Wk 4 – Gallery Visit / Artist Interview – Mitch Springer

This week’s galleries have hands down been the best so far. It was really hard to choose a favorite when the options consist of exhibits like the pink furry wall, amazing glasswork sculpture, and colorful and masterfully disproportional sculptures of people. I eventually decided to interview Mitch Springer, whose work I would say seems straightforward but actually gets more complex on further inspection. Ironically, Mitch himself is the same way. He was hanging out by the table reading a book when I approached him expecting a conversation just about his work yet I ended up with topics such as science and naturally occurring phenomena.

I first asked about how he blended the colors on the above picture (which I’m a fool for not getting the name of) expecting to get back a response about a straightforward painting technique. Instead he starts to explain to me that the color actually comes from the atmosphere of the kiln, the reds stemming from the amount of carbon and the blue stemming from the amount of oxygen. My next question was about the cracked texture, which was interestingly enough done by experimenting with different materials and heat adjustment. The slab against the wall is actually two layers, the back that always stays the same size and the front which actually expands and contracts based on the different rates of temperature increasing and decreasing. The stagnant size of the back piece then forces the front to stretch and eventually crack.

We then talked about his influences and what got him into this medium. He said he’s always liked pottery which then got him into ceramics. He really likes the process of making it and then firing it in the kiln, which then translates to an appreciate for the processes that nature goes through to create stalactites and stalagmites. This ever shifting characteristic also appeals to Mitch because, using his method, he can stop the process when he wants and capture where it is in the process almost as if he was freezing time. For instance in the picture below, the liquid on the hand mold was molten but he managed to rapidly cool it so that the drips on the underside solidified in their current positions.

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On a sidenote, in conversation he mentioned that his twin brother, Mike, makes compositionally expansive folk music under the name Black Kaweah. My good friend, Andy, and I looked it up, it was phenomenal, and you can find it here on this page: http://www.blackkaweahmusic.com/

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Wk 4 – Classmate Interview – Maeghan McBee

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Maeghan McBee, a sophomore here at CSULB currently in the criminal justice major. She is from Norcal, more specifically Brentwood, and she was influenced by watching CSI: Las Vegas with her grandmother.  We talked about her interest in relation to careers and she says that she would like to be a detective because of the job’s tendency to be non-repetitive as each case is always going to be different. If being a detective doesn’t work out, she says she might like to look into a job in the field of rehabilitation. The field of criminal justice appeals to her at lot because she likes to know that justice is being done but also to know that people are being helped to live good lives even after the criminal justice system has been applied, a very noble view on the field in my opinion.

I then asked what her outside-school interests were and she mentioned painting, more specifically watercolor. She’s been painting on and off since she was little and mentioned really liking what you can do with texture and brushstroke. In her cherry blossom painting below, you can see an example of that with the streak background. I also liked another painting she did of an eye, which was interesting in watercolor because of color choice.

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We talked about which art galleries from that week we liked and she was drawn to one with various layers of melted down glass into different shapes and textures. She said it reminded her of coral and tide pools, especially when the artist used shards of more colorful glass. We talked about the more shapeless pieces and transitioned into talking about abstract art and other mediums she enjoys, such as black & white photography. She says sometimes with a black and white photograph, she feels that she can see details that she may not pick up in a color picture because the color itself can be a distraction.

Lastly, we talked about her hobbies and how she spends her free time left after school and painting. She mentioned that she likes to go hiking, a hobby we share, and reading, a hobby that we definitely do not share. I do understand the appeal though, because she mentioned that both hobbies were a form of escape and that you can really immerse yourself in a book. Even though she hasn’t watched much of the show, she is currently reading Orange is the New Black.

Check out her blog here: http://maeghanmcbee.wordpress.com/

WK 3 – Activity – Kickstarter

The above is my favorite Kickstarter because I actually knew about the event through means other than Kickstarter. LA Psych Fest has been around for three years now and I have heavily considered going the last two years (because those were the only two where I was old enough to actually go), but I attended neither year for reasons such as money and bad timing. Regardless, the mini festival has gotten well off the ground since and now has their event annually and that makes me happy because a psychedelic music festival funded by the people that are going to attend the music festival just seems so right.

My good friend Andy and I have take to Kickstarter as well to see if we can crowdfund some visuals for our live show. We’ve gone through the process of actually creating the Kickstarter page for it [but Amazon is like a damn maze that wants all my banking info and is taking 5 – 7 business days to confirm god-knows-what]. Frustrations aside, we put together a quick video laying out all the information and set the bar fairly low so we could at least buy one pretty sweet laser…..because lasers are pretty sweet.

Check out our band’s brand spankin’ new facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PlasticCastle

WK 3 – Gallery Visit / Artist Interview – Jesse Lubben

This week’s galleries were finally back to the regular schedule, where around four artists that all usually go to CSULB each have a small exhibit to themselves. I’m glad these artists in particular were given the space because they all had works on the larger scale. Furthermore I was intrigued by the mind-warping work of Jesse Lubben, who I had the pleasure of interviewing.

Jesse starts by taking an aimless drive, usually in nature, until he sees something or finds a place that catches his eye. He then walks around letting his camera guide him to what will be the subject of each work, sort of. He then takes those photos, color adjusts them, rips them up, folds them, creates 3D objects with them and rephotographs the new creation. He even goes through this process multiple times sometimes, but it all makes sense in the way that it creates a truly unique and multi-dimensional array of shapes and colors.

When asked about his artistic background, he said he’d been drawing geometric designs since about high school but has studied art at CSULB for three years. When asked about his influences, he mentioned the writing of Loren Eisley, who talked about the geographic history about any one object in any given environment. He says that the Eisley’s writing helps him to think about what went into something as simple as a building being in a certain place. The materials had to all be gathered from somewhere and put together obviously, but furthermore one thinks about the rock used to build the building, and what cosmic collisions and weather shaped the original structure that the rock could have come from. This philosophy is very relevant because Jesse’s work forces you try to retrace what steps he may have taken, bit by bit, and what the original image may be.

Lastly we talked about art as a concept. I love that sometimes the perspective and angles of Jesse’s work don’t make a lot of sense and he said that most good art has some kind of contradiction. He also mentioned that humans have an engrained desire to want to solve things and so his work forces you to appreciate for long periods of time because it’s virtually unsolvable.

Check out his work here: http://jesselubben.com/

WK 3 – Classmate Interview – Carina LaMarchina

This week I branched out a bit and interviewed Carina LaMarchina. When I asked about her pre-college background, she told me she is from Thousand Oaks, California and went to an independent private high school with an altered format for gearing its students up for the college experience, which I found interesting. She is currently a Freshman sociology major but she is looking to get into something more along the lines of graphic design.

I then asked her what drew her originally to sociology and what now draws her to graphic design. She mentioned that she liked sociology as a subject in high school because it is very broad and that she strayed away from other social sciences like psychology because of how impacted they are as a major. For graphic design, she said that she has an interest in company logos and animation, two very different skillsets that both stem from graphic design. She also mentioned that she likes working with and looking at things that are very colorful.

We then talked about her interests outside of school and she mentioned acting. She didn’t do it within the high school setting itself but during that time she did some acting outside of school and said she recently auditioned for Smosh, notable YouTube channel and web content creators. Considering we had just come out of the galleries, we talked about which gallery we were drawn to. She said she enjoyed Christopher Vavrek’s “server and protect the virus [too big to succeed]” because while it looked like a tech tornado, it still managed to be very colorful and interesting to look at.

Check out her blog here: http://carinalamarchina.com/

WK 2 – Activity – Relational Aesthetics

The assignment this week was to participate in a representative “class selfie” by posting pictures on Instagram with the tag “#Art110F14”. This allowed us to get a collective yet also personal look into the lives of the students participating because the pictures could be of whatever you wanted. The observation that I make is that this creative freedom shows how connected we are ass a class by just being in similar places and situations at similar times. My first post was bright and early in the morning and exploits one of the most common examples of the human condition, running late.

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A good chunk of the posts were from the art galleries we visit weekly, collectively showing different ways that the students of the class actually appreciate art. Here in particular, another friend of the poster’s expresses wanting to go, adding to the idea that gallery visits themselves are a social environment.

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I found this next photo interesting despite how I personally feel about selfies. Pictures like this however, give us a glimpse into the lives of each of us and really shows that humans have an inherent want for representation, although not necessarily attention. We all post online to let the word get a view of us that is catered to be what we want ourselves to look like, whether or not that representation actually gets attention or not.

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I chose to make my last post something personal and somewhat defining of myself, if that’s not too pretentious to say. I’ve been record collecting for years and my Pink Floyd collection in particular is something I’m proud of and am fairly near completing. I suppose this is a good picture because it goes to show that even though I know people post what they would want the world to see, I’m no different. I partake in the same arguably mundane activities and am probably as connected to the grid as the next person in my own way. Now the question becomes, is it an issue?

To see the rest of the posts online, search the tag “#Art110F14” on Instagram

WK 2 – Classmate Interview – Andy Aragon

This week I interviewed my best friend, Andy Aragon. I’ve known him for years, we survived high school together, we create music together, and he’s the homie. We’ve definitely gotten each other through some real shit in each of our lives and continue to do so. That being said, interviewing each other is a bit strange because surface level knowledge of each other would carry little meaning. We decided to rather have a conversation about what our roots are as far as how we understand different concepts of music, the benefits of drawing, and our recent lives to more accurately represent each other as people.

We started by asking each other our first “eye-opener” bands were, in other words, a band that helped us to understand that music is so much more expansive than what’s in your immediate surroundings. He said that his basis was heavily rooted in AC/DC before he stumbled upon OutKast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below, a CD of his brother’s. He said that it destroyed barriers for him and help him to realize that not everything under the umbrella category of “rap” is the repetitive stereotype. Andre 3000’s The Love Below side especially seamlessly fuses hip-hop with jazz, psychedelia, and the euphoric slow-jam, “Protoype”.

We then moved on to what three band we were listening to recently and what we like about them. He first chose Foxygen which I personally know he has listened to more times than any one person should. He says it appeals to the romantic and also embodies a childish freedom and lack of inhibition. His next current kick was David Bowie, which stemmed from the purchase of a particularly good live bootleg and inspires him to sing more. He lastly chose Dead Meadow, particularly the album Howls From The Hills, an album which he proceeded to recommend me. The last one well represents the dynamic of our friendship and the constant flow of music between the two of us.

This conversation led into our songwriting processes. He says when he sets out to write a song, he likes to start out with an emotion and a challenge. For instance he may want to write a sad song but then challenge himself to spin it by making a happy song with sad lyrics. He continues by saying an interesting challenge with music is if you can make something work that doesn’t quite belong. Then from there he likes to make up the melody and go back to make it very rhythmic.

To discuss something other than music for a change, we talked about how we’ve both been drawing lately, a hobby that we’ve both had for a while but Andy is starting to really develop. It’s a good stress reliever, and can still present interesting challenges. A hobby like this is important in both of our lives for various reasons, Andy’s current one is the stress conjured up after an eye-opening care crash. He came away from the crash relatively unharmed, but it presents him with some life obstacles and sparks a bit of a quick mental reevaluation. His observation was that there is only so much he can do with his life without spreading himself thin and that he shouldn’t focus on pride whenever he may be in a situation where he needs to ask for someone’s help. Two lessons that I personally think are imperative to learn in this stage in life.

Check out his blog here: http://andrewraragon.wordpress.com/

Andy in recording mode
Andy in recording mode

WK 2 – Gallery Visit – Evan Trine

This week, GLAMFA was still holding down the fort at CSULB’s on campus galleries. Most everything was the same but this week I was drawn to something a bit more colorful, the work of Evan Trine of Claremont Graduate University.  On the surface it reminds me of what happens to an image after you repeatedly run it through the iPhone’s “Auto-Enhance” filter until the colors distort (I’ll post an example below). That being said, I’m pretty sure Trine’s process is a bit more sophisticated because he mentions that he makes certain adjustments himself based on the color patterns and lines of the image rather than running it through the same process and leaving the result at the mercy of the program and the original image.

He mentions in his artist statement that he wants part of the viewers experience to be influenced by tension and confusion. I would definitely agree that that’s an important part of the thought process for his work because it makes you focus on the abstraction itself and think beyond what the image resembles. For instance, in the work above (The Vegetable Man in the Vegetable Van, 2014, archival pigment print, 40”x60”), I can see that the original image was a structure of sort like a building or a parking garage. After looking at the image for a good amount of time, I interpreted the color spread as representing something more of an aura. I see this structure being consumed by dark energy while the sky cracks to reveal a pillar of light thundering down onto something below. I also see the sky as some sort of grid, entrapping the world’s energy, but not entirely because it seems like the grid itself is deteriorating little by little.

While I’m guess the artist wasn’t intending for that specific interpretation, he wants the viewer to spend time looking at his work to make it an experience. He is always challenging himself to spark a new reaction in the viewer using various combinations and arrangements of color that may or may not be naturally pleasing to the eye. Looking further into his other work not included in the gallery (Animal Noises, pictured below), I understand what he means by this. This piece is my favorite of his because so many abstract representations jump out at you immediately, but it takes time to really decide which representation to fully develop in your mind. Just by the title, one would assume the abrasive and grainy arcs of color represent sound waves expanding, but upon further observation I thought more abstract. Maybe it could represent the phenomena where you can’t necessarily see something yet you can feel its presence, and the presence invokes confusion, fear, or curiosity balled into one. Once again, just my own interpretation.

Check out his GLAMFA feature page here: http://greaterlamfa.com/Glamfa2014/Trine_2014.html

Original / Repeatedly Auto-Enhanced on iPhone, combined in PicStitch
Original / Repeatedly Auto-Enhanced on iPhone, combined in PicStitch
Animal Noises, 2014, archival pigment print, 48”x58”
Animal Noises, 2014, archival pigment print, 48”x58”

Wk 1 – Classmate Interview – Michelle Morte

I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Morte, who I’ve known for a few years prior to this course. Over the years I’ve come to know her, she’s always seemed like the type of person that just wants to enjoy life. She knows what makes her happy and likes to experience a wide range of interests such as travel, photography and gourmet food. More recently, she just launched her own film production label and the first short film is underway. For this interview however, I sought to expand on the knowledge I already had of Michelle and see what shapes her to be the person she is.

I first asked about her aspirations and learned that she wants to really expand her film niche to one day run her own professional film production studio. In terms of the specific product, she enjoys the idea of mostly making short films and music videos which would help to her to keep working on project after project. She excels in that if she is really passionate about something, she can really focus and organize to make sure everything gets done how it’s supposed to and in a timely manner. Especially if she is interested in the project idea itself, as she is with this first film which she also wrote, I’ve seen her be willing to balance stress, time constraints, and apparently a few overactive egos within the field.

That being said she definitely enjoys to relax when she gets the right windows of time. She’s always been easy to get along with because neither of us is the judgement type, and we both enjoy taking a step back from life for a while to sit back and listen to records or watch movies. Furthermore, she says what she thinks and doesn’t beat around the bush. It could be said that there is less brain to mouth filter with Michelle, but if you think about it, that’s definitely for the better. Do you really want to be having a conversation with someone and think about how much they’ve processed what they’re going to say to you in hopes that you don’t get offended? Wouldn’t it make more sense for friends to just say things to each other and then friends say things back without mucking it up with so much thought process?

The conversation lastly shifted to our opinions of authority in context of school and police. While Michelle is a naturally positive person, her trust is to be earned, something the average authority has yet to do. Like many keeping up with current events and living in populous cities with mass intimidating police forces, she is wary of authority figures and their abuse of power. While we shared different perspectives on the topic, we both understand the other’s viewpoint and we’re better friends for the ability to agree to disagree, which also goes to show Michelle is a thinker.

She also had Greek food the day before the interview. She said it was good. I made sure to write that down.

http://imichellemorte.wordpress.com/