Wk 11 – Activity – Sculpture

For this week, we tried something interesting: making sculptures out of plaster mix. This was a first time experience for me, so I was thinking constantly about what could go wrong with this, and how it would go wrong. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad.

Because of certain circumstances, I was unable to go to the beach all this weekend, so I decided to make the sculpture in my backyard. I thought the dirt would have the same consistency as sand, since nothing has grown there for a while. Boy, was I wrong! The dirt was hard and unyielding, so I had to work hard with my shovel to make a hole in the ground deep enough for my hand to fit in. I used a lot of water, as you can tell. The ground turned into mud, which made the experience a bit more unpleasant.

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When I finally got my desired result, I filled the hole with dirt-turned mud and attempted to make my mark with my hand. The mud was extremely dense; almost putty-like. So my imprint wasn’t very clean, and I had doubts my plaster mix would work well with this, but I had no other choice. I poured it in, waited 30 minutes, and….

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As you can see, it looks nothing like a hand, but I’m just glad it actually worked. Overall, this experience was a bit irksome, and I would have had less trouble if I actually used sand, but it worked out okay in the end. Digging out my sculpture was the fun part. I don’t think I’ll be taking plaster seriously anytime soon, but if I have the time to learn more about sculpture making, I think I would try it out.

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Wk 11 – Artist Interview – Patricia E. Rangel

When I first walked into the Werby gallery, I saw these structures I thought were made of stone. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was all sand/dirt! That totally blew my mind. Truly, any medium of any kind can be worked into a piece of art. I was suddenly glad that I had decided not to touch the structures. They would have all crumbled down, and what a mess that would have been! There should have been a sign or two warning about that.

The one piece that caught my eye was the first one on the floor. Rangel stated that she gathers materials from various places, and it shows here.

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What’s also interesting is that she composed this piece in a geometric, orderly fashion. Embedded within the structures are pieces of wood that looks like it came from a fence. She must have picked these up when she was visiting a farm, or someplace that implements agricultural practices. I admit this piece was far too abstract for me to make any interpretation about it, and as far as I could tell, there really was no hidden symbolic meaning or anything. I asked her about this, and she replied she didn’t have anything of the sort in mind when she made this. However, she does say in her artist’s statement that dirt has the ability to “present vulnerability, failure, strength, and potential” and to “promote change.” This is true. Dirt is… well, dirty, and it is often associated with things one may find undesirable, but plants and trees can also grow in dirt. She goes on to say, “They (the structures) are composed of dirt I reuse, each time rebuilt into a new form.” There’s already something really deep in that. Overall, I took away from this display something that may not have been what she was going for, but I’m still grateful to her for making me think.

Wk 11 – Classmate Interview – Angelica Palad

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This week, I met Angelica Palad near the Gatov-West. She’s a freshman, just like myself. I thought she was a junior! I’ve got to stop making assumptions based on people’s appearances. I could end up offending someone someday.

Angelica is a nutrition major. She learns about dieting and telling people what to eat. I guessed that she wasn’t totally into art, but to my surprise, she told me she really liked it! She’s the first person in a while to tell me that she wasn’t just taking this class to fulfill a GE requirement. She used to play flute a while back. That’s pretty cool.

She dorms at Long Beach because her house is three hours away from school. I asked her if she goes home to visit on weekends, and she told me she doesn’t, since it’s a big waste of gas. Three hours to home plus three hours back to school totals up to six hours driving! I could see why she’s not so keen to visit. I sure hope she’s not too lonely.

To be honest, I don’t remember what else we talked about, since most of the time I was talking about myself, but I remember thoroughly enjoying the conversation we had. Overall, Angelica is a chill person. I hope we could perhaps meet and talk again.

Wk 10 – Activity – Student Choice

At first, I wanted to record myself playing a video game and comment over it, but after some thought, I decided that that’s pushing the boundaries of what’s art and what isn’t. So I decided to do something safe and sketch the incredibly humongous backyard of the inn we’re staying at in Utah.

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I hadn’t drawn still life nature in a while, so I figured my skills would be a bit rusty, and they obviously were, if you can’t tell from my drawing. My goal was to recreate the scene pictured next to it. Boy, was it hard! The mountains in the background were especially difficult to draw, as were the little bushes that dotted the side of the mountain. Also, at the time I was drawing this, it was growing dark, so I had to do a rush job. If I spent more time on it, I’m pretty sure it would’ve turned out better. I’m reminded of what Plato said about art in Mimesis: “Art is only an imitation of reality.” I suppose much of still-life drawing can be summed up in Plato’s statement. To me, my drawing serves as a testament to my ability to recreate something that I saw was worthy to be recreated on paper.

Wk 10 – Artist Interview – Isaiah Ullo

This week, I met Isaiah Ullo at the Werby Gallery. This display was part of a collaboration between Isaiah Ullo and other aspiring sculpture artists. All of the works exhibited were made of plaster, or had to do with plaster, as Isaiah and his team felt sculpting plaster had become a forgotten art form.

Immediately, when I walked in, the one thing that caught my eye was Isaiah’s shoes.

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Every other sculpture in the room was white, and these shoes were light pink (Isaiah later explained to me that he used Pepto Bismol, which is totally random and weird). Among the pink shoes lined up against the wall were a pair of black shoes.

I was slightly nauseated and unsettled by the pinkness of the shoes. Maybe it’s because you usually don’t see shoes in this color. I actually didn’t notice the black pair because all of my attention was focused on the pink ones. This kept me from analyzing this particular piece.

Isaiah divulged to me that the black pair symbolizes Isaiah himself, and the pink shoes represent the rest of us. During his childhood, he had a hard time fitting in, and this display represents that situation. For the life of me, I can’t determine the significance of his choice to use shoes for the display (I forgot to ask). My guess is that shoes played some prominent role in his childhood.

The other thing that attracted me was a sculpture of a head stretched out. It reminded me of Coldplay’s album cover for A Rush of Blood to the Head. Isaiah explained that he used a computer program to capture a model of his head, messed around with it, and printed it out using a 3D printer (I didn’t think of that!). The head also symbolizes Isaiah’s detachment from the rest of the world.

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Besides plaster, Isaiah likes to mess with hair for sculptures. He is interested in making props and special effects for movies. It certainly would be nice to see actual prop-making return to mainstream movies, as most Hollywood blockbusters nowadays use computers for everything. He has no patience for drawing and painting, which I understand.

Overall, visiting this gallery was an eye-opening experience. I’m more oriented towards drawing and painting, so I was never really interested in sculptures. Seeing the displays here revealed to me more about sculpting, which I am glad for.

Wk 10 – Classmate Interview – Kevin Nguyen

This week, I met this chill skater sophomore dude, Kevin Nguyen.

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We didn’t talk a whole lot. He seemed to be in a bit of a hurry. His eyes kept flicking towards the galleries. I guess he was wondering why they wouldn’t open on time.

Kevin commutes from Santa Ana. He says he gets to school in twenty minutes. I’m from Fullerton, and I get to school in thirty on a good day. What the heck?? He lives farther than me, and he reaches Long Beach faster? Shoot, I gotta ask this guy what freeway he takes. Then he told me he has an 8AM class, so he avoids the traffic. Oh….

Kevin mentioned that he tried learning the ukelele a couple of months back. He couldn’t get the rhythm of strumming right, so he gave up learning for now. Shoot, when I started playing guitar, I got strumming down, no problem! I tried seeing it from his point of view, but Kevin is not much of an arts guy. He’s majoring in computer science, the most logical language on earth. He watches a lot of TV shows, though! Mostly anime. Right now, he’s finishing up Hunter X Hunter. He’s also into building and collecting Gundams.

Wk 9 – Activity – Architecture and Urban Planning

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For my activity I chose the University Student Union cause it’s my favorite building on the campus. It’s such a chill place.

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Most people, like myself, seem to only use the USU as a place to socialize, relax, and play around. There are, of course, people like myself who are involved in club activities/meetings and use the rooms to congregate. For that, it’s pretty useful. Also, a lot of people buy food there. Taylor Montgomery, a friend of mine, says the food selection is A+. If you count fast food as part of the A+ variety, then I guess you’ll love this place. People who notice the little things in the USU appreciate how the artwork displayed on the walls change from time to time.

Apparently, before the USU was all fancy like it is right now, it used to be a lot less so. 4-5 years ago (?), before it was renovated, all the students voted to have the building restored. All those people who went around campaigning for another renovation of the USU told us we owe it all to them. Their reason for wanting to make it more fancy was that just as they had done this service to us, we should do it for the future students. That’s wonderful. But we all realized the tuition would jump up another $1000 or so. And that’s not worth it.

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In order to improve the parking on the campus, I say, instead of having big, huge parking lots (such as Lot 14) on the other side of the campus where all the majority of our classes are, we should have small parking lots placed strategically close to our classes, so it wouldn’t take a million years to walk from where we park to where our classes are. That would place a lot less stress on our knees.