Week 15 – Artist Interview – Elia Murray

Today, the students got a chance to talk to Elia Murray, which was pretty funny to start off. Murray was surprised that so many people were interested in talking to her, let alone interviewing her. This was a new and unique experience for her. I think everyone had a good time getting a chance to her her story.

For her, both her parents are artists. She has been drawing and creating artwork since a young child, but like alot of other people, she realized her skills and took it much more seriously as she got into high school. Heading into college, she had thoughts about pursuing an English major. I thought this was super cool because she does like to write short stories also. But her mother was actually insistent on her pursuing an art major, she actually wouldn’t allow her to take an English major.

She has a small series of photos where she does a very playful drawing of people’s pet dogs. She even has done super sculpting of people’s pets, which i found amazing. She even said that she is hoping to do something over the summer where she creates art and sells it, specifically art of people’s dogs. I thought this was a good idea, i even asked for her contact info because i want to do the same for my dog!

Super sculpted pets!
Hilariously cute dog portaits!

Besides her super sculpting, she also has needle felt sculptures, which were made with yarn and the process of creating it involved repeatedly poking it with sharp objects, they were certainly softer looking than the clay like sculptures she had, both sets of sculptures looked really cool, it is a shame i didn’t get to ask how long they took. The super sculptures looked like she didn’t even make them because they looked so great, it seemed like they were almost manufactured by Disney or something.

This was great because her long term goal is to become a character designer. Right now, she interns at Stupid Buddy Studios in Burbank, CA doing character fabrication for a show called Robot Chicken, which is a late night show on Cartoon Network that is popular for it’s adult humor. Their characters are literally come in many forms such as dolls, clay, and also animated by drawing and sculpting.


Week 15 – Student Interview – Janelle Reyes

This week I interviewed Janelle Reyes. She is currently a freshman and studying Accounting. Before she settled on Accounting, she was a nursing major. As a fellow Filipino, its almost characteristic for us to consider the nursing profession. It is an honorable profession where lives can be saved directly, but also is very difficult and not everyone can or is willing to do it. She switched to Accounting because she no longer saw herself becoming a nurse. This is understandable, i think the nursing profession requires a certain amount of time being sacrificed, so her making the decision not to continue is very commendable and i respect it. Janelle is from Norcal, Fremont specifically. She chose to go to CSULB because of the nursing program. Although she is no longer majoring in nursing, she does not regret coming down to Long Beach because she absolutely loves it here.

Janelle is a grad from Fremont high school. She was in the marching band for her four years in high school and played the trombone. For me personally, i had the opportunity to play the saxophone, but didn’t pursue it outside of elementary school. Aside from the marching band, she was also in the History club. She loves history, but prefers majoring in Accounting. Asking Janelle about dorming, she said that it has been a great experience for her. She made lots of friends and a boyfriend. She also love it because people down here are much more outgoing then up in north California. Personally, i think that is just the circumstance. Everyone will become even more outgoing after moving out of the house, kind of like growing up and becoming more mature.

Janelle is a huge fan of travelling, when she was in her history club, her group was able to fund raise around 2,000 dollars to go to France, Italy, and Switzerland. It was and 11 day trip, 12 people from her school went, while around 30 people joined them, who were from New York, which sounded like it was an awesome experience.

Week 14 – Student Interview – Lizbeth Rangel

Today, i got the chance to talk to Lizbeth Rangel! Right now, she is a freshman studying Interior Design. Before she chose to study Interior Design she was a Biology major. This seemed to match more with what she participated in in high school. She went to Southgate High and was in Leadership for the Health and Science academy. Not just that, but she did dance for a year while in high school!

In her valuable free time, Lizbeth likes to hike, go to the gym, and hang out with all her friends. Since everyone likes to travel, I asked her where she has been. She has traveled to Mexico and to a few places in state as well as out of state. She has visited Colorado and when she was much younger, she visited my hometown, San Francisco. One thing she distinctly remembers was how crowded and popular the Golden Gate bridge was.

Southgate is in Los Angeles and right now she is still living in LA. She mentioned how she doesn’t like commuting to and from LA and it took awhile to adjust to it. I agreed with her, who actually likes the commute?! As a civil engineer, one of our priorities is to try and solve this problem. Over time, the traffic problem will only become worse due to population increase and just the fact that almost everyone relies on vehicles as their mode of transportation. In the near future Lizbeth wants to move out so she doesn’t have to deal with insane amounts of traffic daily.

Week 14 – Artist Interview – Yireh Elaine Kwak

Today, i got the opportunity to experience a very unique art gallery. There was an abundance of impressive and intricate artwork on display. One particular art piece stood out and by some luck the artist was there to share her ideas with us. Elaine Kwak is one of the fifteen artists who had artwork in the gallery. The name of the art exhibit was Liminal. The word is an adjective and it describes a transition. For Kwak herself and the rest of her classmates, this is their last gallery as undergrads at CSULB, so for them, it is a bittersweet transition.

They have known each other for three years and in turn have experienced alot together as friends and colleagues in the art major. Other students, as well as myself, understand this feeling also. Since I am about to graduate this semester, i think of all the experiences and friends that i made at CSULB in the civil engineering department. My classmates and I see each other every other day at least and take the same classes; we all shared the same experiences and struggles.

This is parallel to Elaine Kwak and her peers. Their artistic style has been influenced by each other and they all grew together in an artistic sense as well as people. They would work on their pieces and critique each other, sharing different perspectives and without question that has had an effect on their style.

Regarding Kwak’s show piece, she did an oil painting of a landscape. It includes multiple colors and has an untamed garden in the foreground as well as a mountain landscape in the background, which gives it a nice contrast. Another thing that i liked was a secondary layer of the foreground; which includes a staircase and a walking path, producing another contrast of colors between the garden and the rest of the painting.

As far as the process goes in creating her art piece and just for her work in general, she likes to first look at a landscape that is fitting and then proceed to sketch it through direct observation. She takes the canvas on site and draws it out. She keeps her drawing loose, the charcoal lines and shading is suggestive because she will then take it to the studio to paint it. This is important because then she will paint the piece using her memory and add in what she likes. In this regard, she feels that she can create a landscape but still give it that abstract perspective. She likes doing this part by memory because she feels memory is a powerful tool to help create and inspire ideas.

Week 13 – Artist Interview – Marty Knop

Today, I got the opportunity to talk to Marty Knop. He is pursuing a MFA in Printmaking. What really drew me to Knop’s exhibit was the abstract nature of his art. Everything was well defined, but it was not at the same time. If you look at the details individually, you recognize shapes and sharp differences in the colors. When you look at the picture as a whole, the combination of shapes and colors takes on a whole new meaning.

The process in making these pieces is just as interesting as the artwork itself. Printmaking has a lot to do with fashion and visual aesthetics. I think that the reason for this is because it is the way that we make clothing. Patterns, logos, shapes, etc are printed onto our clothing. As far as the process though, Knop uses Mathematica in order to create his shapes. This is really cool to me because as a civil engineering student, mathematica is a powerful tool to calculate equations. To use a computer program to create visual art is taking it to another level in my opinion and never crossed my mind.


Knop uses a combination of different snippets. He makes simple rules or constraints to create his individual geometric shapes. He uses mathematical equations to create shapes such as hyperboles and parabolas. He then uses calculus function to turn these shapes 3d using Mathematica. In calculus, we would solve for the amount of space that a perfect sphere would take up, or it’s volume. Knop uses calculus to configure the shape of a sphere and uses it in his printmaking.

Before Knop used Mathematica, he used Microsoft excel to solve a large number of equations at once. He would then take the numbers and draw a graph on the program with it. The graph used cartesian coordinates and the numbers would create a pattern in 2d. He began using matrices to create three dimensional objects. Manipulating the matrices with parameters and constraints was able to create a push and pull effect on the shapes he made, which is similar to another artist using different techniques to create contrasting effects with their art, such as using lass additives with their paint to create a rougher, clumper texture.

I also got to talk to Knop personally about art and mathematica. It seemed appropriate and it certainly led to a conversation worth remembering. As a civil engineering student, there is a part of me that is looking for the solution. One unique solution or best way to solve a problem. Once you have unique solution, all creativity is removed. The process of finding that solution can be creative. Maybe the best way to solve the problem is this way. No? Then we look for another way to solve the problem. Science and Math differ from Art because creativity and art usually does not have a clear answer. Science and math try to explain concepts with a clear answer. Our conversation went far and wide, but we compared how CSULB engineering’s focus was to help students get jobs, while schools such as MIT does not focus on that, but rather focuses on the student’s creativity. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take much creativity to get good grades and that is always the bottom line.

Week 13 – Student Interview – Jacob MacMaster

Today i got to talk to a good friend Jacob. He’s 23 years old and grew up in Fresno. We compared growing up in Norcal to Fresno and there is certainly a big difference. His high school was right next to the middle school that he went to; because of this, he got to know the same 1,200 people for the next 6 to 7 years. To me, this is crazy, because in my high school, my graduating class consisted of about 300 students.

Concerning Art, we talked about how we really enjoyed the exhibits and how as we grew up a little bit, art began to make more sense for us. We respect art more, not just because of the class, but because we thought about how we were when we first got into college and we just both assumed that we probably wouldn’t give art much thought or care for it at all. But now that we have grown up a little, we both realized that art is hard work and just another form of expressing individual ideas in various forms. Honestly, how can you not respect that?

Jacob is currently studying Biology at school and he is expected to graduate in Fall 2016. Before he began studying Biology, he went to EMT school (paramedic school) and began going to PA school (physician assistant). With his biology degree, Jacob is hoping to get into Dentistry. I thought this was really cool because he jumped between a few things and right now he is settling on Dentistry. Asking him about plan B’s in case his career plan doesn’t work out, he was stumped for a second. I only asked about other options because i think it is always important to consider other paths so to say. Sticking to one path or plan is great, but in my opinion, things do not always go as planned.

After giving it some thought, Jacob mentioned the possibility of returning to PA school or even getting into Law. He mentions that his fiance’s dad owns a law firm and the option to pursue law with a biology degree is actually not a bad option once thinking about it. Did i mention that he is engaged? It was awesome to hear that because its almost unconventional nowadays to be engaged at a younger age. Surprisingly, his girlfriend is also taking the art 110 class! I did not get a chance to meet her or even get her name unfortunately.

Things that Jacob likes to do in his free time are video games and snowboarding. He seemed really into snowboarding and it even made me want to try snowboarding too. He began snowboarding at Snow Summit but now often goes to Big Bear. Video games that he likes to play include Destiny and Battlefield on the Xbox 1. It was really cool to talk to Jacob about video games. He mentioned how i was the first person to mention video games as something they like to do in their free time and that meant alot to me. Jacob, Ben Zhou, and i got a chance to talk about all the video games that we like playing. This turned into a super genuine moment that i really liked. Although these assignments are considered interviews, it honestly felt more like just a few friends that got to talk to each other about similar hobbies and just hang out.

Week 12 – Artist Interview – Piet Eppinga

Today, I got the opportunity to experience and witness Mr. Eppinga’s work. I loved how life size and fully fleshed out the artwork was. My first impression was just “How was this even made?” because it looked so refined and clean so to say. IMG_0578Although I do not remember this piece’s name. Eppinga talked about how it came to be. He came across an extra piece of clay and it just had a surfboard shape to it, it’s different from his other pieces because it’s just tiny compared to the rest of his work. He said that it did have a shape of a female figure. He put it on a relatively large base, which I thought gave it alot of depth and foundation. Eppinga mentioned Alberto Giacometti.

639089364_7029f938dbGiacometti was a swiss sculptor whose work was known for creating tall, skinny sculptures of people (usually) and put them on a solid base, kind of like a pedestal at times. Eppinga drew inspiration from this Swiss sculptors style when creating the piece above.

The cool thing about Eppinga’s exhibit and his presentations were the fact that he knew exactly why he did things the way he did with his ceramics pieces. He would note alot of details that most people wouldn’t immediately recognize. For example, he explained how one of his pieces, which had a ceramic urn on the head, represented the loved ones that the woman had to bury. He also pointed out her facial features, which represented happiness and sadness.

IMG_0569One thing that was noticeable in alot of his work was the use of women. He mentioned how they represented sexual symbols, not with a negative connotation, he actually felt that our society should be less patriarchal and pay more respect to women. Alot of his work mentioned the fertility of women, how they should be naturally comforting figures and he tried to show that in his work.