Issuu on Google+

16

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

Index Festival of Beers ...................................... 18 Bakersfield Ballet Theater ...................... 19 Arts Alive.................................................. 20 Winescapes .............................................. 21 This Week’s Obsessions .......................... 23 CSUB opera .............................................. 24 Western Street Rod Nationals................ 26 Calendar .............................................. 27-29

MICHAEL FAGANS / THE CALIFORNIAN

CHAPTER ONE: Eerie memory at night

C

learly, sweetly the note rings out, waking me. I check to confirm what I already know — 3 a.m. What familiar melody elicits such ... pain? No — more like longing, and why can’t I remember? A gibbous moon fills the room with silver blue light.

As I reach for my glass of water the note rings out again. Startled, I knock the glass to the floor and realize it wasn’t a dream. I stumble to the window, see a figure turn away and disappear slowly into the darkness.


17

Thursday, April 25, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

First among equals: Art teacher starts our story Hyatt sets mysterious tone with image, text BY JENNIFER SELF Californian lifestyles editor jself@bakersfield.com

I

f a picture is worth a thousand words, the works in this year’s Eye Gallery art series are worth a hundred, max. But that’s no judgment on the quality of the work itself. It has more to do with an interesting twist we’ve introduced to the annual series, begun in partnership with the Bakersfield Museum of Art six years ago: We asked 10 artists to create short “chapters” — in words and pictures — as part of an overall narrative. Each artist built on the imagination and momentum of the chapters that came before to create a shared story. They were given a 20-by-20 inch canvas, 96 hours, the loose theme of “music” and reproductions of the preceding viusals and text. Except, of course, for the first artist. And that brings us to Linda Hyatt, the Stockdale High art teacher who had the distinction (and pressure) of laying the foundation for the entire series. “A few years ago I had the privilege of participating in the same kind of narrative project at Surface Gallery,” Hyatt said via email. “This time, I feel, was a bit easier because I had creative freedom as the first artist and writer. However, I would say there are a few challenging considerations I tried to keep in mind: First, I needed to set the mood and setting for the story, but I wanted to keep the text to a minimum in order to leave an opening for various interpretations.” Hyatt consciously avoided the temptation of merely becoming an illustrator for the text, and succeeded. Though the artist’s chapter references a “gibbous moon” and other imagery in her mixed-media work, the most obvious correlation between the visuals and text is the disquieting mood and sense of mystery evoked in both. The swirling music notes are Hyatt’s nod to the theme. “Music is an amazingly powerful artform. I wanted to con-

Eye Gallery party The captivating story of our 2013 Eye Gallery artists will continue to unfold every Thursday through June 27, when the Bakersfield Museum of Art will host a reception for the artists and unveil other exhibitions that night. Meet the artists and experience the power of their work in person.

vey how music affects me on several levels; physical, emotional, inspirational and psychological. By its very nature, sound, frequency, timbres are physical properties that resonate through our bodies and create visceral as well as emotional and psychological responses. I think it’s a bit mystifying how music can instantly trigger detailed memories, for example, so I thought a mystery would be perfect for the narrative.” Hyatt layered paper collage, acrylic mediums and paint and used paint pens. “My thought was to create spaces on the picture plane for separate dimensions — an area for physical, psychological, emotional and imaginary space.” Hyatt, who was born and raised in Bakersfield, is a Foothill High grad, received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Otis College of Art and Design and her teaching credential from Cal State Bakersfield. The mother of four adult children and granddaughter, Bowie, took some time to answer more of questions about her passion for art, family and the honor of writing the first chapter of our story. “I wanted to keep writing, but the reality is the end of my story must be left to others. It isn’t my story after all.” Your earliest memories as an artist: I’ve made art all of my life really. When I was very young, I would “entertain” my family and friends by drawing caricatures of everyone at the dinner table — sometimes my subjects were not amused. Artforms of choice:  I always begin by drawing, in graphite and/or ink. I love printmaking and sculpture and

MICHAEL FAGANS / THE CALIFORNIAN

Eye Gallery artist Linda Hyatt, whose mixed-media work appears at left, is an art teacher at Stockdale High School.

video projection. I occasionally paint. My choice of medium is usually driven by my idea or concept. I guess I might be categorized as a conceptual artist, although the constant in my process is drawing. Tell us about your family: I have lived life backwards. I married young, and had four babies in five years. Needless to say, I worked very hard at family life — much less so on artmaking. Once the nest was mostly empty, I continued my education and tapped back into my craft. Now I am single with four adult children and one fantastic granddaughter. What kind of art speaks to you? I can’t think of any art that doesn’t “speak” to me in some way. I love looking at everything. Old masterworks are like windows to the past. But I am especially intrigued by contemporary art that seems confusing at first, art that stops me in my tracks, makes me stand and ponder its meaning or the way it is made. I enjoy art installations that engage multiple senses by the use of space, sound and materials. I also appreciate outsider art made in public spaces with its social/political content. I think street art is the contemporary version of the

French impressionist or pop artist of the early ’60s. Work you’re proudest of: I can’t point to any one work or group of works I am proudest of, because once I have explored an idea I am already on to the next. Like most artists, I am often not completely satisfied with my own work, and when I look back, find things I wish I could change. How hard is it to find a place to show your work publicly? For me, the challenge is in carving out time to make work. Making work is like child birth for me, stops and starts and sometimes painful. I am envious of artists who “pop out” work at mind-bending speed — like women who deliver babies in two hours. Memory of the first time you sold a piece of work: I was 17 years old and had been invited to put some drawings in a small gallery across the street from Mexicali on 19th Street. I think it was called Renaissance Gallery. I was amazed that someone was willing to pay for my work. What does your art say about you? Hmmm. I think you’d have to ask my art that question.

Breathing new life into art series Claire Putney of the Bakersfield Museum of Art set out to freshen up Eye Gallery this year by introducing another element: a story, both in images and words, told by our 10 participating artists. Putney explained the inspiration for the project and the spirit behind it in an email Q&A with The Californian: Tell us about the new storytelling element of Eye Gallery this year: Although much of our time as artists is spent creating bodies of work that we will show independently, we depend on a community to engage with and support our endeavors. This year’s Eye Gallery exhibition is a visual narrative collaboration between our 10 contributing artists. It Putney celebrates the creativity and style of each artist through their individual artworks, while engaging in a community effort toward a greater goal. In the end, we have one collaborative work of art that can be examined as a whole, as well as admired for the beauty of each individual page. Where did you get the idea? I was involved in a similar project in San Diego back in 2002, working with 33 local artists. It was an amazing experience to meet and be inspired by so many people within that community whom I had never met before. When I returned to Bakersfield in 2009, this project seemed the best way to reengage with the arts community here, so I organized and curated Weston and Emmaline: The Pumpjack Prophecy, which exhibited at Surface Gallery in 2010. While brainstorming themes for the upcoming Eye Gallery exhibit, (BMoA curator) Vikki (Cruz) and I thought this approach might be a fresh way to bring a cohesive voice to the exhibit this year. Do you feel, having seen all the completed work, that the story is interesting and self-contained? Were you surprised at the direction it took? The greatest challenge in watching this story evolve piece by piece is to not project one’s own desires and expectations into the process, but that is the beauty of it as well … letting loose the reigns and letting the artists do what they do best — respond and create. It is an interesting story due to its diverse range of contributing voices and artistic approaches, yet it remains cohesive through written narrative and character development.

Next week Artist David Vanderpool seizes on the sense of dread, and brings the music to the forefront, in Chapter Two of our story.


20

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

Index Stunning change at symphony................ 22 Miranda Lambert...................................... 23 Arts Alive .................................................. 24 First Friday................................................ 25 The Lowdown with Matt Munoz.............. 26 Broadway in Bakersfield .......................... 27 This Week’s Obsessions.......................... 31 Calendar .............................................. 32-33

CHAPTER TWO: Musical longing Somewhere between dreaming and reality, I started to question, “Where was I?” I knew the melody that had awoken me. I was even familiar with the pain it brought. I just wasn’t too sure who

the man was standing in the courtyard — or his reason for being there. I did know that I didn’t want to relive that longing again. I couldn’t. Not if I was to make it through another night like this.


21

Thursday, May 2, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

“I get art galleries who tell me they love my work and then turn around and ask me, ‘What else can you do?’ — as if drawing was not an art form.” — David Vanderpool, artist

Drawing his way around obstacles Vision, hearing difficulties have not stopped artistic quest BY MATT MUNOZ Californian staff writer mmunoz@bakersfield.com

A

rtist David J. Vanderpool works in precision. A study of any of his finely detailed, highly realistic drawings — including his piece at left — reveals perceptive eyes and a steady hand. Actually, make that one perceptive eye. “The only challenge was making sure the drawing was clear and sharp due to dealing with a cataract,” said Vanderpool, 52, who by day works as a graphic artist at The Californian. “I had to stop every so often and ask my wife if I was getting this right. As for the drawing itself, I wasn't too sure if I could pull this off in the short time given to complete the project. A drawing this size has always taken me a month to complete, with just a few hours a night and weekends to draw.” Vanderpool was referring to the twist thrown at Eye Gallery artists this year: Each was asked to contribute a “chapter” to a larger narrative, which will unfold every Thursday over several weeks. The artists were given reproductions of all the work that had come before and 96 hours to finish the job. And if the compressed timeframe and cataract weren’t enough, Vanderpool has been dealing with limited hearing for years, making it difficult there for a while for the artist to fully appreciate music — the loose theme of this year’s project. “As an artist that was limited to what I was able to hear for so long and only in the last few years able to hear without having to wear a hearing aid, you guys selected an artist that perhaps appreciates sound more than most people in general. I have a whole new interest and appreciation for music. In fact to hear most any sound after the surgery a few years back was a blessing, even the sound of a train in the middle of the night.” But any physical challenges the artist has dealt with have worked to heighten his sensitivity, fully expressed on paper with the help of a graphite drawing pencil. “It is relaxing, requires little to no thinking and since I was a child, it was my escape. I draw with all lines. I never use traditional blending tools to smear the graphite. I use lighter pencils to blend the darker pencils, keeping the pencils sharp and the lines close to each other as each drawing slowly comes to life on the paper.” For his Eye Gallery subject, Vanderpool chose a black-and-white performance photo taken by photographer Jeremy Gonzalez featuring Bakersfield guitarist Pablo Alaniz and a vintage 1950 Fender Telecaster guitar. “Being a portrait artist, I like drawing people I am attracted to, which means

About Eye Gallery The annual art series is a partnership between The Californian and the Bakersfield Museum of Art whose purpose is to put the work of local artists in the spotlight. This year we asked 10 artists to collaborate on a story, in words and pictures. Each was given 96 hours, a canvas and all the work that had been produced to that point. The story will unfold in Eye Street every Thursday through June 27, when the museum will host a reception for the artists and unveil other exhibitions.

character, charm and who can offer me a challenge, to avoid ‘mug shots’ when it comes to a drawing, and turn everyday people into a treasure for the generations to follow.” Given the state of your hearing and sight, how did you feel about Eye Gallery revolving around music? As for my sight, anyone that has dealt with cataract understands how it is a gradual change through time and most chalk it up as old age and get new glasses; however, being an artist I knew it was something more than that when my eyes were hurting. ... I can say I have had cataract surgery in my right eye since this drawing was completed, and so I look forward to seeing what everyone else sees once it’s on display. Explain your process/technique: I draw from photos, whether they are a local person interested in a drawing or a model from another country. This allows the model to pose once and I can draw at the oddest hours. However I use the photo as a reference and add my style to the drawing that meets the needs to the client’s interest. The trick is to focus on one section at a time. Skin tones, eyes, fabric, etc., rather than the overall subject. That way the project doesn’t become overwhelming. A grid, mirror or light table can only offer an outline. The skill is taking it to the next level, and that part can’t be cheated. You either have it or you don't. What kind of art speaks to you: I favor realistic and works from the old masters and Renaissance period. If you have to think too hard, question if the painting was hung upside down, or you left confused looking at what is in front of you, that's not my thing. When I knew art would be my passion: When I was told I had to stop drawing as a child, that boys played baseball and football and didn't paint or draw, I took that as a challenge and to prove them wrong and drew everything that sat in front of me. Yes, my way of rebelling! Work you’re proudest of? “Courting” was last year's Best in Show at the Kern County Fair, and one of my

ALEX HORVATH / THE CALIFORNIAN

Artist David Vanderpool works by day as a graphic artist at The Californian.

Next week Photographer Kristopher Stallworth is drawn to the music that seems to be coming from the mysterious figure, in Chapter Three of our story.

wife's favorite drawings so far. It's not so much being proud of it or it being better than any of my other drawings, but because I did not give up when I was told I had to stop drawing. Do you get many commissions? Yes. There are times when I have to turn down commissioned assignments because I have too many to get done, and there are times I turn down assignment because I was not comfortable with the subject matter. I draw portraits and figure drawing, but I have a limit to what I will put my name onto — even commissioned drawings that the world may never get the chance to see. And yes, there are times when there are no drawing assignments for what seems like ages. How hard is it to find a place to show your work publicly? Very hard. I get art galleries who tell me

they love my work and then turn around and ask me, ‘What else can you do?’ — as if drawing was not an art form. And then there are galleries who will tell me my work is too contemporary while another will say it's not contemporary enough; however I finally had an art gallery in London explain it best. He said that an art gallery cannot profit off a drawing like they can with a painting, because of the time variant between the two. Memory of the first time you sold a piece of work: High school. Guys would pay me $20 to draw girls they liked on pin-up bodies. Who’s been your most supportive mentor? Art teacher from junior high that I also kept in touch with through my high school. He said to create what you have passion for and there will be others who will come to you one day. Never create to meet the public needs, since most have no idea what art is. Create what you desire and introduce yourself to the world through your work. How to learn more about my work: paper2pencil.com


20

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eye Street

Index Bakersfield Jazz Festival .................... 22-23 Arts Alive .................................................. 24 CSUB barbecue ........................................ 25 The Lowdown with Matt Munoz.............. 26 Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra............ 27 One to Watch ............................................ 32 Girls Day Out............................................ 33 Calendar .............................................. 34-35

Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

CHAPTER THREE: Melody man I have to choose: Stay in bed, try to forget and go back to sleep or follow the unknown into the courtyard. A moment later, as I emerge into the courtyard, the note repeats and begins to form into a melody. I feel myself

drawn to the sound and catch a glimpse of the man at the back gate. The music seems to emanate from the figure, a strange sound that is also so familiar.


21

Thursday, May 9, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

“(My art is) my exploration of the world around me. Photography gives me a reason to look at the landscape critically and examine my relationship with it.” — Kristopher Stallworth, photographer

My world, through a lens Photographer blends reality with art in the images he creates BY STEFANI DIAS Californian assistant lifestyles editor sdias@bakersfield.com

Although this isn’t a photo finish, the artist behind Chapter Three in the Eye Gallery art series ventured a guess on how this musical story will end. “One thought is that it will turn out to be a dream,” said Kristopher Stallworth. “But the last time I participated in a show like this, I learned that there is really no way to predict what the other artist will come up with.” The 36-year-old assistant art professor at Bakersfield College offers another look at the mysterious man in the courtyard, whose story was introduced and expanded upon in the first two chapters of the “story.” Stallworth surrounds him in light in a digital C-print (chromogenic), produced when the photographer created light trails with LEDs, “painting” the image using long exposure. The bold image has a dreamy quality, something Stallworth intended to convey. “I want the viewer to put themselves in the narrator’s position. There should be a sense of waking/dreaming.” That quality also allowed a broad starting point for later artists in the series, which the photographer said was also an important consideration. “The biggest challenge for me was deciding how to continue the story and how far to push it along. I was pretty early in the process and wanted to make sure to leave it open enough for the other artist while putting my own stamp on it as well.” Stallworth’s stamp is unique as his style developed from his formative years living in Europe. Born in Charlotte, N.C., Stallworth spent his childhood in Linz, Austria, before returning to the U.S., attending high school in Kansas. Being exposed to two very different cultures played a factor in developing his art, specifically a series he created capturing the generic architecture we see across the U.S. “I do think experiencing two cultures at a young age influenced me. In the series ‘Everywhere/Nowhere,’ I was reacting to the homogenized American landscape, which was quite different from what I experienced growing up. I also think growing up in Austria, art and cultural events were more valued than in American schools.” After a brief exploration of drawing and painting, Stallworth focused on photography as a teen and stayed on track, earning his bachelor’s in photography from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and his master of fine arts from the University of Memphis. The photographer has shown his work in

About Eye Gallery The annual art series is a partnership between The Californian and the Bakersfield Museum of Art whose purpose is to put the work of local artists in the spotlight. This year we asked 10 artists to collaborate on a story, in words and pictures. Each was given 96 hours, a canvas and all the work that had been produced to that point. The story will unfold in Eye Street every Thursday through June 27, when the museum will host a reception for the artists and unveil other exhibitions.

San Francisco, Los Angeles, Memphis and Woodstock, N.Y., as well as the Bakersfield Museum of Art and BC’s Jones Gallery after moving to Bakersfield eight years ago with his wife, Carla. What does your art say about you? It’s my exploration of the world around me. Photography gives me a reason to look at the landscape critically and examine my relationship with it. When/how you knew art would be your passion: I started in photography in high school and never looked back. What drew you to photography as an art form? I think there’s something about the literal representation. Capturing something that happened in front of the camera that way. Something that is more familiar than in painting, which can be much more abstract. I’m a fairly straightforward photographer in that sense. I try to find things that I find interesting and capture them in a straightforward way. What was your process on this piece? Specifically with this piece, I wanted to do this in camera — long exposure, remote control flashes. I wanted to create a single photograph without digital manipulation. I made a 10to 20-second-long exposure and painted with LED lights to create light trails. I used an off-camera flash triggered by remote control to illuminate the figure. What work are you proudest of? My series “Everywhere/Nowhere.” I looked at the generic places that surround us regardless of where we live. Shopping mall parking lots, the back of strip malls, big box retail stores ... How hard is it to find a place to show your work publicly? It can be a challenge locally, but there are more opportunities now than when I

FELIX ADAMO / THE CALIFORNIAN

Photographer Kristopher Stallworth used a long exposure to get the effect in the photo at left, his contribution to the ongoing Eye Gallery narrative. framed color print.

Next week Painter Al Mendez rides the wave of music in Chapter Four of our story.

Most supportive mentor and why: Bob Lewis. He was my thesis adviser in graduate school and taught me a lot about being an artist and a professor.

came to Bakersfield eight years ago. ... I’m open to showing work at any local galleries.

What are some other non-art passions? Cycling, basketball

Memory of the first time you sold a piece of work: As a graduate teaching assistant, one of my students bought a piece that I had shown in my thesis show. It was from the series “Everywhere/Nowhere,” a 20-by-24-inch

What kind of art speaks to you? I’m fairly traditional when it comes to photography and really appreciate unmanipulated landscapes and cityscapes. How to learn more about your work: kstallworth.com


22

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, May 16, 2013

Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

Index Cheech & Chong ...................................... 24 Biggest Baddest BBQ .............................. 25 Early Haggard footage found .................. 26 Up-and-comer coming your way ............ 27 Arts Alive .................................................. 28 The Lowdown with Matt Munoz ............ 30 Yellow Brick Road art exhibit.................. 31 Calendar .............................................. 32-35

CHAPTER FOUR: Sound waves I want to follow him but I’m afraid if I move the music will stop. It’s nagging me; I can’t quite place the melody and yet it is so familiar. I allow myself to drift off and the music envelopes

me … sounding more and more familiar. Soon it is crashing over me like an ocean wave, building to a crescendo before drifting away. I’m not even sure if I’m awake or not and I can still sense the figure’s presence.


23

Thursday, May 16, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

“I was hoping to convey that the power of music can physically manifest with memories, literally like a wave.” — Al Mendez

New way of telling a story Artist not accustomed to using words for message BY STEFANI DIAS Californian assistant lifestyles editor sdias@bakersfield.com

W

hen invited to contribute as both a storyteller and artist to Eye Gallery 2013, Al Mendez immediately knew what he would find most challenging. “The hardest thing I had to do with this piece was the writing itself. ... I’m a voracious reader, but I’m not a writer. I tell my stories differently.” And he was no help when discussing the story with Sebastian Muralles, his friend and the last artist in the series. “Sebastian, he called me and said, ‘Hey, what’s the story?’ and I said, ‘By the time it gets to you it could be about catching dogs.’” Mendez and Muralles have a close artistic relationship, having collaborated on a guitar mural at Front Porch Music, which Mendez, 54, considers his best work. “I’m proudest of the Front Porch Music (mural) project because of the positive impact it’s had on the community. “We did really good detail on the guitars because we knew there would be some guitar aficionados looking at it. I said we can get abstract with the background but with the guitars ‘do it right.’ I’ve been contacted by a few of them, saying, ‘You captured that really well.’” Mendez works close to his most recent mural as the manager of Icehouse Framing & Gallery, which recently relocated from Chester Avenue to 19th Street. Of course, Mendez isn’t far from his art anywhere in town, having work up at Harris Elementary, Bessie Owens Primary, Jefferson Middle School, the electrical boxes along 21st Street as well as Carnitas Uruapan in Lamont. Seasonally, the artist, who works primarily with airbrushes, displays his work at BARC’s Magic Forest and The Chamber Haunted Attraction, which is set to return to town this fall. Mendez brought his colorful style to his Eye Gallery contribution: a bold ocean wave. “I was hoping to convey that the power of music can physically manifest with memories, literally like a wave.” His departure from the more abstract look of the first three works was intentional. “My work is generally pretty literal because that is my background in art, product illustration. Ninety-nine-pointnine percent of my art is that literal. That’s what I do. I’m not comfortable in abstract.” Mendez had a strong vision but still revised his work during the 96 hours allot-

About Eye Gallery The annual art series is a partnership between The Californian and the Bakersfield Museum of Art whose purpose is to put the work of local artists in the spotlight. This year we asked 10 artists to collaborate on a story, in words and pictures. Each was given 96 hours, a canvas and all the work that had been produced to that point. The story will unfold in Eye Street every Thursday through June 27, when the museum will host a reception for the artists and unveil other exhibitions.

ted to him. “In my original concept, I was going to form musical notes in the wave. I sketched it out and it looked kind of hokey. Too forced. In the previous piece (a photo by Kristopher Stallworth), nothing was forced on you. The musical notes in the wave would have done that, and I didn’t want to do that. I painted the wave and left it.” How long have you been an artist: I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. I was a professional illustrator right out of school. I worked in the advertising department at Brocks Department Store. I didn’t know I wanted to pursue art as a career until I got up to BC when I started taking classes that were geared more toward careers in art. Technical drawing illustration, that’s the direction I want to go. Opposed to high school when you take art just to take art. I actually got an F in high school. I said, ‘This is stupid,’ (but) it was me being stupid looking back. Memory of the first time you sold a piece of work: My earliest memory of getting paid for my art was junior high and a local merchant paid me to design his restaurant menu. It (the restaurant) no longer exists. It was on Brundage and Union, El Papa Gallo. Fighting roosters at the top, their tails came down and intertwined around the menu. He paid me $25 and I was in heaven. Favorite artist: Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth. Explain your process: I usually start with a sketch then using some photo references, I start building up layer by layer, then I’ll start detailing and fine-tuning ’til I’m happy with it. There was some airbrushing in the shadows (on the Eye Gallery piece). Were you worried that artists after you might have a difficult time picking up the narrative? I never really thought they would. It was pretty obvious in the first few pieces that everyone was doing their thing. Since you often work on large-scale projects, is it tougher to create smaller

HENRY A. BARRIOS / THE CALIFORNIAN

Art Mendez is the manager of Icehouse Framing & Gallery, which recently relocated from Chester Avenue to 19th Street.

Next week Painter Christina Sweet ponders the recurring puzzle in Chapter Five of our story. works like this one? It is for me because with the smaller pieces I feel like I have to do more detail — I will really try to go out of my way to add detail. A person is really going to come up and look at it. Whereas with the larger pieces, they’ll glance at a distance. Do you get many commissions? I get a lot of commissions all year long. ... It’s actually 50-50 (from businesses and individuals). I’m working with the Bakersfield City School District. I just got contact-

ed by a church. And an individual wants me to paint a table for him. Skateboard graphic on the top of it, flames and skulls on the bottom of it. Then I might be painting some skateboards for him. It goes back to the airbrushing, which is my strong suit. What are some other non-art passions? Reading history, movies and the Dallas Cowboys. I love reading U.S. history. It goes back to high school. I had this teacher; he had this way of making history come alive that I appreciate. Even now I have a library that would be comparable (to any history buff). My favorite author is Stephen Ambrose. How to learn more about my work: I always post my latest work on Facebook (facebook.com/airbrushnaj).


20

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, May 23, 2013

Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

Index Craft Beer Festival.................................... 22 Big change at East Hills theater.............. 23 Scott Cox .................................................. 25 The Lowdown with Matt Munoz.............. 26 Korn on personal mission........................ 26 Masterworks Chorale .............................. 28 Hobo Breakfast........................................ 29 Calendar .............................................. 34-35

CHAPTER FIVE: Seeking answers You see, this is a recurring puzzle. Like the sense of having words on the tip of your tongue but no ability to form them.

You know the answer will come when you least expect it. Until next time, my late night visitor, I will hum the tune and ponder.


21

Thursday, May 23, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

“My work shows that I think outside the box. I don't paint in traditional colors and lines. I am not professionally trained, so my art is raw.” — Christina Sweet

A protagonist steps to the fore Sweet brings pensive woman into our story BY MATT MUNOZ Californian staff writer mmunoz@bakersfield.com

F

ive chapters in to the story about a mysterious figure in a courtyard, we finally have a protagonist: a woman staring pensively into space. “I sat to write my segment of the story first,” said artist Christina Sweet of her Eye Gallery assignment. “I wanted to move the story along, closing one chapter, and leave it wide open for the next artist. I also introduced the main character as a woman. While applying the paint, I kept the layers light and watered down to allow the wood grain to be exposed. I feel it gives it an additional textural look.” Sweet, like the artists who came before her, was given 96 hours and, for reference, the chapters and artwork created to that point. Last week’s installment, by artist Al Mendez, was a striking painting of a wave, but it did represent a bit of a visual departure from the series so far, creating an opportunity for Sweet. “The biggest challenge was trying not to be too influenced by the painting just before mine, and to create something that would fit as a whole with all the preceding works. “I love a challenge. This body of work is interesting to me in that it is progressive. It could take a turn at any time.” As artist, curator and founder of The Foundry art gallery, Sweet, 34, has become a prominent voice in the local art scene in just a few short years. Sweet’s work and role at The Foundry have become a driving engine of the First Friday art walk, and she’s used her influence to help encourage the careers of the gallery’s 80-plus members while nurturing future talents, including her three young daughters: Shelby, Emily and Audrey. “It is my life's passion to encourage arts to children. At The Foundry, we are starting art education workshops to help facilitate that this summer. I'm also strongly driven to expose up-andcoming artists and help them learn how to succeed in their craft.”

About Eye Gallery The annual art series is a partnership between The Californian and the Bakersfield Museum of Art whose purpose is to put the work of local artists in the spotlight. This year we asked 10 artists to collaborate on a story, in words and pictures. Each was given 96 hours, a canvas and all the work that had been produced to that point. The story will unfold in Eye Street every Thursday through June 27, when the museum will host a reception for the artists and unveil other exhibitions.

Adding to her list of art-related accolades, Sweet was named The Californian’s breakout artist of 2012. “I enjoy colorful art. Artworks that tell a story all within itself speak to me most. On the other hand, I most enjoy creating art that is more representational but in an abstract style and color palette.” How long you’ve been painting: Since the age of 10. Memory of the first time you sold a piece of work: Age 14. I painted 23 characters over two walls in a baby's nursery. What were hoping to convey to the viewer with this piece: An emotion. The character is left confused and anxious, but this feeling is familiar to her and she has to move on. Favorite artists: I’d have to say my favorite artist of all time is Andy Warhol. I love his bold presentation. I can’t say I have an absolute local favorite. I enjoy the works of so many local artists, for many different reasons. When did art become a passion: I found my niche here in town just four to five years ago. I've always practiced. My mother kept me very busy as a child and teen painting murals in the house and canvas pieces. I knew from the first wall mural I did at age 10 that it was my passion. I just didn't know how to drive it. The work I'm proudest of: My piece titled “RUN!,” that was exhibited at Metro Galleries for last year’s Latination art show.

FELIX ADAMO / THE CALIFORNIAN

As artist, curator and founder of The Foundry art gallery, Christina Sweet, 34, has become a prominent voice in the local art scene in just a few short years.

Next week Our late-night visitor returns in Chapter Six, but artist Byron Rhodes senses his intentions are good.

I feel it opened a gateway for me and my new style. Your most supportive mentor: As far as biggest supporter goes, I’d have to say my team at

The Foundry. Our members are always so helpful. They truly cheer us on and make it all worth it for me. Foundry aside, I would say Don Martin of Metro Galleries. He is encouraging and has the know-how to help or give advice at every turn. He is a hardworking arts community pioneer in my eyes. What your art says about you: My work shows that I think outside the box. I don't paint in

traditional colors and lines. I am not professionally trained, so my art is raw. Some of your non-art passions: I love to bake and cook. I enjoy time in the kitchen most while home. I love trying new recipes. Feeding my family makes my heart happy. How to learn more about my work: csweetart.com and bakersfieldfoundry.com


18

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, May 30, 2013

Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

Index Theresa Caputo ........................................ 20 Menudo Cook Off...................................... 21 Arts Alive .................................................. 22 This Week’s Obsessions .......................... 23 The Lowdown with Matt Munoz ............ 24 Susan Scaffidi column ............................ 27 Victorian tea party .................................. 27 Calendar .............................................. 29-31

CHAPTER SIX: My life’s song As the waning crescent moon disappeared with the night, the sun rose to reveal my returned “late night visitor.” The hooded mystic of musical aptitude led me to the land where all emo-

tions and events of life are dissolved and infused into music. The melody that was so familiar was my life’s song. My visitor knew I was ready for a new one.


19

Thursday, May 30, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

“I enjoy art that is rendered somewhat realistically but the images in the work don’t really exist in reality; or they may, but are not portrayed that way.” — Byron Rhodes

Journey takes a surreal turn Rhodes plays with reality in latest chapter BY JENNIFER SELF Californian lifestyles editor jself@bakersfield.com

T

he eye-catching works submitted by artists for this year’s Eye Gallery art series have been admired and scrutinized by thousands of newspaper readers. But no one has pored over them more closely than Byron Rhodes, this week’s featured artist and author of Chapter Six of our story. “I began by really working out a concept based on the narrative provided,” said the artist, 31. “This came by reading and rereading the previous artists writings and studying their artworks.” Rhodes’ stunning piece features the protagonist introduced in last week’s chapter and the mysterious figure referred to since Chapter One. “The goal of my image was to create an allegory of the journey the character chose to make, which she believes will change her life in a positive direction.” Rhodes was born and raised in Bakersfield, graduating from North High in 1999 and earning a bachelor of fine arts in studio art from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2004. The artist enjoys cycling and other athetic pursuits, as well as studying the Bible, reading, movies and studying science when he’s not working his day job at Banks Pest Control. He spends much of his spare time with girlfriend Jill Kochendorfer. Rhodes took some time out of his busy schedule to answer our Eye Gallery questionnaire: How long have you been an artist? I have been drawing for as long as I can remember and haven’t stopped. I typcially work in acrylic, graphite, pen and ink, colored pencil, watercolor. Explain your process/technique on this piece: Once I finalized a concept, I began the work of sketching out the image and making all the elements fit compositionally. This process was aided by some reference images, but the majority of the sketch was from my imagination or visual memory.

About Eye Gallery The annual art series is a partnership between The Californian and the Bakersfield Museum of Art whose purpose is to put the work of local artists in the spotlight. This year we asked 10 artists to collaborate on a story, in words and pictures. Each was given 96 hours, a canvas and all the work that had been produced to that point. The story will unfold in Eye Street every Thursday through June 27, when the museum will host a reception for the artists and unveil other exhibitions.

Once I had the composition laid out and I was happy with all the aspects of the preliminary sketch, I transferred the image to the final surface that I had already gessoed. At this point the painting process could begin. I started with a base color, which may not be close to the final color but it helps jump-start the piece. In this case, I worked out the colors as I went, only having a vague idea of what they would be. I wanted to include some color from the previous artworks in the narrative to create some unity for the whole show. If I was not happy with a color, I would rework that area. This process would continue until the piece worked as a whole. A final clear gloss coat was applied to make the sheen uniform and to protect the final image. What kind of art speaks to you? I enjoy art that is rendered somewhat realistically but the images in the work don’t really exist in reality; or they may, but are not portrayed that way. This would be why I am drawn to Surrealism. Favorite artist: Recently I have really enjoyed the works of Todd Schorr. Two artists that I have followed since around 2002 are Joe Sorren and Tim Cantor. When/how I knew art would be my passion: I have been drawing and creating art since I can remember. Art is something that I have enjoyed success in, whether it is private or public.

FELIX ADAMO / THE CALIFORNIAN

Artist Byron Rhodes enjoys cycling and other athletic pursuits, as well as studying the Bible, reading, movies and studying science when he’s not working his day job at Banks Pest Control.

Next week Many doors, but will she walk through? Artist Dacey Dia Villareal continues the story. Do you get many commissions? Yes, I do, but recently I have chosen not to accept them because of my busy schedule.

There are rare exceptions. How hard is it to find a place to show your work publicly? It is not hard at all. There are many opportunities to show work through shows with the Arts Council of Kern or other shows they advertise. The Bakersfield Museum of Art also organizes the Visual Arts festival annually. There are other venues around Bakersfield that

are looking for artists to become involved in presenting work. Most supportive mentor: My dad. He has given me many opportunities to create artwork for projects. I talk to him more than anyone about art philosophy, many times we actually argue about it, which I enjoy. On several occasions he has helped me articulate my artistic vision.


16

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

Index ‘David and Zach’s Quest to Sac’ .............. 18 Cheap Trick: Just surrender .................... 19 Arts Alive: ‘Chocolate Factory’................ 20 First Friday: Bakersfield Sound................ 21 The Lowdown: Rockin’ Roots .................. 22 Foo Fighter goes country ........................ 23 This Week’s Obsessions ........................ 24 Calendar .............................................. 28-29

CHAPTER SEVEN: Many doors Longing to find the answer to my life’s song, the hooded figure led me through the dreamlike forest. We stumbled upon an area with many doors. The figure opened a door to reveal a familiar condition and

form. I entered the space and was immediately consumed by music, the memorable song warmed my soul and calmed me. I was not ready to open the next door.


17

Thursday, June 6, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

“I wanted the mystery of the figures to continue — was it a dream, a dream within a dream, or something deeper? — as well as leave the viewer with questions to what they were seeing.” — Dacey Dia Villarreal

To teach, learn and be inspired Local art teacher found sibling to be a role model in her work BY STEFANI DIAS Californian assistant lifestyles editor sdias@bakersfield.com

W

hile some children scrap with their siblings, Dacey Dia Villarreal found artistic inspiration from

hers. “I’ve been an artist since I was child. I would copy my sister, Desiree, when she drew.” Although her sister still paints and draws for herself, she has not taken the path of Dia Villarreal, who teaches art at Independence High School and Taft College. That teaching career was inspired by another influence in her life while growing up in Wisconsin. “I knew that I would always do something creative with my life. It was my high school art teacher, Mr. Oliver Gordon, who opened my eyes to the possibilities of pursuing art as a teaching career. “I loved being in his class and I admired him very much. He was a wonderful artist, I can still remember him showing us a woodblock print he made and I thought it was a fantastic piece of art. Mr. Gordon was also a gentle man with a great amount of patience to deal with us kids. I wanted to be like him someday.” For her Eye Gallery piece, depicting two figures wrapped in music flowing in from an open door, Dia Villarreal sought to maintain the suspense of earlier chapters. “I wanted the mystery of the figures to continue — was it a dream, a dream within a dream, or something deeper? — as well as leave the viewer with questions to what they were seeing.” Although she said she has trouble with due dates (which is why she no longer does commissions), Dia Villarreal said this deadline — 96 hours to create the work — was what she enjoyed most about Eye Gallery. “What I really liked was the challenge on time/time limit. I enjoyed being pushed to make art in a certain amount of time, it was tough, but it made it more exciting. ... I’m honored to be a part of something like this.” After earning her bachelor of fine arts degree from University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and her master’s from Academy of Art University in San Francisco, she moved to Bakersfield in 1999. The 38-year-old has exhibited her work locally at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, The Foundry, Metro Galleries and the Bakersfield Art Association. Beyond art, Dia Villarreal enjoys entertaining friends at home with her husband, David, and dog Parker. The couple also love to travel, having criss-crossed the U.S. map. Dia Villarreal, who said she wouldn’t

About Eye Gallery The annual art series is a partnership between The Californian and the Bakersfield Museum of Art whose purpose is to put the work of local artists in the spotlight. This year we asked 10 artists to collaborate on a story, in words and pictures. Each was given 96 hours, a canvas and all the work that had been produced to that point. The story will unfold in Eye Street every Thursday through June 27, when the museum will host a reception for the artists and unveil other exhibitions.

describe herself as a serious person, embraces her fun-loving nature with standup comedy, having performed at open mics in Canoga Park and Club Odyssey in Bakersfield a few years back. She answered a few more questions for our Eye Gallery questionnaire. What kind of art speaks to you? I am drawn to work that I can see the artists’ technical skill. ... The artists I like do processes that I’m familiar with and I understand what they went through to the make the piece, which makes me appreciate their work even more. Favorite artists? I don’t have an all-time favorite artist (it changes depending on what medium I’m working in), so right now I love Wangechi Mutu and Alfons Mucha. Local favorite artist is hard to pick too. My current favorite local artist is Yvonne Cavanagh; her new watercolor pieces are elegant — but I’m a fan of many, many local artists, like Art Sherwyn, Christine McKee and David Gordon. Most supportive mentor and why: No mentors in regards to my artwork, but my support system is my family and friends. My husband, David, he has been an awesome person to have in my corner, he has been there for everything. My friends have also been great cheerleaders in my life. I am a very lucky person. I believe great artists critique themselves more harshly than others, and may have a lot of self-doubt at times (I do all the time), and it’s nice to have people cheering you on and excepting you no matter what. Your high school teacher inspired you. Do you feel that with your art students? I have great students and I try to push them to their fullest potential, so I hope they feel that I only want them to succeed and be inspired. Of all those who feel the calling to art, only some are also drawn to teaching. What interests you about teaching art? I enjoy showing people (young and old) “things” and watching them get excited

FELIX ADAMO / THE CALIFORNIAN

Artist Dacey Dia Villarreal has exhibited her work locally at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, The Foundry, Metro Galleries and the Bakersfield Art Association.

Next week

the process of making it; I am not always too concerned about the overall outcome.

A woman seeks to banish a ghost from her past in artist Betty Leonor’s chapter.

Memory of the first time you sold a piece of work The first painting I sold was a painting of a green rose, for $25, to a friend in school.

about what they are learning. You said that you love the process of art. What is it that interests you most? I love being able to experiment and rework the art until I’m satisfied. I try not to get too wrapped up in what the end result will be. If I become too consumed about the end, then the process isn’t as exciting, which usually means I don’t like the outcome. What work are you proudest of creating? The work I did for my master’s degree was the most challenging, but not some of my most proudest work. So I guess I am still waiting to make the work that makes me the proudest. My downfall to making my art is I love

Where have you and your husband traveled? Have your travels influenced your art? We traveled more in the States than outside the States. It has influenced my work a little; I’m hoping this summer it will change. My husband and I are going to drive back to Wisconsin, my home state, and I have already planned two projects to do while on the road. How do you think this Eye Gallery tale will, or should, end? Honestly, I don’t think I would want it to end a certain way…I would like the viewer to be able to decide how it’s going to end. How to learn more about my work: daceydia.com and facebook.com/ArtistDaceyDia


22

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, June 13, 2013

Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

Index Boz Scaggs & Michael McDonald............ 24 Arts Alive .................................................. 25 ‘Man of Steel’ review .............................. 26 ‘This is the End’ review............................ 27 The Lowdown with Matt Munoz.............. 28 This Week’s Obsessions .......................... 29 Billy Mize movie fundraiser .................. 30 Calendar .............................................. 33-35

CHAPTER EIGHT: A dark turn And I won’t. There is no coming back. You deceived me while living and you insist on haunting me now. I despise being a widow, but I do not miss being your wife.

I learned to live alone by living with you. So it would be perfect — if you go chase them now. And stop this music. Your song is useless. Remember… we never danced.


23

Thursday, June 13, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

“Painting was always there for me when nothing else was. Like a best friend who readily listens quietly without judgments.” — Betty Leonor

Betty Leonor: Mistress of mood Stunning work takes story into wonderfully pulpy direction BY MATT MUNOZ Californian staff writer mmunoz@bakersfield.com

O

ur Eye Gallery story — all shadows, mysterious figures and haunting music — has been flirting with darkness from the beginning, but the saga has finally gone full-tilt noir, and Betty Leonor was just the artist to do it. Conveying mood is a specialty of Leonor’s, evident in all her work, and she uses that gift to give Chapter Eight of the ongoing narrative a sense of regret and loss. Using her trademark warm palette and sensual eye, the artist jump-starts the plot by offering detailed imagery and text where prior artists offered only hints. Our protagonist is shown sitting on a bed, languidly smoking a cigarette as she studies newspaper clippings detailing the tragic end of a couple whose lives were a painful reminder of her own lost love. A wine bottle lies empty on the bed. “Trying to find a backbone to the story was the challenge,” said Leonor, who, like all the Eye Gallery artists, was given the opportunity to study the artwork and text up to her point in the series. “So when I noticed that I needed to urgently create a solid base for the story, I gathered all the writing, avoided looking at any of the pictures, and came up with something less familiar and more concrete.” Her analytical approach to the project makes sense, given Leonor’s field of study was business, not art. “Discipline, focus and determination to grow are key elements. Maybe I was fortunate to have attended school for business and not art, or perhaps it all adds up the same. Not having an art training has been my biggest battle, but I do see more and more trained artists struggle with the business end of it.” Born in New York, Leonor — of Dominican heritage — spent a lot of time overseas growing up, in places as far-flung as Santo Domingo and Spain. “I was not raised around art at all. I don’t even recall knowing there was such a thing as being an artist. I knew of creative careers like designers, interior decorators, architects, musicians, writers, but to paint was in the hobby category, like crocheting or horseback riding. As a child, I thought I was just a heavy dreamer, inclined to draw, simply because I needed a place to put all my dreams.” Over the last several years the representations of her dreams have been displayed on the walls of galleries across the western United States, including her first exhibition in Las Vegas and several one-woman shows here in Bakersfield, where Leonor

About Eye Gallery The annual art series is a partnership between The Californian and the Bakersfield Museum of Art whose purpose is to put the work of local artists in the spotlight. This year we asked 10 artists to collaborate on a story, in words and pictures. Each was given 96 hours, a canvas and all the work that had been produced to that point. The story will unfold in Eye Street every Thursday through June 27, when the museum will host a reception for the artists and unveil other exhibitions.

moved six years ago. She remembers selling her first painting in 1996, when she was a struggling single mother. The buyer, it turned out, was after more than her work. “I sold it to a man that wanted a chance to take me to dinner. He thought it clever to use the excuse of wanting to see my work and buy a painting. I was a single mom, going to school and working two jobs to make ends meet. That sale paid that month’s rent and I’ll never forget the joy and relief.” While she never obliged the man's offer for dinner, she did continue to paint and 12 years later found herself taking the plunge to become a full-time artist. During her first exhibition in 2008, a respected mentor advised Leonor that she needed formal training, forcing the artist back to the drawing board. “After being offended and in total denial for a little over a week, I went and did what he said, but my way. I bought every drawing book on the market and even read most. But I began faithfully drawing night and day. Today, five years later, I do know what he meant, and consider it one of the best pieces of advice ever given to me.” Explain process/technique on this piece: A good portion of the time was spent collecting the images that would make the background. I had to find newspaper clippings of a band, a crash, a good image of a woman that was the opposite from the one telling the story on the bed and different photos of the same man. Once found, I combined, edited, and sized everything with Photoshop into one background piece. This background was printed in archival digital paper and adhered with acrylic medium to the primed wood. I glazed the background several times and let it dry. Then came the painting part — I designed the room with different complementary light hues and gave it textures using different acrylic mediums and a palette knife. The woman in the bed, lamp, and the remaining the items were all painted traditional-style with a brush. I painted a mustache on all the images of the man. Those images were actually of the actor Gary Cooper.

ALEX HORVATH / THE CALIFORNIAN

Born in New York, Betty Leonor — of Dominican heritage — spent a lot of time overseas growing up in places as far-flung as Santo Domingo and Spain.

Next week Artist Adel Shafik wonders about opening another door in Chapter Nine of our story.

When did you know art was your passion? There was no epiphany. Painting was always there for me when nothing else was. Like a best friend who readily listens quietly without judgments. Very intimate and personal. It never occurred to me to live without it and I didn’t begin painting for the sake of art; I began for the sake of me. So while some people paid a shrink, I just bought more canvas. What kind of art speaks to you? I have the most respect for realism. It isn’t easy and you get no breaks. I am

blown away by paintings that clearly show me the artist’s eye and how they can highlight subtly their subject, capture a mood and/or masterfully place brush strokes that seem effortless. What does your art say about you? Although I use my own life and personal experience as reference, it is the universal emotion that I try to capture and frame. I love when I hear someone say, “Oh my God! That can be me, I’ve been there,” or “That’s exactly how I feel.” I know then I have accomplished my goal. Beyond art, what else are you passionate about? I enjoy designing my own clothes and making them. Cooking my signature gourmet fusions is now a regular event in my home. Traveling to foreign countries has always been fascinating. Love books, so reading is on the list


16

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, June 20, 2013

Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

Index Media rivals band together .................... 18 Lorrie Morgan lives her songs ................ 19 Arts Alive: Welcome back, Emily ............ 20 The Dish: Belly up for brisket! ................ 21 The Lowdown: Country star search ........ 22 Mud Volleyball: Down and dirty .............. 23 This Week’s Obsessions ........................ 26 Calendar .............................................. 28-29

CHAPTER NINE: Another door Never danced … Many doors and I am not certain what is behind each of them? I have this sense of longing to open another door, though I may be unsure of whether or not I am awake, does it not matter if I am or not? Is it night again? I see a full moon. Cannot keep track of time! I can vaguely hear a muffled tune coming from behind a

door, but it is so faint. Like the hushed footsteps of someone walking alone in a large room, it is almost as though it isn’t there. I feel this irresistible urge to walk toward another door and find out what is there. I thought this to myself as I heard the sound of the melody, my life song again. I will open another door …


17

Thursday, June 20, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

“I drew the planes and tanks and smoke and all that stuff and I filled the whole thing with a lot of information. It was kind of a collage, though I didn’t know what a collage was at the time.” — Adel Shafik, who was 11 when he won a national Egyptian art competition whose theme was how children saw the 1967 SIx-Day War.

Born in Egypt, reborn in America Artist didn’t fully begin to thrive until he left his homeland in 1986 BY JENNIFER SELF Californian lifestyles editor jself@bakersfield.com

W

ar has the power to redefine who we are, turning everyday people into conquerers, victims, heroes, martyrs. The 1967 Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel was no less transformational for Adel Shafik, but he embraced the new identity the conflict gave him: artist. “It was a bad experience, honestly, and kind of scary as a child.” But out of the terror came catharsis and inspiration, when Shafik, 11 at the time, entered and won a national art competition whose theme was how children saw the war. “I drew the planes and tanks and smoke and all that stuff and I filled the whole thing with a lot of information,” said Shafik, a native of Cairo. “It was kind of a collage, though I didn’t know what a collage was at the time.” The day Shafik accepted the prize from a top official of the Egyptian government still ranks as one of the proudest of his life. “The prize was 20 pounds, which, at the time, was maybe $5. I gave the money to my dad. We were all struggling, so you feel like you want to help out. “Since that time, I had an interest in art.” Shafik pursued his passion, first at a university in Cairo, and then at Indiana University Bloomington, where he earned his master of fine arts degree in graphic design after immigrating to the United States in 1986. “At that time, the American Embassy was asking for artists and doctors. I applied and was accepted.” Though his parents are deceased, Shafik’s siblings still live in Egypt. The father of three and Bakersfield College art professor is cautious in discussing his life in Egypt, except to say that as a minority Christian, “it was very tough.” Given the instability of the region, he fears for his sisters and brother, with whom he speaks on a weekly basis.

Eye Gallery reception next week! The annual art series is a partnership between The Californian and the Bakersfield Museum of Art whose purpose is to put the work of local artists in the spotlight. This year we asked 10 artists to collaborate on a story, in words and pictures. Each was given 96 hours, a canvas and all the work that had been produced to that point. The story ends next Thursday, when the museum will host a reception for the artists and unveil other exhibitions.

“I feel I’m a stranger when I go there. I feel like I don’t belong there anymore. I changed a lot, even without knowing or trying.” Shafik, 55, and his wife, Maha, consider themselves thoroughly Americanized, but they do try to impart their shared Egyptian heritage to their children: Shady, 20; Phillip, 12; and Nolan, 14. The couple speak Arabic in their home and are close with other families at their place of worship, St. Demiana Coptic Orthodox Church in the southwest. For his part in this year’s Eye Gallery series, which tells an ongoing story week to week, Shafik attempted to “get in the mind of others and make sense of what they have done, continue the flow of the story, add my own thoughts and ideas, and leave room for the next artist to continue on.” Shafik took time to answer our questions, noting that his latest artistic passion is exploring the ancient art process of encaustic, which uses pigments and hot wax. Explain your process/technique on this piece: After I read the last artist’s narrative, I came up with a sketch and changed that sketch a few times. I knew the theme overall was about music, but needed to come up with a visual idea to continue the flow of the story. ... I built the piece applying acrylic colors mixed with acrylic gesso with a putty knife. I also carved shapes using a carving tool to reveal the yellow color of the background. I used many layers

ALEX HORVATH / THE CALIFORNIAN

Artist Adel Shafik and his wife, Maha, consider themselves thoroughly Americanized, but they do try to impart their shared Egyptian heritage to their children.

Next week Artist Sebastian Muralles has the privilege — or is it challenge? — of wrapping up our story.

of color to add a texture to the work. Do you consider yourself more American or Egyptian? I’m hugely Americanized. I love it, honestly. I love the freedom, the beauty of the land, and I love that you can do anything you want. That’s something I never had where I grew up. Besides your family, what do you miss most about Egypt?

I really miss the Nile, the buildings, the ancient Egyptian artifacts, the Pyramids, the museums, the temples. It’s a beautiful place, really, as a country. I miss the people too — very nice, generous and kind. As a college professor, what’s the outlook for art education? I believe there is a danger of it being cut back. It’s affecting how we teach and how we can serve the students. Still, things are getting just a little bit better. It’s been tight since 2011, but it’s a bit better now. BC students are getting a firstrate arts education. Most of us (teachers) have worked in the

field for years. Most of us practice art. We notice that when (students) send us emails that they’re continuing their education or continuing in the field. What are some other nonart passions? Spending time with Christ, my wife and kids. I play music (the lute and the violin; not very good and cannot read music notes), I love books, enjoy playing soccer and tennis, bike riding, fishing, traveling and fixing things in the house! I like to build things, collect power tools, paint on papyrus and palm tree parchments, Arabic calligraphy, and take photographs.


22

The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, June 27, 2013

Eye Street Editor Jennifer Self | Phone 395-7434 | e-mail jself@bakersfield.com

Index Air Supply ................................................ 24 Summerland Tour .................................... 25 Bakersfield Museum of Art show .......... 26 Arts Alive .................................................. 27 The Lowdown with Matt Munoz.............. 28 Pie-eating contest.................................... 30 Summer Fun Fair...................................... 32 Calendar .............................................. 33-35

CHAPTER TEN: A new beginning I will open another door .... This time destined to leave it all behind, for what was to come is far more important than my darkest past. No more holding back. I open the door, which led me to freedom! A burst of wind came flying into the room as I opened my eyes to the beautiful bright spring light.

A new beginning has arrived, with every tool and every sense of knowledge necessary to overcome any obstacle in my life. The melody was a good one. I knew then I had chosen wisely. With a toast to the present, my past drifts softly into the distance upon the back of a light breeze.


23

Thursday, June 27, 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

“I was taking some art classes and they asked me to do a mural, a replica of ‘Creation of Man,’ with God touching Adam’s finger. It’s like the beginning of everything. And the beginning of my career, too, with murals. I was surprised when I found out I was getting paid to do it.” — Sebastian Muralles, whose colorful work can be seen at the Kern County Museum, the Allen Road Veterinary Hospital, many city electrical boxes and the stunning three-panel Dali-esque tribute to Bakersfield’s guitar makers at Front Porch Music

Wall-to-wall inspiration You may not know him, but you know his art BY JENNIFER SELF Californian lifestyles editor jself@bakersfield.com

W

hen you spend days or weeks painting a mural on the side of a building, you learn pretty quickly just how many over-the-shoulder art critics there are in the world. But Sebastian Muralles — one of the most prolific mural artists in Bakersfield — doesn’t rattle easily, taking the unsolicited advice and comments in stride. “When you’re in the process of doing the mural, they see the beginning and the intermediate process, and people judge it. They can’t picture how it’s going to look at the end. But at the same time, it’s kind of good for people to see me work because they talk about it.” And that talk has led to a mountain of work for Muralles, 33, whose art graces the walls of several Mexican restaurants, including two murals at the newest La Mina, in the southwest. “I was inspired by the art of (Los Angeles muralist) El Mac. When you enter at the right, there’s a face of a girl and one side of the face looks like a sunset and the other side is more like the moon, nighttime. Her hair transitions into horses. It’s like modern Mexican art. She’s supposed to represent Mother Earth.” Other samples of his vivid, colorful work can be seen at the Kern County Museum, the Allen Road Veterinary Hospital, many city electrical boxes and the stunning three-panel Dali-esque tribute to Bakersfield’s guitar makers at Front Porch Music — not to mention murals at several schools, including his own junior high in Arvin, where his career as an artist began at age 13. “I was taking some art classes and they asked me to do a mural, a replica of ‘Creation of Man,’ with God touching Adam’s finger. It’s like the beginning of everything. And the beginning of my career, too, with murals.

Eye Gallery reception tonight! The public is invited this evening to view all the pieces in our 2013 Eye Gallery series, a multi-part narrative told in pictures and words by 10 talented local artists. Doors open at 6 p.m. today at the museum, 1930 R St., and the cost to attend is $10 (free for museum members).

“I was surprised when I found out I was getting paid to do it.” Muralles, who was born in Guatemala City and raised in Lamont, has a son, Alex, with wife Maria. He works 40-plus hours a week as lead machine operator at NuSil Silicone Technology and another four to six hours a day at his art. His murals are so indemand, clients are put on a twomonth waiting list. “For me, it’s more like a hobby and I get paid for it,” Muralles said of his art. “I’m looking more for publicity more than the money, but the money helps a lot. I do it more to show people what I can do and to throw messages out there.” Muralles took time away from his busy day to answer more of our questions. You had the challenge of ending our 10-part Eye Gallery story. Was that tough? It was a challenge to be able to carry on other artists’ point of view in the story. The fact that the character in the story seemed to be in a confused situation made it harder to find a conclusion. However, I knew I needed to bring the positive side to the story, so wrapping it up with a positive ending was a must for me. The solution to the main character's problem and confusion was always within her. Which is what I think most of the time happens to many people in this real world we live in. When did you know art would be a lifelong passion? At only age 5 I was drawing replicas of many cartoon characters and felt the passion for colors. How do you challenge your-

ALEX HORVATH / THE CALIFORNIAN

Sebastian Muralles works 40-plus hours a week as lead machine operator at NuSil Silicone Technology and another four to six hours a day at his art.

Inside Eye Gallery isn’t the only art worth seeing at the Bakersfield Museum of Art tonight, 26

self artistically? I’m always looking up different artists. That really helped me a lot; you get to see art in a different way. You have to really pay close attention to detail and the meaning of stuff. You start to

learn to read the art more. Besides all the “helpful” advice from people watching you work, are there other drawbacks to painting murals? Just the fact of being out in the heat here in Bakersfield; that’s the other thing that’s not that good. What is the biggest, most ambitious mural you’ve done to date? The biggest one of I’ve ever done in a public place was at the Kern County Museum. I painted it with an artist from LA and

some students. It was a timeline of people who came out of Bakersfield: Ming, Lopez, Bonnie Owens, and other stuff like the Clock Tower, oil derricks, oil field workers. Toward the end of the mural, there’s a portrait of my son fishing at the canal. That’s representing the future. What does your art say about you? I like a positive, colorful feeling and somehow I like to incorporate nature in most of my paintings.


Eye Gallery 2013: "96 Hours"