Wk 10- Artist Conversation

Artist: Ja’Rie Gray
Exhibition: My Complexion
Media: MFA, Drawing and Painting
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Website: jariegraymycomplexion.weebly.com, jariegrayblackface.com

Ja’Rie Gray is a student in the Drawing and Painting program at CSULB and is close to getting her degree. Although she is graduating this spring, she will be coming back to teach Foundation Life Drawing. She started doing art when she was 5 but didn’t consider herself an artist until she started college. She says that her art is heavily inspired by artists such as Jacob Lawrence and Barkley L. Hendricks amongst other African American artists.

Her work revolves around oil on canvas and charcoal on paper. When she started getting into art, she always loved drawing so charcoal is her most comfortable medium and the one she enjoys the most; however, she claims that oil is her “second love.” In her art, her colors are very vibrant and welcoming and her shapes are very geometric. Her art is also realistic in a way that it represents body shape and skin color in a way that isn’t but should be shown more often. This sense of realism yet boldness reflects her use of real life and imagination from her art process in which she combines the two into a main composition.

Gray’s art is really focused on complexion, self-acceptance, and self-love. These are 3 ideas I reflect on constantly and really have an impact not only on the artist and her audience but also on the entirety of society. She really wants to bring attention to the importance of self acceptance and also represent people of different skin complexions and how dark skin is beautiful. One of her biggest messages that she wants to get across is that one should not try to change who they are or what they look like in order to make other people accept them.

My Complexion is by far my favorite exhibition so far. The message that Gray wants to get out to the world is one I think about often and discuss with my peers. Why is light skin amongst other Eurocentric features idolized to the point where people all over the world who don’t fit these standards start to hate who they are? It isn’t healthy to change oneself for acceptance from others and there is no solution to self-hate other than self-acceptance and self-love. It’s really unfair that media and society impose these standards on people, especially the young so that many strive to be someone they are not. That’s why this exhibit is so important to me. There is no standard to beauty and people don’t appreciate the beauty of dark skin as much as they should because we are socialized to praise those of lighter skin and smaller features.


Wk 10-Classmate Conversation


I had the pleasure of talking to Gabriela Hernandez this week. She is a 2nd year from Long Beach and is still undeclared but is planning on declaring her major in sociology because she wants to work her way to being a counselor in high school. When she’s not in class or at school, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, listening to music, or eating fries(her favorite food). When it comes to traveling, she really wants to be able to explore historical places such as Greece.

So far, she’s really enjoying the class and thinks it’s fun and easy even though she may not have an art background or enjoy it as much as others.

Wk 10-Art Experience-Instagram

For this weeks art experience, I posted photos that I typically would for any instagram post. These photos had cool undertones and edited features through vscocam. These also reflect my instagram feed and the style I usually go for when I post–pictures of my day and images I find interesting. I didn’t feel a need to make a separate account for my photos because they were no different from my usual. When I looked over my classmates posts, I realized the style of the pictures are very different. I decided to go with the pics that are more similar to mine but the majority of the ones I saw had no filter and the colors and composition were not specific which is usually what I pay attention to most. I thought it was interesting because with so many people in the class, I thought that I would find more people with similar feeds.

Wk9- Classmate Conversation


Glenda Castillo is currently working on getting her BFA in Spanish and is scheduled to get her degree in Fall 2016. Before starting school, her career involved being a hairdresser for the past 12 years and although she enjoys it, she is interested in becoming a Spanish teacher to get into something new. She realized that she wanted to be a teacher because she learned her love for helping others by tutoring her peers in Spanish. On her free time, she likes to go to the beach, swim, and spend time with her 2 dogs back home in Costa Mesa.

Wk 9-Artist Conversation

Artist: Sean Joy Cabanig
Exhibition: All Work All Play
Media: Metal and Jewelry
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Werby Gallery

Fifth year Sean Joy Cabanig who is receiving her BFA in Metal and Jewelry this Spring showcased a series of her collections throughout her time at CSULB in her gallery, All Work All Play. She is currently working at Michael Schmidt Studios and is trying to decide whether or not she would like to continue working in a studio or elsewhere once she graduates. She considers herself to pretty much be a lifelong artist. Her father recognized her talent at a young age. Although she started off with drawing, she eventually went to photoshop in high school and realized that she wanted her art to be more hands on in college. Although she grew up with the Filipino stereotype where many children go off to be nurses or engineers, she can’t imagine herself in any other major.

In her work that she showcased, she mostly showed abstract pieces which involved jewelry or small metal sculptures. Much of her work involved smooth kinetics and silver or copper colors. Her art display a variety of ideas and personalities but all show very obvious similarities. Through her art, she shows preciseness and versatility because she works on what various projects ask of her.

Inspiration for Sean Joy’s work comes a lot from humor, the environment, emotion, and people which is prevalent in her art. From the minimalist colors to the kinesthetics of a finger brace to the simplicity yet humor behind a small penis sculpture, Sean Joy’s ability to show off different sides of her really shines through. Her style also accentuates how she describes her work as cool to serious to humorous. By showing a compilation of her work from her career at CSULB, she is also able to show how she has grown throughout her process and how her work has developed yet her ideas and style has remained constant.

I personally enjoys Sean Joy’s versatility and minimalism. She is able to pursue various ideas yet stick to her own style which is difficult when trying to achieve tasks that are asked of you opposed to being self motivated. I especially identified with her a someone growing up in a Filipino household and instead of being pressured to go into the medical or engineering field, decided to pursue media and liberal arts. It is extremely rare even now to find Asian-American students who are able to do so.

Wk 7-Artist Conversation

Artist: Mimi Haddon
Exhibition: Catching Air
Media: Fiber Art
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Merlino Gallery
Website: http://www.mimihaddon.com/

Mimi Haddon is a current graduate student who is majoring in fiber art. She received her bachelors 20 years ago in graphic design and since then worked briefly in graphic design then went into fashion photography. This eventually led to her interest in fiber art and installations as she was working more closely with fabrics and costumes. Although she is currently pursuing her masters in fiber art, she is still heavily involved in fashion photography and is working on a coffee table book with a large costume company. Although she has been working on art for so long, she didn’t necessarily consider herself an artist until after her kids were born in her 30’s where she began to work more hands on.

Haddon utilizes very tangible items which can be found everywhere. Her art which is made of simple, everyday items, is brought together in order to create bigger pieces which illustrate more elaborate structures. Haddon also mentions her love for color and her interest in only using full saturation against natural hues in her pieces whether its her photography or her installations. By looking at her work, you can tell that it’s very vibrant and large scaled which also fits to her vibrant personality.

When growing up, Haddon was terrified of scary movies but found interest in the The Shining and its abstract qualities. Throughout her artistic career, she has grown to enjoys brighter and bigger things. She also expresses her interest in biology and cellular makeup. This inspires her art through the unusual shapes formed by growing cells and structures. This is evident in her art that she takes a lot of inspiration through the building blocks of life itself.

When I am looking for art, I don’t necessarily look for bold and bright pieces. I am usually more attracted to neutral colors. However, the specific colors and materials Haddon utilized really caught my attention. Because of its playful and abstract qualities, it somewhat reminded me of my younger siblings back home. This made me nostalgic and allowed me to adore the piece at a more reminiscent pace along with appreciating its artistry instead of being attracted to its piece solely on its aesthetics.

Wk 7-Art Experience-Group Video


For this week’s project, I wanted to use a song that I felt was appropriate for college. I worked with Ashley Batres and utilized my previous film experience to edit the video while we both filmed. Because we are both camera shy and it was difficult to film just the two us, we decided to film my friends innocently around campus. We wanted to showcase something fun and easygoing for the music video to contrast the reality of college. Personally, the process was real fun. I made short films in high school and this gave me an opportunity to make a quick video for fun. Although it may not have been my best work, I was able to work with other people who have not experienced making films or the editing process.