main site is as follows: “paintings utilize colors from European currency to explore the idea of language and communication between diverse people and regions”. The reason I found this to be of a great degree of interest right off the bat was because I do have an infatuation with money: (not to be mixed with monetary value) and how it is integrated in modern economic systems and societies, which coincides with the ECON and PHIL classes I am currently taking. Off to the Gatov-West, then.


Anyhow, the paintings are very visually appealing. The use of colors DOES in fact seem to be true to the description (previously given) and feature the colors from what is seen to be European currencies. The first thing I noticed is that the colors used in each painting do vary overall. Palmer’s explanation for this was that each painting represented a different location. And since different countries use different currencies as a medium, this allowed for each painting to have a unique theme of color. She also mentioned that the colors are strictly from the currencies, which imposed a pretty difficult challenge. I can see what she meant by this as she had to make a very aesthetic background with a severe limitation. A fun fact is that her paintings all share a few subtle features in common. Upon closer examinations, you will notice that a number of faint stars and bridges are all portrayed within the paintings- small symbolism that refers to currency.

Her main inspiration for making these works of art is attributed heavily to her travels. She found that going to new places gave her valuable memories, and she definitely recommends that everyone find their own travel experiences. Most of her trips were study abroad sessions- which of course, were for art studies. For her, every new city and new country that she visited offered her a completely new experience. Even these art pieces were a new endeavor for her, as she did not have any prior experience in painting landscapes before she starting traveling around. Her favorite place of all was visiting Ireland.

I personally found the colors used in the paintings to be both unique and pleasing to look at. Although I have limited familiarity with European currencies, I found it easy enough to make the association and appreciate the hard work that was outputted.

Classmate Conversation: Joseph Awadallah


This week I had the great pleasure of having a chat with Joseph Awadallah. Joseph has Palestinian parents as well as family residing in Palestine. His parents are Catholic which is a reminder of the cultural diversity that exists in Palestine. This is Joseph’s first year at CSULB and he is currently an undeclared major. He lives in Cypress, which is not too far from CSULB so he is able to commute to school. Joseph also has a great interest in sports, with soccer and basketball being his favorite hobbies in general. He enjoys spending much of his free time working out at the gym, listening to music, or watching sports such as soccer/basketball/football. When inquired about a favorite food Joseph will quickly answer with something called “Upside Down”. He explained it as a mix of rice and chicken but swore that it was way more appetizing than it seems. I have never heard of the dish before so I actually had to google it…Turns out it is formally called “Maqloobeh” and it is a Palestinian dish…and it definitely is mouth-watering.

He is currently busy with a job at Papa John’s as a pizza delivery guy as well.

I enjoyed talking to Joseph Awadallah and found him to be an extremely cool dude. I wish him the best of luck at CSULB and his future endeavors outside of that.