Posts Tagged ‘student art’

Art-Inspired Songs at Friday Afternoon Student Recital

May 25, 2012

(from L) Nick, Will and Corwin listen to Kevin play

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“It’s our version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition or Satie’s Sports et Divertissements,” said Kevin Michael Sullivan of his Honors Composition class recital at Stephens at 2:30 p.m. today, Friday, May 25.

It’s an all-student collaboration in which songs were inspired by art pieces. (See blog post, ‘Music Comp Collaborates with Visual Artists,’ dated May 9).

The three student songwriters–William, Corwin and Nick–will showcase their songs that were inspired by art created by Zoe, Inga and Josh (Lin Xuan).

They will be performed today by Dr. Jeanette-Louise Yaryan on piano.

After the performance, there will be a short Q&A session with Dr. Yaryan and the student composers and artists. Like all recitals at Idyllwild Arts, it will be streamed via UStream on the school website.

Over the last two years, Kevin said, the music composition students have composed works for solo oboe; art songs for baritone and piano with lyrics by members of the Creative Writing department; a string quartet; and a reed trio.

For one song, Nick will strum the exposed piano

The class has also created a closed Facebook group where they post links to music, articles, study scores and other resources and, most importantly, post drafts of the scores of the students’ compositions.

“I have invited composers from across the globe to join this group and take part in our discussions,” Kevin said. “This exposes the students to a variety of ideas, examples and compositional techniques and  approaches.”

The contributors included Stephen Serpa and Jessie Alexander Brown of the Harrt School of Music, Jason Gerraughty, SUNY Stony Brook,  Noam Faingold, Kings College London, and Josh Gates, NC School of the Arts/ The Tatnall School.

This will be the first time that the three student artists will hear the music compositions inspired by their art. Zoe’s photograph features two portraits blended together, Inga has an abstract landscape and Josh’s painting entitled,”Greedy,” features a pig eating another pig while other pigs watch.

(from L) Josh with Vita. His painting features pigs eating each other.

The art and music composition recital today is free and open to the public. Stephens Recital Hall is the first building to the left as you cross the bridge at the end of Tollgate Road in Idyllwild.

For more information, call (951) 265-6755 or visit

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Student Art Sale Friday

May 18, 2012

Art sale today


Ever wanted to purchase a dramatic piece of art that you’ve seen at the student art shows at Idyllwild Arts?

Now’s your chance! Just for today, Friday, May 18, you can purchase paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media pieces directly from the artist.

Now’s your chance to talk to the student who made the piece!

Go to Ataloa Ceramic Studio from Noon to 5 p.m. today and see what the students have to offer. Ataloa is on the right as you head up towards the Parks Exhibition Center on the Idyllwild Arts campus.

Cash or checks only, please.

For more information, call (951) 659-2171.


Geisha Focus at Senior Art Show II

April 4, 2012

Bella working on her geisha sculptures

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Always fashionable, Bella, a senior Visual Artist at Idyllwild Arts, was looking a little tired. Which is rare for students on their 2-week Spring Break. There was no time for Bella to go shopping or sight-see. In fact, she never left Idyllwild.

“My senior show is coming up, and I must be ready,” she said.

Along with five other senior Visual Artists, Bella will be showcasing her work at the Parks Exhibition Center on Friday, April 20 (as part of the second senior class art show. The first one opens this Friday night.)

Bella, who has already been accepted to a fashion college in England, is focusing her small ceramic sculptures on the societal role of the Japanese geisha. Some are kneeling in kimonos, and are headless. Only one is standing tall.

“They are obeying the roles of the geisha,” Bella explained about the headless geishas. “There are many limitations.”

The prettiest geisha isn't always the top geisha, Bella said.

Bella has studied geishas a bit. She said most people know about geishas from the popular American movie, “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005).

“The lead actress wasn’t even Japanese,” said Bella. “She’s Chinese.”

Geishas are traditional female Japanese entertainers, whose various skills include singing, dancing and performing classical music. As portrayed in the movie, geishas could also be quite theatrical and egomaniacs.

According to various web sites, there was a significant decline in geishas during WWII because many women had to work in factories, and most of the teahouses and bars shut down.

Geishas start out as apprentices or maiko, and learn their craft from established geishas.

“The most beautiful geisha isn’t necessarily the most high-ranking geisha,” explained Bella.

She pointed to her standing geisha sculpture, that hadn’t even been painted yet.

Some of her geisha sculptures will remain headless

“She is the most noticable,” Bella said. “But another one could be more beautiful.”

Beautiful, educated, and cultured, geishas inhabit another reality.

Bella said that she identified with geishas a bit, but didn’t elaborate. She also didn’t want her picture taken because she wasn’t wearing any makeup. Yet, this is the same girl who sported a neon pink wig to her junior show. Will she be wearing a full kimono on April 20?

Regardless, Bella’s six ceramic geishas will be on display during Senior Show II, at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 20 at the Parks Exhibition Center on campus. Like all Idyllwild Arts events, it is free and open to the public. However, don’t miss the Senior Show I this Friday, April 6 at 6 p.m.!

For more information, call the Parks Exhibition Center at (951) 659-2171, ext. 2251.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All right reserved.

Students Try Candid Photography at Venice Beach

July 16, 2011

Venice Beach offered a plethora of treasures to the young photo students

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Yesterday, the photography class from the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program went on a field trip to Los Angeles. Like their B&W photography, it was a trip of direct contrasts.

They went from the elegant art studios at Bergamot Station to the eclectic outdoor chaos of Venice Beach.

Most of the 11-to-13-year olds in the class had never been to either place. At Bergamot, they were encouraged to visit the galleries dedicated to photography, including the Peter Fetterman Gallery and the Rose Gallery.

There, the students had to do their homework. Each had to select one photograph and critique it.

“There’s a whole laundry list of things we have to look for,” explained Alex, a student from Idyllwild Arts Academy who is also taking this summer photography class. “Basically, they want us to see what works and what doesn’t.”

“Make sure that you ask the gallery if it’s OK to take photographs,” advised Eric Metzler, their photography instructor, who also teaches at Idyllwild Arts during the school year.

Instructor Eric Metzler views Tomoko Sawada's "Reflections" at the Rose Gallery at Bergamot Station

In the Peter Fetterman Gallery, one student was critiquing a photo by Elliott Erwitt, entitled, “Man with Two Dogs.”

The black-and-white photograph featured two large bulldogs with their owner seated on the steps of a Brownstone, possibly in New York.

The artist’s twist was that the second bulldog, sitting on the man’s lap, totally obscured his image. (All you could see was his left ear). In short, it looked like Sci-Fi hybrid of a bulldog’s head with a man’s body.

“I think the artist is trying to say that men are dogs,” said the young female student.

Several other famous photos of Elliott Erwitt’s were on display in the gallery, notably couples kissing.

“They’re definitely staged,” said Jenny Kirchner, one of the van drivers on the trip, who is also an award-winning photojournalist. “That’s OK, they’re still great.”

French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, the master of photojournalism who perfected “street photography,” didn’t stage his photos. He just had a keen sense of when things would appear, his wife said in an article.

Students had the option of photographing the beach also

Likewise, Erwitt’s photos were not staged, argued Margaret, another student.

“They’re ingenius, like the one of the couple kissing in the sideview mirror,” she said. “Most photographers would photograph themselves, but he got out of the way and took one of them.”

After Bergamot, armed with their 35 mm cameras (no digitals allowed), rolled film, tripods and lenses in hand, the group of young photographers then set out to capture Venice Beach. Eric gave them ample time for their “plein air” photography experience, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.. They would leave L.A. just before sunset.

Like Cartier-Bresson, many of the students took pictures of bodybuilders, skateboarders and basketball players. None wanted to “tip” to Spider Man and Elvis for their photos as they walked along Venice’s Boardwalk.

“Bye, Spider Man!” shouted a young girl walking hand-in-hand with her mom. “I know you’re not really Spider Man, but a man in a suit.”

“Aw, you really don’t believe that!” said Spider Man, as he sat rubbing his feet.

Other candid “photo opportunities” on the Venice Boardwalk included: a man with multitude of hats stacked on top of one another; a snake charmer on a ladder holding two green snakes; a man with a cardboard sign offering passersby the opportunity to “Kiss My Ass for $2,” medical marijuana huts; a peripeligic on a skateboard; and young girls in bikinis shopping.

With her digital camera, Jenny took pictures of skateboarders doing tricks. Then, she handed them her card and said that they’d be posted on her web site later on that evening.

“If they like the photograph, then I’ll just charge them a nominal amount for printing,” Jenny said.

In her web site, Jenny has a built-in security device that won’t allow people to steal her images.

In the backdrop, of course, was Venice Beach–with it’s miles of coastline, surfers, swimmers and seagulls.

I found a “No Swimming” area where the surf sprayed over some large rocks. It would happen only occasionally, like a humpback whale coming up and spouting air, but it was a wonderful cascade!

At day's end, a Venice Beach seagull rests for a moment on a parked car

On the way back, some of the students groaned about having to develop their film in the darkroom. Cartier-Bresson despised printing his own prints too.

“I get nervous whenever I go in there,” admitted Margaret. “So I give myself little pep talks, saying, ‘You can do this!'”

Amelia, another student agreed.

“I always manage to get chemicals on my fingertips, so they make smudges on my prints,” she confessed. “I don’t think I’ve ever come up with a ‘perfect print.'”

How did their Venice Beach photos came out?

You can actually view their photos at an exhibit at the end of next week. The details of the students’ one-day exhibit TBA.

For more information on the Black-and-White Photography class or other Summer Programs, visit or call (951) 659-2171.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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‘Inquire’ Student Art Show

May 25, 2010

Will Waddell, a teacher at Idyllwild Arts, views Angelica's sculpture

“Inquire, Negate & Repeat,” which featured the work of four student artists, were large, clean, and thought-provolking about nature, especially dolphins. The show included sculptures, ceramics, fiber art, paintings, and drawings. It opened at the Parks Exhibition Center at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 21, and will run until May 28.

The show’s title, “Inquire, Negate & Repeat,” came from a meditation, said Jade, one of the artists. The others included Anna, Angelica and Karina.

Ceramics by Anna entitled, "States of Mind" covered one wall

“Anna is the ceramics guru of our department,” said one student.

It was easy to see why they were in awe. Anna’s ceramics were outstanding. As you walked into the show, and looked to the left, there were a variety of her ceramic “flowers,” in variable dimensions with mirrors inside, all mounted to the wall. The arrangement was called, “Frames of Mind.”

“That would make a great statement in your home’s entryway,” said one Idyllwild resident.

Anna had four other equally outstanding ceramic pieces, including a large ceramic basket, with dainty flowers nestled inside. The piece also had fine wires for stems, and a rope edge to the basket.

Three other ceramic pieces by Anna were maddenly entitled, “Untitled.”

“I don’t know if artists don’t like to title their work, or if they just forgot,” said another art student later. “The titles should really help you understand the pieces, especially if the artist isn’t there to help explain things.”

The top of the larger “Untitled” ceramic by Anna (on the shelf) had a top that resembled a leafy vegetable. Like the flowers in the other flower basket, they appeared live, and not ceramic.

"Untitled" ceramic by Anna looked organic

“People 2010,” was Anna’s final ceramic installation, which resembled a chessboard full of kings and rooks. Or, a closed city made up only of castles with no surrounding countryside.

The finish on the “People 2010” pieces were crackled, or antique looking with neutral glazes.

“Angelica, your work is some of the best I’ve seen here,” said Samuel, a voice major in the school van later.

Angelica’s sculptures and ceramic painting were large, clean and thought-provolking.

The first thing everyone saw was the mixed media sculpture on the floor entitled, “Separation of Ego,” which had a deer’s head at the front, a woman’s torso with a maroon portrait painted on its chest, and a woman’s legs pointing upward at the back. Each of these sections was separated by panes of glass.

"The Glass Bead Game," a ceramic painting, by Angelica

The woman’s portrait on the torso of “Separation of Ego,” also appeared in her ceramic painting on the wall entitled, “The Glass Bead Game,” and in the alabaster sculpture, “The Shower.”

“It looks like a self portrait, but they could be different,” said Miriam-Grace, another visual artist, later. “I saw her working on it from a photograph.”

The ceramic portrait was sectioned off into squares, that looked like ceramic tiles. Attached in random places were ceramic flowers, in a pretty glaze.

Angelica’s final piece, a sculpture called, “The Shower,” was created in alabaster. The face was delicately carved, but the torso was left rough and unfinished. Its smooth and roughness beckoned people to touch it.

Wayne Parker inspects "The Shower" sculpture by Angelica

If you were to squint, the rough parts could be considered soap suds in a shower.

“I got a chance to carve a little bit on it,” added Miriam-Grace. “It’s not particularly a soft stone, but you have to be careful. There are many cracks inside, and pieces can come off in chunks.”

The show then switched from hard to soft sculpture with Jade’s “Knit Up in Sleep Performance,” a 24-foot black and white acrylic yarn sculpture that was draped over a black wire chair.

Jade's 24-foot yarn sculpture was slated to expand further

The title car read, “24 feet and expanding,” which gave the impression that she wasn’t finished yet. The balls of yarn left under the chair were also a good indication that she might finish it over the summer.

Along the wall next to the yarn sculpture were black and white ink drawings, all uniform in size, yet organic in subject matter. Some looked like amoebas or pieces of yarn under a microscope. They were all mounted to four large boards and entitled, “864-Static.”

As much as I like titles to pieces, “864-Static,” didn’t help me one bit. Was the number an equation? It certainly was more than the 100 or so drawings mounted to the boards. Was it an apartment number? Or the number of strokes from her pen?

Karina’s “Herd” installation, “Swarm” print, “Flock/Pod” drawing and “Burnt Ball” acrylic painting all had a focus on nature.

Luckily, she was still around talking to friends towards the end of the show. She said that  the 100 or so small antelope looking pieces were made of resin.

“I took a mold (of a plastic buck) and filled it with resin,” Karina explained. “As you can see, some of them turned out better than others.”

All were arranged in a swirling, migration formation, from right to left, and mounted on a light box.

Karina's "Herd" installation was made of resin pieces placed on a light box

“The light box was the hardest part to make,” Karina confessed. “I wanted to resemble a herd migration, like something that you’d see on the Nature Channel.”

Side by side on the far wall were two tall pieces, one a painting, the other a drawing on vellum. The drawing, “Flock/Pods,” showed a creative ariel view of birds (a flock) in flight over pods of dolphins swimming in the ocean.

Logistically, she put the flocks on vellum, as an overlay, to the drawing of the many dolphin pods underneath. Although only created in black graphite, the drawings were strong and solid. Her ariel view you could only see in a helicopter or plane. It was a God’s eye view.

It’s sister painting, created in bright acrylics, “Burnt Ball,” gave me pause. It was also an ariel view of a sun overlooking dolphin pods in the ocean. Although beautiful, something about it was unsettling. Karina and all of the other patrons had gone, and I was left alone with “Burnt Ball,” and my unsettling thoughts about dolphins and the Academy Award-winning documentary, “The Cove.”

Having an inquiring mind about animals, I wished Karina’s “Burnt Ball” was a statement about the depleting dolphin population in Taiji, Japan.

I had seen a viewing in Idyllwild at Movie Night at the Green Cafe (see Idyllwild Me blog post from March 30).

Karina's "Burnt Ball" reminded me of the dolphin demise depicted in "The Cove"

“Director Louie Psihoyos took home this year’s Oscar for Best Documentary for his stunning heist-like story that is about half Jacques Cousteau and half James Bond,” said Jeffrey Taylor, who showed “The Cove.” “A ‘dream team” of activists venture to Japan to expose the secretive work of a small community of fishermen who slaughter dolphins so they can sell the meat nationally and abroad.”

Richard O’Barry, who rose to popularity with “Flipper,” the popular TV show in the 1960s, said that he became an activist when one of the dolphins committed suicide right in front of his eyes.

“The next week, I was sitting in a jail cell for letting captive dolphins go,” O’Barry said in “The Cove.”

O’Barry collaborated with Psihoyos in creating “The Cove,” to get the word out of the massive dolphin slayings that are held each year from September to March in Japan. In a small cove in Taiji, fishermen herd dolphins in from the sea by forming a line of boats and making noises with metal poles. The process is known as “oikomi.”

“Dolphins are keenly sensitive to noise,” O’Barry said in the movie. “They are afraid of the noise and swim to the cove to get away from it. There, they are herded into nets and the bottle nosed dolphins like the ones in “Flipper” are sent to marine parks like “Sea World,” while the other dolphins are brutally slaughtered.

Many Japanese do not know that this is going on, and would likely not approve of it. In the documentary, tests prove that dolphin meat has toxic mercury levels, and is not good for human consumption. In fact, in the May 10th issue of the Japan Times, the National Institute of Minamata Disease (NIMD) stated that many Taiji residents as having unusually high levels of mercury. Taiji, where they have a tradition of eating whale and dolphin meat.

However, the more “inquiring minds”  know, the better the chances of stopping it. For more information, “The Cove,” visit, or text the word DOLPHIN to 44144.

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