Week 12 – Student Interview – Jasmine Barnum

I got the chance to have a little chat with my friend Jasmine this week. Right now, she is a second year student and is studying to become a occupational therapist. Currently, she works at Creamistry in Cerritos.

Creamistry-Cerritos-RestaurAlthough I haven’t been there yet, it looks amazing. Just writing about it makes me want some ice cream. The thing that makes Creamistry different from your regular ice cream shop is the ice cream is made cold with nitrogen. This method actually quick freezes dairy, turning it to ice cream in a matter of a minute. The added effect is that it is even creamier than your old fashioned ice cream!

Enough about ice cream though, Jasmine is currently working about 30 to 35 hours a week at Creamistry and she is also taking about 16 units in school right now. What a busy life! Recently, she moved out of her grandparents place and is now living with her sister and her fiance. One of her favorite go to foods is carne asada fries and she loves to go hiking and exploring. She even mentioned a bunch of hiking spots that i could go to! Here is a picture of Thousand Steps Beach in Laguna Beach.

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week 11 – Artist Interview – Gerardo Pena & Kyle Kruse

On Thursday, 4/9/2015, I got the opportunity to experience Pena and Kruse’s art gallery. Both are pursuing their bachelors in Fine Art. They did a joint project that I really liked. The idea of collaborating with someone and creating a product together seemed to bring out the best in their art. After jotting down some typical facts about them, i got the opportunity to talk with just them and a couple other classmates.

IMG_0539We spoke a little bit about art, obviously. But it was that cliche statement of “I don’t get art” that always manages to come up. Of course, there’s going to be people that do not get the perspective factor involved in art. I like to think that I had a mindset similar  to that before coming into the class. They mentioned that they had a great response to people that have that type of reaction towards it.

They said something along the lines of well, you may not understand art, but you’re still on instagram, everything that you’re wearing, from your sweater all the way down to your Nike shoes is art. I could not agree more with the way they put this. Our style and what we wear is a form of art also. We borrow from all these different brands when we put on clothes and come up with our style. We express ourselves through the clothes we wear. This dives right back into their style of art, which has an urban, streetwear, hiphop feel to it, something i’m familiar with.

Both Pena and Kruse started off with tagging and graffiti art. This art goes hand in hand with urban plus streetwear. After having that conversation it had to be pointed out that we were all wearing similar clothing, but we all had our own way of rocking it. There style and translation that is made onto the paper has that feel, something that is modern and easily understood.

“Gerardo Pena and Kyle Kruse’s Captains of Industry feature painting and printmaking commenting on the construction and deconstruction of the industrial complex in urban areas.” – COTA DepartmentIMG_0538

Pena and Kruse described their physical exhibit as a picture frame. Once you step into the exhibit, you’re entering a new environment, you’re entering a picture and being immersed in it. I love that perspective that they gave me. Doing a quick walk through of all the exhibits, I really felt connected with their exhibit, it gave me the right vibe and pushed me to talking with them.

I want to describe their exhibit as gritty, which is something that I really like, something that isn’t simple, its full of life, it’s complex and it’s vibe just kind of hit home for me.  It really felt like i was walking into a streetwear store, like the ones that will pop up on Melrose St. in downtown LA, but without that hipster elitist vibe you can get from the employees at times. One detail that contributed to that street theme was the crumpled up newspaper that was placed on the floor, something like that was able to help add to the effect that the artists were trying to get.

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The two artists, both of which are about to graduate this spring, spoke about shading and lining, it’s like sculpting on paper.

IMG_0540While they were talking to us, they had a couple art pieces that they were working on. For them, this was their assignment when i asked about it, no other reason that they had it right in front of them. They’re time lapse drawings, where they would draw an image, then erase the lines and draw it again, and they would do this continuously until a full time lapse image was created. it is also known as ghosting.

Week 11 – Student interview with Jeremy Lai

After getting the opportunity to talk with Gerardo Pena and Kyle Kruse, i had the pleasure of having a conversation with the homie Jeremy Lai. It was a complete surprise to me that he is a transfer student from Malaysia. He moved to Long Beach last fall.

He’s got quite a ways to go, as he has about three years left before he gets his degree. He is a film major. We talked about the amount of networking that you have to do to get into that niche. It makes sense, networking is certainly a skill, something that everyone should be able to strive to do and is effective in virutally every industry, whether it be in art or in civil engineering. But anyway, i was taken aback that he is a transfer student, he speaks English fluently, but he explained to me that back in Malaysia, he grew up in the city, so everyone is expected to know English there.

We joked about the slang in Socal. Since I’m from Norcal, i was able to relate (just a little bit in relative to Jeremy) to the culture shock of moving to a new place. We both agreed that the first couple months were certainly hard adjusting to. You get placed in a new situation and that is always something that could be deemed uncomfortable to say the least.

He told a funny story about how he was playing charades in the dorms with friends, he had a word on an index card on his head which said jump rope. He knew what his friends were trying to describe to him, but he was saying skipping rope instead! Other words that are said differently in Malaysia are flash light, which is called torch light and a trash can is called a rubbish bin.

After he finishes up in school, he hopes to pursue opportunities in the states first, if that isn’t the case, then he plans on going to Singapore or the UK because the film industry over there is thriving compared to Malaysia, which he says doesn’t really have a strong one.

Now that I am writing this, i didn’t really get the chance to talk to him that much about visual art, but we dived into more social topics like networking, watches, and the culture shock of moving to a new environment.  We talked about the small road bumps in getting accommodated to new challenges and he left me with a Mandarin expression, which translated into English, was “Failure is the catalyst to success”.

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Week 11 – Plaster Casting

Today, i got the opportunity to try out some plaster casting. I made my way to Corona beach in Corona Del Mar. It was my first time there and the weather was pretty much perfect. The beach was crowded and there was a sense of dread. The beach was so busy and I felt slightly anxious as to where i was going to do my casting. I didn’t want to be in the middle of everything with my shovel and giant Home Depot bucket, attracting too much attention.
512Here was my setup. A few stir sticks, a home depot bucket, and a milk carton worth of plaster of paris. I do have to mention one thing though, I totally messed up the parts when mixing. Instead of doing two parts plaster and one part water, i did the exact opposite. Two parts water, one part plaster. This completely ruined my mold.

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Check out that liquid puddle…

I didn’t think twice about the portions i needed to do. But after pouring the entire contents into the bucket and stirring for about 5 minutes, I knew something was wrong. Mind you, I had already dug a hole, had wet sand, and had created my foot mold.  There was no turning back though, as much as i wanted to simply walk away and try again another time. I proceeded to pour the liquid water into the hole, disappointed.

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Turns out i was able to salvage something from the mold, if you pressed hard enough on the cast with your finger, for sure it would break away in a soggy fashion, it was not even brittle because there was so much water. But i like how the water seemed to reach deeper into the heel and toe portion of my mold, it ended up looking like a high heel.

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houses on the cliff of Corona beach!

Overall, it was an interesting and fun experience. One girl walked up to me and asked what i was doing. I told her what i was doing and she thought it was cool and different, she just was wondering at first because she saw stir sticks and saw me digging, she said she thought i was trying to make a fire or something. That was cool of her to come up to me and ask, it took relaxed my nerves doing something so odd by myself. It would’ve been nice to hang out with the classmates at the beach with the teacher, but had to resort to doing it on my own because of my schedule.

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panorama of the Corona Beach using the iphone 6

Glad i’ll have a shovel for the next time i hit up the beach though!

Week 10 – Artist Interview with Dawn Ertl

This week we got the chance to meet Dawn Ertl! This exhibit is her  thesis as she is about to graduate this semester, just like me. Her two main art pieces were “One Nation Under God” and “Short term vs. Long term Relationships”. Both of her pieces were hanging from the roof of the art galleries. They were huge and it certainly took a lot of time. She included music as a part of her exhibit, which i thought was really interesting because it gave me another thing for me to think about as i took in the exhibits.

One thing i really liked about Dawn’s process of producing her art pieces was that she used Sketchup. Sketchup is a google application that allows people to draw on the computer. I love it because it is really convenient and is moderately easy to pick up. AutoCAD takes alot of time to learn. Our professor knows this also, as he explained in his story when he drew stage sets for his job as he did it. (I thought it was a great read).

But going back to Dawn’s work, she focuses on environmental impact and climate change. She thinks about America as a whole and how we impact the climate. This is very important to her because in her art piece “One Nation Under God”, she weaves plastic bags and scraps into the work. She talks about how plastic, although recycling is regulated in the US, plastic bags and scraps will get sent to India, where there are no regulations for it. Because of this, the plastic gets burned into resin and the fumes get absorbed into the atmosphere.

She uses her art to tell people that they should consider their relationship to other people and the planet. Having a certain attitude will have a relative impact. This makes sense to me because if i don’t care about certain things such as the environment for example, then i will be more likely to litter. In the past, i noticed that before i didn’t care about throwing things in the trash too much and my friend got kind of upset and called me a litterbug. At the time, i was surprised, but now i try to clean up after myself better.

Week 10 – Student’s Choice! – Aquascaping

A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers at work put me up to aquascaping. Aquascaping is when you build an aquarium and the main purpose is to try and create a picture with it. At first, this seemed weird to me because usually you would think about an aquarium and would want to get some cool looking fish as a pet.

The most important thing regarding aquascaping is using your imagination. As soon as i realized this and was able to appreciate the idea and concept, i made the choice to start making a tank. I’ve bought most of the supplies besides the actual plants. There are quite a few things needed for the tank. You want to create a environment where your landscape can thrive.

Because aquascaping is an art, there are certain styles when you create your tank. There are two distinct styles that are easily distinguishable from each other, this is the Dutch Style and Japanese style.

The Dutch aquarium employs a lush arrangement in which multiple types of plants having diverse leaf colors, sizes, and textures are displayed much as terrestrial plants are shown in a flower garden. This style was developed in the Netherlands starting in the 1930s, as freshwater aquarium equipment became commercially available.

Dutch style aquascape
Dutch style aquascape

The style that i want to emulate with my tank is contrast to Dutch style. The Japanese style of doing aquascaping is creating a more realistic living landscape, for example creating rock formations to imitate and suggest rocky mountains. One specific style is Iwagumi style. Iwagumi style is a specific subtype of the nature style. The Iwagumi (岩組) term itself comes from the Japanese “rock formation” and refers to a layout where stones play a leading role. In the Iwagumi style, each stone has a name and a specific role. Rocks provide the bony structure of the aquascape and the typical geometry employs a design with three main stones, with one larger stone and two other smaller stones, although additional rocks can also be used

Iwagumi style aquascape, with the Oyaishi stone at the right
Iwagumi style aquascape, with the Oyaishi stone at the right

Currently, this mini project of mine is in the works. Everything is almost ready, I have all the supplies besides the actual plants, which I’m saving for last as I’m not sure which plants i will need, i don’t want to rush things and buy plants that i may think twice about too easily. I’m exercising my patience in this regard. After planting, which will be done next week, it’ll take a couple months for the plants to grow!

My plan is to implement a Iwagumi style aquarium, except using driftwood instead. I am using the idea of having three different pieces of driftwood. One large piece and two smaller ones to complement the big one. I spent a good thirty minutes at the aquarium store where they sold driftwood pieces. I was surprised because i was buying pieces of wood for about 10 to 15 dollars a piece. I bought three pieces, each one larger than the other.

I made sure to choose pieces that i thought would go well together. I considered them good pieces if the grain of the wood was very straight and the ends were jagged. When i imagine laying the driftwood in the tank, i want to have the straight, jagged pieces of driftwood to be at an acute angle maybe 5 to 15 degrees and have them reaching across and up in my tank. From there, i want to plant really small plants to emulate grass for the floor.

Right now, I am waiting for the driftwood to finish curing. It needs to either be boiled for an hour OR be soaked in water for a week.(I don’t have a large pot for the wood and I’m not in a big rush to get it started) The reason for doing this is because when you put the driftwood in water, it will turn the water brown. In a way, I’m steeping the wood like tea, i want to get all the cloudy water out of the way so that when i lay the driftwood and i’m ready to plant, i won’t have to deal with as much murky water.

the largest driftwood piece i bought
the largest driftwood piece i bought
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Here, this is when i changed the water for the first time for soaking the wood, its mostly clear right now
This is the first time soaking the wood, you can see how discolored the water becomes, which i don't want
This is the first time soaking the wood, you can see how discolored the water becomes, which i don’t want
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My friend Phong’s first time trying aquascaping, this is 2 months after planting.

My friend and coworker that showed me a picture of his tank when he first started aquascaping. He mentions how there is too much going on, which he doesn’t really want. It reminds me of the Dutch style. He told me how he doesn’t want to go for that, but since it’s his first time he was experimenting a lot and was being indecisive. I understand that and I have a feeling i might do the same thing too. Next week, once the wood is clean, I’ll begin laying out the driftwood on top of sand, and then begin planting. After planting, it will take another couple months to actually grow!

week 10 – Student interview with Kyler Victorio

Today, i got the opportunity to talk with Kyler. He is a freshman and it is his second semester at CSULB.  All of the art this week was very abstract and included alot of sculpting. We saw Dawn Ertl’s work, which consisted of weather, the environment, climate, and people’s (specifically our nation in particular)  attitude towards it.

One mutual feeling we had regarding the art was that plaster is a peculiar material to work with. It gave the art life because it creates three dimensional shapes that will seem to jump out at you and seem alive. At the same time, it gave a strange vibe because although the art was three dimensional, the context of the objects were ‘trippy’ and abstract. The pale colors that plaster gave off made the artwork have an almost grim vibe to it.

We both agreed that the group sculpture exhibit gave a peculiar feeling. It actually made me feel uncomfortable, but i leaned into the art from a mental perspective in order to get a better grasp of what it was saying to me. As a whole, there was so many different art pieces and things going on in the room that it made it awfully difficult to focus on one particular piece. Off the top of my head though, there was a plaster of paris lightbulb on the floor that Kyler noticed. I didn’t see it until he mentioned it. It was purposely placed underneath a a cutout section of wall, which really got us thinking of ideas and brainstorming, we were focused more on what we felt when we saw this, rather than thinking of what the artist was trying to say.

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cast of Parks and Rec, a popular tv show

But i digress, Kyler grew up in Long Beach and works for the Long Beach Parks and Recreation department. This stood out to me because it instantly reminded me of the show Parks and Rec. Just like me, Kyler watches the show also. Kyler is currently studying biology. I did not get the chance to ask him if he intended to pursue a medical career, in my experience people that take bio will take that route, as opposed to research i assume.

Asking him what he liked to do, he said that he enjoys hanging out with friends. I told him that i enjoy doing the same thing, i also mentioned that i am always looking for new things to do as hobbies. Hobbies to me, are things that i enjoy doing, the more time i spend doing it, it takes on a life of its own and becomes a serious passion. Asking Kyler what he considers is a serious passion, he agrees that he is looking for something similar, his studies and his part time job would be it for now. I say for now because finding something you like doing can sometimes be hard, there’s so many things that can and will stop us from doing it or sticking to it.

Kyler called these things setbacks. We both agreed that money is always an obstacle when it comes to picking up new hobbies and sticking with it. For example, if i wanted to get into golf, I would have to pay for lessons and pay for golf clubs. Everyone is living on some kind of budget and this is one of the first obstacles that occur when it comes to enjoying new pursuits.

When asked about the class, Kyler mentioned that art was cool, its something different to be able to get credit and earn a grade by learning to appreciate art. The whole dynamic of learning through speaking and listening with others is something extremely underrated in my experience and Kyler and i both enjoy this alot about the class.