So for this week’s art experience I roped in my sister Nathalie once again to help me out. For our materials I used the 22×30 Rives BFK paper I bought from the school’s art store. For the drawing board we didn’t have any kind of wooden board or cardboard to put our paper on, so we improvised and used my older brother’s boogie board. As for the drawing tool, we just used a regular old pencil.
To get into the right mood, I set up some candle’s around the black mat we were going to be sitting on, turned off the lights and played some haunting music. The Civil Wars have great ominous and dark music for this kind of thing (plus, they’re also my favorite band). Then, I explained the directions to my sister again because she didn’t quite get what we were supposed to be doing. Honestly, neither did I. She was afraid we were going to summon spirits or something. Haha.
We sat cross-legged facing each other with our knees touching then placed the boogie board and paper on them. It was hard at first because it was at a bit of a slant since I’m taller and my knees stuck up more. After grabbing the pencil with both of our hands and putting it in the center of the paper, we closed our eyes. When nothing happened after like, less than a minute, we started peaking at each other through one eye and we started laughing realizing how silly this whole thing was. But after we got all the laughs out we finally focused and relaxed. That’s when the pencil started to move…
At first we started arguing that it was one of us who was moving it but we both swore it wasn’t! It was a little scary at first because the pencil was just moving pretty much by it self. I had the lightest grip possible on the pencil so it couldn’t have been me. I kept thinking its probably my sister doing it but she insisted it wasn’t and accused me as well. We finally stopped talking and just focused on the movement of the pencil and the Civil Wars crooning their haunting lyrics in the background. The pencil moved round and round. From one corner to the other. Sometimes fast and sometimes slow. We stayed this way for about three songs when the pencil finally stopped. We opened our eyes and were really surprised at what we saw.
At first we both expressed disappointment in what we saw. It felt like the pencil was making greater movements all over the large paper but in reality it kind of just stayed in the center. It looked kind of like Saturn. We talked about how cool it felt like some unseen force was moving the pencil but then we still accused each other of moving it. We decided to give it another try because it was honestly such a cool experience. The pencil moved again this time almost instantly and more rapidly in circles. When we opened our eyes we saw that it made almost exactly the same drawing as before just an inch higher than the first. We were amazed. Although, I think my sister was a little scared thinking it was a ghost moving our pencil. Haha. I told her to just get some holy water.
To make it look all pretty we decided to pour the candle wax on the paper. The purple lavender candles gave it a really nice color. Overall, this was a really interesting activity that I would definitely do again. I am intrigued to find out what it is that makes the pencil move.
Artist: Katia Swihart
Exhibition: Description of a Struggle
Media: Color aid Paper, Origami paper, Paint, Mixed-Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Katia Swihart is a Long Beach native and has always had an interest in art since she was a child. In the 2nd grade she won an art competition at her school which motivated her to study art in college. She has attended the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) for four years as a Studio Art major. She will be graduating this spring with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Swihart’s years in the fast-food service and working at a day care center inspired her to create this exhibition.
Swihart’s specialty is studio art. In this exhibition there are several canvases of many sizes and colors. On these canvases there are collages of comics, drawings and crafts made by the children she cares for. She also incorporates objects from her home and fabrics that remind her of her childhood and hold personal value to her. All these things attached to the canvas make it seem like a sculpture but Swihart intentionally painted over them to blur the lines between painting and sculpture.
To create her art, Swihart channels her suppressed emotions of rage and grief. When she paints she uses those emotions to fuel her impulsive moves of her brush strokes and the colors she chooses. The colors she chose are bright but also murky to change the playful mood of children’s objects into something darker. Through her art she is trying to express her suppressed emotions caused by childhood trauma with her father. Her work focuses on her unapologetic reflection of personal anger and figuring out her identity as an artist.
Synthesis/ My Experience
Walking into Swihart’s exhibition, it was immediately clear that her art channeled strong emotions of rage. The colors she mostly used were all bright reds and oranges symbolizing anger. The blues symbolized sadness. I could tell this was a very personal representation of the artist herself. It was a little sad to see how much she has suffered and these art pieces are definitely the narratives of her experiences. However, I’m glad to see that her art is her own form of therapy for dealing with her emotions.
For this week’s art activity, we are to make an art care package and send it to someone. I have chosen to send it to someone I know who is imprisoned. I used to write letters to him all the time when I was little but as the years have passed we have grown distant. I think it is a good idea to send it to him now. I truly hope that this art package will brighten his day and make him smile.
There are many restrictions to what you can send to someone who is imprisoned so I just kept it simple and sent many pictures and things printed on paper in a large yellow envelope. I cut out some articles from today’s news paper. As a journalism major, I really value the art of newspapers. I sent him some that were relevant to what is happening right now where I live. One talks about the crazy rainstorms we have been having and another talks about Trump’s first month in presidency. Also, cut out the Sunday Comics. I’m sure he’d get a laugh or two from them.
I also sent him pictures of some of my baking creations. I really enjoy baking and I think that is a form of art as well. I usually make cakes for all my family members for their birthdays. His birthday is next month, but I can’t send him an actual cake so I pictures will have to do.
I have gone on a lot of trips already this year even thought its only February. I have gone to Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, Solvang, Pismo Beach and Mexico. On my trips, I always make sure to get a couple of postcards, so I have included some of those in the package as well as other pictures from my trips.
Lastly, I have included some pictures that I have kept of me, my family and friends over the years. Some are from Halloween, Thanksgiving and birthdays that he has missed. I hope seeing this pictures will make him feel like he was there. I’m sure that being away from family can be hard especially in the holidays.
I also included some pictures of some paintings of wolves I made. I have recently taken up painting which I absolutely love to do. Painting is art so I think those are appropriate to send. He is an artist too so I think he will really enjoy these. On the back of every photo graph, I have also included a short summary of what is going on in the picture. So he will have plenty of little stories to read.
I think that sending an art care package is so much more special that sending a Snapchat. Snapchats can be funny and quick but they only last a few seconds before they disappear forever. An art care package is filled with ephemera that people have put a lot of thought into and that are made with love and can last forever. Therefore, I thing that art care packages have so much more value than a silly old Snapchat. It took me a few days to put all these things together but I think in the end it is worth it because I will be making someone’s day. There is a huge difference between this art in the care package than a painting that is seen my many people in a museum because this art was made specially for a single person.
Artist: Ingrid Michelle Gonzalez
Media: Wood, Epoxy resin
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
About the Artist
Ingrid Michelle Gonzalez is from Canoga Park, California. She has been fascinated with art since she was a child. She attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Then she transferred to California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) to pursue her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. It is her second year at CSULB and she will be graduating next year. Gonzalez is majoring in 3D Media with an emphasis in Wood. She has always had an interest in wood. Her first wood project was a pedestal. Then, after coming to CSULB, she learned some electrical skills and became interested in how she could incorporate lamps into her wood projects. She hopes to continue to experiment with different types of materials using the knowledge she’s gained at CSULB’s School of Art Wood Program.
Gonzalez’s specialty is wood. To create this exhibition she created lamps using techniques such as wood turning, spindle, and color theory. She has made different color lamps using a material called epoxy resin and balloons to mimic the circular shape for what would be shading the light bulb. Most of the stands for her lamps are straight and smooth with some curves going up the stand for detail.
Walking into the exhibition, I immediately sensed the vibe that was created with the dimmed lighting from Gonzalez’s lamps, the colors that glowed, and the beat of the pulsating music that was softly playing in the background. She is trying to share her interests through her art. She says that she makes functional art that reflects her interest in color, shape, rhythm, and repetition. She also says that she hopes to one day make the light of the lamps pulse to the beat of the music.
Synthesis/ My Experience
I was very intrigued with Gonzalez’s work. I had never seen a wood exhibition before or anything else that had to do with lamps. I truly enjoyed learning about how she creates her art pieces and what influences her to create what she does. I believe it is most satisfying to see one’s own interests come alive in a physical form like she did with hers. Her ideas of experimenting with materials and letting them unfold organically really resonated with me. I hope to one day try to bring my own interests to life as well.
This week in class I met Marisa Morones. Marisa is a 2 year/ sophomore here at CSULB. However she says she went to a community college before coming here. Marisa is majoring in Exercise Science which she says is kind of like Kinesiology and she wants to become a physical therapist and work at a rehabilitation center for veterans that were wounded in war. It is obvious that Marisa has such a kind soul!
I learned that she is from Santa Catalina Island which was so surprising but really awesome too! I told her I have always wanted to go visit there because I have heard so many good things about the island. She said that if I ever want to go that I can get a free boat ride to the island on my birthday. So now I definitely know what i’m doing for my birthday next month! I also heard there is really good seafood, sea diving experiences,spas and zip lining. She says its all true and that she really enjoyed living there but now she lives near CSULB in an apartment with her friends. When I asked her what made her decide to come to the mainland and go to CSULB she said that she was tired of living in a small place and wanted to experience new things. She told me that the high school that she graduated from only had 200 people and there were only 60 people in her graduating class so everyone pretty much knew each other. Marisa craved anonymity so she decided to go to one of the biggest CSU’s which is Long Beach. However, she does go back to the island often to visit her family.
When I asked if she owned any pets she laughed and said no. She told me she is terrified of dogs but she used to have two birds but they died. She said that they discovered a tumor under the wing of one of her birds that eventually died from it and that the other one died shortly afterward as well probably of loneliness. So sad! But anyway, I really enjoyed my conversation with Marisa but we totally forgot to take a selfie together for this post so I just included a picture of beautiful Catalina Island where she is from. 🙂