Week XII Artist Interview- Ashley Sharpe

This might sound very strange, but I have a horrible fear of cats. It was so bad that at one point in my life (admittedly very recently), I used to have mental breakdowns and break down in tears when I saw a stray cat dart through the streets at night. More than once, I’ve curled up into the fetal position while babysitting my cousin when her cat got a little too close to me. How embarrassing is it to cry in a ball on the couch while a five-year-old pats you on the back and says “It’s okay, it’s just my cat. He won’t hurt!”

Needless to say, this fear was incredibly unusual and irrational. Neither of my parents can recall me ever having a bad childhood experience from cats, but somehow in adulthood, I couldn’t even look at a picture of a cat online without freezing for a moment (ironically, the internet is just full of cats these past two years).

This week in the Art Gallery, I wandered around aimlessly into all the galleries as I would any other week. To my surprise, I walked straight into Ashley Sharpe’s exhibit full of cats!! Luckily for me, I looked to my immediate left and saw this print of very colorful cat heads that was tastefully crafted into something more than just a photograph of a cat. I realized then that this gallery had the intention of being playfully silly by portraying cats in different ways, but it did so in a colorful and abstract way that eased me into the idea of staring at a bunch of cats.

Ironically, I’ve concluded that I was impressed by Sharpe’s printmaking and that I’m definitely capable of conquering such an irrational fear. It’s strange how easily I decided to stop obsessing over how scary cats are, but I’m glad I did! Big thanks to the artist!

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Week XII Activity- Algorithmic Art

First, some background information! My boyfriend likes to drive for Uber or for Lyft, which are kind of like rideshare programs, over the weekends to pick up a couple extra bucks. He basically gives people rides and gets paid for it! It’s kind of a new form of a taxi that is more easily accessible and much more inexpensive.

Last weekend, I had the perfect idea for my algorithmic art project. Sometimes, my boyfriend brings me along on his rides for company while we wait for someone to give us a call. Sometimes during the down time, we just drive around with no real destination. I used this to my advantage this week.

Here are the instructions to create some interesting abstract artwork:

1.) Turn on driver mode for Lyft or Uber.

2.) Print out a map of the city you’re in.

3.) Make a point where you’re starting.

4.) Pick a colored pen, marker, or pencil and mark trace the route from your starting destination to your first pickup.

5.) Use the same color to trace the route from that first pickup location to their drop-off location,

6.) Use a new color and start the route from the last drop-off location to the new pickup location, and then sketch from that pickup location to the second drop-off location.

7.) Repeat step 6 until you’re at the end of your shift.

What you end up with is a really colorful geometric image, especially if you take a lot of local streets, which tend to be more cornered off than smooth like highways and freeways.

As an alternative, you could instead drive around the city with a friend and go to some of your favorite places or places where you’ve had some interesting memories. This could make for a really fun date night!

Week XI Classmate Interview- Heather Hopkins

I’ve talked to Heather a couple of times before in this class and in an English Written Communication class we shared last semester with Professor Boak Ferris, but this is the first time we suggested interviewing each other! I’ve always been really impressed by Heather because she’s so beautiful and poised, but she’s just as equally free-spirited and quirky!!

The first thing we talked about was how unconventional our English class last semester was. The class itself was very unorganized, and there wasn’t much “work” (we expected a lot of essay writing, as it was a written communication class afterall). Although some students might argue that Professor Zucman’s art class is the same way, Heather and I strongly disagreed. We both made the point that in Art 110, we might not learn too much about art, but we have an outlet to express our creativity and, in turn, explore ourselves. The flexibility of this course provides an opportunity to grow and learn lifelong skills that extend way beyond traditional art.

On the other hand, our English class was so limited. We had time in class to communicate with each other and start to get comfortable with our classmates, but during lectures, our professor would limit us to his single way of thought. We had little room for discussion about the topic highlighted that day, and not only did that make class meetings extremely dull, we were unable to take away much from it by the end of the semester.

I’m glad Heather and I were able to have this little rant about the value of classes here at Cal State Long Beach. It’s interesting to me how our standards mostly line up with each other. I’m glad she also strives to discover herself and her passions through her education here, so best of luck to the both of us!! Cheers!

Week XI Artist Interview- Jerry Pena and Kyle Kruse

This week in the art galleries, I met Jerry Pena and Kyle Kruse. When I walked into their gallery the lighting and vibe immediately and completely changed! This caught my attention because the gallery was not just a space for them to display their artwork, but they had completely transformed it into an art experience. The décor added so much dimension that seemed to make walking into their gallery feel more like walking down the streets of Downtown Hollywood on a college night.

When I spoke to Kruse, I learned that the feeling that I got when I walked through the door was the exact emotion he hoped to convey. He explained that he was inspired by the environment of the area that he grew up in and hoped to channel those roots and show them to the rest of the world. Pena added that every piece of trash that littered the floor of their gallery served as some kind of symbolic representation of a piece of their story and was absolutely necessary to communicate their message.

My favorite piece was the back wall of the gallery, where there were giant signs that suggest “beer and wine” inside of a liquor store or bar. This definitely reminds me of nights wandering the city with my friends. Even though my story is much different from the one Pena and Kruse are sharing, we can relate on the very basic level that we grew up doing similar things in similar environments. I’m surprised at how much emotion they were able to evoke in me! Thank you for creating such an emotional and heart-jerking experience!

Beer and Wine (11)

Week XI Activity- Sculpture

This week, I wasn’t able to go to the beach because I was ordered to stay in bed until I recovered from a severe lung infection. So instead of being able to go to the beach with my friends and playing with plaster molds, I had to opt for something a little less exciting.

The first thing I did was ran out to Home Depot to get a carton of Plaster of Paris. Then I went across the street to a sketchy park to steal a bucket of sand from the volleyball court. This was a huge mistake…

I wasn’t allowed to go to the beach, even to just get a bucket full of sand, because it was cold and windy. My lungs weren’t doing so well at the time, but I figured some other sand would work out. I realized I was wrong there when I tried to mix the park sand with some water to make a paste that I could burry my foot or hand in. Instead of turning into that solid wet sand you find close to the water at the beach, my sand just turned into mud like it was just dirt instead of sand to begin with. I let this dry out and decided to try again the next day, but with less water.

Again, I just got some gloppy mud. It just had to do, so I proceeded to burry my hand inside while my friend mixed up a slurry of plaster. When I removed my hand, the mud just kind of sank instead of creating a hollow mold for the plaster to fill. My friend poured the plaster in as quickly as he could anyway, and we went inside to wait while it dried.

About an hour later, we tried to pull the plaster cast outside of our “sand,” but that was an absolute fail. We expected it to come out like in the videos from last year’s art students at the beach, but because we used this mud goo instead of real sand, the plaster just got stuck inside. The mud goo solidified into a cylindrical block. We turned the bucket over to try to dig out the plaster cast from the other side, and what we found was really just a cone instead of any representation of a hand. I guess when I pulled my hand out of the sand, or mud goo, it caved immediately, and the plaster really only filled the portion of my arm as I pulled it out.

What a disappointment. I’d definitely want to try this art project again, but with real sand. I’ve still got a bit of that plaster, so I’ll be sure to take it with me the next time I hit the beach!!

Week X Activity- Student Choice

Did anyone catch the Superbowl game from a few weeks ago?! All over the internet, Katy Perry fans cannot stop talking about her “Left Shark” and how incredibly lively and adorable he is. For those who didn’t tune in for the halftime show, Katy Perry’s performance included two background dancers dress in full-bodied shark costumes. And because it’s a non-stop trending topic, I decided to create my own costume for this week’s student choice activity.

The first thing I did was went to Walmart to pick out some fabric. I got blue and white for the shark’s body and belly, some fabric glue, some Velcro so I could slip in and out of this onsie easily, and a zipper. I then rushed home to get started.

The first thing I did was use a hoodie and a pair of sweatpants to outline the size of my onesie costume. Them I cut out all the appropriate measurements and used a machine to sew all the pieces together. I attached a zipper down the middle of the stomach to easily get in and out of the costume.

In the Katy Perry performance, her sharks had an excessively large head mask, which added to the playfulness of the costume. For obvious reason, it wouldn’t be very practical for me to construct a huge head mask, so I opted to attach a hood instead. I glued on some eyes on the sides and some triangular teeth at the opening of the hood to mimic a shark head, but that was the extent of what I was willing to create for my purposes.

End result: the most adorable onesie I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, I lost all the pictures of the construction of my costume, but if you Google the shark onesie that Hollister used to sell (they no long carry it, unfortunately), mine looks pretty similar to it, except mine is a vibrant blue and has covered feet and hands like pre-attached socks and mittens! At first I thought this would be stored away until this year’s Halloween, but realistically, I’ll be lounging around in the house in it pretty often.

Week X Classmate Interview- Jasmine Barnum

When I think of Jasmine, I think of the girl with the brown-blonde haired high ponytail, the perfect eyeliner, he blue Victoria’s Secret PINK backpack, the hoodie, the skinny yoga pants, and the workout shoes. She pulls off this look better than anyone I know, and I could recognize her signature look from a mile away.

Jasmine was in my Chemistry lab section last semester, and speaking to her in this art class made us both think of what a horrible time we had in Chem 111A. That class was extremely difficult and painful, and we’re honestly not sure if anyone retained any of the information we had learned. I remember the two of us freaking out the morning before every lab report was due, wondering if we had done things right or totally wrong. Ah, the days.

Jasmine was bummed at first to share that she hadn’t done so well in the class, so she was unable to move onto Chem 111B this semester. I reassured her by letting her know that I ended up having to drop Chem 111B because I had missed so many class periods from being hospitalized. But not to worry, we’re not missing out on much- I’m sure of it!

She’s such a soft-spoken, sweet girl, and I hope we keep in touch even after this school year!