WK 10- Artist Conversation-Tony Nguyen

Artist: Tony Nguyen

Exhibition: Neoteny

Media: Metal

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Website: eltigresite.wordpress.com

Instagram: elll_tigre

Down at the CSULB’s Merlino Gallery, I had to pleasure of meeting Tony Nguyen. Mr. Nguyen is finishing up his last semester as an undergraduate student of the BFA in the Metal program.  He mentioned that his Vietnamese culture inspires his work and enjoys incorporating his culture into his artwork. Also, he said that he decided to name his exhibition “Neoteny” after he had a conversation with a famous metalsmith/jeweler. Each piece in his exhibition took about 4-6 weeks to complete, procrastination included.

When I first saw “Neoteny,” I noticed the beautiful metal toy dispenser machine, it brought me back to my childhood when I used to beg my parents to give you quarters so that I can get those cheap plastic jewelry/toy from those machines. Speaking of jewelry/toy, there was a ton of those in this exhibition. Mr. Nguyen had 15 pieces displayed that included a necklace, crown, figurines, and toy dispenser that were all made out of metal. At first glance, I thought that the only thing in common that all these pieces had is that they are all made out of metal but the more I heard Mr. Nguyen explain what his piece are about I realized that that is not everything they have in common. They were all related because they have to do with his childhood memories.

Mr. Nguyen explained that he got the name “Neoteny” from a well-known metalsmith/jeweler and that like him at first and mostly all of us in the room didn’t know what it meant. After he was told the definition which is “when an organism or individual maintains juvenile behaviors into adulthood,” he knew immediately that was going to be his title because it describes him and his work perfectly. Through his artwork, he wants to bring a smile on our faces by creating a sense of nostalgia for our childhood/youth. He feels like many of us have forgotten what it was like to be a child and hopes that by sharing what kept him occupied during his childhood would remind us what we were like at that age. He also said that he enjoyed making this piece because it was like he was reliving his childhood in his adult life.

I found this exhibition unique and very nostalgic. I enjoyed how every piece he created had a story behind it and that I can also relate to some of his stories. I particularly liked the metal toy dispenser one and felt like I can relate to that one the most because who didn’t like wasting quarters on cheaply made things while they were young? It felt like I had just won a million bucks whenever I would get the “prettiest” jewelry/toy from the toy dispenser. I thought it was very cool that he recreated his favorite childhood memories and decided to showcase them for us to see.

WK 10- Art Activity- Fiber Art Social Network

When I hear the term “Social Network” I have been conditioned to think about the online and mobile tools that connect me to people in cyberspace. It is rare for me to relate my real life friends to my “Social Network” friends even though I sometimes communicate with them through social media. I guess the reason why I distinguished my real life friends with my “Social Network” friends is because my real life friends I see them on daily basis therefore making my bond with them stronger unlike the ones on social media who I rarely see face to face. Furthermore, I think that Dunbar’s Number is still high because I value quality over quantity when it comes to people that I want to be friends with. The same thought of quality over quantity can be applied to those people who have 1,000 and up Facebook “friends” because there’s no way one person can be close to 1,000 and up friends. I don’t even think the word “friend” can be applied in that situation, it’s more like acquaintances. You may just have them for occasions like maybe you want to go out and this person is always going to parties so let me talk to them. I guess what I’m trying to say is that “friends” like that serve for connection purposes. In addition, when I was creating my own personal Social Network I was surprised that only a handful of people came to my head, I had to look in my phone contacts to see who else I was missing. Also, I had the same issue when I was doing the Art110 Social Network on Wednesday, after about 3 people I couldn’t remember who else I had connected with and was surprised when I found out about the other people I had talked to in class. Additionally, my Personal Number to have meaningful relationships would be between 10-20 people. Lastly, on Facebook I have close to 500 friends but in reality I don’t even talk to the majority of them but I once talked to my old elementary best friend who found me on Facebook and through her I found the rest of my elementary class and we created a Facebook group where we all update each other with what’s going on in our lives.20161030_173109

WK 9-Artist Conversation- Dalia Bañuelos and Daniel-Bonilla Vera

Artist: Dalia Bañuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera

Exhibition: Infraction

Media: Photography, graphics, installation

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery 

Website: dbvphotography.com

Instagram: @daliaeffect & @dbvqp

 This week, I had the pleasure to see “Infraction” created by Dalia Bañuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera. However, I only had the chance to speak to Mr. Bonilla-Vera. From our talk, I learned that he is from Central Valley and moved closer to Long Beach so that he can attend CSULB. He is an undergraduate senior who is majoring in studio art and wants to pursue a career in photography. Both him and Ms. Bañuelos were rejected from the BFA program. Unfortunately, Ms. Bañuelos was rejected both times she applied and Mr. Bonilla-Vera found out later on Wednesday if he made it. Hopefully, he did.

When I first stepped into the Merlino Gallery and looked at “Infraction” I immediately thought it had a creepy vibe and I actually got scared when I noticed the crouched up body connected to a bunch of yarn. I actually had left this exhibition and went to observe other artwork but then I had a change of heart and decided to go back and actually see what was displayed in this exhibition. When I went back, I noticed things that I definitely didn’t notice the first time, like how all the yarn was intertwined with different photos and that most of the photos were black and white. I also, noticed that there were two bodies, one lying down facing the corner of the wall and one in the center crouched up.  There was also a trash can by the entrance of the gallery and all the images connected by the yarn lead to that trash can.

According to Mr. Bonilla-Vera, they took their rejection into the BFA program really hard and that motivated them to create “Infraction.” The trash can that I mentioned above actually had a deeper meaning. The reason they lead all their displayed images to the trash can is because they felt the art they produce “belongs” in the trash can. Their rejection made them feel that the art they make is not worthy. However, they made this exhibition so that they can express their feelings and to show that they are proud of their work despite being rejected into the BFA program.

Honestly, I said it before but I’m going to say it again, my initial reaction was being creeped out and scared but once I got over the shock I actually really liked it. I was actually impressed that all the photos were by one long and continuous strand of yarn. Their photography was actually impressive and at first, I thought it was fake because I’ve never seen something like that. But after speaking to him, I was baffled that they took all the pictures and was convinced that they had real talent. And that made me wonder why they got rejected and what it takes to get into the BFA program. I feel like they shouldn’t have gotten rejected if whatever they applied with was anything near their exhibition.

WK 9- Art Activity- Art Care Package

I decided to send my art care package to my brother who lives across the hall from me. He’s working on his BFA in graphic design so I thought an art care package would be a great thing to send him since he’s running low on art supplies. In my art care package, I included the majority of the things that came in the art kit I bought for this class. I included the sketch book, spray paints, pastels, paint, spray paints, a brush, scented markers, colorful zip ties, sketching pencil and a $1 coupon to Wetzel’s Pretzels. He thought it was thoughtful of me to send it to him and ended up keeping the majority of the things in the art care package. He especially loved the coupon for Wetzel’s Pretzels!

WK 8-Classmate Conversation-Malina Im

While I was sketchiimg_19141ng in the garden, I had to pleasure of getting to know Malina Im. Like me, she is also a sophomore at CSULB. However, she is a part-time student majoring in business marketing and at the moment she is working in retail. She also enjoys going to the beach, scrap booking, drinking coffee, and loves furry animals especially cats, dogs, and pandas. Another fun fact about her is that she loves going to Target because they have the cutest things ever (I know right). Target is so spot on with the things they have! Furthermore, in response to the question of the week, she felt like sharing a ceramic vase that she created in middle school because she has a passion for ceramics. She feels that out of all the ways one can create art, ceramics is her favorite because it involves using her hands and to her it feels relaxing. The reason is sharing her ceramic vase is because she believes others should experience working with ceramics because she truly believes it’s one of the more outgoing ways to create something.

WK 8- Art Activity- Sketching in the Garden

This week I went to CSULB’s Japanese Garden for the second time since I’ve attended Long Beach State.  For this week’s art activity blog, I chose to share my experience and drawings for the 10 30 -second sketches (upper left picture), 5-minute sketch (upper right picture), and the 5-minute contour drawing of my hand (bottom picture). For the 10 30-second sketches, it was fun and entertaining trying to find ten things that are easy enough to draw in 30-seconds. After about 6 of those little sketches, I actually struggled to find the remaining amount of sketches I needed and had to ask people around me to see what they were drawing. For the 5-minute sketch, I knew immediately what I wanted to draw. However, due to my lack of artistic skills, my sketch didn’t come out to be as amazing as other people’s sketches that I saw but it was still very relaxing and peaceful to draw such a beautiful scene. Furthermore, I saved my favorite drawing for last, I love how it came out especially for a blind contour drawing. Once I got the flow of not looking at the paper when I was sketching my hand, I was able to finish the front of my hand in under 2 minutes which inspired me to do the palm side of my hand and for some reason, I feel like those two blind contour drawings came out better than the sketches I did when I was looking at the paper.

Week 7- Artist Conversation- Dulce Soledad Ibarra

Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Manos De Oro
Media: Sculpture, Paint
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery East                                      Instagram: N/A
Website: dulcesoledadibarra.com 

This week I met a very talented artist down at the Gatov East Gallery. She goes by the name Dulce Soledad Ibarra and created the exhibition titled Manos De Oro. Ms. Ibarra is a senior at CSULB and is working on her BFA in the School of Art’s Sculpture Program. She is currently 25 years young and grew up in Chino, CA but now lives and works in Long Beach, CA. She also mentioned that her father is a gardener and that is what inspired her to create her art piece. Through her art piece she wanted to shed the negative connotation that she received once she mentioned that her dad is a gardener.

Her exhibition Manos De Oro, is beyond beautiful.  I loved how she included lawn mowers and lined them with gold silk fabric. Also, every other gardening tool that she had displayed had gold aspects to it. I found the incorporation of the gold color to be fascinating because it really made the tools stand out against the white walls and the artificial grass. I also appreciate how she informed us that it took her a very long time for her to gather all the materials used in her art piece. That just shows how committed and motivated she was to shed a new light on gardeners.

As mentioned previously, Ms. Ibarra tried to change the prejudice people have toward her father’s job through her art piece. In her art piece, she made a tribute to her father’s hands therefore symbolizing the long hours of hard work and dedication on his gardening job. She also, mentioned that growing up she didn’t receive many toys but once her family saved up money and decided to gift her a gold cross which is when she discovered she is allergic to gold. According to Ms. Ibarra, that moment was crucial to her because she felt she was being punished for being ashamed of her father’s job and therefore she didn’t deserve luxuries. Through her artwork, she embraced two major aspects in her life by including various gardening tools and covering them in gold.

As I walking through her art piece, I experienced major nostalgia. It brought me back to when I used to help my dad with up keeping our old house.  My dad loved gardening and even did it professionally for a while before finding a better paying job, so when I got to talk to Ms. Ibarra I felt very connected to her and her art piece. However, I never felt ashamed like how she felt for a while because I was too young but if I was older I’m sure that the negative connotation would have gotten to me. However, I personally feel that no matter what job you have, it is always going to be a respectable one if you are giving it your all and are proud of what you do. So I find it silly that people feel the need to give honorable jobs like gardening and being a janitor such a hard time.