Week 13: Conversation w/ Student – Koi Nguyen

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This week, I met Koi Nguyen. Right off the bat, I could see that Koi was a very friendly person and I felt comfortable talking with him, learning a lot about about his personality. I found our conversation to be very relaxed and open and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Koi (like the fish) is a Civil Engineering major from Anaheim, although he was born in the Vietnamese city of Saigon. With his major, he plans to start with a job in construction engineering and then move on to being a project manager that works with architects. From this, I could see that Koi was a very hard worker and really has his life planned out and in order.

Koi also enjoys a variety of different hobbies. He enjoys playing video games and watching TV, particularly Marvel based shows. He also enjoys listening to range of different music such as K-pop, classical, and jazz. I really enjoyed my talk with Koi and I believe he is a very friendly, steadfast person.

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Week 12: Activity – Algorithmic Art

How to draw a picture (Christian Park style)

1. Get a sheet of blank paper.

2. Draw a simple geometric shape at the center of the paper (a circle, triangle, square, etc.)

3. Take the piece of paper and any writing utensil and carry it with you throughout your day.

4. Along with the writing utensil, give the people you pass by or meet the piece of paper and ask them to add something, or anything, to the drawing (Remind them to keep their contribution creative yet simple so they don’t “overdraw” or hijack the drawing).

5.  Continue Step 4 until the page is filled to the point where no more drawings can be added.

6. Stop and admire the artwork.

Before

Before

For this activity, what I was going for was a set of instructions to create an artwork that is truly original. An artwork made, not by a single artist with a specific intent in mind, but rather a collection of people that each add an independent, random contribution to the piece. I got the idea for this activity from personal experience. In my younger years, I would do similar types of drawing with a friend or group of friends. However for the activity, I wanted to take it to another level, also asking strangers to take part, not just people I know.

After

After

The results of my activity were very interesting. Through it, I got a vague understanding of the various “subjects” I asked to take part. I saw each person’s contribution as a glimpse into their psyche and perhaps what their creativity (or in some cases a lack of creativity) is geared towards, whether that be something as simple as an apple, specific as a pants design, or as random as a floating face with exaggerated features. Though my procedure required me to get out of my comfort zone to approach strangers and not just people I knew, I found the results rewarding and very insightful to the minds of the people that I know and those of the people I may never see again.

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Week 12: Artist Interview – Piet Eppinga

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Do you travel often?

Because his sculptures reflected very foreign-looking styles and given that Eppinga had an interesting accent, I asked him whether he traveled often. He answered that he did. He gave be some background on the places that he’s been to, which include Europe, where he lived for several years, and Iraq, where he was stationed at while in the armed forces. He also explained that he came to America as an exchange student from Holland. In addition, he expressed his interest in other cultures and explained that they influence his art and reflects a “multicultural society.”

What would you say the message is, if any that you are trying to get across?

Similarly to what he stated to my previous question, Eppinga answered saying that he wants to emphasize that our society is a multicultural one. He also added, however, that we still shun the mixing of cultures today. To support this, he brought up that in art, most of the big-name artists tend to be white and don’t take kindly to digressions from things associated with “a white culture.” Though personally I found this support questionable, I still agreed with his statement that people tend to dislike the mixing of cultures, or change in general.

What does this piece, “Man-Woman-Child”, symbolize?

Of the many fascinating sculptures and artworks in Eppinga’s gallery, I found one to be particularly interesting, a piece titled “Man-Woman-Child” (shown below). Intrigued, I asked Eppinga what symbolism this piece holds. He responded saying that the figure on the left is a woman, the figure on the left is a man, and the small figure below them in the middle was a child. He also added that the piece had a basis in his personal family life. He explained that the two larger figures, the man and the woman, were bound together permanently by the child while still retaining their individuality. Furthermore, he made this statement to summarize the work’s meaning: “Who am I to my child, and who is he to me?”

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Analysis

I found this gallery to be among the most interesting of the ones shown on Thursday. Though frankly I originally wanted to interview the artist whose exhibit was in Gatov-East, he was not present. Eppinga’s gallery was an easy second choice. What captivated me about his pieces were the primal, almost ancient aspect of them. They reminded me of something from a National Geographic documentary, something out of ancient history. To add to this, I was further interested by the meanings behind the works, which emphasized the existing multicultural society we live in and the contradictory, perhaps subconscious shunning of this mixing in our society.

Piet Eppinga talking about his piece "Christianity Crystalized"

Piet Eppinga talking about his piece “Christianity Crystalized”

Week 12: Conversation w/ Student – Matt Stahl

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This week at the art galleries I met Matt Stahl. Matt is a second-year student and commutes to CSULB from Huntington Beach. He currently lives with his mother and is a Design major. He is also considering in minoring in Film in addition to his current major.

After learning what major he was in I was curious what he wanted to do with it and why he chose it. When I asked him, he said that he hopes to get into graphic design to design logos and such. He also added that he chose the major because he is very tech-savvy. As he puts it, “I am the geek squad of my house.”

Matt also has a wide array of hobbies. These include, but are not limited to, running, skiing, playing videogames, paddle boarding, and golfing. Of these, golfing and videogames stuck out because I myself used to play golf and also currently still play videogames. Curious, I asked him if he had any of the new, “next gen” consoles, to which he said that he had an Xbox 1. I found Matt to be a very friendly, interesting, and funny person and wish him luck in his future aspirations.

Week 11: Artist Interview – Gabriel Garcia

I notice that your art focuses a lot on stereotypes. What about stereotyping do you wish to reflect or express?

Mr. Garcia responded to this question saying that there is a reason why all people stereotype. Often a stereotype is based on a certain truth that certain people of a group reflect the stereotype and or do things that reflect the stereotype. He then said that his point is to somewhat exaggerate a stereotype and to put it out in the open for people to see.

What does the piece with “Olangapo” written on it symbolize?

When I asked Garcia this question, he answered saying that the piece itself is a part of a set of pieces on the same topic. This topic he mentioned was the tragedy in the Filipino city of Olangapo where a transgender woman was murdered by a U.S. Marine that realized this one night. Garcia then pointed to an adjacent piece that had written on it the words, “soldier”, “son”, and “killer” which represents the many things the marine is now labeled as.

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How long did your exhibit take to organize and what materials did you use?

Interested in the large scale of Garcia’s exhibit, I asked him how long it took to make the pieces and what he used to make them. He answered saying that he began the project in January and has only recently finished it. He then said that he used charcoal grounds with graphite in combination with ink with various erasures.

Analysis

I found Gabriel Garcia’s “Toxic Masculinity” to be a very interesting exhibit. Particularly, I found the subject matter and the underlying meaning of the pieces to be very intuitive and reflective of the many issues present in our modern world. I myself enjoyed the exhibit and Garcia’s works really made me think of norms and stereotypes in our world.

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Week 11: Conversation w/ Student – Joseph Adwadallah

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This week at the galleries, I met Joseph Awadllah. After my conversation with Joseph I learned a lot about him and found him to be a very likeable person. We also had many common interests and related on many things in terms of music, art, and life in general.

Joseph, like me, is a first year student at Long Beach and is currently Undeclared. Among his interests, he enjoys going to Palestine with his parents to see holy places, although he considers himself Atheist. He told me that although he is Atheist, he has not told his parents given their strong faith. I found this to be interesting because I’m also in a similar situation. Although I was brought up Catholic, I consider myself to be Agnostic and often refrain from letting my parents, particularly my mother, know this fact so I don’t offend them.

Joseph also enjoys listening to music. Given that he is a delivery driver for Papa John’s Pizza, he spends a lot of time in the car, which is where he listens to a majority of his music. Joseph told me that he primarily listens to rock from the 1960s and 1970s. I can relate to this because I also enjoy listening to a lot of bands from the 60s and 70s like the Velvet Underground, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin, among many others.

Afterwards we talked about our current education and what our plans were for the future. Joseph is unsure, like many other college students, of what he wants to do in the future, let alone what major he wants to pick. I myself face this dilemma quite regularly. We also discussed how ultimately there’s a conflict between what we would like to do and what our parents or other exterior forces tell us we should do. Despite this conflict, we both were sure that we would both figure out lives as it goes on.
Talking with Joseph was a very pleasurable experience and it felt refreshing to discuss my interests and life issues with someone who held similar thoughts as me.

Week 10: Activity – Student Choice

The world of art spans a vast, seemingly endless array of different and related mediums. Though art is often limited in the minds of most people to painting or drawing, these certainly are not the only mediums that exist. In fact, especially now in the 21st century, there is an abundance of various artistic styles available, from photography to sculpture, from architecture to music. Art is everywhere in our daily lives and has been ever since since the dawn of man, fulfilling our human need to express ourselves. Personally, I take a great interest in art and its many manifestations because I am fascinated by the many ways people express themselves. However of these many forms, I take particular interest in film, photography, and music. This is why I have chosen to combine these elements for my activity for Week 10.

Being interested in music, I have been playing the guitar for over 4 years and have participated in several musical projects and endeavors with my musician friends, one of whom is my neighbor named Jack Mills. Together we have played in the same band, and still continue to make music together under the name Zen Diagram. Under this moniker, we currently have three songs, the newest of which is titled “Insides” and was written and recorded this past week. Given my interest in music, I found it appropriate to exhibit this particular song for my Week 10 activity. On this track, I played the guitar, bass and melodica while Jack was in charge of singing and backing vocals. Lyrics were a dual effort by both of us. The song itself was written and recorded over a period of 4 days in Jack’s father’s personal recording studio in his home.

Insides – Zen Diagram    https://soundcloud.com/jackmillzz/insides-zen-diagram

Zen Diagram Setlist    https://soundcloud.com/jackmillzz

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I have also gained an interest in film and, more recently, photography. This was particularly due to me finding a Polaroid camera at a Goodwill for $10 and also me receiving an HD Nikon Coolpix L830 camera for Christmas. But for this project I wanted to focus on using the Polaroid for the vintage, aged feel it gives to its photos. Given that we needed a cover photo for “Insides” as well as for the other two songs, we decided to go around the area to take photos with the Polaroid. Out of it, we got two photos that we thought were appropriate for the songs and for the last picture, we used one of the many photos I had taken already, this particular one being one of my street. In addition, I began filming a music video with for one of our other songs , titled “Fences”, with Jack this break although I was not able to get all the footage that was needed for it.

Because Jack goes to school at the University of Washington, we do not have as many chances to write and record as we did before. Therefore we can only make music when he is back home for vacations, this past week being his Spring break. I was happy that this coincided well with the assignment of the Week 10 Activity, because for me, music is an area that I take a particular interest in and one that I am consistently inspired and moved by. My creativity is also bolstered by music and it allows me to incorporate and combine with it my other artistic interests, like film and photography. Given these circumstances, I found it very fitting to write a song for my activity. Also, being a Pre-Film major, I also found it appropriate to film a music video for one of our songs, though it remains unfinished, and to take pictures out of of both interest and a desire to practice my camera angling. However, although the focus of the activity is the song, it has also led to the progression of our musical endeavors as a whole as well. Overall I found the outcome of the activity to be satisfactory and rewarding, and the process of creating it to be very enjoyable.