I met my classmate Joe when our Art 110 class went to the Galleries for the first time last Thursday. We both were standing awkwardly near the Werby Gallery, until he took the initiative and asked me if I wanted to do the classmate interview with him.
We walked around and look at the displayed paintings and sculptures. As we walked, we talked about art, since there wasn’t much else to talk about. I discovered that Joe is a 4th year with management major. Joe is not an arts person. He can appreciate it, but he’d very much rather spend his time playing or watching sports. He loves to drink, fish, hike, and hang out with family and friends. He also has taken a keen interest in landscaping, which involves tending to gardens.
I don’t know why, but Joe came across as a very mature person. It might be because his interests are not dissimilar to that of an old, white guy’s. I could not imagine myself taking the time to do the things that he liked to do, since we have very different interests, but I can imagine Joe sitting in his boat in some lake far away, fishing rod in hand, the sun on his back, beads of sweat coming down his face, and enjoying every minute that passes by. Even though Joe is not an arts guy, what he engages himself in could very much be art.
This week, our Art 110 class went to visit the Galleries for the first time. I arrived ten minutes late, and after I drew my index card and turned it in, I moseyed into the first gallery I saw without much thought.
When I entered, I was suddenly reminded of my own experiences painting and drawing in a Vision21 art studio in Fullerton. The paintings displayed were similar to the ones I remember hanging on the walls of my old art studio. The subjects and composition in most of the paintings were simple, just people in typical settings. As I looked around, I could not help but think that many of these paintings were only fodder for the artist’s portfolio.
I remember two paintings that stood out to me. In one painting, there was a cop catching someone painting graffiti on the wall. I especially liked how the artist had the cop shine the flashlight on the tagger. In the other, I honestly couldn’t tell what was going on at first. There appeared to be a lion in the background crashing into the wall of an art studio (?) and some nude models and painters reacting accordingly.
I eventually found the artist of the latter painting sitting behind a table outside the gallery surrounded by other students with notebooks in their hands. He was busy answering their questions, so I hovered awkwardly behind the crowd, waiting for it to clear up. I noticed the conversation between the artist and the interviewers seemed to be unnatural. I suspected he felt like he was really being interviewed, rather than having a real conversation. It didn’t help that they were jotting down everything he said in their notebooks. I also had my notebook in hand, but I chose not to use it.
I found out his name was Chase Wolcott, and I related to him my own experiences painting and drawing. He asserted he pretty much went through the same things as me. We both had trouble willing to make mistakes in our paintings, and struggled with perfectionism. Chase said he would sometimes have to make 2-4 versions of the same painting, which made me cringe. I mentioned that whenever I drew on such a big canvas, my subject would turn out really small, since I was used to drawing on printer paper.
As we talked, I noticed we were not that much different from each other. He chose to go along with drawing and painting, whereas I chose not to. If I had continued going to that art studio, maybe I would be where he is right now.