wk5 – Artist Conversation – Josh Benz & Caren Solis

This week I had the opportunity to meet artist Josh Benz and talk to him about his piece. Unfortunately the other artist, Caren Soils that partook in helping create the piece was not available today. Josh does not have his own site yet but you can find his work that he posts on his facebook page searching for Josh Benz. Josh and Caren’s oil painting was very interestng, and I decided to interview him because I wanted to know more about it. I wanted to know more because It was the most relaxing piece in the room to me and you will see why in the picture below.

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Josh’s goal for the painting was to create a relaxing piece, and show the transition from childhood to adulthood. The painting started out as a somewhat self-portrait that Caren made, seen in the bottom left of the painting. After making her self-portrait, Josh had covered everything in paint. This action had angered Caren and she told him ” What are we going to do now?!” He did this because he wanted them to collaborate since they were supposed to work as a team. So they would take turns adding stuff little by little. Josh said he had things flowing, and she would have to force her stuff to fit. Her paintings were more realistic figures and he did implied paintings instead of literal. On their last day of painting they decided to paint together and put there ideas together.

The whole thing took  about 3 months, after they got to a late start. After they decided to keep her self portrait of the 2 people watching TV, they agreed on that he would paint what they were watching and she painted them watching. They wanted the colors to bounce off of each other and make realistic figures into abstract art work. Even though they had different ideas, the colors created a better sense of perspective which made their ideas work together.

This piece means a lot of things to me; my emotions are kind of thrown around every where because I have no idea what my imagination is trying to do. I definitely could tell that two different artist’s worked on this piece because of how things met in the middle. She started off with drawing the people watching TV and it also looks like they are floating on water. In the middle of the river, it looks like 2 different waters meet representing the 2 artists. On the left side of the painting you see realistic figures like people working and then on the right side there is a 2 headed dragon. To me, this means that sometimes we get so caught up on what’s in front of us that we don’t know what we are swimming in, or what is going on around us. So does this achieve the transition from childhood to adulthood? Maybe if you look at it a certain way, with how on one side you have people working and the other is a fantasy land, which is why I love Art, because every piece means something else to another person.

wk5 – Classmate Conversation – Kiro Tadros


Hello everyone, I would like you all to meet Kiro Tadros. I had the opportunity to meet this amazing young man this week doing our classmate conversation. Kiro is 19 years old and is a full-time pre-med student majoring in Bio here at California State University, Long Beach. After attending med-school, Kiro would like to be an Orthopedic Surgeon. He was born in Egypt, and moved here when he was 4 with his 2 siblings and parents. The amazing thing about Kiro was that he was born dead! The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and he was not breathing. When he told me this I just said WOW! that sure is a miracle, a miracle standing right in front of me! I didn’t have the chance to ask him but I wonder if that is why he is pursuing medical school? Since his life was saved, I believe he wants to save others. Kiro had come straight to Cerritos from Egypt and he went to Cerritos high school. On his free-time Kiro loves to fish, plays basketball, and Billiards. His favorite food is Mediterranean, he could eat it every day I bet. He even got excited when he said Mediterranean. When asked the question: What are you swimming in? Kiro responded with he is swimming on the road to medical school. If you would like to learn more about Kiro you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @Kirooo_2, or at his website linked above.

wk5 – Activity – Ethnography

This week may have been my biggest challenge yet this semester. Yesterday night, I had to go the whole night without a lick of electricity. Along with not using any electricity came many challenges. You would think that not being able to use my phone would be the biggest challenge of them all but it was actually the easiest. I cannot count how many times I stubbed my toe on a corner or how much I was sweating without my fan while I was sleeping. Sleeping without a fan was by far the hardest thing, due to the fact that my apartment has no A/C. I woke up continuously through the night hot and sweaty begging for my fan. As you can see in the picture below I sleep pretty close to my fan to keep me cool through the night so that I could cuddle in my blankets.


Showering in the dark was also challenging because it was scary. The whole time I felt like someone was behind me watching me… creepy. Although there were many challenges and moments I dreaded it, I did have a lot of fun. My roommate, who is also in this class helped me out by choosing to do the ethnography the same night. For most of the night, we played Ping pong under the candle light. Even though it was very competitive and we were running every where, the candle made it feel relaxing, especially with it’s cinnamon apple scent.


After our epic ping pong battle we made some s’mores on the barbecue, which I wish I could’ve taken a picture of because they were perfect! The rest of the night was spent studying for midterms under the candle light of our bedrooms. Since my last midterm was today and I did this last night it was very difficult trying not to fall asleep early but I fell asleep early enough even though I was very uncomfortable. This was a great experience and I can definitely say the I appreciate what I have a lot more now.

wk4 – Activity – Painting

This week’s activity was Painting. The objective of this activity was to use spray paint to write our name in bubble letters anywhere we wanted to, legally. I have never tagged or made an effort to do so because I just suck at art. I have no artistic ability whatsoever. I do find it interesting though. I see a lot of beautiful graffiti and it brings life to cities and their walls. Now on that comment, there is more ugly and disturbing graffiti that outweigh the good. It disgusts me when I see a beautiful bridge or wall that took construction workers days to build and engineers weeks to plan tagged with a gang symbol or just a name. It costs cities millions a year and I believe it turns people away from visiting cities like Los Angeles because it looks too ghetto. That is why i think they should make more legal art walls like the one in Venice so people can express themselves better. I wanted to go to Venice this week to earn the extra credit but that was before I knew it only open on the weekends. I had planned to go on Wednesday since unfortunately, I will be working throughout the day this weekend. Below you can see my attempt at spraying my name in bubble letters. The colors are not very good since they are blue and black they do not contrast very well. That is because I bought the paint before knowing we would be spraying in bubble letters. The nozzle also had a very wide spray resulting in my tag to look even more messy. It was my first try but I think it turned out to be okay, and I hope you think so as well. Thank you all for reading. Have a blessed day.

Me with my tag in the kitchen

Wk4 – Classmate Conversation – Stephanie Chang

Stephanie and I at the gallery

This week I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie Chang. Stephanie and I met because we had something in common and that was the shirt I was wearing. I was wearing and Intervarsity shirt (as shown in the picture above) which she happens to be in. Intervarsity is a big Christian fellowship club on campus which I had attended once last year. She asked me about where I had gotten the shirt because she has never seen me there. We then introduced ourselves and started learning more about each other. Stephanie is in her second year here at CSULB and she is studying Business. She was born in Taiwan but moved here when she was just 9 months old. She lived most of her life in NorCal before recently moving here. Although she grew up in America she still speaks fluent Chinese. She is taking this this class because she likes art and her favorite thing to do is photography. She has some great photography skills and you can see that on her website. Photography isn’t the only thing she enjoys as she loves the outdoors like kayaking and snorkeling. She’s even been snorkeling in Hawaii! A fun fact about Stephanie is that she only peels her tangerines in a spiral which I have never seen. When I asked Stephanie if Art mattered to her, she said yes. She said she grew up with art. It’s a way to express yourself in abstract ways and show your creativity. It was great meeting Stephanie and I hope you all enjoyed reading about her.

Wk4 – Artist Conversation – Tidawhitney Lek, Daniel A. Rivera Echeverria


The title of the exposition I chose to learn about this week was called “Disposable Thoughts”. This wonderful piece was created and installed by Tidawhitney Lek and Daniel A. Rivera Echeverria. Although Daniel was not in attendance because he had class, I had the chance to talk to Tidawhitney. You may ask yourself looking at the pictures after that last sentence,”wonderful?” What could be so great about hanging up a quilt in a certain way in a giant room? That’s because it’s not a quilt, or a blanket, it is one hundred percent napkin! That;s right, thousands of napkins sewn together by hand by the artists. They actually thought up of the idea last spring towards the end of the semester because of their low budget for materials. From the first photo you can see a lot of markings on the napkins, and the second photo just shows one illustration. On every single napkin is a different story which I find very interesting and why I chose to interview this artist.

Tidawhitney and Daniel spent over 40 hours just sewing and creating the piece. It was made entirely out of napkins sewn together in that time span. All the materials used were a pen, plenty of napkins, and a sewing machine. Once they finished creating their work, it then took more than 35 hours to install it. The reason why it took this long was because with there being two of them, they argued plenty of times on how they wanted it to be displayed. Daniel wanted something that would feel welcoming and that’s why when you walk into the gallery it looks like a tunnel. It’s pretty clear that Daniel won that argument, but the other main argument was about whether they should use fishing line to hold the napkin up or something else. I’m not sure why this was such a big argument since the fishing line looked great.

On these thousands of napkins contain doodles, sketches, and writing ranging from a variety of things. Tidawhitney said that the napkins are all like her “diary” because she put all of her emotions onto the napkins and she is even embarrassed about some of the stuff that she wrote onto the napkins. The purpose that the artists the piece to be for us to have something to attract our minds to be released of everything. Tidawhitney said she decided to dump everything that she could think of onto the napkins because napkins are trash anyway and “there was no appreciation for the napkin, i just wrote stuff”.

I think the most interesting thing about this piece is that it will never be the same piece. It will never look the same, feel the same, or be displayed the same way again. She can set it up however she wants the next time it is displayed and every time after that. I think that the artist’s achieved what they wanted to, to me because in the title alone “Disposable Thoughts” they just dumped all of their thoughts and emotions onto the napkins which are trash anyway. I could feel the emotion on the napkins, what they were feeling and I felt relieved reading them. This was a great piece of art to look at to release my mind and relax as all the bad was disposed. Thank you all for reading my post and do not forget to check out their instagram pages linked through their names in the first paragraph!

Wk3 – Activity – Social Photography

Hello everyone, and welcome back. Today’s activity was all on Instagram! For this activity we were given the chance to express ourselves freely on social media by posting 4 or more pictures throughout the day. I don’t post much on social media but I found that it was quite fun posting these pictures. My first picture started off at the beginning of my day. The picture (shown below) includes me eating a bowl of mini wheat’s after I had eaten my eggs. I posted this picture because the way I eat is important to me, because I am a bit of a health nut now. Always eat your wheaties

My next picture was taken on my way to class. It is a part of my every day routine but I decided to take it upon myself on making my own giant selfie, just like our class is doing today. It is a picture of me on the bus going to school. The bus was packed and i was hanging on to the pole crammed trying not to cross the yellow caution line. Like I said, it was packed, smelly, and just terrible but I decided to smile about it and even got one photo bomber.

beats walkin'

After my first 2 of 3 classes of the day I get a break to workout at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. I decided to take a picture here because I just accomplished a personal record by lifting 275 lbs. on the bench press.

Do you even lift bro?

You know how I said I was a bit of a health nut? Well I saved enough room in my diet to enjoy a nice 12″ pizza with a cinnamon bun from Krispy Kreme. The diet I am on is a macro-nutrient diet. I can eat anything I want but I have to stay within my certain calorie range, and total grams of fat. I saved up just enough room to enjoy some of this delicious pizza from Deli News.


This concludes my Instagram day and I hope you all had as much fun reading this as I did writing it!

Wk3 – Classmate Conversation – Ryan Bravo


Hello everyone! Meet Ryan Bravo. Ryan is half Puerto-Rican and half Mexican currently in his 2nd year at California State University, Long Beach.  He was in the graduating class of 2014 at his high school in Costa Mesa, California. He is currently studying Criminal Justice, and after he graduates he is going to pursue his dream of becoming a Homicide Detective for a Police Department. We actually share that in common, even though I am studying Mechanical Engineering. In high school I wanted to be a police officer and took a criminal justice class through a community college online, and I was also a Sheriff Explorer before realizing that it was not what I wanted anymore.

Ryan is very adventurous and has many hobbies that he enjoys doing. Funny enough we share interests in all the same hobbies. He likes to surf, snowboard, he plays baseball, basketball, football, as well as hiking. One thing I was jealous of was that he hiked the half dome at Yosemite National Park when he was 15! We also share the same position in football as we both played corner, but I played quarterback as well.

When he’s not in school or having fun in the outdoors, he works in the loss prevention at target while still maintaining the status of a full-time student. Ryan was a great guy talking to and I am glad that I met him. We hope to weight lift together in the coming weeks and hang out a little bit more. You can find Ryan here at http://ryanbravo.com/.

Wk3 – Artist Conversation – Kyle Kruse


Today I had the opportunity to meet Artist Kyle Kruse, of California State University, Long Beach. His piece “one who sees” was in the first gallery I walked into. The Dutzi-Gallery. I decided to have a conversation with him because his print seemed very strange. When I first saw it, it seemed demonic and it actually upset me, but I wanted to see what was on the inside of his mind. He actually informed me with some pretty neat history about the print.

Kyle has always been interested in woodblock printing on fabrics, as well as showing interest in lighting and display. He took interest from 1380 France where the first woodblock printing on fabrics to create altar frontals in place of worship took place. The Harley Quinn character or the Jesters that he used was because he said that it was a famous symbol in that period of time in France.

The idea of “one who sees” is to blur the line in a relationship between the “viewer” and the “actor”. He has made it some kind of performance while the jester’s are giving their offering. Kyle wanted to create something that laid out the performance like a dance, hence the language of actor and viewers. To create a tension of one who sees and one who is seen.

Kyle achieved what he was aiming for on “one who sees”. “one who sees” accomplished blurring the line between the viewer and the actor. when he says “to create a tension between one who sees and one who is seen”, it means that when you are looking from the outside, you can see everything on the inside. But when you are looking out from the inside you can only see those around you and not the outside simply because that’s how the fabric was made. This means, to me that when things get difficult and you feel surrounded and people are offering you multiple things to do for them or overall in general, you just need to take a step to the outside of it all and get a bird’s eye view to prioritize what you need to give. Unfortunately Kyle does not have a website or social media account that you can view his other work.


Wk2 – Activity – Plaster Casting

'L' for Love! -Dodgeball
‘L’ for Love!

Today’s adventure was all about plaster casting! To be completely honest, I did not want to do this project. I didn’t want to do it just because I thought it would take up too much time. I have homework in other classes I need to do, I have work, and many other things that are making me stressed. After finishing the project I was very glad to find my self relieved of so much stress and I just felt good because I went out in the water and had fun with my roommate, Anthony who is also in this class (where you can find him at http://www.anthonylsimeone.wordpress.com). The fun started when we were trying to decide what kind of imprint we wanted to put in the sand to make the best casting. We ended up doing two imprints each. In which he made a peace sign and just a normal hand print and I made an ‘L’ and also a normal hand print. After we poured the plaster into the imprints, we were a little worried about the tide coming in too high and getting the plaster wet so we made a trench with two calls on the front and backside of the trench to act as barriers to protect the plaster. While we waited for the plaster to dry we went out in the water to go body surfing. Not even a minute into swimming, a seal was swimming just 10 feet from us! This kind of scared me since that’s a shark’s favorite meal. Sadly though the waves weren’t as big as we hoped so we threw the football around the rest of the time making diving catches into the water. I left the beach with a much greater appreciation for Art because it had such a positive effect on me and now I feel great! Thank you all for visiting my post. Cheers!