wk14- Artist Conversation – Jennifer Ho

In this week’s artist conversation I was able to view artist, Jennifer Oh’s pieces. The pieces were very interesting and obviously they meant something to her almost like it was personal. The name of her piece in the gallery was “Diverted”. Jennifer seems to be very passionate about the problem with women being sold off into sexual slavery in Korea. She says that women and girls were forced into sexual slavery from Korea to the Japanese Imperial Army in occupied territories during the Sino-Japanese war. Many women were forced out of their homes during the war into wartime brothels and some were often lured into the brothels with the promise of work.

After being lured into the brothels, Jennifer claims these women were incarcerated into comfort stations servicing up to 30 men in one day. The name “comfort women” comes from the translation of Japanese euphemism meaning “prostitutes”. Jennifer’s work includes photos of these women where you can see them expressing emotions of remorse and sadness. She wanted to create a symbolic connection between these women and herself, so she threaded onto the images. The threading and images are her reactions to the past and the present stories told by these women who survived these wretched conditions.

Jennifer explains that the combined media gives the effect of a dimension where history and future converge. I’m not sure what she means by that phrase, if she is claiming that this hasn’t changed at all or what. I know that these kind of things are still happening all around but I don’t think it is still a big problem. So how will the past dimension and future dimension converge? This is when I wish Jennifer was available to talk to today because her piece is very interesting. The threading she applied to the photographs are supposed to give the piece a more personal and present appeal because it skews the way you see the image. The threading reveals thoughts and feelings of the bodies and displays a duality of the bodies. She ends this with that she is recasting the figure with an uncomfortable modesty, overlaying a past generations cross-cultural anxieties with an allusion to our own.

With that being said, I know understand what she meant by saying she is converging a past dimension with a future one. She accomplished this with the threading. I decided to write about her piece instead of the other artists’ whop were available because her piece spoke to me because I felt how personal it was to her and that it meant something. She threaded tears onto these women and clothes along with other displays of emotion. It was amazing what Jennifer did with these photographs. Almost like the threading belonged. It was great having the opportunity to write about Jennifer’s work and I wish I could’ve met her but you can definitely find out all that you want by clicking the link to her website above.

wk13 – Artist Conversation – Tyler Turett


This week I was able to meet a great CSULB artist, Tyler Turett. Tyler is currently in his last semester here in which he will be receiving his bachelor’s degree in Animation. Tyler has big dreams and some big shoes to fill with his degree. I say this because his dream job is to work for pixar, because he said the first time he saw Toy Story he was amazed. Since then, he has always been interested in animation and wanted to make things like Toy Story

Over the years, Tyler has had many people inspire him but he can’t quite pick one individual. Each drawing takes quite a while for Tyler to make because he starts off with a bunch of character designs and tries out different shapes and sizes. He then makes about twenty rough sketches until he likes one. HE said his process is tough but in summary he draws the character once and then make a bunch of mouths for them because a lot of his characters use dialogue. He tries to do something different each time and entertain his audience. He makes an actual skeleton with his characters with joints and stuff and then moves them around. He actually hardly uses paper at all anymore.

One of Tyler’s favorite scenes on his drawings is the one with the carrots. He says that in the scene a man is shown cutting carrots very well and his friends are actually amazed by how well he’s doing it. The next scene is a flashback of giant carrots beating him up. His favorite characters are the basketball devil character, and the tall skinny frog looking guy. He is always making new characters so he can’t pick a favorite. Tyler is now in his last semester and is lined up for an internship in Portland for an animation company who will be making a cartoon show. He will be working for the show until they stop making it.

Tyler is a great artist and also a nice guy. His goal is to make his audience laugh at his work because of the comedy behind it, and personally I can say he achieved this goal because he is very creative and I was laughing at his scenes. I think it’s awesome that he will be making a new cartoon show and that he will be representing CSULB. I could also see some resemblance from his pieces in other Disney pieces like the devil basketball player. He looked like on of the characters  from Space Jam. It was great talking to Tyler and I wish him all the best in his new internship and future in animation.

wk12 – Artist Conversation – Christopher Linquata


This week I had the opportunity to meet Artist Christopher Linquata who likes to be called Christo. Christo is in his last year at CSULB in the masters program. Before entering the masters program, Christopher was teaching art but he wanted to become a better teacher and also a better painter. A lot of his inspiration actually comes from other artists and friends in the Masters program.

A lot of time and preparation go into each one of Christo’s paintings. His largest painting took four months to make with a month and a half of preparation. For each painting Christo prefers to use acrylic paint. His paintings consist of real and mythological stories which he wants the viewer to figure out which story is real. In most of his stories the background is based off of San Pedro Beach and other local areas like Long Beach. When looking at Christo’s instagram where you can find him by his username @icon5350, I noticed he likes to use gold for his framing of paintings. Also on his instagram you can see some of the characters in the paintings actually hanging out with him in the real world.

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Christo is inspired by a lot of things like the artists in the masters program and also artists from the early renaissance and street art. The artists from the early renaissance that inspire him are Pierre de la francesca and Bien benito solini. A few nights before each show, Christo spends sleepless nights preparing for the show. Finishing his paintings, and making sure everything is in tact and perfect. You could see this on his instagram where he posts pictures using the hash tag #nosleep.

When observing Christo’s paintings I tried to determine which pieces were real stories or if they were fake. It looks like whether they were real or not, they were all based on the good times that he and his friends have had. Maybe the fake ones were dreams he had that he wanted to paint. My favorite piece was the one centered in the back that was titled “Death of Christo”. Death of Christo is comical to me because it’s so real to me. All of the time you see people passed out drunk on the beach with people around them not knowing that they are there. In this painting, he is passed out and there is a family playing around him on the rock just acting like he isn’t there. Why is this the Death of Christo if he isn’t actually dead? Is it because no one notices him? No one actually cares for his well being? If he were actually dead, would anyone care? This is what I think when I look at Death of Christo and why the artist named the painting that. It was a great week at the galleries and even better getting to meet the artist behind the paintings. Christo seems to be a great artist and an even better teacher and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.




wk11 – Artist Conversation – Kathy Yoon


In this week’s Artist conversation, I had the opportunity to meet artist, Kathy Yoon. Kathy is in her 3rd year at California State University, Long Beach and is 27 years old. When she was younger, Kathy always liked playing and making things out of Play-Do. It wasn’t until she was in college that she was introduced to ceramics. One person who has inspired her is artist, Tim Burton. Tim is a producer who has made movies like; The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetle Juice, Corpse Bride, and Alice in Wonderland. I did not know who Tim was until I researched him but once I saw these movies that he produced, it all made sense. When I was in the Merlino Gallery looking at Kathy’s pieces, her pieces reminded me a lot of characters in his movies. Kathy likes to create these characters and putting her emotions and experiences into them.

Kathy wants people to relate to her pieces on a personal level, and only then will she feel accomplished in that. She uses many materials to make these pieces which include: Porcelain Clay, White Rose Paper Clay, Underglaze, and some yarn. Her whole process is pretty lengthy which involves heat treatment and forming. It actually starts off with coiling the clay and making long strips, she then forms it into shape, supports it on stilts, and lastly fires the clay in the kiln so that the clay hardens. Interestingly enough, her pieces are all hollow, and each piece takes about 2-3 weeks. Considering each piece takes 2-3 weeks and she had so many pieces on display, she worked on it for a while.


Her favorite piece in the gallery was all the way in the back corner under a little spot light because she says it’s the best representation of herself and closest to her heart. She always liked animation and art with characters which is where these characters come from. I would assume her favorite movie would be The Nightmare Before Christmas because of how closely her characters are represented to the movie. The characters also look like they are from a video game called Little Big Planet. My favorite peace was located in the center where the character was laying down face up, resembling a tired person.


Kathy’s pieces are pretty cool and accurate. Many times while I was in the gallery I heard people saying “Oh my gosh, this is so me, every day”. Kathy was able to relate her pieces and experiences with other people on a personal level.  I believe her ultimate goal in “So Many Me’s” was to get on this personal level and help people connect to her characters. Her pieces connected with me because my girlfriend and I love going to Disneyland just about every week, and we both love the haunted mansion ride where characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas can be seen. So seeing these characters brought back some great memories with my girlfriend. It was really great getting to talk to Kathy and I hope she does well in her future because she is doing some great things.

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Wk10 – Artist Conversation – Thomas Cressman


In this week’s artist conversation I had the opportunity to converse with a brilliant artist by the name of Thomas Cressman. Thomas is currently in his 5th year here at California State University, Long Beach and he is majoring in 22 metals. He loves metals and he first became interested in metals when he was a sophomore in high school, he took a metals class. He also had a professor that really inspired him to work on metal and directed him into this program. His high school was located in Seal Beach which is where he grew up. I was surprised when he said that he went to high school in Seal Beach and he took a class on metals there because those classes are rare now-a-days. I chose Thomas because we are very similar. We both love to work with metal, and we both fell in love with metal our sophomore years in high school.

The piece that he was showing us today was called “Living Forms”. In this piece, everything is based off of the ocean, in fact everything he makes is inspired from the ocean. He likes using the ocean because it’s a whole new world out there and he finds it so fascinating. His favorite animal is the octopus because they are intelligent and he just thinks their awesome. He says the scientific aspect of the ocean has always kept him interested as well. To make one piece it could take Thomas anywhere from 1 week or longer than four weeks. The metals he mainly uses are copper, brass, and silver which I could imagine gets expensive. Since metal does cost a lot, what he likes to do is sell his pieces after he puts them in a show.

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The process to make each piece is pretty lengthy and takes a lot of hard work. He starts off with a large flat sheet of metal, and then he takes his inspiration and drawings that he has mad of that inspiration and then creates that image in his mind. With that image he cuts out a sheet of copper in that same shape and then he starts a process called annealing which is a heat treating process so that he can work on the metal and form it. After he has formed what he wants he starts doing minor work like hammering the metal and adding texture to it. This is a lot of hard work that goes into his process and one mistake in the forming process could be major and force him to start over. I imagine that doesn’t make many mistakes since he has been doing this for over three years now. During the process he doesn’t like to translate what he is looking at but he likes to make it abstract.

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Thomas was a really cool guy to talk to and I enjoyed looking at his pieces. He had a really nice set up and I think it was probably the most professional gallery that I have been to. My favorite piece of his was the “Glossy-Backed Abalone”. The Glossy-Backed Abalone is pretty small but very shiny at that which made it stand out to me out of all the others. I also liked Thomas’ favorite piece which was located in the center of the gallery. The piece was called “Giant Blue Clam”. The piece was really large and he put a lot of work and detail into it. It’s pretty abstract but I could definitely see a clam when I looked at it.  Thomas currently does not have a website but if you would like to follow him on Instagram to see some more of his work his username is @Thom_cress6. My favorite piece is pictured below.

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Wk9 – Artist Conversation – Maccabee Shelley


During this week’s intriguing artist conversation I had the pleasure of meeting, artist Maccabee Shelley. Maccabee is an artist who currently works here at California State University, Long Beach. He grew up in LA, and then moved to San Francisco. He loved living in San Francisco because it wasn’t hot, but there was one thing about San Francisco that forced him to move an hour south. San Francisco classes and schools were too crowded to get into, and that’s when he decided to go to Humboldt State, because it still wasn’t hot there and it wasn’t crowded. He recently received his undergraduate degree from Humboldt State University focusing in studio art and a minor in art history. Maccabee claims that he was never interested in art until he started college. As a kid he was always interested in science and reading, but when he was receiving C’s and B’s in those classes and A’s in art classes, that’s when he found out he wanted to pursue an interest in art. He didn’t fully pursue it until 2010 when he started doing ceramics. He now uses ceramics in most of his work now, and he makes some really great pieces from glass ceramics including what I saw today in the Gatov-West gallery.


There are multiple pieces in his showing and they all make up what he calls “Fragile Nature”.  Fragile Nature consists of plaster but mostly glass ceramics. In the past he messed around with some acrylic painting but that was all before he found his love for ceramics. Even though, he is an artist now, he has found ways to incorporate his love for science into his work. He says that in the process of making his pieces there is a lot of science that goes into it. The process starts off him making or buying a bowl of clay, and then fills it with glass and fires it for the first time. He then lets it cool, and applies more colors and finishes, then puts it into the kiln and then lets the glass cool again. He finishes off the piece by torching it again and applying more glass. Glass is expensive, and Maccabee has a very limited amount of money. He used to get a lot of his glass from the recycling center, or garage sales, but now the community brings glass to his studio and it’s ridiculous how much he actually has now. He has so much glass that it’s actually overflowing.


“For every piece we see, there is probably 6 more just like it.” That is how Maccabee when asked which was his favorite piece. He said that he cannot pick one favorite because to everyone else they are all individual pieces, but to him all his pieces are a torrent of water and he just scooped up a few to show us. Maccabee doesn’t have a specific ultimate goal he says he just has a lot of practical goals, because as an artist he has to be flexible with the amount of money he has. Once he achieves one goal, he is going to have another and then another after that, but if he were to have an ultimate goal it would probably be to always have the opportunity to make and show his work. The person that has inspired him the most is Tony Marsh. Tony provided him with the opportunity to work here, and he is the reason for his success.


Speaking to Maccabee was really interesting and he is probably my favorite artist to date. He spends a lot of time on his work, and puts in a lot of detail. I think each piece represents a little bit of his personality. In the picture below you can see part of one piece has a glass bagel on it that says “I love bagels.” I thought that was pretty funny, but there are other pieces that I thought were cool like how he stretched the neck of a bottle to be very thin but still left the top of it untouched. Maccabee was a very inspiring artist, and had a lot of words to pass on to us. If you all would like to see more of his great pieces you can visit his website or even here on campus.

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wk8 – Artist Conversation – Rhiannon Aarons


In this week’s artist conversation, I had the pleasure of meeting artist, Rhiannon Aarons. Rhiannon is in her second year as an MFA student, but when she was just 17 she started formal artist training as an undergraduate at Otis. In her past she has worked at a non-profit teaching establishment to teach the disabled how to paint. Her artwork has been inspired by many artists, but one in particular that she mentions is Dana Reyes. Rhiannon is also interested in anything that is obscure or weird.

The purpose of her piece this week is to represent Satan in the Garden of Eden, and how women can be seen as demonic. In creating her piece she took scans of anatomy books. In the other drawings she used what is called Heckatan (Hecate) which are 3 heads inspired from myths, and since they are myths she researched what they would look like. To do this, she was scratching through paper, then put the paper through the printing press which is the dry print. The other drawings we see are digital prints. Amazingly, All of her pieces together took a year to make, and shown in the pictures below are the Heckatan, and what she drew from the research she did.

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In Rhiannon’s artist statement, she explains how there has been a lot of confusion, untold truth, and lies about the anatomy of a woman. She states that the “anatomy books that originally perpetuated the misinformation dispelled by Chalker relied on illustrations that were printed using wood engraving; such as, the line quality created by this method becomes one of authority, of an invisible author with an alleged neutral hand.” Rhiannon later goes on to say in her statement, that Reed and Page from “Crate for Remains of a Mythical Creature”  were on opposite poles but at the end, both women are buried in the same cemetery, they are both reduced to the same earth.

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These digital print drawings that she made, represent how the female body is represented as demonic. Not the female personality, but the female anatomy. How the writers and the illustrators, depict the female body with the lines they use are representing women as these demonic creatures. She used these skeleton pieces because as mentioned earlier, she likes weird things. She wants us to figure out what she is trying to get across in her work.

I think that with her interesting, weird work Rhiannon attracted a lot of viewers, which is what she was trying to do. When looking at the work I did not see anything to me that looked like a demonic woman. To me, it looked as if she was doing a somewhat Halloween theme, with the skeletons, and the heads. I thought it was interesting how the skeletons looked similar but they were all very different. In conclusion, I don’t think her point got across to me but I believe other people had understood the point she was getting across, how the female anatomy is represented as demonic.

wk7 – Artist Conversation – Norax Ayala

Hello everyone, this week I would like to include you all in an interesting conversation with an artist I just met by the name of Norax Ayala. Norax does feminist work her at California State University, Long Beach and she is also a graduate student. She grew up in the Inland Empire and went to undergraduate school there before coming to Long beach. She has always been interested in art and decided that she wanted to major in art coming out of high school. She started doing a lot of coloring when she was younger and then transitioned to water color painting. Norax now does small work like the one I saw today in the Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery which is inspired by feminism. Her piece “She and I” represents everything she stand for as she is very inspired by gender politics and what she cares about most, her partner. Her inspiration for her work comes from well-known artist Fransisco De Goya who does etchings.

The objective of “She and I” is to “Represent relationships, of any kind”. She says that relationships are essential to humans because we need to have emotional experiences “emotionally, physically, mentally, and sometimes even spiritually” Her body of work is to investigate aesthetics of sensuality and intimacy. Her paintings show two becoming one through the use of transparent layers. She also likes the use of lipstick, since lipstick goes on lips and lips go on other body parts, she felt it was appropriate to use lipstick as a material. Lipstick was also a good material for her to use because it is nontoxic.

Her pieces all took about 2 weeks to make which includes 18 small pieces. The red and pink ink and the lipstick create patterns on the paper that range from curved lines to full circles and blank spaces. Her focus when creating her peace was on her partner and using their experience. Norax says that the rubbing motion to transfer the ink is like the motion of what people do with their partners or with themselves.

Least to say, I was not very comfortable in my conversation with Norax because our point of views are millions of miles apart. I grew up with a very different background from her but I was easily able to identify what her piece was saying. It was interesting watching the piece slowly mix together like two partners do and watch the piece become one. Her piece easily got her point across of what she was trying to accomplish. if you all would like to see more of her work you can follow her on instagram- @norax_darko. In the pictures below you can see her two paintings become one.


wk6 – Artist Conversation – Sery Kwon

Hello everyone, in this week’s artist conversation I had the pleasure of meeting artist, Sery Kwon. Sery had 4 paintings on display for us all to enjoy. There was something about the paintings that caught my eye; her paintings all seemed to have like a road of some sort or just thick lines running through them. That is why I chose to choose her as my artist of the week because I was very interested in her work. Sery is a senior this semester at California State University, Long Beach. She has known she wanted to paint since middle school, and started actually painting how she paints her junior year in college. As it comes to my surprise she told us that her style is painting road map type of paintings of cities like Los Angeles and Dublin, like those pictured below.

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She does this because she likes drawing squares like maps. She likes to put her experiences into the paintings and make them abstract, and she starts with the location. Currently, she bases all her paintings on these maps of cities, states, etc. She even makes some of them up and goes with the flow. She loves the idea of looking at things from an aerial view which makes me wonder how much better these paintings could be if she could paint them from a plane or helicopter from above. I think she should definitely try this out as it would be fun and a great opportunity to make some great art. A lot of these paintings she said are working with different shapes fitting into space, and for the audience to feel what she was feeling…lost in the map. To also show her point of view from when she went to these places she saw the cities in color. All four of her paintings took weeks to make and the one that took the longest is pictured above on the left, and the shortest one is shown to the right of that one.

She doesn’t use too many materials when creating her paintings. She often uses acrylic paint and rice paper, dyes paper strips and puts them on top of the canvas. Sometimes she also paints with a brush as well. Her favorite colors are coral and purple because they make her feel happy. When she starts her painting she picks her colors first then she draws in her shapes and fills in color after. Her favorite painter is Mark Bradford because she like how he works in very physical objects. After she graduates this year she would like to become an art teacher and implement her road type paintings and ideas into younger generations.

These paintings are pretty cool to me because they are all the same style but yet they are all so different from each other. She uses colors that go well together and you can actually see the cities in the paintings. In the painting of LA, I saw a lot of spinning and circles and I could totally relate with it because of the fast LA pace and everyone going fast in circles. I think Sery will do great as a teacher as she is very knowledgeable, and fun to talk to. Do not forget to visit her website, thank you all.

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.