Shahrzad Ahrar’s art gallery was unlike any other I have viewed so far. Shahrzad’s gallery reminded me of a museum type experience. It had multiple different displays of art that consisted of interactive kaleidoscopes, printed pictures hung down from the ceiling, and a wall in which you could press certain pieces of it and it would play a voice recording back to you.
Shahrzad’s gallery was especially interesting because every piece had a different story behind it. She stated that her gallery was actually based around four individuals that she interviewed specifically for her gallery. She interviewed individuals who had immigrated to the United States from a different country and asked them questions about how they felt when they came here and why they decided to move here. The interview consisted of thirty questions and with these answers, she used them to make her designs. Many of the subjects had similar responses. All of the subjects stated that they moved to the United States to escape from war in their homeland.
The wall that had the graphic design covering the entire side had four patches that contained voice recordings from each subject. Each patch had specific designs that represented how the subjects answered to the questions. Shahrzad discussed one patch and stated that that particular design consisted of pictures of soldiers, the subject’s family trying to escape their homeland in the middle of the night, different war symbols, maps of the countries, and rockets and fires.
Shahrzad’s art gallery has been the only gallery throughout the entire semester that actually appealed to my emotions. All the other galleries sort of just felt like a for fun viewing type thing, Shahrzad’s gallery really made me feel emotions towards the subjects that she interviewed, for any other person in the world who has had to immigrate to another country, and for her art work. I like that it felt like Shahrzad used her art to spread awareness about a certain topic.
Anahid Malek-Stephanians and Dawn Derry created an alluring art gallery filled with paintings inspired by the seasons and nature. The paintings are tied to different meanings that the artists conceived from their own personal connections to landscapes and the desire to view landscapes from a different perspective. These paintings are based on more abstractly inspired images of nature, memories, and experiences. One of the artists, Dawn, discussed how she believed that artists must know the rules and information of the basic structures that go into artwork before artists are able to put their own twist on it. Dawn stated that she was soley responsible for the paintings of different mountains and landscapes, whereas Anahid was credited for the paintings of the seasons.
One of my favorite details about the paintings were the fact that the paintings had more texture rather than just normal flat surfaced brush strokes on the canvases. I noticed that the paintings of the seasons typically displayed what appeared to be scratch marks to create textures or to outline different sorts of details in the image. These scratch marks gave the paintings more depth and more structure to the different shapes. I also noticed that each painting had a specific color palette that really accurately set the mood for the different seasons or types of landscapes.
Since I was so intrigued by the detailed texture of what appeared to be scratched out paint, I went ahead and asked the artists about it. Dawn went ahead and friendly informed me that that technique is accomplished by them simply scratching the paint out from where ever they desired. It’s the method of adding layers of paint and subtracting parts of the paint to create the desired look.
My own personal favorite painting of the gallery was the painting dedicated to the season of winter. I had a special liking for this painting because winter is already one of my favorite seasons of the year, but I also felt like this painting had the most beautiful detail and resemblance to its season. I liked the icy and cool tones of the color palette. From my perspective, I saw the branches as if it gave the painting a sort of texture that resemble a slab of cracked ice. The resemblance of cracked ice added to the effect of the painting and its winter inspiration perfectly. Another interesting fact about this painting was that it is actually based off an actual place that Anahid visited last year, Vancouver.
The art gallery that I chose to observe this week is the artwork of Kiyomi Fukui. Kiyomi is an artist originally from Japan, but she currently lives in Long Beach and attends school at Cal State Long Beach. She is finishing up her last year at school and also teaches a class for lower division.
I especially took an interest in Kiyomi’s artwork because as soon as I stepped in through the doors I was intrigued as of how she created her pieces of art. At first glance, I thought she was trying to recreate some sort of display of the universe with colorful planets. However, I was very wrong. As I continued to listen to Kiyomi speak about her artwork I learned that these were actually place mats that she had used to hold tea parties. The pieces up on the walls were sheets of paper that were created by various spills of tea, or just some markings that the teacups had imprinted. Some pieces were made by spilling juices on it, such as orange juice and beat juice. The orange juice was used to create the orange markings and the beat juice was used to create the pink color. Another really cool touch was that some sugar cubes had fallen on the pieces of paper and hardened to imitate a sort of crystallized look.
Kiyomi even demonstrated how her art pieces were created by having a separate table in the middle of the gallery where she poured tea that she had made herself to share with the viewers of her gallery. She asked viewers to try her tea and when they had finished they placed their teacups back on the table and then you could see right away the marks that the teacups leave on the sheets of paper. I really enjoyed the fact that she made her art gallery somewhat interactive, and actually displayed just how she made her art. So it was sort of a two in one, we were able to view beautiful pieces of art while also watching how those specific pieces were made at the same time.
Kiyomi’s art gallery was so unique because she even stated herself that most of her pieces of art were pretty much made by accident. None of the pieces were created with a plan, they sort of just happened when going about with the tea parties. The pieces ranged of different shapes from circles and rectangles, all different sizes from small to large. She said that her pieces were these shapes solely because of the reason that those were the shapes of the tables she places the sheets of papers on.
Another cool fact that I learned from Kiyomi is that she made all of her sugar cubes herself. She displayed a variety of different shapes and sizes of sugar cubes on the table. She talked about how she made the sugar cubes by using natural molds that she found, such as peanut shells and sunflower seed shells. The tea that she made was hibiscus tea with lemon grass and mint leaves.
Kiyomi’s inspiration for this art gallery was from personal loss and wanting to be able to share her personal experience without having to actually directly talk about it. She stated that the personal experience has always been a difficult subject for her to speak about, so she wanted to be able to express her emotions on the topic without having to literally verbally talk about it to other people. She wanted to emphasize empathy and faint traits of loss in her artwork.
When asked the question, “What swims around you?” she responded with the answer that she wants art and life to be in unison in her life. According to Kiyomi, art tends to be removed from real life but she wants to join it together.