Artist: Cayrn Aasness
Media: Weaving, Cloth
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
For this week’s artist conversation I had the chance to talk with Caryn Aasness. Caryn put on an exhibition in the Merlino Gallery at CSULB. Caryn is a senior at CSULB, pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Fiber Art. In her exhibition she shows her appreciation for weaving. She also incorporated sewing and embroidery techniques which were passed down to her from her grandmother. Caryn started to weave about two years ago as she was interested in learning some sort of trade involving textiles.
Caryn’s exhibition is comprised of weaves. At first sight it seems as though there are basically just weaved pieces up on the wall, but the weaves are much more complex than this. Next to each piece is a chart that is twenty-six boxes wide. These twenty-six boxes are for each letter of the alphabet. Within the chart a letter is filled into a box where the letter is to be filled in on the weave. On the actual weaves, you can see where the letter hits as the box on the weave is raised, to make these boxes stand out she used the supplemental warp technique. The largest weave is at the back of the room. This weave is much bigger than the rest and it has a large quote which reads, “TO CALL IT CUTE IS TO MISUNDERSTAND”. This quote was used so that viewers of the exhibition wouldn’t question the context of what she is saying with her work. Caryn said that she averaged about twenty hours on the loom for each weave piece.
When talking with Caryn, I asked her how she got into weaving. Her response was that she was very interested in textiles and desired to acquire a trade involving textiles, which is what lead her to learn how to weave. I then asked her if weaving is prominent in her family, to which she said that no one in her family weaves but her grandmother did teach her how to sew and embroider. Since I did not initially understand the coding within the weaves I had to ask Caryn what exactly the charts meant. She explained how the chart represents each letter of the alphabet; the charts have messages within them but to decode them you must read the chart from top to bottom. The messages within the charts are quotes which Caryn collected. The quotes all somewhat relate to the questioning of structures we live in everyday.
At first look, I thought the exhibition was just simply the pieces up on the wall and the large quote on the biggest piece in the back of the exhibition. I found it cool how Caryn created her own code of sorts and incorporated that into the weaves. This exhibition was partly inspired by Caryn’s dislike for structure. She said she doesn’t like structure, so she enjoyed creating her own structure in the exhibition. I very much enjoyed Caryn’s work, as well as the quotes she collected to incorporate into her work. My favorite quote from her work is, “In the days of youth I was told what it means to be a man.” This exhibition was great because we need artists to question social constructs put in place, some of which are hundreds of years old.
For this week’s classmate conversation I talked with Erika Perez. Erika is a second year film student at CSULB. I asked her what initially sparked her interest in film and what made her want to study film. She said that she began to watch a lot of movies during her junior and senior year of high school and she became fond of film. When I asked her what her favorite movie is she said that she couldn’t pick a favorite movie but she has many movies that she likes a lot. Erika said that she wants to go into the film industry and that she preferably doesn’t want to go into tv or anything like that, she wants to go into film production. We then spoke about the question of the week, “What do you think of fan art?” and “What do you think of Demi Lovato’s negative reaction to her fan art?” Erika said that she thought it was rude of Demi Lovato to put down the fan art because the artist put in a lot of time to create the work which is in admiration of Demi. Demi Lovato shouldn’t have reacted so brutally because the artist’s intent was not to make her angry, the art was created in appreciation for Demi.
Check out her website at erikaperezz.wordpress.com
I think that the term “Social Network” applies to my real life friends but I mostly think of the term in a separate space. I feel that the term “Social Network” refers to strictly what goes on in that cyberspace. Social Networks can connect you to friends you have in real life but it also can connect you to random people who you never would’ve met in real life. It can also connect you to people that share the same interests as you, or even share common friends with you. I agree with Dunbar’s number because there are only a certain number of people which you can have truly stable and consistent social relationships with. After a certain number, the relationships beyond that tend to be very weak and inconsistent. The relationships beyond “150” are mostly limited to liking posts, maybe saying a quick “hi” when encountered in real life, and interactions both online and in real life are typically more far between than those who you share tighter relationships with. I would actually argue that the capacity for close relationships is less than 150 for most people. In addition to this argument, there are far more than two degrees of relationships. An individual might have 5 close friends, 10 less close friends in the same category, then 25 relationships in the next category, and so on. To have 1,000 Facebook friends is a good thing although you may not have the same level of relationship with all 1,000 people.It’s good to have a lot of Facebook friends because it allows you to hold some sort of relationship with these “outlier” friendships. Where in a world without Facebook you would usually just walk by this person if you see them in real life, with that awkward “I’m not sure if they recognize me” interaction. In a world with Facebook where you are liking each others posts, the interaction is less awkward because the relationship is constantly being refreshed in your head although you may not see each other in real life often. When visualizing my social network, I really wasn’t surprised because I know most of my even weak relationships. The aspect that Facebook may bring in is the super outlier friends who I might recognize their face but may have forgot their name; But in those instances, I typically won’t be Facebook friends with those people. I like to keep about 50 close relationships in my life because the more close relationships you have, the more opportunity you have. I do have extra friends with weak ties on Facebook, but I feel like even those people allow me to have even more opportunity. Although I don’t talk to these people often, I can reach them if need be and find some sort of common ground with them whether it be common friends or interests.
Artist: Tony Nguyen
Media: Jewelry, Sculpture, Mixed Media, Etc.
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Merlino Gallery
For this week’s artist conversation I talked with Tony Nguyen who put on the exhibition, NEOTENY. Nguyen is currently a sixth year student at Cal State Long Beach. He is an undergraduate student in the metal-smith program at CSULB. Nguyen made it clear that he considers himself a metalsmith and not a blacksmith. He would like to go into the prop making business. Tony Nguyen is of Vietnamese descent which he proudly displays in some of his work. He displays his family’s struggles of coming to America in his work.
The exhibition NEOTENY is comprised of five separate raised platforms with many different items, ranging from jewelry to a metal hand, to small metal figurines. On the first platform, which is located front and center, there is a small toy capsule vending machine with a bunch of toy capsules in the machine as well as on the floor in front of the machine. The catch is that all the toy capsules are empty. On anther platform there is a large black metal hand, a large wrist cuff with eccentric designs on the outside and a fur lining, then on a separate raised platform there is a beautiful sculpture made out of brass and gold colored metals. Another platform displays a necklace with a red and white face, three rings all made with different metals. One of those rings has a large warrior face with a large king-like crown on it. One the platforms in the back has some cool brass sculptures and a mini planter. The platform in the far left corner contains the top half a female mannequin with a necklace draped on it, it also has six similar figurines that are casually standing around.
The main inspiration behind much of the exhibit is Tony Nguyen’s family and his Vietnamese ancestry. Many of the pieces have Vietnamese influence such as the beautiful jewelry. The necklace draped on the female mannequin continued five pendants which are actually bridges. Nguyen says the bridges symbolize the crossing into America and the American way of life. Also, behind the bridge pendants are engravings containing Nguyen’s brothers name. The bridges represent the struggle of taking on new adventures, going to new places and having to assimilate to a new culture or lifestyle.
When I walked into the exhibition NEOTENY, I was immediately fascinated by all the jewelry, as I have always been fond of jewelry. All the jewelry in this exhibition was very well made and had beautiful craftsmanship. The detail on the rings are amazing. My favorite ring was the transformer-looking ring as it had a beautiful look to it. The lines on this ring were amazing and the ring just had so much energy and character to it. Another piece of jewelry I like was the bridge necklace. I especially liked the bridge necklace because I feel that jewelry should be personal and meaningful. The bridges on the necklace represent Nguyen’s family struggles and the engraving of Nguyen’s brothers name gives it even more meaning. I find this awesome because this piece is very meaningful and close to the artist, as well as his family.
This weekend I visited the Getty Center in Westwood. At the Getty I saw The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis by Jacques-Louis David. David painted this image in the year 1818. I learned that this painting was inspired by a French novel based on characters from Homer’s Odyssey. Telemachus is actually Odysseus’ son and he actually breaks up with Eucharis in order to go on a quest to search for his father, Odysseus. I had a good time at the Getty, riding up the tram you cold see many beautiful Bel Air homes sitting on the other side of the 405 freeway; The view over all of Los Angeles is beautiful.
My art care package was sent to my 16 year old cousin in Miami. The care package contained a rapper from a clif bar I ate, a best buy receipt from a pair of headphones I bought, a headline regarding the latest Donald Trump scandal, an email from postmates stating they are refunding me for the beer I bought on Friday night, and two photos of Steve Mcqueen and Neile Adams with his Ferrari. Sending this art care package was similar to sending a snapchat in that I showed someone what is currently going on in my world around me and what exactly I am showing interest in. It was different from sending a snapchat because you put more thought into it due to the fact that you have to assemble all the items, put them in the envelope and then mail them. I feel like the things you send over snap are less thought out simply because of the convenience of it compared to actually mailing an envelope. I think ephemera is cool because it can include items that are both insignificant or nostalgic. For example, if my grandchildren saw I paid one hundred dollars for a pair of headphones they may think that it is a ridiculously cheap price because in the future headphones may cost a lot more just because of inflation. The vintage photos of Steve Mcqueen mean something to our culture even today as he is an american icon and the Ferrari in the photo has actually gained significant value because it is a collector car. The art in paintings and the art in an ACP are different because I feel that many paintings are made for the masses and ACP art is more specific to whoever you are sending it to. The convenience of snapchat will cause what you send to often be less thoughtful. When you are forced to put in effort to send an envelope it makes you think more about what you would like to send out. The “love” put in an ACP is simply not possible in a snapchat, especially because the recipient of the ACP sees that you put in much more effort than just taking out your phone and sending a snapchat.
Artist: Daniel Bonilla-Vera and Dalia Banuelos
Media: Photos, Paintings, String,
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Merlino Gallery
For this week’s artist conversation I talked to the artist Daniel Bonilla-Vera who was one of the two artists who put on the exhibition Infraction. Daniel is currently an undergraduate student at Cal State Long Beach. Bonilla-Vera transferred to CSULB from the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California. He is looking to obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art.
The exhibition Infraction contains a series of string running of all walls in the room, the string intersects in many places in the middle of the room. Attached to those strings are many paintings and photographs. In the center of the room there is a dummy on its knees with its face in its palms. The dummy portrays a person in despair and great pain.
The inspiration behind the exhibition comes from the artists, Daniel Bonilla-Vera and Dalia Banuelos, both being rejected from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at CSULB. The rejection from the program has greatly affected both of their lives, so this exhibition allowed them to show their thoughts and feelings from the traumatic situations they have both individually gone through.
When I first walked in the exhibition I got a sense of the emotional state that the artists were in when the got rejected from the BFA program and made Infraction. I too have had disappointments in my life so it was easy to see how hurt the artists were. The dummy’s body language and demeanor conveyed feelings of hurt and hopelessness. The body position the dummy was in drew my attention to it, giving me a sense of what the exhibition was truly about. It’s awesome to see that these artists have not given up, but instead have shared their feelings through their art. Many people would have given up after being rejected yet Bonilla-Vera and Banuelos have found inspiration in their disappointments and focused their emotions toward Infraction.