Wk5 – Classmate conversation – Shannelle Cruz 

This past Thursday I met one of my classmates named Shannelle Cruz. Her major is Health Care Administration. It is also her last semester at CSULB. Her hobbies are Tahitian dance, going to the gym, hiking, watching movies, and likes to try new food places. She was born and raised in Long Beach like myself. Shannelle is currently interning at a care giving agency. She is gaining experience with HR and wants to work in a hospital setting. Also, wants to gain more experience working in a hospital. 

When we talked about the classmate question of the week we talked about family, culture and friends. Shannelle said that her family is what keeps her grounded. Also her Filipino culture. She talked about her parents being divorced when she was little. I can relate to her because my parents split up about 3 years ago. She appreciates her grandparents because they took care of her along with her Mom and Stepdad. 

When I thought about “What do you swim in?”, the first thing that came to mind is my parents. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and for having me in California instead of Honduras or El Salvador. I think in my culture family is always first and I have so much support from them. As I get older I want to spend as much time with them because anything can happen at any moment. Another thing is my Salvadorean and Hondurean culture. It is what makes me who I am and I love being bilingual. Hearing my parents speak Spanish on a daily basis and when they talk about what they went through back in their countries. How they got here and made a better life is fascinating to me and it pushes me to be like them.

I think Shannelle and I shared many similar ideas. We also have some things in common like being born and raised in Long Beach and it is our last semester at CSULB. She was friendly and we had a good conversation overall. 🙂 

Here are some pictures of the Gatov-East Gallery, where Shannelle and I had our conversation.   

This painting is by Sery Kwon and Coleton Kargi Palmer. 

This painting is by Jarand Abad and Peter MaCaulay.


Wk5 – Artist Conversation – Josh Benz and Karen Solis

Josh and Karen’s painting was in the Gatov-East Gallery. Karen painted the realistic figures that look like they are watching television. Josh painted abstract figures around Karen’s painting. They used oil paint on a canvas. I talked to Josh because he was at the gallery. I think Karen wasn’t able to attend that day. Josh has a Facebook where he posts his paintings. His name on Facebook is Josh Benz. 

Josh Benz is a Senior and it’s his last year at CSULB. His major is Drawing and Painting. Josh started his painting 3 weeks ago. He majored in drawing and painting because he was influenced by his grandparents who are also artists. When I asked Josh what his painting is about he said it represents a transition from childhood to adulthood. He used different influences for his painting. Paints whatever he’s feeling at the moment. There are different scenes in the painting. One of the scenes is dark and erotic. He likes to use lots of color and he paints abstract figures. One of his figures looks like a person holding a child. Another figure is a portrait of himself holding a teddy bear and the teddy bear represents his childhood. The woman figure next to his portrait is like an alter ego of himself. 

Josh and Karen took turns painting and talked about ideas. He explained Karen’s painting style. She paints realistic figures and one of the figures that she painted is a portrait of herself. Her painting is two people that look like they are watching television. They are laying down and one of the figures has a remote in her hand. It also looks like these figures are floating on water and I guess they are watching all the different scenes that Josh painted. 

What I thought about the painting is that there is lots of color and the two figures watching T.V have so much detail and it’s realistic. The abstract scenes in the painting were interesting. I was thinking of what each scene represents. In one scene it looks like there might be a dark meaning or memory. There’s also this peacefulness of the two people laying down watching T.V. and the water around them. It makes me want to see more from each artist. I think it’s a good idea to collaborate with another artist because it adds more creativity and uniqueness to their art. 

Here is a picture of Josh and Karen’s painting.  

This is another painting that Josh did with another artist named Roddy Hernandez. 

Wk5 – Activity -Ethnography 

The place that I chose to do this week’s activity is in my room. I live at home with my family and it was a little difficult to keep everyone from using the lights in the house. This activity made me realize how much we depend on electricity in our home and how I take it for granted. I used candle light to get around the house. If I needed to get something from the kitchen or go to the restroom I had my small candle light with me . It was kind of scary in my house because it was dark and I couldn’t really see that well. I did some reading for one of my classes. I didn’t use my phone or iPad. I did get a bit bored but it was also nice to take a break from social media. I also noticed that I went to sleep earlier than I usually do. It made me think about how back in the day when there was no electricity, it was normal to use candle lights on a daily basis. I think people back then took advantage of the time they had in the day to get many things done because it would be difficult to do at night. I’m glad that we have electricity today because it gives us more time to get things done. For example, studying late at night and phones or laptops help us communicate with family and friends.  

Here is a picture of my room.  

Wk 4 – Activity – Painting 


Here is a picture of me with my name in bubble letters. This was my first time using spray paint and my first difficulty was trying to figure out why the spray paint wouldn’t come out when I pressed on the nozzle. Then I read the instructions and realized that there’s a ring that secures it. To get it out, you shake the can first then take off the nozzle and turn the can upside down so that the ring falls off. The colors I used were orange and purple. I decided to paint on cardboard because I wasn’t going to be able to go to Venice beach this weekend. I started using the orange spray paint to make my letters and its not easy to get the lettes to look decent. I had to go over my name several times to make it look like bubble letters. Also shaking the can is important to get the paint to come out smoothly. After practicing for a few minutes I noticed that the closer you are to your surface you can make the letter look bolder and its easier to make the curves of the letters. I tried making my name look bubbly but I had difficulty doing the shadow with my purple spray paint. Overall, I’m happy with how my name came out. I think I’ll practice more in my free time with bubble lettering. I admire graffiti artists so much now because they make it look easy and based on my experience it’s not. Another thing is how they are able to add so much detail to their art and its all from a spray can. I tried making hearts for fun and it was tough. You can see my several attempts on making a heart in my picture. Graffiti artists are truly amazing. They create beautiful paintings with just spray paint cans. I recommend everyone to try to spray paint their name. It’s not easy as it looks. 

Wk 4 – Artist conversation – Tidawhitney Lek & Daniel A. Rivera Echeverria

On September 17th, the Marilyn Werby Gallery at CSULB was my favorite. The piece was called “Disposable thoughts”. The artist’s names are Tidawhitney Lek and Daniel A. Rivera Echeverria. Here is a picture of their work. 

Tidawhitney and Daniel worked together to make this creation out of napkins. They sewed the napkins together and used fishing wire to install their work in the gallery. What their piece is about is expressing their thoughts on a napkin. On the napkins it was a mixture of writing and doodles. They used markers to write down lyrics or quotes from a movie and drawings. 

I talked to Tidawhitney and she said that it’s about confessing what is in your head. She said it was similar to a diary. She talked about how we all know that we have thoughts and that they are there but there’s no physical form of our thoughts. Tidawhitney and Daniel’s work shows their thoughts in physical form(napkins). Tidawhitney said “Never seen my thoughts all in one place”. It made think about how our minds are always thinking about stuff and if it had a physical form it would be this piece. 
She explained her struggles with this piece which was thinking about what to draw. She said that there were times that she was so focused on what she was drawing or writing that it made the process much easier. The idea started in the summer and they officially began their creation at the end of summer. Tidawhitney and Daniel had 1,000 napkins to express their thoughts on and it took them many hours to complete. The installation of this piece also took many hours. Their purpose to set up their art this way, was for the audience to think they are going inside of a tunnel and to see inside their minds from different angles. 

Tidawhitney’s Instagram is tidawhitney.

What I thought about this piece called “Disposable thoughts” is that some of the writing on the napkins I can relate to. It made me wonder what the doodles mean or if there is no meaning. When I talked to the artist it made me have a better understanding of her art. At first I thought it was writings and doodles by different people. Then I learned that it was created by two people and that I was reading and looking at their thoughts. I like how you can go around or under their blanket of art and look at their thoughts on each napkin. I think there’s a lot of truth to the title of this piece because we think about so many things and our minds dispose them or puts them away somewhere. We have memories that will stick to us forever but there are some things that we won’t ever remember. I think that is why the artists used napkins, they are thrown away after they’re used. 

Here are more pictures of “Disposable thoughts”.


Wk 4 – Classmate Conversation – Natalie Marquez

On Thursday, September 17th I went to the art galleries at CSULB and I met one of my classmates named Natalie Marquez. She is majoring in child development and this is her 3rd year at CSULB. She wants to double major in family life education. In her free time she likes going to different food places and hiking. I also like hiking and we were talking about hiking places that we’ve been to. When we talked about if art matters she said that it does and I also think that art matters. Natalie was saying that when it comes to art not everything is the same, everyone has different creative ideas. She said that there are no rules and you can do whatever you want. My response was that even though there are all these horrible things going on in the world, art can be used as therapy and help us deal with our everyday struggles. We agreed that without art life would be boring. We need art.  

Here is a picture of an animal motorcycle by Fu Shuai. Natalie and I thought this piece was amazing and kind of creepy. 


Wk 3 – Artist Conversation – William Brigham

First, I want to show pictures of William Brigham’s work in the Merlino-Gallery.

Mokume-Gane Vessels







On September 10th, 2015 I went to the art galleries at CSULB. My favorite was the Merlino-Gallery. The artist’s name is William Brigham. He had three different displays of his work. On one side of the gallery was the Mokume-gane vessels and these pieces were made out of different kinds of metals. The back wall was the Damascus Knives. His other display was the Nerikomi ceramics.

The Mokume-Gane is a Japanese procedure for metalworking. The vessels are made from little squares of different metals that are mixed together to create a layered pattern. This layered pattern is similar to wood grain. The artist described this procedure as a sheet of metal with over 60 layers that are hammered into a vessel. The patterns on the vessels run all the way down the piece. If the piece were to be broken in half you would be able to see that the pattern isn’t just on the surface. “The pattern is the very structure.”

The Damascus knives are made by damascus steel. Damascus steel is used to make sword blades and knives. It has a wavy pattern that is made by welding together pieces of iron and steel. The artist had displayed three different Damascus knives that he made for himself and his family.  His ceramic art is a Japanese pottery technique called Nerikomi. It’s similar to the Mokume-gane vessels because the pattern on these ceramic pieces run all the way down the piece. The artist used porcelain to make these creations. The blue and brown colors on the bowls and plates are a powdered dye that is mixed with the porcelain.

William Brigham created these pieces because he enjoys making all the different patterns in his art. He has control over every piece that he makes by knowing how long to use the heat and knowing what is happening to the molecular and atomic level of his piece. He explains that when you know how to work with metal, you can manipulate your creation to however you want it. He also said that it’s fun to make these pieces but it does require an enormous amount of time and patience. The tools and equipment that were required to make these works of art were made by William. One of William’s goals is to make bigger Mokume-gane vessels. He also has an Instragram and his username is the_artificery.

What I thought about William Brigham’s work of art is that it’s amazing. The Mokume-gane vessels have a unique pattern and color. It was difficult to understand the procedure to make these vessels because I have never heard of Mokume-gane. Based from what I saw and what the artist had to say about his work, I think he really enjoys making these pieces and he is good at what he does. One of his ceramic pieces stood out to me because it made me feel at peace. It was the blue and white circle plate. It made me think of the sky because the white parts looks like clouds. It also made me think of the Earth. As if you were looking at planet Earth from space. The blue looks like the ocean and the white parts are the clouds that are floating around the planet. Also, the brown and white bowls look similar to a zebra’s stripes. Every piece is unique and I think that makes William’s art more personal.

Wk3 – Classmate Conversation – Jack Nguyen

This past Thursday while I was in the Merlino gallery I met Jack Nguyen. He is my classmate for Art110 and we were listening to William Brigham talk about the Mokume-game vessels that he made.  

 Jack Nguyen is a senior at CSULB. His major is Health Science. We both agreed that art should be fun because there are no boundaries and you can interpret art in many different ways. Jack was saying that when you have fun making art and love it, then your creation will be much better. I agree because when you’re not enjoying what you’re making it can reflect on your piece of art. I think when you’re making art it should be exciting because there’s no right or wrong, good or bad. It’s a way of expressing yourself and your experiences. I think it can also be as simple as just drawing something that you like. Jack also agreed with my point of view on art and we were both fascinated by William Brigham’s creations.

Wk3 – Activity – Social photography 

On September 10th, 2015 I posted these pictures on my Instagram. The first picture caught my attention because it’s colorful and I like that it’s a sun with stars around it. I also like the images inside the sun, it’s random but it all flows together. The second picture is from one of the art gallery’s from CSULB. It looks kind of vintage and I like the flowers that are painted in the first three frames. The third picture has The Hindu God Ganesha and he is the lord of success. I took this picture because it reminded me of this one time when I went to an Indian restaurant and they had this golden Ganesha right by their register. I asked the worker what it meant and he explained how having a Ganesha in his restaurant brings success. The last picture is one of my favorite pieces that was made by William Brigham. It made me think of the ocean, sky and earth. The pattern on this piece is beautiful and the colors go so well together.

When I looked at our “group portrait”, I noticed that my classmates and I have many things in common. For example the dog pictures. Especially the one with the three white dogs because I also have three white dogs that I love so much. Based on these pictures it makes me think that some of my classmates are dog lovers like myself. Also, the picture of the In n Out drink, tacos and watermelon. Watermelon is my favorite fruit and I love Tacos and In n Out. I enjoy being outside and so do my classmates who posted those pictures of the sky and the sunset at the beach. Beautiful pictures. Even though my classmates and I have different majors and different backgrounds, I believe that we are more similar than we think. 🙂

Wk2 – Activity – Plaster Casting

This past Thursday I went to Seal Beach to do my plaster casting. I got there at 9:30am and I thought I was going to be the first one there. Luckily there was a student from my classroom who had got there a few minutes before me. His name was Louis. Then another student arrived named Alex and the three of us began our plaster casting project. We helped each other make our mold in the sand and filled our buckets with some beach water to make the plaster. After we poured the plaster into our molds we waited 30 minutes for it to dry. I talked to Alex and we got to know each other a little better. We also took some pictures together. More students from my classroom came to the beach and we helped them with their plaster casting. Then my professor arrived and he brought  iced tea for everyone. It was delicious. I checked on my casting after 30 minutes and began to dig it out of the sand. When I got my hand cast out of the sand a piece broke off. I was still happy with the results because my casting was smooth and it looked like a tree trunk. I liked this activity because it was my first time using plaster and I got to meet some of my classmates. Everyone was friendly and I liked how we helped each other make our creations.