WK 10 – Artist Conversation- Tony Nguyen

Artist: Tony Nguyen

Exhibition: Neoteny

Media: Metal, Various Objects

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Website: http://Eltigresite.wordpress.com

Facebook: facebook.com/Robotictony

About the Artist

After 5 and a half years, Tony Nguyen, is finally about to become a school of art graduate. He walked in the Commencement ceremony in the Spring  but has returned for the Fall semester  to complete the last bit of the  requirements for his degree. It seemed a bit odd to  his parents that he could walk in the ceremony but would not receive a degree and would have to go back for the following semester. In Tony’s own words “they thought that I had flunked or something”. Soon enough his parents will see his degree hung up on a wall. 

Starting out his art career and education, Tony began as a drawing and painting student. After a while he moved on to Illustration. It was during a conversation with one of his illustration professors that told him he would have to do hundreds of drawings that Tony decided he did not want to just draw. He wanted to do something more than just drawing. As a child he  loved the idea of being an inventor. Tony was in luck because not only did he fulfill his dreams of becoming an inventor  but he got the chance to  create amazing art pieces. 

Family has always been driving force for young Tony. Growing up he mentioned how his father was his first friend and how he always looked up to his father. His father worked as a Handyman which inspired Tony to pursue a career where he could use his hands to create and build things. When he took his first metal sculpture class, he mentioned how he felt that it was love at first cut. It was then when he knew he wanted to pursue a degree in metal sculpture. Tony received a lot of support from his father; however, there was a bit of resistance on his mother’s side. She wanted Tony to pursue a different path/career. .

Tony is currently in his last semester of the Metal Sculpture program in the School of Art in CSULB. After graduation, Tony plans to take some time off and explore what life has to offer. Later in life Tony wants to apply for graduate school, the main school on his mind is San Diego State. This is his number one school of choice because he wants a school where he is close to his  family. As for his dream career, Tony  aspires to work on Hollywood sets doing  pops for movies.  I that dream does not happen the last career choice he would want is to become a professor. On his spare time, Tony likes to write cheesy detective novels, surf the web to learn new things, and loves to play with his Legos. 


Formal Analysis

Walking into the exhibition you see several breathtaking pieces. Each piece has a golden number which is part of the scavenger hunt. The pieces are made out of metal. They are all hand-made pieces with intricate details.  There is a mixture of jewelry and sculptures pieces. The piece titled “My family bridge” has 5 bridges. Each bridge has the name of each family member in the back of the bridge. They are all connected. It is a necklace and is a bronzed color. 

Content Analysis 

Though following your dreams is the goal for young college students, there are times where we seem to forget the people who made it all possible. One piece that reminded the audience of that exact thing is the bridge piece titled “My family bridge”. The amount of detail in each small bridge of the necklace, along with the beautiful story that accompanied it made the piece shine 1000 times brighter. The bridge represented the struggles that his family endured in the past. The story that lead Tony to create the piece was his mother’s story of crossing a bridge in Vietnam during the Vietnam war. She hesitated to cross and to leave her world behind, but just as she made the decision to cross and got across the bridge safely the bridge was blown up. If she had waited a split second more she, along with her family would not be where they are today. It shows how important family is to Tony and how they not only influence his life, but also his art. Each bridge represents a member of his family and the bridge was a made from each person’s toe print. The dark bridge is Tony’s bridge. Since he is the only person in his family that is an artist and is different from the rest of the family. The bridge also has the names of the family member who it represents on the back of the toe print. The piece overall is unique and carries a tremendous family story behind the beauty it holds. There were figurines that surrounded a beautiful bridge. The figurines were mini figures of himself. They showed the different sides of Tony. There was a fancy Tony that had a tie and a vest and there was also a famous Hollywood Tony; he is aiming for the stars. They were pretty cool to look at and it’s amazing that he’s doing something that he loves. He mentioned that he got into art because he wanted to learn how to make toys, and how he would love to be able to work on movie sets creating the props for the scenes.

My Experience/ Synthesis

The pieces in the exhibition captured the audience eyes; however, the story behind a couple of the pieces captured the audience’s hearts. There were pieces in the show that were fun to look at and showed the artist’s juvenile tendencies. It shows how no matter how old you are you still hold onto your child self. I felt that the bridge piece was such a beautiful and well done piece. The story behind it is what made it one of my favorite pieces up to date. Many times we forget that our parents have gone through so many struggles in order for us to be where we are today. We also forget that while we are growing up and finding ourselves, our parents are growing older and are not going to be here forever. I felt that I could definitely relate to that. I grew up in a tight knitted family and people think I’m so boring because on my free days or my free time I love to surround myself with my family and do not do the typical young adult thing. Family is family and it’s important to cherish that.  

Not only did I find the exhibition to be one of my favorites, but I loved how open Tony seemed to be. He was friendly, approachable, and walked us throughout his exhibition. He answered each question in great detail and after he was done answering the audience’s questions he had a couple of questions for the audiences too. His charisma added a special flair to the exhibition. It’s true what people say, adults are just overgrown kids.


WK 10 – Fiber Art Social Network activity

This week we had to go to Prof. Glens office and do the Social Network activity. It was pretty fun I didn’t even notice how long it took to put the picture up and connect all the strings LOL But overall it was fun. At home I made a simple social network. The people in the little bubble map looking thing were my immediate family, some cousins ( I’m Mexican so i have like 100+; I know stereotypical huh LOL), my nieces, my two best friends (who i consider family), and my beautiful god daughter.

I feel that the term “social network” describes more of my online life. My inner circle of friends know that I’m a private person so if they do not hear from me for days it is normal. Social media for me is just a place where I could keep in touch with friends from HS and stuff like that; but I don’t use it to post about my person life struggles.

I feel that to a certain extent I agree that we can only have 150 meaningful relationships; but not in a life time. There have been several people that i have met along the way that have made such an impact on the person i am today, and though we may have fell off at one point in time, there is still meaning to that relationship. However, I am a paranoid person and do not trust many people so 150 seems like a pretty big number LOL.

For the people that have thousands of friends on Facebook i feel that its more about just having the number. The people following you, a large majority, do not mean anything other than another subscriber.


Nothing really surprised my when I made my own social network at home because i knew that i wanted to do more of a family one. Growing up i was raised more with my mothers side of the family than my fathers. So the cousins i put up are from my mothers side of the family. My little god daughter is my cousins daughter. And I put my brothers puppy up b/c that’s his child LOL. Though my social network did not surprise me, the one we did as a class did LOL. It was huge and there was so many strings all over. It was a pretty cool activity. 🙂

Hmm I have never really thought about what the number of close relationships i would like to have. If i had to choose i would say 21, only because that’s my favorite number and it seems that it’s a small number.

I have way more friends on social media. The number isn’t ridiculously high its only at around 200 or so. The people on there are HS friends, or distant family and friends. I feel that its a great way to keep in touch. I say this all the time, HS was awesome, you were always so connected to the people there and then after HS people just drifted apart and life happen. It sucks but that’s how life goes. Mostly I use social media to keep in touch with life events, everyone’s having babies and getting married or moving LOL so its nice to be updated once in a while.



WK 9 Artist Conversation -Dalia Banuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera

Artist: Dalia Banuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera

Exhibition: Infraction 

Media: Photography, Various Objects

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Website: N/A, dbvphotography.com

Instagram: @Deliaeffect, @dbvqp

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About the Artist

Following dreams is what life’s all about. There may obstacles that may arise, but the key to success is to continue to strive for a better day. That is exactly what these two up and coming CSULB art students did. After Dalia Banuelos was rejected from the photography program for the second time she felt the urge to make a statement. After the second rejection from an art program you are no longer able to reapply to the program unless you switch to a different university. Dalia knew she had to express the way she felt. She tried recruiting fellow art students who she knew had also received rejection letters from the photography program. Though many who she tried to recruit did not want to participate in her project, she finally found someone who did; her good friend Daniel Bonilla-Vera. Daniel had been rejected once from the photography program and is currently awaiting the response of his second submission.  

Getting an exhibition space was not easy; first they had to write a proposal and get a faculty to sponsor them. Then they had to wait, since they are not BFA or MFA students their chance of getting an exhibition space was slim. Both are currently Studio Art majors and are pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree. If Daniel gets into the photography program she will be pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the School of Art.

When Dalia is not photographing she enjoys her martial arts classes. After graduating she plans to work, and maybe in the future further her art education but is scared of getting into debt.

As for Daniel, he enjoys anything that has to do with art. He like to do carvings and other art stuff. In the future he plans to take some time off and then go to graduate school.

Formal Analysis 

Walking into the exhibition you see the walls covered in photography prints. In the middle of the floor there is figure that resembles the human form in a striped sweater, and in the corner there is another human form in a purple sweater. There is string that is hung all around the exhibition. The ball of yarn, which the string is coming from, is placed in a gold plated trash bin that is full of prints. 

Content Analysis

The photographs that are hung in the exhibition are prints that both artist had submitted to the photography department and that had the program had rejected. The artist wanted to showcase how they felt the moment they received the rejection letters. Not only were they rejected, but they received no explanation as to why that was. They felt confused and distraught because they did not know what they did wrong or why their art work was not up to par. They began to question other people’s art. There were people who they believed had amazing art pieces, but who were also rejected from the program; and other people who had questionable pieces  that had been admitted into the program.

The human forms on the floor of the exhibition was meant to capture both artists. The forms had clothing that belonged to each artist. For those people who previously knew the artist, they knew which form represents each artist. The one with the purple sweater is meant to be Daniel, he loves that purple sweater and is known for wearing it; as to the other figure, Dalia is known for her striped clothing, she loves anything with stripes. The human forms have strings that are coming out of them and the strings have photographs attached. The strings are meant to represent multiple things. First, the strings are used as an alternative way to show photography. The second thing is that everything in the exhibition is connected by that one string. If something were to happen to that string, everything would come down. And the last thing the string represents is the process of the print and how the end point for some prints is inevitably the trash bin.      

Synthesis/ My Experience

Hearing the two art students discuss their rejection experience was heartbreaking. They both had traveled to come to CSULB to pursue their photography career. They explained how not many schools offer a BFA in photography because it is a small field and a dying field at that. It is costly and the advances in technology has made traditional photography obsolete.  I personally love photography and have looked into taking a class on campus where I could develop my own film and make prints and play with the filters. It’s a heartbreaking story because dreams have become shattered and they have begun to question their art work. If it is good enough, or if they need to look at a different route. It was pretty mind-blowing that the photography program does not give any explanations as to why they rejected the artists. Since art is abstract and there are many different opinions it’s hard to understand why some people are accepted and others are rejected.  I loved the idea of the exhibition and their determination to continue to pursue what they love to do.



Wk 8 – Sketching @ the Japanese Garden

If you cannot tell by now, I am not very artistic.Though I love art and I can appreciate it, I just do not seem to understand how to draw or shade or highlight or anything lol. I tried my best this week and though they are not very good, especially compared to other people in the art class (I may have glimpsed at people’s work when i walked by) I tried my best lol. Above are some of the drawings I did. The first one is the 10, 30 second drawings. I may have cheated and spent more than 30 seconds on each, but its because I didn’t notice the time because i was really into the exercise.  The second  and third drawing are the hand and japanese garden drawing blind contour. The blind hand contours were kind of hard because I would keep messing up when I got to the thumb. The third picture is also a blind hand contour but after drawing without looking at the page, I added the detail of the finger nails and the wrinkles.

After class I went back to work and I showed my co-workers my art drawings. They made fun of them lol. (Of course they were joking with me lol). One that they found especially funny was of my duck sleeping. They said that it looked like a cell, then they said it looked like an amoeba, which it kind of did. The next day me and my coworkers went to the Japanese Garden during lunch to draw some more. I drew a koi fish and a duck. they came out okay looking lol. It was just fun going with my co workers and being able to have fun and make fun of their drawings as well.


WK 8 – Classmate Conversation -Patricia Avendano


This week I met Patricia Avendano. When I got to the Japanese garden everyone was already paired off and doing their classmate convo. At first I was just looking around seeing who might need a partner and then Patricia walked by and I asked her if she wanted to do the classmate convo with me. We talked about our childhood, our current schooling and we also discussed the posted questions of the week. We also did the drawing activity together and had a pretty good time. 

Patricia moved from the Philippines in 2007. She finally got the chance to go back after 8 years. She went back in January 2015 and stayed there for 5 weeks. When she went back she described feeling a reverse culture shock. She said that she missed the food over there and also missed being around family. I definitely could relate because I used to go to Mexico every year after school was out, but work and school now keep me busy. I finally went back to visit family and I didn’t realize how much I missed them, as well as the food there. 🙂 

When her and her family moved to the USA, they lived in  Pasadena. She lived in Pasadena, then moved to Long Beach. Currently she is living with roommates in Long beach so she could be closer to school and family. She wanted to be close enough to visit family, but also be independent and on her own. Patricia is a second year business student and wants to major in Marketing. I am also  a Business student in CSULB. I gave her some advice on some professors that she should avoid and on professors that she should take, as well as classes that she can take in a Community College that can be transferred over. 


For the first question, Patricia said that the piece of art that she would like to share would be a video called “Medicine”. Medicine is a dance film by Zack Benitez. The reason she would want everyone to see this video is because it shows what dance is all about. Dance tells a story through movements and communicating thoughts and feelings. She feels that people should see it because it addresses an important social issue which people can relate to. 

For the second question she said that if her child was pursuing an art career she would be supportive. She said that she would be supportive as long as they put all their heart and commitment into the art career. She wants her future children to be successful adn is a firm believer that commitment is a major key in being successful. 

And for the last question, we looked at each others home screen on our phones. Patricia’s home screen has the basic apps that would appear on it. She has the clock app, notes, settings, mail, calendar, weather, maps, and other apps that are pre-installed. I also noticed that she only had 25 unread emails. I kind of chuckled because I have around 7 thousand unread emails so seeing someone have only 25 unread emails is weird lol.( maybe I should start deleting some spam mail). 🙂 

Website: https://patriciaarienne.wordpress.com




WK 7 – Artist Conversation – Dulce Soledad Ibarra

Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra

Exhibition: Manos De Oro 

Media:  Found Objects, Video Art, Manipulation of Objects

Gallery: School of Art, Gatov Gallery East

Website: http://www.dulcesoledadibarra.com/

About the Artist

This week I had the pleasure of meeting another up and coming artist. Her name is Dulce Soledad Ibarra. Dulce is a CSULB undergraduate senior student in the School of Art. She is a pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture and is graduating in the Spring. After graduating from Chaffey College with an Associates degree in drawing and painting Dulce decided that she wanted to do more than just paint.  Shortly after transferring to CSULB she switched her major from drawing and paint to sculpture. Sculpture was a perfect major for her because it allowed her to work with different forms of media. Dulce has worked in Zine fests, the UAM in CSULB, and in Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, and does independent workshop. One of the workshops that Dulce is doing is about Piñatas, she teaches how to make a piñata as well as teaches the community about the history of the piñata.

Dulce’s plans after graduation are to work for a bit and then go to graduate school. She’s thinking of going to UCLA, or Minneapolis, and is also looking into private art schools where the only focus of the school is art.  

When Dulce is not working on her art exhibitions or projects she likes to create Zines, catch up on the latest episode of Ink Masters, and hang out with her pet rabbit Echo.

Formal Analysis

Walking into the Manos De Oro exhibition you see a video playing. The video is about a day in Dulce’s father job. the video shows Dulce’s father working and Dulce’s brother is mowing the lawn. On the walls there are gardening tools hanged up in a crisscross. There is a Shovel, a hoe, and trimming scissors. On the floor of the exhibition there is are two lawn mowers, a chain saw blade, the top of a lawn mower, a lawn mower engine, and fake grass. The lawn mower bags are hand made by Dulce.  In the corner of the exhibition there is piles of tree branches on both corners of where the video is playing.

Content Analysis

The Manos De Oro exhibition is about the working class man who is doing his best to provide for himself and his family. Dulce mentioned that the exhibition was also a reflection of survivor’s guilt as well as transgenerational trauma. Her father had left his family behind in  Mexico and had come to California to provide for his wife and kids. Dulce talked about her father feeling guilty because his children were able to pursue an education while his family in Mexico were having their own struggles. During the interview with Dulce, as well as reading her artist statement, Dulce mentioned her own feelings about her father’s job. Though now she is extremely proud of him, she did not always feel that way. When she was younger she remembers feeling embarrassed about what her dad did for a living.

She wanted the exhibition to show a different side of her father’s job. Some people told Dulce that she should have scattered leaves on the exhibition floor, but Dulce decide not to. The exhibition was neatly arranged. This was because a Landscapers job is to make a residence or a building look neat and beautiful and that is what Dulce wanted her audience to capture. She also played on the human senses. She had a grass area in which people could sit and watch the video while feeling the grass. Also the tree trimmings in the corner had a scent that could be smelled across the room. The name of the exhibition as well as the use of the gold paint were also a tribute to her father. Her and her father are both allergic to gold but she mentioned that her father did not need any gold because anything he makes or touches is gold.

My experience/ Synthesis    

Walking into the exhibition the first thing that caught my attention was the scent of the tree trimmings in the corner. After reading the artist statement I nearly broke down in tears because I felt what Dulce was saying down to my core. My father is also a gardener/landscaper so going into the exhibition I was familiar with a lot of the tools and machines in there. I thought that it was such an amazing way to represent what our fathers do for a living. I especially loved the fact that she chose to arrange the pieces so beautifully because she wanted to represent the way a gardener makes a home look after they are done cleaning it up.  

Growing up I felt embarrassed of what my father did for a living. But now I am extremely proud of him. My father has an elementary education and he went from being a mechanic assistant to owing his own gardening business, which I find very impressive. Talking to about her childhood there were definitely many things that I could relate to. We talked about began dropped off at school in our father’s work truck and how we would make them drop us off a street away, or going to work with our dad and helping them out on a job.

I may be a bit bias, but I feel that up to this point, this has been my favorite exhibition.  

Wk 6- Flip Book Activity

I started to make the flip book during class on Wednesday. It was going really good until I broke the needle that I was using to put the string to tie together the flip book. (yes I wrote that right, I broke the needle, it was pretty embarrassing, sorry again Professor Glenn lol). I finished making the flipbook on Friday night after going to Daiso and buying a set of thick needles. It was a bit tricky to bind the flipbook and I tried to Youtube it and nothing really came out so I just winged it.  I tried out a couple of different designs but I couldn’t make it work. I wanted to do something that had to do with Halloween since its right around the corner and I’ve already started to work on my costume. At first I wanted to draw a trick-or-treater walking up to a home, but it was taking too long and I did not like how it was coming along. I then tried to draw a pumpkin that would explode when the timer hit 00:00, but it didn’t really move until the last page. I final decided to make some balloons flying away and up into the sky. The idea came to me when I was at Costco and saw a little dinosaur balloon that a small child had let go float away into the sky. It also seemed appropriate to make a balloon flip book since it was my dad’s birthday on Saturday.  Next time I would like to try to make a more colorful and more detailed flipbook.