By Becky St. Clair
On Thursday, April 19, the department of visual arts will host an opening reception for the 2018 student art show in the Rasmussen Art Gallery, right here on campus. The reception begins at 7 p.m. and the show will run until May 9. The event is free and open to the public.
We spoke with a few of the students exhibiting their art to learn more about them and their work. Be sure to come check out their various media during the show.
Celeste Wong, senior fine art major
Home: Hercules, California
Media on Display: Ceramics, oil painting, monotype, stone/clay sculpture
Why did you select these particular pieces for the show?
I made a collaborative ceramic series outside of class with a friend. We spent nearly 80 hours on this piece. I decided to show my oil painting I made in class because I have never worked with that medium before and I feel proud of how I improved throughout the quarter. As a whole, the works that I put in the show, I feel, are the best that I have created in the past year.
What do you enjoy most about ceramics?
The process. I enjoy it far more than any other medium I have tried. Clay is a very versatile medium that can be manipulated in many ways. There are many components to the process between production and the end result I am constantly learning. I also like the feeling of putting my entire body to work, rather than sitting at a desk drawing, or standing in one place while painting. Making ceramics on the potter’s wheel involves the motion and strength of your entire body. It makes me feel alive and I have truly put my whole effort in the piece I create.
Why did you choose to become a fine arts major?
In high school, I always created small projects and kept up hobbies that involved creating. My only creative outlet during my freshman year here was drawing and copying diagrams from my biology textbook, which my friends said was a waste of time. But I had an itch to create rather than spend my time memorizing facts. During spring quarter, I decided to take a ceramics class because I wanted to do something fun for myself and working on the potter’s wheel was always on my bucket list. By the end of the year, I realized I wasn’t a scientist, I was an artist.
What has surprised you about the fine arts program?
I am surprised at how my department has become like a family to me. Students and professors alike have supported me and my work throughout these years even when I wasn’t an art major to begin with.
Samuel Delaware, junior fine art major
Home: Durham, Maine
Media on Display: Triptych & case-bound maquette
Tell us about the pieces you have in the show.
The triptych is from an ongoing series I’ve created, entitled “Horizon.” It’s something I’ve been working on for the past year, along with the first edition maquette.
What do you enjoy most about photography?
In his book, “Art Can Help,” photographer Robert Adams suggests, “The job of the photographer, in my view, is not to catalogue indisputable fact, but to try to be coherent about intuition and hope.” Similarly, I think what excites me most is trying to find a sense of coherence in my own work concerning whatever subject matter I’ve delved into. It’s a continuous process of attempting to capture a sense of truth and reality best I can with only two dimensions, which is deceptively difficult.
What has surprised you about the program?
The dedication of the faculty who are drastically underpaid for the amount of passion and commitment they pour into their teaching and mentorship.
Drew Macomber, senior fine art major
Home: Ohio, California
Media on Display: Monotypes, paintings
Tell us about the pieces you’ve selected for the show.
I have some monotypes, which are a form of printmaking, in the show, but mainly paintings. Most of them are expressive. I always say I paint emotions rather than realistic subject matter. I have two self-portraits in as well, and two collaborative works on which I worked with Chanel Lee, another PUC artist in the show. Those turned out pretty cool. I selected work I thought represented me as an artist this year. I tend to not want to follow rules as much, and that is apparent in some of the works.
What do you like most about painting?
I worked in watercolor, oil, and acrylic, and then some with watercolor, acrylic, and charcoal. I love being able to see bright and bold color instantly. Usually my painting is reacting to how I am feeling, kind of turning off the mind and just letting it go. I relate most with watercolor because of the fluidity of the medium. In fact, I did my thesis in watercolor, although I do not have any straight watercolors in the show.
Why did you choose this major?
Being a fine art major just clicked for me. School has never been something that I find great success at; it has always felt like a struggle. When I took a drawing class I realized, “This is what I have to do.” My mom is an artist, so I’ve grown up my whole life immersed in creating art. I never thought of it as something that I would pursue in school, but when I opened up to that idea, it made perfect sense.
What has surprised you about the program?
How challenging it is. That is partly because I believe you get out what you put in, and I tend to put lots of myself into all my art. Because of that, it can quite emotionally draining at times, but also extremely rewarding.
Laurel Williams, senior fine art major
Emphasis: Painting & Illustration
Home: Disneyland (just kidding; I’m from Corona and Riverside, California, so it’s almost the same thing)
Media on Display: Glass, watercolor, oil, acrylic
Why did you choose the pieces you did for the show?
Out of all my projects this year they have turned out closest to how I planned them to be. My opaque paintings and watercolors I knew I would submit to the show some time ago, but the glass piece was a surprise to me. Unfortunately, most of my glass light fixtures still have some finishing touches they need, but my little yellow embossed pineapple slab came out of the kiln right around the time of submission for the show, so I figured, why not?
What do you like the most about your chosen media?
I like doing glass pieces because I get to create a new object that exists in three-dimensional space. Using the power tools in the department studio is also pretty fun. Generally, I’m more interested in painting, though, and I really enjoy oil and watercolor because they are opposites of one another. In oil painting, you paint from dark to light and in watercolor it’s light to dark. It’s very challenging and I like things to be difficult. I also like taking things that are 3D and flattening them out on a canvas with the illusion of perspective or light and shadow. Paintings are also usually more effective for me at communicating strong emotions or thoughts/ideas. Typically, my three-dimensional works are only either whimsical or decorative.
Why did you choose this major?
I actually didn’t. My dad decided that for me, and thank goodness he did! I totally thought I was going to do something “practical” like business and agriculture or some sort of science degree so that I could become an astrophysicist. During the summer between high school and college my dad convinced me to switch to fine art and so here I am. Not many people’s’ parents encourage them to do art so I’m really lucky that mine do.
What’s something that surprised you about the fine arts program?
First, its well-roundedness. The previous schools I attended didn’t have as many sculpture and 3D courses to complement the 2D ones, so I really appreciate that about this department. Second, how much I love my classmates and professors. I thought I’d like them before coming here, of course, but we get along so well! Everyone is so supportive of each other’s work and we collaborate quite a bit. Critiques are actually the most fun because I think my classmates give great advice and we really want to see each other succeed. No one is super competitive—that’s not always something I’ve experienced before in artistic communities and it’s really refreshing.
Join the student artists and their professors for an opening reception on Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. in the Rasmussen Art Gallery. The show will run until May 9. The gallery is open 1-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.