Art In My Life

I actually stopped working on art I was doing to write this. I was actually excited about this essay, probably one of the only times I’ve ever felt excited about an essay. Even though this was my least academic class, I only skipped it 3 times. When I have been in this class, I felt like this was how school was supposed to be like. We got to think for ourselves, with no punishment for a wrong answer, just encouragement to think a different way than we have before. To me, that is the most important thing. No matter what it is about, looking at things a different way and trying to understand things you don’t understand is one of the most important things in life. And I think this open-minded way of looking at things has to do with art. I’ve always done art, my whole life, and I actually originally came to this school for fashion design. I switched from fashion design as my major   it ruined it for me. The second I had a requirement or due date, I couldn’t do it, and the work didn’t seem like the dream it once had but more like any other schoolwork, stressful, rushed, and done only to receive a grade. Before, when I would make clothes for fun and design things, it was on my terms and I loved it. I could just draw and create any masterpiece in my head and it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever felt. But school and life took the magic out of that too. I think the way people are taught to see things is too literal, we think “what is this” instead of “why is this.” We have a hard time imagining the possibilities because we are built to find the answer, and then be done with it. When we stop, like the popular saying “stop to smell the roses,” to take time and really think about something, there becomes so much more.

I realized recently that I’m happiest when I behave like a child, but act like an adult. I know that sounds sketchy, but hear me out. Children see the world the way it was meant to be seen, with endless potential and constant entertainment. Children don’t care what anybody thinks about them, they wear what they want and eat what they want and they are mainly focused on just doing what makes them happy. Kids want to know everything and see everything and try everything, and when I started doing the same, life felt better, and art felt better. This was kind of a tangent, but it had a point. When I started doing art with the mindset of a kid, art was easier, made me less mad, and became everything. When I dyed my hair the first time, I thought of it as an art project. I made a dress for a Christmas party once, took me 30 hours, that was art. I rearrange and decorate my room, I do makeup, and just live like life is art in itself, no mistakes, endless curiosity, constant potential for new things. If I continue to live this way, then everyday things become art, and it will surround, my whole life. 

So I’m from Portland, and I don’t know what you think of Portland, but I know we have a little bit of a reputation. Where I grew up, I was surrounded by art. Everywhere I went there was art. We saved art programs all across the city, there are murals on every surface, and countless brightly painted buildings. Where you’re in Portland, you feel comfortable, and after coming to LA, I can tell you it feels like you’re in a cozy room covered in windows, but in the forest. You feel safe, and it feels like a home. Art surrounds a Portlander’s life. The nature, of course, is art in itself. But the way people live feels different. People wear weird things and have weird jobs and and everyone shops at Trader Joes and no one cares. No one cares about getting wet in the rain, or traffic, or if anyone is judging them. People just do what they feel like, and embrace and accept the world around them while always being open to seeing what it could be. And for real though, we do have real-life hippies, white people with dreads who homeschool their kids and own goats and have piercings and tattoos and big flowy skirts and yes, everyone smokes weed, all the time. But this culture is more that just a “Keep Portland Weird” advertising agent. This is genuinely how people are happy to live their lives, and the place I grew up is where they came to do so, in a place free of expectations and judgements. 


Environmental Portrait

This environmental portrait shows some important aspects of who I am. It shows a lot of color, in my clothes, hair, the couch, and my surroundings. It shows bright lights and me smiling. These aspects reference how I make sure to keep my childlike side; how I can mature and grow while still having fun and finding wonderful little things in life. I am also in The Grove, which is a large outdoor shopping mall in Los Angeles. This is somewhere I have been going since I was a very young child when I would visit my family in LA. Every time I have been to the Grove, I have been in a very different place in life, as visits were usually at least a year apart. I wanted this to show that there are always core things that will never change, but they can grow and evolve to become even better.

I think I did a good job, and I thought this through very well. I wanted the location to have a meaning, as well and my facial expression, body position, and surroundings. I don’t think I would change anything, as I am very happy with the depth and meaning as well as the picture itself.

Meteor Crater

Katie Marshall

MFA Thesis Exhibition

Like the Northern lights had enrolled in a geometry class, the colors lined up, sometimes pressing right together and sometimes separated by the logical black strip of the background of the universe. As she observed the beauty of the impossibly far away mess of colors, her eyes closed and she felt the rush through her body, and as her eyes opened the colors no longer showed up in the distance, but enveloped her body. She moved in and out of the colors, each one giving her a completely different sensation. As she drifted through the transition of light and dark blue, she felt her body enclosed in the similar way as it was when she swam the ocean. Soon she had moved through to an almost imperceptible patch of red, transporting her to times when her rage was so loud it could burst a room. She moved quickly through that, excited for the new feelings each color would present to her body. She moved quicker now, as she could feel the dark transitioning into light. Yellow: pure joy, mixed with the feeling of weightlessness. Orange: a burst of immense energy, as if she had suddenly aged backwards into a toddler. Pale green: the falling of laying on the grass on the first nice day of spring, a breeze in the air but protected from cold by the sun. Grey: waking up from a nap at 4 pm, with nothing to do and unsure whether to go back to sleep or watch Netflix. Pink: touching a person you love, feeling the smile on your face and seeing the smile on your loved ones. And finally, what she had been waiting for: pure white, as she ran into her favorite, most blinding star in the galaxy. Pure clarity, knowing everything yet knowing that she knows nothing. Feeling every pure, beautiful feeling of peace. And then, in an instant, it was morning, and she opened her eyes to find herself crouched on her stargazing platform, the sun shining and her heart at peace.

Night came again, as it always must. Her body relaxed as she prepared to release herself from the stress of existence and her eye closed in on the opening of the telescope. And instantly, her body was enveloped. A new night, and new universe. Beginning in a maze, just brief contact with the sky, and then the same as a firework on the fourth of July, an explosion. Her body spun through every color, as the universe had decided to become a rainbow this night. She noticed islands broken off of the rainbow, and embraced her curiosity. Landing on one, she felt herself above, looking down on such beauty. She took the time on these starry islands to feel how it feels to observe a miracle, to witness such greatness from the outside, Somewhat lonely, but necessary in order to truly appreciate. She jumped from island to island, taking in the expansion and creativity from the sky, escaping from reality to feel what few people allow themselves to feel, a total release and complete acceptance. She closed her to enjoy, as she felt the colors fade as the sun overtook the sky, and opened her eyes to find herself in her own world, with her best friend the telescope. Time for another day.

Despite a beautiful beginning to the day, life does not always follow our expectations. As she reunited her eye to the telescope, she was plunged into a turmoil of grey, spinning and making her dizzy. She felt the chaos fully, refusing to ignore or push it away, feeling it with her whole soul. She felt as the bursts of color that was comets shooting through the sky plunged into the absence of color, and she felt a bit of relief. She had taken her time to experience something she had not been looking for, and now that she had the chance to feel that, her universe expanded to welcome a beautiful burst of color. She smiled as she felt the color, and sighed as it faded into light. Another night in the sky was over.

She returned to her gateway to the sky with her heart heavy and her mind still trapped in the happenings of the day. Her eye met the telescope once again, and she was thrown into a tornado, and although this tornado was surrounded by less than perfect beauty, it had much to say to her. Full of bright colors moving impossibly fast, she saw herself in this tornado. She saw the beauty and meaning in this tornado, that despite the rest of the sky attempting to dismantle this beautiful mess of existence, it stood strong and weathered the storm. Her heart was full. And although the sun was making its return to the sky, she always had her nightly visits with the universe to remind her of all the beauty life has to hold.

Artist Conversation due 4/16

Kelly Campanella is a young woman who has moved around many times in her life. Since the age of 20, she has moved 15 times! While originally from San Francisco, she currently resides in Long Beach to finish up her degree. She has always been interested in drawing and painting, but has recently shifted to more sculptural.

This artwork was not what one would call conventional art. The observer walks into a small room, greeted by a welcome mat. When they look inside, they see a floor covered in a wide array of carpet squares, each with a different texture, color, and design. In the middle sits a deconstructed couch, one of Kelly’s past belongings that she was no longer in need of. Everything is colorful and invokes a different feeling, and nothing fits yet everything fits. It feels like it could almost be a home.

Kelly has spent her life moving from place to place, so it’s no wonder that it plays such an important role in her art. At a young age she became interested in the concept of a home, and what it means to have one, and whether one really has a home or not. She acknowledges that home can be a source of trauma and pain, but it also can be very comforting and safe. She continuously explores how a home can alter a person, and if we ever really know where our home is. Yet another topic to explore, Kelly is interested in how things we once cherished can so easily become meaningless or painful.

This piece of art brought up a lot of topics that I really resonated with and Kelly brought up a lot of things that made me question. I grew up in Portland but now live in LA, a place I cherished as a child and now the location of some of my most significant life experiences, and it made me wonder if LA was really my home, and if not, could it ever be? Does my home have to be the place I learned how to ride a bike and made my first friend and sat in the corner for timeout, or can I make a new place my home? I am still wondering, and I am very glad I got the chance to experience this intriguing artist and her work.

Lucy Erickson 🙂

Artist conversation #3

This ceramics artist is a transfer from Cerritos College as is in the art program, look to get her BFA in ceramics. She started out in chemistry to become a pharmacist, but one of her professors got her into ceramics. She took multiple art courses, and finally decided to just switch her major to something she loved and connected with more.

The artwork is full of designs, color, and intriguing style. She uses all different colors, from black to pastels, to give each piece of artwork it’s own feeling. She incorporates these colors into the designs she makes on her pieces. She likes to show off her personality in her pieces, using smiley faces, strong lines, cute designs and combinations of everything. The technique and style in each piece is a little different and gives off a different feel. In one of her pieces, she paints bright yellow smiley faces, some upside down, with black paint dripping from them and pastels in the background, making it feel almost sinister.

This personal analysis might be redundant, as the artist herself says that the colors were completely random, and that the broken pieces were also random. She says that her inspiration is that women aren’t meant to be muscular, but I had a hard time seeing that in her pieces. She admits that she is still learning, but loves ceramics because of the engagement with the clay and with yourself. She would like to become a teacher of ceramics, but is not sure which level. She hopes to bring her love and connection with ceramics to her future students.

As I said before, I didn’t see what the artist meant in her artwork. I felt more like the artwork was a bit sinister almost, with the dripping smiley faces and broken pieces and odd color combinations. This was an artist I did not connect with as I have the other ones; her style doesn’t inspire me and makes me a little uncomfortable even. Despite this, her pieces were beautiful and strange and interesting.

Finger painting

This was such a fun assignment! I had a lot of acrylic paints, so I could make any color I wanted, and I had a lot of fun mixing the colors with my hands and trying to get the best ones. It was harder than I had expected to create exactly what I had wanted, so I adapted what I was previously doing to something where I felt more free to use my hands to paint. It is very different using hands rather than a paintbrush, both freeing and more frustrating. With a paintbrush it’s easier to be very exact and controlling, and painting with your hands is as well, but in a different way. I think this is because when you are painting with your hands, you get to control the paint directly where a paintbrush you control it indirectly, and it feels very different. The way fingers apply paint was frustrating at first, but I slowly adapted as I did it more and learned from trial and error what works for certain things and what doesn’t work for other things. I did look at some of examples of finger painting before I did this assignment myself, and when I saw the paintings it seemed easy to do. But the experience itself is very different. I did really enjoy this assignment, and it made me realize that finger painting is not just for messy toddlers!

Design Thinking

Trying to summarize the life you want is much more difficult than i thought it would be, but it was interesting to think and consider it. My current idea for my future begins with a college education and hopefully extends to getting a Psy. D. Once I finish my college education, I want to pursue a job as a therapist, beginning at an office and practice, and once I get my career going I want to open a nonprofit. This nonprofit would provide foster kids and homeless kids with free therapy services to help them deal with the trauma they experience. I would like to be able to travel a lot and learn languages and have new experiences all the time, and to be able to see family and friends often as well as taking care of and spending time with my future nieces and nephews.

If this plan for my life suddenly because impossible, I would pursue a career in fashion design. I would get a BFA in fashion design and go to FIDM for school, and then move back to Portland, Oregon and work at the national headquarters designing for Adidas. I would live closer to my immediate family and continue to spend time having new experiences and exploring new things, as well as taking care of and spending time with my future nieces and nephews.

If I could do anything and be completely financially stable, I would stay in college to get a BFA in Psychology as well as to live the college lifestyle, and then I would immediately begin a nonprofit for homeless and foster kids and hire people to run it while I could travel anywhere and I would get beautiful apartments in my favorite cities and I would be able to see my family and friends whenever I wanted and I could help them nay way they needed. I would learn new languages, try new things, and spend time helping people.
-Lucy Erickson

Artist conversation- Jaqueline

Jaqueline is an art student at CSULB who just recently, about 5 years ago, got into painting. She makes painting to highlight women of color, especially women who own cars, as she herself does. She is a Low Rider and is very involved in that culture, and cares about her car a lot. Her style is abstract mixed with realistic, and she loves working with colors. When she finishes college, she wants to take a couple of years off before starting her own studio where she can display her art and have art classes.

Lines, shapes and colors are very important in Jaqueline’s art pieces. The lines guide your attention through the piece in a very pleasing way, and show the contrast between colors and shapes. The lines are important because they show the division in the piece between the different sections and also bring together specific parts. They also separate the colors, which are also very important in this piece. The colors draw your attention and dis[play the important areas of the piece. When you look at these pieces the first thing you see are the bright blocks of colors and the figure and car in the image, which is exactly what Jaqueline wanted, to make a loud image about women of color to make sure that they will not be ignored. The colors and lines of this piece also convey the same tone as the streets of downtown LA, the location these pieces depict, with the neon bright colors and the architecture mixed with abstract shapes.
Since being a Low Rider is such an important part of Jacquline’s life, naturally it is something that plays an important role in her art. As a Low Rider, a woman, and a person of color, Jaqueline has notices how poorly women are treated within this culture; often ignored, assumed to be driving their boyfriend’s car, or condescended. The loudness of her paintings addresses how ignored women, especially women of color, are in this Low Rider culture, and makes her work impossible to ignore with the intense, bright colors. She hopes the color forces the observer to look at it, and intends to catch people off guard with the color and style of her piece.

This art exhibit was very moving and enlightening for me. I loved listening to Jacqueline talk, and I appreciated her sharing her experiences, in life and in art. Her take on art is very interesting and inspiring to me, and I really enjoyed difference between abstract and observational, and the colors made it very interesting and caught my attention. She is also part of a very specific culture as a woman of color within the Low Rider culture, and it was very eye opening to hear about her experiences first as a woman, which I can relate to and understand, and then as a person of color, where I could listen to her perspective and try to understand what it must be like for her. She combines a beautiful art style with an interesting take on life to make absolutely fantastic, eye-catching, moving pieces of art to share.

-Lucy Erickson

Plaster casting- Intro to the Visual Arts 110

Although the weather was not ideal, this assignment turned out to be very fun! My friend Alanna and I arrived at the beach to clouds and cold, but we quickly got to work making the molds of our hands. It was difficult on the first couple of tries, but we eventually figured out that pouring water over our hand while it was still in the sand made the mold hold a lot better. Once they were finished we dug them out and although a finger broke off one of them, they turned out great! I was excited a this is my first time doing any kind of project like this. I would definitely do something like this again since we had a such a good time, but I can’t think of another way to use this method. If I did try this again, I would definitely go on a sunnier day, and I would like to try being more creative with the shape of our molds and seeing what kind of other things we could do with this.

Lucy Erickson