Wk 5 – Artist Conversation – Katia Swihart

Exhibition Information

Artist: Katie Swihart

Exhibition: Description of A Struggle

Media: colored paper, color-aid, origami paper, any other supplies that can be found at a daycare

Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery

Website: katiaswihartart.blogspot.com

About the Artist

Katia Swihart is a 4th-year student at here at CSULB undergraduate and is working towards her BFA degree in the School of Art’s Drawing and Painting program. She’s been here at the Beach all four years and is from Long Beach. She likes to draw anger in her work to create pieces. The ideas that her work explore is trying to find identity in the workspace. She used to be a manager at Jersey Mike’s and as you can see in the picture above, she turned her old uniform into a piece of art. She said she like to be impulsive with creativity.

Formal Analysis

Her work in the gallery was mainly media collages. The media she uses often is a paper called color-aid, which she said was very expensive. She also mentioned that she works in a daycare, so plenty of her materials are art supplies that are kid friendly. On her piece that contains a frying basket, it’s actually popsicle sticks kids at the daycare glued into Jewish stars, and she took those, deep-fried them making a simple kid’s craft into art. The nature of her work is very impulsive and random. There is no true pattern that I can see in any of her work, but I really enjoy the sporadic behavior of her pieces. With all the different textures, it keeps makes you look at her art closer to fully appreciate all the detail she put into the final product.

Content Analysis

The work shown in her exhibit are about childhood, anger, trauma, and loss. She has a large mattress piece in the middle of the exhibit, and she named it “Father’s Metamorphosis” Which she told me and a classmate that it was named after a title of a Kafka book.tells tels of a lot of truama from her childhood in this piece, that had to do with trauma from her father. He constantly read books by Kafka, and her whole exhibit is even named after his book Description of A Struggle. I also found her incorporation of daycare crafts into her work very ingenious. To little kids, they might not know of the artistic integrity a simple class project could be, but Katia sees it and makes it her own.

Synthesis / My Experience

I really loved Katia’s entire exhibit. To her old Jersey Mike’s uniform, to her large mattress piece, you could tell they were all meticulously worked on. The fact that she drew such harsh emotions for her work, but portrayed them with bright eccentric colors was different to me. She also said she uses origami paper too, which I think is more cost effective than the expensive color-aid she said she also uses. I want to take her impulsive creations as inspiration into my life, and act off more of my impulses rather than hold them in. Love her work!


Wk5 – Art Experience – Automatic Drawing

For this week’s art experience I had to do something called an automatic drawing which allows the hand to move randomly across the paper, expressing the subconscious. I asked one of my suitemates, Lorraine, to help me out in drawing this, and we matched too just to be extra. Honestly, in the beginning, I hated this project, because when we started the subconscious movements, we just kept arguing that each other was making the oil crayon move and couldn’t focus enough. Then we started doing random word association to distract us from focusing too hard on the drawing, and we produced this as the result. I’m actually pretty proud of it because I thought it would turn out a lot worse. When we were distracted thinking about words to say to each other, our hands just started moving like they had a mind of their own. For the final product, I’d like to try doing this again with my roommate and continue on this sheet of paper because as you can see, we didn’t take up the whole canvas. I want to see if my roommate and I would have different subconscious hand movements.

Wk4 – Art Experience – Art Care Package (ACP)

For this week’s art experience I made an art care package and sent it to one of my friend’s in the dorms. I enjoyed making it so much that I actually made another one to send to my roommate. Both of the recipients birthdays are coming up soon, so I thought it would be a nice little surprise for them to receive. While making this, I realized the similarity in sending an ACP to a snapchat are the same in the aspect that they’re both trying to convey a message. I mean, not every exact snapchat has a meaning to it, someone could just be lazy and take a picture of their foot to make sure their snap streaks aren’t broken. But they’re also similar because, with both, you hope to get a response of some sort. The biggest difference between sending a physical package and sending a snapchat is the speed, a snapchat arrives almost instantly to the opposing person’s phone, but with a letter or package it will take a few days to get there. I think certain ephemera is trash. I don’t think an old fast food receipt would be considered art in any way, but I included my sticker from voting in the 2016 election- and I think that is art. With how crazy our political system is right now, I’d like my recipient to look back at my “I voted!” sticker and remember how ridiculous the 2016 election was for the whole country. I think there is a difference between art that is seen by many people and art seen by very few because it is more intimate, more private. The receiver feels special because they know only their eyes and the artist’s eyes have seen the work.I think the time and effort put into an ACP shows the thought the artist put into each piece of final product. Fast is better in snapchat’s sense because it lets you communicate with the other person in minutes on a subject you might need to know at that exact moment. But for an ACP slow is better because since you sat down and took the time to make the package, I believe gives off a better meaning than a 6-second snapchat. I think an ACP contains a type of deep love as opposed to snapchat only requiring a 30-second time span of one’s attention. An ACP requires a much larger amount of time, deliberately paying attention to details.

Wk 4 – Artist Conversation – Ingrid Gonzalez

**I really don’t get why my camera reacts so badly to the lighting in these rooms! I sincerely apologize for all the stripes across my pictures! :((( **

Exhibit Information

Artist: Ingrid Gonzalez

Exhibition: Lamps

Media: wood and epoxy resin

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Galery at Cal State Long Beach School of Art

Website: http://www.behance.net/ingridg

About the Artist

Ingrid Gonzalez is a transfer student from FIDM in LA who is in her 2nd year of her 3rd year here at the beach. She is working toward her BFA in the School of Art’s Wood Program. Her first woodworking project asked her to made a pedestal, and her original idea was to have a tube of light penetrated in the middle of the piece. After she had made the base for her pedestal she realized she had no idea about wiring or anything to really do with electrical currents, this pushed her to learn more about lamps and transfer to CSULB.  She eventually wants to be successful in making a lamp that can pulsate to the beat of the music she plays, and hopes to achieve that by her show coming up next year.

Formal Analysis

Her work showcased in her gallery gave a very homely vibe, it made you feel comfortable- especially with her choice of music playing on the speaker she incorporated into one of her pieces. Her perception of what a lamp is very pretty and uses very simple materials. Obviously, she incorporates a wood medium and then for the colorful lamps pictured above, she uses epoxy resin around balloons. Using transparent epoxy, she adds dyes to the mixture before pouring it around a balloon to give it some color or even a marbling effect. As you can see, she had produced many of these orb type pieces to be able to put them over her lightbulbs. For the wooden structure of her lamps, she bases them off spindles of wood. Woodworking wood into a spindle requires repetition and rhythm.

Content Analysis

Ingrid’s art is experimentation. She said the processes form organically with her pieces and she likes to explore color theories. She said she loves to listen to electronic music and that influences her art. She wants to explore different lamp wiring until she gets to the point where the light can flash with the beat of her electro music as mentioned above. She explores how she can create functional art to place in living spaces.

Synthesis / My Experience

Personally, I found her different lamp pieces very interesting. I asked her about the idea behind using epoxy resin. She actually said a friend of hers was playing around with it and noticed she made paper mache balloons, so he told her to try the resin with the balloons instead. Being able to use different dyes in the transparent epoxy to create the perfect color of lamp sphere you want interests me so much, to the point that I might give epoxy resign a try next time I feel crafty! Ingrid actually told me and my classmate, Norma, that when she was assigned her original pedestal at FIDM and couldn’t figure out the penetrating lamp concept, that drove her to want to transfer to CSULB to learn more. I find that so inspiring because she went after what she wanted, and look at her now! She has her own exhibit at the Beach!

Wk3 – Classmate Conversation – Sohee Son


On Wednesday I got to have a quick chat with Sohee Son. She is a Korean exchange student who is a junior here at CSULB. She’s new this semester and finds our campus very big, but the air very fresh. She was a bit lost on what we were doing at the gallery on Wednesday, so I tried helping her out and explaining it to her. I hope she got the hang of it! The language barrier was as bit hard to talk sometimes, but I’m very impressed with her English since she’s only been here 4 weeks. She is a graphic design major and dorms in Beachside. She said she likes to do speed drawing in her free time. I asked her what her favorite food was and she said sashimi, but then I asked her what her favorite Korean dish was and she said soy sauce crab. That sounds delicious! We also talked on the short walk back to class from the galleries about anime. She loves all the Studio Ghibli animations and just recently watched Princess Mononoke, which is my favorite Miyazaki movie of all time! Find her blog here.

Wk3 – Artist Conversation -Kelvin Lopez

*my camera was not reacting well with the lights in the showcase room… my apologies for all these pictures having vertical stripes all over them :(*

Exhibition Information

Artist: Kelvin Lopez

Exhibition: Scry Baby

Media: painter, illustrator, printmaker, all around art maker

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery at Cal State Long Beach School of Art

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KLART760

Instagram: @KLART760

Contact: klart760@gmail.com

About the Artist

Kelvin Lopez is an undergrad senior at CSULB. He previously received an associate’s degree in his hometown San Diego, but is working towards his BFA in the School of Art’s Printmaking Program. Originally, his freshman year of high school he took an art class, and claimed he was not that good at it; that’s what pushed him to take more art classes, to get better. He says potential is how art works. He’s a printmaker and he actually works for the school too! He loves to screenprint because it allows you to have a lot of layers to your artwork. He claims you have to align your layers or the final product is going to be “fucked up” (his words, not mine!) and he said the exactness of his work made him become more precise in what he does.

Formal Analysis

The work showcased in the gallery was all screenprinting Kelvin did himself. His exhibit is called Scry Baby. Confused on what scry meant, I googled it. Scry means foretelling the future using a crystal ball or other reflective object or surface, which makes a lot more sense because in the middle of his art exhibit was a table full of assorted crystals. Also, as you can see his artwork is portrayed within a crystal shape. All the edges of his drawn crystals weren’t necessarily straight or even to the adjacent side, but random and unique because no crystal is identical. The texture of his artwork appears flat, but when you get a closer look you can tell that many layers were put into the final product. Every color shown had its own layer. The scale of the subjects within the crystals occupy the whole crystallized form. Taking advantage of the original shape he created with the crystal, he fills them with his dogs, himself, or even his nephew.

Content Analysis

Kelvin stated that crystals are his subject matter. He even revealed that his first crystal he received was from his ex-girlfriend, a green onyx to be more specific. He said he has always been interested in art, but never had the proper resources. After receiving the crystal, he started looking to them to forsee information. He says uses limestones to draw and print. He experiments with different medias, and when he messes up, he says it’s unintentional. A lot of his artwork has his himself and his dogs in it. He likes to show his personal life in his art, and although I didn’t catch why he likes to incorporate childhood pictures of himself, I’d like to safely assume he likes to remember where he all started. He himself claimed he was not good at art in the beginning, but with hard work and potential, he got exponentially better. C’mon, he has his own exhibit now! As for his dogs being in his artwork, he says he just loves them so much. His purebred husky and german shepherd mix are his best friends. Who doesn’t love dogs?

Synthesis / My Experience

Personally, I loved his exhibit! At first, I didn’t know what scry baby meant, and I thought to be “artsy” he was spelling “scary” without the “a” to be unique and original. After looking up what scry actually meant, his artwork made so much more sense to me! All his work with his dogs, especially the husky, were my absolute favorite. I love huskies more than anything, and with having one of my own, it made me miss home so much. Academically, when he said he wasn’t originally good at art, that gave me some inspiration- if he could do it and produce amazing art like this, then maybe one day I could succeed in my field of choice too! His perspective on crystals was unique and I’ve never seen anything like it. I believe his formal nature of the work he produces is showing the most important things in his life through the beauty of nature. After all, crystals are formed when liquid rock cools, leaving a beautifully unique form in it’s place, much like his art.

Wk2 – Art Experience – Landscapes with a Corpse


For this week’s art experience I had to imagine my demise. Thinking about death isn’t one of my favorite things to do, but sometimes I think about what can kill me in my everyday life. As scary as that sounds, I figured I probably would die from drinking too many energy drinks or even too much coffee. My idea behind this setup of my death was me being at work and drinking well over a few cups of coffee, my body wouldn’t be able to handle that much caffeine resulting in me having a heart attack and dying. Essentially, I would be working and pass in the midst of my 8-hr shift; I asked my boss if I could use the office over the weekend to have a quick little photo shoot and she said yes, so I headed home to die! I like how my props behind me turned out, and especially like the further shot of me from the hallway of our office suite. The hallway shot shows a little glimpse of my “dead” body, so if a worker in the other office suites were to pass by they definitely would see my lifeless body from the little peak behind the receptionist desk. The second angle shot behind the desk shows my setup of all my coffee mix-ins and multiple drunken coffee cups. I imagine in my collapse I take down my stir sticks and coffee beans with me as they’re scattered on the floor behind me. Peep the colored hair! I had fun with the concept of this project, but I hope coffee doesn’t actually kill me anytime soon!

Wk2 – Classmate Conversation – Alex Gonzalez


Today in class, I talked to Alex Gonzalez. He was a nice guy and I found out he was a first-year freshman like me. This was assuring because while sharing our imagined death stories today in class, everyone I met was older than me.  He’s 18, like me, a pre-film major, and we talked about hair dying for the most of the class time allotted. He has bleached hair as you can see in the photo above whereas I currently have blue and purple hair. I gave him some tips and tricks about achieving the silver/gray hair that’s super trendy right now. I complimented him on his distressed black jeans and I was surprised to learn that he cut them up himself. I love DIY (do it yourself) projects, so I was pretty impressed. He works underneath the LAX airport and said he basically does manual labor like pick up bags during his shifts. He commutes from LA to go to school, and I personally think that’s a long trek, although he told me its only 20 minutes without traffic. Obviously, a lot longer with traffic- up to an hour. Class time was coming to an end so I asked him really quickly what his way of death was gonna be for his landscape of a corpse project; he said he would die from eating too many Taco Bell food items. We all know Taco Bell messes up our stomachs! Find his blog here and a photo of us with a cute snapchat filter on his post.