Student Spotlights: Artists at Fresno State by Edwin Macaraeg (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
April 27, 2010 by Edwin Macaraeg
Thanks to the diverse nature of students represented here at Fresno State, we are blessed to be amid many talented artists of different genres and backgrounds. Through a cultural complexity found within the Art Department, we can find inspirational work from contrasting compositions to more parallel contextual arrangements. Let us take a moment to traverse behind the artistically adept mind, whose well-being strives upon creativity.
Meiru Huang is a Fresno State graduate student from China. Creating art since the 3rd grade through traditional ink painting on rice paper, class officials noticed Huang’s artistic talents at a very young age. Therefore, she feels very fortunate to have artistic guidance throughout her early academic years. Upon studying art in the United States, she notices many differences between Western art and traditional Chinese art. “Western art seems to be more rational because of the focuses on perspective and anatomy. Chinese art is more about atmosphere and engaging with the audience”. Traditional Chinese art leans towards these ideas, which can be seen through abstract landscaping and calligraphy.
Huang recently exhibited a show on “Objects of the Mundane”. She explains that art is a wonderful way to represent one’s own culture, and that one way of communicating that culture is through food. As Huang arrived in the United States, she noticed a big difference between the Chinese food here and the food in China. “Food in China is very delicate and presented in an artistic way”. She would like to show the more authentic side of Chinese culture. Huang also feels that society is being overwhelmed by a faster, technological way of life. “Technology is supposed to connect people (through e-mail, cell phones, etc.). Yet as technology advances, I feel that there is a growing distance between individuals.” Huang hopes that art can allow people to appreciate the mundane things that we may ignore despite our busy lifetimes.
Mai See Lee is a senior in the Fresno State Art Department. She was born in Thailand but has lived in Fresno most of her life. Being introduced to art during middle school, it seemed to be an exciting option to study other than a basic typing class. Lee’s favorite medium in creating art is through graphite. “No matter what medium I am currently working with, I know that it always starts with a simple sketch. Graphite allows the texture, shadow, perspective and blending… everything which can be easily adjusted as the image in my mind develops”, explains Lee.
Lee’s favorite work of art was created during her Advanced Drawing class. This work challenged her to think conceptually, which can be difficult for many artists. She mentions, “A block which frustrates me over an assignment eventually wore off, and I was shocked to have ended up with a piece that I am proud to have created.” Through her artwork, Lee feels that if she can engage the viewer in a piece, regardless of whether or not they find the subject matter interesting or confusing, is considered it an accomplishment. Lee chooses not describe explanations behind certain works with hopes to invoke personal interpretations of each individual viewer.
Arun Naina is a senior at Fresno State. Although he was born in San Antonio, Texas, he has lived in California for the majority of his life. His parents are from Kerala, a state in the southern region of India. Naina remembers being very young and being fascinated by cartoons, games, illustrations, etc. “The colors, the expressions, the animations were all very surreal to me and I had to have them in a sense”, he explains. Naina feels that art is that line between imagination and reality. Objects and and ideas that are drawn or created are not ‘real’ in a sense, because they are only mere representations which evoke real emotions and reactions. As an Impressionist, Naina loves and is most comfortable creating works between realism and abstraction.
Naina hopes to inspire people by creating content, which can identify with the viewer. Through his art, he would like to help redefine what “art education” means. He explains, “Art is, in reality, the developmental process of perception. The best artists are usually stereotyped with having special ‘talent’ and what not, but in actuality their skills are due to a highly developed sense of perception”. Naina states that, “Perception is the greatest life skill to have, and I believe a good art education is the way to successfully develop that. But to do that, we have to redefine it all first!”
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