Wk C1 Art and My Life

Art and My Life-
Nothing has broadened my mindset of art mediums and what art can be quite like the activities and artist interviews we have done in ART 110. Growing up the only mediums I had the opportunity to work with were pencil and pastels, with maybe some watercolor thrown in the mix here and there. ART 110 has taught me that art can come in any shape or form, all of which hold meaning and value to not only the artist but those who view the piece as well. Through this class and art itself I have learned that if you have something you love, now is the time to take the chance of pursuing it. You never know what could happen, and I for one, would always rather happy and doing something I love rather than sitting in an office job all day. That is why I am so grateful to ART 110 for opening my eyes to this fact, and showing our class that art is all around us, and we are the ones that can shape the world just by creating it.
Despite our class doing many different activities and artist interviews in the gallery this semester, there were three very distinct experiences that stuck out to me and I think back on with not only joy, but understanding that I learned something new from experiencing them. One of these such experiences was attending the artist exhibitions that involved metal work, specifically the exhibit entitled Opia by Ashley Greer, in which she used the detrimental aspects of her mental health to create beautiful wearable art. These pieces had claws, sharp edges, and encased the mannequin in almost a suffocating hold. Not only was Ashley so wonderful to talk to about her life and why she chose to get into metal work, but also learning how she started discussing her mental health in her art was almost like a revelation for me. As I have discussed many times in my blog posts, my anxiety is a large controlling force in my life. It has dictated a lot of what I do in life, but through Ashley’s exhibit I learned I can take that anxiety, take that fear, and produce art that will make me feel as though I am controlling my mental health, and it is not controlling me. I have extremely grateful to Ashley Greer for opening my eyes to this fact, and now I know that I will take my anxiety and use it to produce pieces I can be proud of and look back on to know beautiful things can come from pain. Another experience I had in ART 110 that really changed my outlook on art and its many capabilities was having the opportunity to graffiti paint for the first time in my life. I had never used spray paint to make art before, merely to color pieces of furniture. Not only did I have an absolute blast traveling to Venice Beach with my roommate Audrey and my friend Hope, but in doing so I was able to see how nervous people become when it comes to spray paint, and also how interested viewers are about what spray paint can create. I was one of these people even when spray painting my name on the art walls. I learned how hard a medium spray paint is to work with, but also how fun it can be when you gain control of it. Making different shapes, faces and animals on the art walls was a lot of fun, and having control over a medium I am working with made me really happy. Through doing the graffiti activity for class I learned that spray painting is an underappreciated medium, and one I would like to try again in the future. The final experience in Art 110 that really affected my ideas about art was the final student gallery we attended in which we were going to have to write a story about it. Those galleries were centered almost entirely around illustration and animation. As a recently switched film to animation major, it was really cool to be able to see students’ work from the major I am pursuing on display. Everyone was so good and had beautifully colorful pieces! But what really stood out to me was how every single artist in the giant exhibit had their own individual book of the sketches that were used to make their larger illustrated or animated pieces, as well as how each student had their own personalized business cards, showing how professional they have become through their time in CSULB’s program. The exhibit led me to realize how serious one must be in the art field, and how easily you can get your name and work out there by simply bringing your business card with you wherever you go. I cannot wait to eventually have the opportunity to make my own! Through having the opportunity to go to the student galleries and explore multiple mediums in ART 110, I can honestly say I have become more understanding of art as a whole and how I am in control of what I create and what fuels it, something I had never really considered or thought to be true before.
However, though my understanding of art has changed over the semester in Art 110, there are certain things that still rain true through my own experience with art. My experience with art is something I like to separate into two categories: the good and the bad. When it comes to the good that I have experiences through art, there is far more than bad. Art has always been my form of escapism from the horrible things that might be going on around me. Art is a way for me to take pencil to paper and draw characters and stories that I would love to create. Art is an outlet for me to express who I am and the thoughts in my head in a way that people might just be able to understand. I consider art to be something that can always be practiced and attempted again and again to keep improving upon. I really love the challenge that comes with creating art, the attempt to make something you can be proud of and enjoy that will in some way resonate with viewers, art pieces that audiences might enjoy as well. However, the concept of making art that others will enjoy is what leads me into ‘the bad’ experience I have had with art. More specifically, my experience with art and A.P testing. In my senior year if high school, I took A.P Studio Art with an emphasis in Drawing. Over the course of the semester I compiled a portfolio to be submitted to College Board and graded to see what score I should receive and what might be applied to college. I was so excited throughout the entire semester, and happy that I was able to focus on a topic I enjoyed and expand upon it through multiple works. However, that happiness and excitement died when I finally got my score. If anything I was hoping to get a four or a three, having seen past years’ submissions on College Board’s website. My hopes were quickly dashed when I opened up my score report to see I had received a 2, almost the lowest score possible on an A.P submission. I was crushed. For a long time I let that score define what I thought art was and how capable and worthy I was to make art. The entire summer before college I did not make a single piece of art. I tucked away my sketchbooks and put away almost all my materials, too afraid of what others might say when they saw my work. However, through having the opportunity to take ART 110, and learn that it does not matter what other people think of your art, all that matters is what you think of the things you create, I was able to start truly loving art again. I recently started drawing in my freetime again, and I do not plan on stopping anytime soon. My excitement with art again is all thanks to the experiences I have gained through ART 110 and Professor Glenn’s teaching.
Over the course of the semester, not only have I learned many new aspects of art through ART 110, but my understanding of what art can do for the artist and the art’s viewers has changed as well. I came to understand that many artists make art to get a reaction out of an audience, either good or bad. An excellent of example of this is the artist Matthew Dehnel’s exhibit which we viewed in the student galleries entitled Greetings From America. Matthew worked to build an exhibit that was a reflect of an American bomb shelter during World War II. The reactionary aspect of the exhibit however was how close the world is now to being forced to resort back to shelters such as the one Matthew created. His art is made to make viewers react in a way that makes them uncomfortable, causing them to question why the U.S uses nuclear weaponry and what America’s intended goal with such weapons will be, wondering who these weapons will inevitably hurt. Through Matthew’s exhibit I learned that art is allowed to make people uncomfortable, whether it be to create social commentary or to just produce one’s own thoughts in a visual form. The exploration of one’s self through art is another form of understanding that I gained through my time in Art 110. Countless artists in the student galleries we attended as a class used their art their art to express how they feel inside. Whether it be about mental health, one’s own sexuality or the inability to separate oneself from the imaginary reality of video games, art can be used to confront the dark sides of ourselves, or more so what many tend to hide out of fear. I have learned that art is the medium to express what cannot be said through words. However, I have also learned that many artists use the art they create for fame alone. Artists have been known to just make pieces that will earn them large sums of money, pieces that they think will be adored by audiences and get them into places such as Comic-Con or awards ceremonies. That being said, I have met and talked with countless artists over the course of this semester, and not a single one of them has said that they want to reach said heights that would present them with fame and fortune. All these artists want to do is make things they love, pieces they can look back on and be proud of for the rest of their lives. I can relate to this, and this is why I am so grateful for being able to learn so much more about art through ART 110.
Here we are, at the point in which one must question after learning so much about art, what does art have to do with not only my career, but also my future. Art has meant the world to me since I was young, which is why I wanted to pursue an artistic career. I first entered CSULB to be a film major, primarily because when I was applying to Cal State Long Beach I was not able to find the animation/illustration major. My own inability to find things aside, I knew after coming to Long Beach that I needed to pursue something I loved, I needed to go back to what I had always dreamed of. So, now that I am in the Animation/Illustration major, there are so many more aspects of art that I need to take into consideration, such as lighting, staging, color theory, and anatomy. Though I have learned so much this semester there is still so much more I need to know, and that is okay. I cannot wait to learn even more about art. Art is quite literally the driving force in my future. As an animator I will have to make art everyday, learning and growing off of what I have made before. Since I specifically want to work on video game design, I need to have a large understanding of how art can be used and effects the video game world. I am so happy to have found a career path that allows me to pursue art everyday, something that even though it might be extremely rigorous, I can be proud to discuss with strangers that art is my career. I also hope to pursue my own freelance work as well eventually. Having the opportunity to make art that can put a smile on people’s faces is all I have ever wanted. Not only do I continuously draw in my own free time, but to make art in the future that I can love and make a living off of? That is the dream, and I hope to one day get to that point. All in all, art is what keeps me going and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to make it and pursue it every single day.
Art means the world to me. It is as simple as that. Art has been there for me through rough times in my life and has allowed to pursue a major I am excited about that I know I will never be bored of. ART 110 has opened my eyes to art forms that I had never considered before, offering me the opportunity to even talk with real artists who know how rigorous an art major can be, experience and advice that I am grateful to have received. Though I am sad to be leaving Art 110 and all the memories I have made here with my friends, I am very thankful for all I have learned about myself and art along the way. If I had one message to leave for those who may be taking ART 110 next semester, it would be what I have closed each of my blog posts out with, that art can improve anyone’s day, art can be a career despite what anyone says and art can make a difference in the world as I have learned throughout my time in ART 110. I will always be grateful. With that being said, all I have left to say is with the time you might have in life, go make some art!

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