Week 15: Artist Interview – Elia Murray

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What inspires you in your artistic process?

Murray responded to this rather enthusiastically, particularly because, as she noted, she has not been asked this question very often. She said that, in general, everything around her inspires her. But in particular, she pointed out that she mainly bases her art around certain poems and articles she finds interesting. Murray then explained that these poems and articles give her a mental image of them, around which she bases all her artistic considerations.

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I notice that several of your pieces are of dogs and cats. Why is this?

Noticing that several of Murray’s pieces were of dogs and cats, I asked why this was so. Murray replied saying that this is because she draws pet portraits and caricatures and sells them for about 20 or 30 dollars, depending on the size of the portrait. She also said that she owns a dog and a cat, which inspire her pet art.

Have you ever considered illustrating for children’s books?

Murray’s very cartoonish and colorful style reminded me of something out of a children’s book. Given this, I asked if she has ever considered illustrating for them. She answered that she has considered this and has some experience in this field. She advised that you should not go to an author with illustrations because chances are that they do not have the money to pay you for them. Because of this, Murray is currently writing her own children’s book filled with original drawings, poems, and stories.


Murray’s work was not something that was necessarily awe-inspiring or spectacular but it still sparked a unique level of interest in me. Her style that is reminiscent of something out of the many books I read as a child made me feel a sense of nostalgia and youthful hope. It helped me remember a less mature yet more carefree me, a me that has been lost in the process of maturity and age. Overall, I found Murray’s works to be thought-inspiring and reflective of the inner youth in all people, no matter what age they may be.


Week 15: Conversation w/ Student – John Sayson

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On our last meeting at the galleries this week, I met John Sayson. John is a third-year student at Long Beach and commutes from his home in Anaheim. Also, like myself, he is currently studying film at CSULB, both of us being in the same FEA 299 class. I found this aspect to be particularly intriguing because it gave us a common ground to have a conversation about and bridged a way to other conversation topics.

John is a fan of the films of Akira Kurosawa and also many various Korean films. Recognizing the director Akira Kurosawa for his many samurai movies, I asked John if Kurosawa only made samurai films. To my surprise, John told me that Kurosawa also makes films that take place in contemporary society.

As we were discussing film, John then mentioned how the music in a film is what affects him the most of the movie-watching experience, given that he is very musically oriented. After he said this, I then asked him what music he enjoyed listening to. He answered me saying that he enjoyed indie, particularly the bands the Antlers and Belle and Sebastian, and drum and bass. I myself also enjoy the bands John mentioned and many other bands in the indie genre. I really enjoyed talking with John and it felt good to find someone with similar interests and aspirations.

Week 17: Artist Interview – Yireh Elaine Kwak

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Do you sell your paintings?

I asked Kwak if she sold her paintings. She responded that she did sell them to make some money on the side. However she she said that she does not do it very often and therefore has not established prices for them. However, she added that generally her smaller paintings sell for about $500 and larger ones for about $1000.

Are you close with the other artists in the gallery?

Noticing that the gallery consisted of the works of many different artists, I asked Kwak if she was close to them. She answered that she is close with the others artists. She explained that she has been good friends with the other artists for 4 years, and that together they form a special community that has grown together artistically. The gallery itself, she said, shows their journey together as friends and artists.

How would you explain your painting, Home? 

Intrigued by her painting, titled Home, that showed a shrubbery and vast mountains in the landscape, I asked her how she would explain the painting in terms of meaning and general aesthetics. She answered that the painting is of her old backyard in her Fullerton home. She noted that many aspects of the painting are exaggerated because she mainly paints from memory. She followed this up saying that she titled the piece Home based on the idea that a house is the place while home is the people. In terms of her style, she said that she is greatly inspired by Vincent Van Gogh.

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I found Kwak’s painting, and the whole gallery itself, to be very insightful and inspirational. I particularly enjoyed the sense of camaraderie reflected in the gallery and the paintings in it. It showed that the world of art is vast and filled with different styles and appearances. In addition, it also showed me that art is always changing, as shown by the nuance of some paintings, and the sentimentality and aged feel of other paintings. I enjoyed this gallery and Kwak’s piece Home very much.

Week 17: Conversation w/ Student – Hunter Demis

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On Thursday, I met Hunter Demis. Hunter is a first-year student at Long Beach and is a Criminal Justice major. Hunter also hopes to minor in Forensic Science, him being very interested in the sciences. I asked him what made him choose his major and he said that as a child he was inspired by the animated movie, The Great Mouse Detective

Hunter also is an avid music-listener, particularly of EDM. He tells me he really enjoys listening to the EDM duo Vicetoad. I asked him why he liked that group in particular, to which he said that he has been following them for years and saw their gradual rise to success, which created a special connection between him and the group. He also added that he did not like country or classical music.

Talking with Hunter at the galleries was a very pleasant experience and I learned a lot about him through our conversation. I see Hunter as someone who is friendly and is driven in accomplishing his goals and pursuing his interests. I wish Hunter luck in his future and found him to be a very nice guy.

Week 13: Extra Credit – Musical Drawing

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For this activity, I had a hard time choosing a song to play while doing it, given that I enjoy many different songs and don’t necessarily have a favorite. I eventually just settled for a song I currently enjoy a lot, which is “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind” by Tame Impala.

Overall I found this activity to be very enjoyable and intriguing. I particularly enjoyed the musical element of the activity. Being an avid listener of music, I believe music has the ability to create certain moods and can make you feel a particular way. Though the art that I made may be arguably random and arbitrary, I believe the music I was listening to gave it coherence and the song influenced the ultimate outcome.

Week 13: Extra Credit – Alphabet Stories

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A bomber came down and ended Fascist Germany. However an idiot named Justin killed the pilot, causing the plane to crash like meteor. Nothing was able to be done about the mess, but an SS officer paid the public to be quiet. This wasn’t right so the President of the United States tightened his control over the country. This caused a lot of unrest and soon the country erupted into violent chaos, a lot like a wrestling match. But then suddenly, a magical xylophone played by a young zebra ended the chaos.

I thought that this activity was both simple and fun to do. I also enjoyed the challenge of creating a story based on many random, unrelated words. This challenged me to push my creativity to create a comprehensive story, albeit a bizarre, random one. Overall, I enjoyed the activity and its concept.

Week 13: Artist Interview – Marty Knop

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How do you choose the colors for your artwork?

After seeing Knop’s work, the wide, random array of colors incorporated was very noticeable. Curious if he chose the colors at random or if there was a process in choosing which colors to use, I asked him how he chose the colors. He responded saying that he generally bases his color choices on cost effectiveness, given that some colors are more expensive than others. But also, he said that with digital printing, the color choices are endless so he must limit himself for coherence. A process he described was that he would have 3 different color choices at 3 different areas of a piece to see what fits.

How long does it take to make your pieces?

Knop responded to this question saying that the larger paintings take up to about 3 weeks to complete, while the smaller ones take less time. He added that generally, it requires a week for him to print the piece and to see how it looks and another 2 weeks for other artistic considerations. These considerations may include making changes in the use of color, design, or shape.

Would you say your art has a more aesthetic value or do you put any meaning behind it?

Knop answered this question very interestingly. He said that he has always been interested in the meaning implied by language or codes, and how one “gets from point A to point B”  by the use of basic units that create a message. To explain this statement, he went on to say that he used many basic 3-dimensional trigonometry functions to create the many designs of his art, where the information used to create it and its end result were the messages of his art. Though he somewhat digressed from my question, I was nonetheless satisfied with his answer, understanding that his art was aesthetic, but it was the elements that made up the work that gave it meaning.


Knop’s gallery on Thursday was a very interesting one. I found the art itself visually stimulating and Knop’s explanation of them to be very insightful and versatile. I particularly enjoyed hearing his explanation on the meaning of his art, which helped me understand that some art, though it may be for generally aesthetic purposes, it is that goal to create an aesthetically stimulating piece that is its message.

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