January 2015 – I was allowed to sit on a Drawing I class for the fall 2014 semester. The class was Art 153: Drawing I, taught by Professor Jane Brucker. I wanted to (re)learn how to draw since I haven’t spent time drawing in years. I have been wanting too, but never gave myself the time and focus to sit down and just draw.
I learned a lot in class: negative spaces, blind and contour line drawing, perspective, light and dark and ways of tricking your brain to draw detail images. I was in a class comprised of mostly Animation majors and one or two Studio Arts majors. One of the challenges I experienced was time and focus. Some class sessions were good and some class sessions were frustrating. It was not the class itself. It was me. The frustration was allowing myself time to 1) take a break from work, especially since I am the type of person who works through her lunch hour or eats while working and 2) shut my work brain off and get into a zone and draw. Sometimes my brain moved so fast running through a mental list of things to do and take care of on the work front. As a result, during some of the class sessions, I would get frustrated with myself and my drawings not feeling they were not up to par as I wanted my drawings to be.
Even though I experienced these challenges, I still learned a lot. I took this class with a lot of humility, especially since the students around me had had more time and experience drawing. I got excited at times when I saw I was able to draw some of the things I never thought I could draw. I also got excited that I can draw even the simple, basic things that sometimes an experience artist can take for granted.
The photos below are some of my drawing projects in the class. The projects focused on blind and contour line drawings, light and dark and negative spaces.
It was also a good experience to take a class with a Professor who is part of the department I provide support for. It was a pleasure to work alongside with the students and getting to know some of them, especially when we worked as a group on the puzzle mural project.
Sunday, July 10, 2014 – Everyday, on my way to work and back, the Expo train passes the Los Angeles Trade Technical College. The college’s own students from one of the classes, “Sign Graphics 201: Fundamentals of Mural Painting,” led by Art Mortimer painted a series of murals on the walls of the college facing the Expo train on Flower Street in Downtown Los Angeles. I’ve seen the artists a couple of times – 3-4 college age adults – working on the first set of murals in the early evening when I was on my home from work. The artists completed this set last year. About two or three months ago, while on my way to work, I saw five large white squares with penciled in grids on each of them. That made my morning. I was so excited to see more murals and curious to know what they will be. Each mural is the same size, give or take, depending on the image. One of the main themes of the murals is a celebration and/or reflection of Los Angeles’ culture, history, art and its people. I took photos of the first set of the murals when they were completed. For the second set, I took photos of the murals as they were developed over a period of time. I never saw the artists working on the second set of the murals as I did on the first set. I did notice that they worked on the murals during the weekends because by Monday I would see added colors and sketches.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 – The murals in Culver City that I wrote about earlier on June 29, 2013, remained untouched (with the exception of other artists putting their own work over another’s) for a lot longer than planned. The scheduled demolition of the old car dealership apparently got delayed until now. This past month the builder started demolishing parts of the dealership and tearing down walls and ceilings in other areas. You can see that in the photos I took. As I wrote in my blog entry, “Culver City Murals”:
Street art is a form of expression and is created for a variety of reasons. But the actual art itself isn’t meant to be forever. The art work can be whitewashed, painted over by other artists, or demolished. However which way it works out, l agree with the organizer: I will miss seeing these murals every morning while waiting for the bus. I rather see an old decrypted building cover with amazing murals than another mini shopping center, especially since there are quite a few of those in the area.
April 22, 2013 – Today is my last day of my six-month probation on my new job. Time went by fast and I’ve been really busy and productive at my job. When I got hired in October 2012, I was part of a new wave of folks coming in, whether as new hires or elected into new roles. LMU has a new President and a new Provost. The Communication & Fine Arts College (CFA), in which the Department of Art & Art History is a part of, has a new Dean. With this new wave of folks, follows new ideas and perspectives on things that can help circulate change, especially change where it is needed. My role as an Administrative Coordinator for the department places me at the ground level: observing the changes, serving as a liaison between colleagues in Art and Art History and other areas of the CFA College and the university, and coordinating activities and projects. I have an amazing opportunity of seeing the artists themselves, both the faculty and students: the teaching, mentoring and the development and maturation of their art works and perspectives.
My appreciation for art grows even more.
Every time I see a student’s art work, such as a painting in the making or completed, I am in awe, wishing I could paint like that or IF I can paint or draw like that. And I think that’s what makes my experience heartfelt.
In museums and galleries I see the finish work. I can talk to the artist about his or her processes or attend a lecture or read about an art work in a catalog. Which is good and it is part of the experience. But to see an art work in the making or listening to it live (for the music folks), even every day, that creates another layer to the experience, understanding and appreciation of art.
For me, part of that experience is when I walk through the studios and I see students working solo on their paintings or focusing on their drawing while a model poses patiently still in the center of the studio. Or a group of graphic design students collaborating on a design project or students getting their hands covered in clay in the ceramics studio or working on their printmaking projects while the art history students continue to strengthen their critical skills and appreciation of art. Seeing photography students tucked away in the darkrooms while students, some of whom are in art education, curating an exhibition in the Student Art Gallery. Even walking through the lobby area where the Music department is, I see students lounging on the couches talking while practicing their music on guitars or seeing the dance students stretching along the balcony upstairs in front of the dance studios.
It is an ongoing experience in understanding of how deep and diversified art is in our lives.
On Saturday, May 18th, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Director, Michael Govan, spoke at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA. His lecture focused on the artist Dan Flavin. The Norton Simon Museum had an exhibition on the artist at the time titled: “monument” on the survival of Mrs. Reppin: An Artwork by Dan Flavin. It was great to see and listen to Govan in person. What made his lecture really good was: 1) How down to earth Michael Govan is and 2) The lecture had a personal element to it because of Govan’s close friendship to the artist. Govan gave us insight on who Dan Flavin is as a person and an artist, his purpose in his art, his humanity and respect for artists across the spectrum, especially those whose lives ended on a tragic note. The lecture also showed Govan’s passion as a curator and his deep respect for his friend, Dan Flavin.
“Lecture: Dan Flavin: Maximalism” (Video via the Norton Simon Museum’s website):