By Celeste Wong
This year’s Senior Thesis Exhibition for visual arts students was held on Thursday, May 19th, in the Rasmussen Art Gallery, located between the Nelson Memorial Library and Paulin Hall. The exhibition included the theses of 12 graduating visual arts majors ranging from fine art, graphic design, and photography.
For the film and television majors, they premiered their thesis films at the annual Diogenes Film Festival at the Cameo Cinema in St. Helena on Thursday, May 31. Three graduating film and television majors premiered their thesis films, along with other short films by other film students.
These graduating seniors began their year-long project starting at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. At the beginning of the year, they have had to pitch their thesis ideas to the entire department of visual arts faculty for approval and have consistently worked from then until now. Students who are BFA students are expected to work on their projects for at least a whopping 300 hours, to give some perspective.
Found objects installation
“My thesis is titled ‘Homegrown.’ I wanted to capture my most intimate and cherished memories of growing up in the beautiful nature of Angwin. I was inspired by changes that will be occurring in my life as I graduate from PUC and move away from my childhood town. I’ve always been fascinated by the connection between emotion and memory. This project is my attempt at visually showing how the most prominent memories of my home have changed as I continue to grow.”
Diptych of large-scale watercolor paintings
Series of watercolor paintings
“My project is about technology, social media, and information, how these things are connected to education and about some of their negative effects on the development of children and youth today. I was inspired to do this because I’ve noticed there are higher levels of anxiety, depression, and stress amongst successive generations in America and I wondered if there might possibly be a common factor. It looks like that factor is how we tie the gathering of information or even education to success and put pressure on our students to ‘be successful.’ Increasingly over the decades, it has led to something called ‘play deprivation’ which can inhibit the development of youth in ways that counteract their preparation for a successful life. Hopefully, those who see my project will be inspired to rethink what success means to them and make better choices for themselves and their futures.”
“My project confronts and brings insight into what it means to be biracial or multiracial. I myself am multiracial and usually identify as just ‘American;’ however, this response is an answer that people find too vague. By blood I am half Filipino, quarter Chinese, and quarter Euro-American mix, to put it simply. Do I relate to any of these cultures? No, I do not; my parents were born and raised in America just like me. I started to open up about my frustration of finding my own ‘identity’ and in return, I found many bi/multiracial students on campus whom I’ve shared stories with. Included in my installation, I have quotes from more than 15 PUC students, sharing both the positive and negatives of being bi/multiracial, accompanied by expressive ceramic vessels.”
Educational poster series, photographs, and handouts
“My thesis project is about raising awareness about the harms drugs have on a fetus of a pregnant mother. I was inspired by my mom because throughout her career as a school nurse she has told me heartbreaking stories about children who live a difficult life because they were drug exposed. My hope for this project is to make an impression on at least one person—that could be one baby’s life changed forever.”
“My project is a storybook, loosely based on my own story revolving around the theme of relational struggles. I enjoy graphic novel, manga, and animation illustrations, so I wanted to make my own.”
Hand-painted and designed signage installation
“As a letterer and designer, I’m really inspired by the letterforms and signage of the 20th century. For my thesis, I wanted to create a series of signs inspired by vintage signage I grew up seeing around small, historic Northern California towns. I wanted to learn about old sign making processes such as sign painting and woodworking. As a designer, learning about the history of graphic design is very important to me, and learning these old techniques has given me a much deeper appreciation and love for the career path I’ve chosen.”
Series of digital paintings and parallax paintings
Photography series of vintage memorabilia
“My project is called ‘The Things She Left Behind’ and it is about photographing the things that belong to my great-grandmother. I was inspired by my great-grandmother and the impact she made in my life. So I wanted to do something to honor her.”
Film & Television
“My thesis is an exploration of growth, how we react and grow to different situations we end up in.”
“My thesis is a documentary about the civil war in El Salvador. I was inspired by all the stories my mom would tell me about her childhood.”
After reading the highlights of some of the year-long projects these seniors have been working on, hopefully, you are inspired by these artists and filmmakers!