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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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.