Wk 13 – Classmate Conversation – Alex Gonzales

Hi and welcome back to another classmate conversation!

This week I met another film major, imagine that! I guess film is a popular major to study at Cal State Long Beach. Alex Gonzales is a first-year student who commutes from Los Angeles every day. In the beginning, his brother used to drive him to school, but just recently he got his driver license. He used to hate taking the shuttle bus because he always bumped his head in the door. This happened because he always was too tired in the mornings. On his free time, he plays baseball and is also into fashion. His favorite color is green and his favorite dish is steak and potatoes, which is actually the same as mine. Alex used to have blond hair just like me but got it accidently cut off. When he went to the hairdresser, the hairdresser thought he said wanted his entire blond cut off, while in fact he only wanted to cut the sides. Luckily for Alex, he didn’t care too much and thought it was good with a change anyways.

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Wk 13 – Artist Conversation – Laura Lopez

Exhibition Information

Artist: Laura Lopez

Exhibition: Selvàtica (wild)

Media: Painting

Gallery: CSULB School of Art

About The Artist

Laura Lopez is a senior at California State University, Long Beach and is about to complete here MFA degree in painting. As younger, she was interested in nature and plants and is why her exhibition is about that. Lopez is also Mexican and loves to hike and being creative on her free time. Laura has also several siblings who mean a lot to her because family is important in the Mexican culture. Laura was originally into photography but decided to pursue her career in painting because of the way she feels a bigger connection to the art through painting.

Formal Analysis

Selvàtica (wild) is an exhibition based on paintings related to our nature showed through colors, objects, and animals. There are several canvases in different sizes showing a different view of nature through the different colors and shapes. The paintings have unnatural colors, meaning that the trees and nature are colored in pink, blue, purple and every color that don’t supposedly reflect reality. What every painting has similar are trees. The trees have lines and patterns in different colors. It’s not as much of the entire tree as in the leafs and upper area, but rather the tribe and roots. Most of the paintings only show the forest and the trees with some elements of grass and ground, while some of the paintings also show animals.

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An example of that is this photo. As shown, the painting shows a cat or some type of cat who’s separated between two parts of nature, shown through different colors. This is personally my favorite photo because I think it’s beautifully made with all the patterns and elements of nature in different colors connected together.

Content Analysis

There’s no secret that her inspiration is the nature and the jungle. She states that she has always been fascinated about the way nature builds and creates all sort of life forms and how they are interconnected and grow together as a whole in a natural ecosystem.  Her work is inspired by the philosophy of Pantheism, which envisioned the whole universe as full of spirit, and the intelligence of all life as a whole spiritual reality. Much of her work explores how pattern and color function as structural elements to build imagery and composition, and construct a visual narrative about the natural world. She wants to express the idea of organic growth in natural ecosystem as the jungle and other wild forests. She later mentions how she is interested in the notion of time evolving and how plants grow through expanding movement in space. For her, this exhibition means a lot because she sees the jungle as her true home, as the place she comes from.

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Synthesis/My Experience

What I found different with this exhibition was how Laura related her art to science. Often art comes from personal experience, and while her experiences with nature are also seen as an experience, it’s much more than that. I loved how she was fascinated about the interconnection in nature and how every organism grows and is very essential to our environment. This is interesting because science and art are very opposite forms of expression and while science is scientific proofed, art is up to each person to define. That’s why I found it very interesting that she combined these forms and put the together.


Wk 12 – Deep Ethnography

Hi everyone and welcome back to an existing activity! As some of you may know, this weekend was the yearly Earth Day where the goal is to get as many people in the world to turn off their lights and all electricity for an hour. I personally have done this every year for probably the last 6 years or so because my mom is an environmentalist activist and because I think it’s healthy for all of us to have a day like this – at least once a year.

  1. What did you think the experience would be like? I was really excited to do this because I’ve done it before and because I was ready to have a night like this. With all the technology, television and social media that is constantly a part of my daily life, it would be nice to have a break from it all.
  2. Was it “easy” or “hard”? I would say this activity was medium. It was hard because I am so used to using electricity as a daily part of my life and I’m almost addicted to my phone. Another factor that did this hard was because I constantly need to be in touch with people, contacting them for several reasons. It was late when I did it so it was easier in that way, but I’m always with people in the dorms and it was weird being alone in my room without electricity. On the other hand, it was easy because I’ve done it before and because it was something I felt I really needed so it allowed myself to stay positive.
  3. “Frustrating” or “Liberating”? It was frustrating in the beginning, but after a while, I got used to it and really enjoyed the quiet and spiritual atmosphere.
  4. Did you get better sleep? Are you usually sleep deprived? What would it be like to sleep well every night? Yes, I did get better sleep because the entire setting made me peaceful and relaxed. It would be very nice to sleep well every night, even though that is highly unlikely that it would happen. Not because I use technology every day, but because I often go to bed late because I’m studying or doing homework.
  5. How is living without electricity more organic or harmonious with nature? I think to live without electricity was very harmonious because it allows no distractions from the outside, just you and your room. It gives you time to relax and enjoy the moment in another way.
  6. How is living without electricity more limited? Is it boring? It’s more limited because we use electricity extremely in our daily lives now. Not just with our smartphones, television, and radios, but light, music and even the fridge (very important because it stores food and drink). I wouldn’t say it’s directly boring, but because it’s so limited there are only certain times I can enjoy a situation like this.
  7. How do you think people survived without constant stimulation? I think it’s easier when you don’t know about something. Before electricity existed no one knew about it or even thought about it exactly because it didn’t exist. At that point, you need to find other ways and solutions to solve problems. Electricity is very convenient for millions of reasons, but there are always to figure out something.
  8. What would be your ideal level of life activity and connectivity? I’m personal a huge fan of technology, social media and entertainment, so my life without electricity would not be ideal nor possible. However, I don’t like being too much on social media or stop living my life because of social media addiction. I love spending time with friends and just talk – enjoying the moment and the setting around us.


Wk 11 – Artist Conversation – Yujia Gu

Exhibition Information

Artist: Yujia Gu

Exhibition: Tracing Gun Violence In The USA 

Media: Stickers, Projector, Video,

Gallery: CSULB School of Art

Website: yujicagu.squarespace.com

About The Artist

Yujia Gu is a graduate student who is currently enrolled in the MFA in graphic design at California State University, Long Beach. Yuija is originally from China, but decided to come to here because of the weather and the best program for her major. She also used to live in New York before she came here. She currently lives in Fresno and liked art her entire life, but wants to major in bio. At her free time she likes to hike and going to LA, eat at Urth cafe and play the saxophone. As for the art, she has always loved, she is inspired by her mother and started this gallery 3 years ago.

Formal Analysis

“Tracing Gun Violence in the U.S.” is an exhibition by Yujica Gu featuring the gun violence in the country. It includes mass shootings, comparisons of gun violence among different countries, the number of children killed by guns since Newtown and more. This is presented through a statistic template of stickers on the wall. She also has info-graphic mapping used to point out the places where gun violence happened during the last 72 hours in the U.S. and the number of people who were shot every day on the LED display. This entire exhibition is shown in two colors – red and black, where red are the people killed and black the people who are still alive in a statistic comparison. The entire wall is a big and sad poem about the gun violence in the U.S. One of the wall has a poem of stickers of words and guns shaped as a gun all over. Another wall has all the names in red of people who died in mass shootings. Addition to this, there is a projector of neighborhoods that there have been shootings and a screening of faces of people that have died.

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Content Analysis

The idea of this exhibition is very straightforward I believe. It’s basically about the gun violence in the U.S and how important it is to know about this because it’s happening more than people think. Yuija stated that her mom heard that international student was getting killed by a gun so that she decided to do research on this. She was surprised by the results she got and want people to be aware of these real numbers. The purpose of this exhibition is, therefore, to make people realize how serious the gun violence is. Lots of gun violence happens in our daily lives and people are often not aware of this. She wants to give a clear presentation and inform them about the gun violence happening around us.

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Synthesis/My Experience

I already knew a lot about the gun violence in the U.S., which I’m totally against, but seeing the statistics and footage as an artwork really wakes me up. It makes me realize that the world is cruel and that the U.S. gun policy is ridiculous. Compared to other countries, U.S is in the clear lead of shooting episodes, which makes me really scared but also blessed that I’m not from the U.S. I think this exhibition was very important because it’s the first exhibition I’ve seen that is a political issue like this. Gu is not hiding any of this by censorship or whitewashing this, which is great because the truth is right in front of us, presented in this gallery.


Wk 11 – Classmate Conversation – Andrew Cox & German

Hi again! It’s been a while since I’ve had a classmate conversation it feels like. This week we had a different type of classmate conversation because this week we were having it with 3 and not 2 people. This made it very interesting because we needed to take the turn in talking and asking not only one, but two people. Since I’ve already met Herman and written about him and the experience of meeting him, I thought of leaving it simple and just explaining Drew’s part.

Drew Cox or Andrew Cox which is his full name is a first-year film student just like German and I. It was so interesting when we asked about major and he was actually majoring the same as us. What’s the chance of meeting three people with the same major? Anyways, to continue with what I was talking about. Drew is also from Long Beach just like German and they also have some mutual friends. He went to Lakewood High School where he used to run cross country. Addition to this, he skates (he had a bright pink skateboard with him, how awesome isn’t that?Photo Apr 12, 14 43 04


Wk 10 – USU Wedge

In this week’s activity, we were asked to redesign the USU wedge, located at Cal State Long Beach next to the bus stop, before you enter the USU. As many have noticed, there is a way to sneak your way through, so you spare time by not going around the “wall”. I remember seeing a post about “20 things every student at CSULB do” and this was one of the things. I didn’t understand it truly until I started here, walking through that pathway every single day. Because so many people know about this shortcut, it ends up with being a line there most of the time and you may actually not save any time to go this way unless there’s no one there. Many of the times I’ve been going there, I need to wait for the person on the other side to walk through because the shortcut is so tiny only one and one person can go a time.

This is the USU wedge from the front, going to class most of the times

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This is the USU wedge from the back, normally walking back from class

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As you can see, there is only a small gap that you can walk through, which creates lines and waiting a lot of the times.

I redesigned the architectural design by simply removing the black wall, and adding another white “pole” in the corner next to the one that’s already there. This makes the corner stronger to hold its weights but removes the confusing wall that is constructed. Another thing I changed was that I removed the bench closest to us in the picture because I believe that one is enough and because it seems to not fit there. There is already a bench closer to the bus stop, which is what I assume is the reasoning for adding them there in the first place, but as I have noticed few people actually wait on those benches.

The ads that are placed on the black wall, can easily be removed and put on the wall on the other side without complicating things even more.  I think this construction is confusing and complicates because of the unnecessary gap and the extra bench that only takes up space where you are supposed to walk, not sit.

photo-apr-09-16-07-12.jpg This is a sketch I did of the front side of the wedge. The green dots are items I added in my redesign, while the red dots are items I removed.

Photo Apr 09, 16 06 17Sketch from the backside (inside) of the wedge


Wk 10 – Artist Conversation – Amy Duran

Exhibition Information

Artist: Amy Duran

Exhibition: forever by your side 

Media: Ceramics, Sticks, Grass, Velvet

Gallery: CSULB School of Art Gallery

Instagram: @polkadot.pony

About The Artist

Amy Duran is a senior at California State University, Long Beach currently enrolled in the university’s BFA in ceramics. She has been extremely interested in art her entire life and was very artistic throughout her childhood. This exhibition is very similar to the rest of her work, which is all about discovering herself. As for the future, Amy wants to be a decorator and make props for movies.

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Formal Analysis

Duran’s exhibition is called forever by your side about her growing up or “coming out of age” as she describes it. This exhibition features a fairytale of how she grew up, telling a story of a girl (her) and her journey meeting animals (the society) in 5 different chapters. The story is showing every chapter in different “windows” through ceramic dolls and a book next to the objects, reading it as a fairytale, but with its own remix. Each chapter starts with a book and the plot for that window. Each window is covered by a different color of texture, the girl and whomever she meets and a stick that makes the girl spin around to gain interaction with the audience. The objects are ceramic painted in different color and other materials that fill up space such as grass, fog, and trees. Each chapter has a different background that is painted by the artist herself, mostly showing forests that often are displayed in fairytales.

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Content Analysis

The exhibition is about growing up and always feeling like an outsider. It’s her coming out of age story, featuring Amy discovering her sexuality and herself. Her brother told us that it’s about holding on to past memories and that the girl in the exhibition is supposed to be her, and that the animals are creations of the pets she had throughout her life. She states in her artist statement that the exhibition about her personal struggles and how it is growing up with anxiety and forgetting her “inner child”, but at the same time wanting to be an empowering woman who is free. She wanted to tell people that it’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to not be sure about where you are in your life, but that the things we experience and the things we learn are always going to be a part of us and shape us into the person we are today.

Another aspect of her exhibition is that she wanted to embrace feminity and showing us the true strength and independence that women can have. She showed this through the contrast of ideas with empowering through sexual exploration. She believes that one’s true self is shown to you as a child because you weren’t afraid to say what you felt and you were not manipulated by the media and the society at that age.

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As we can see here, she opens up her fairytale with a story about a girl (herself) who is afraid of the society by not being able to be herself and that she was alone in the world with the thoughts that she had. She later explains how the girl is running away from her problems to the animals (which are supposed to be her pets) because she finds comfort in them because of their non-human perspective.

Synthesis/My Experience

Personally, this was one of my favorite exhibitions so far that I’ve seen. Mostly because I can relate so strongly to the artist, but also because I loved how she told her life story through a traditional fairytale, but with a very remixed version. Like Amy, I also felt different and had a tough time growing up. I felt alone and had anxiety, which made me afraid to be who I am and say what I wanted to say. In addition to the general struggle of growing up, I also had a difficult time finding myself, exploring my sexual orientation and feeling less powerful because I am a woman. We love nothing more than to meet people with the same values and mindset as us, and that’s what I felt I did with this exhibition. Lastly, I’m also a huge believer in that everything you go through – good or bad, is a part of shaping who you are and I wouldn’t change anything if I could.