#14 Graffiti Art/Artist Conversation #5

Bubble Art of my name done by yours truly.

Artist Conversation

Exhibit Information

Artist: Kiyomi Fukui

Exhibition: Conversation on Conflict

Media: Crafts, origami, paper, furniture

Gallery: Artist website


Instagram: @kiyomimiz

About the Artist

Kiyomi Fukui is local Long Beach artist who graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design from La Sierra University and an MFA in Printmaking from California State University Long Beach. Her recent exhibitions have primarily taken place in the local area in places such as Biola University, La Mirada, and Los Angeles. Most of her contemporary art aims to capture transient intimacy that we don’t normally see portrayed in the mainstream media.

Formal Analysis

Conversation on Conflict:
The aesthetics of this piece include finely folded origami and a soft intimate setting. The materials used to set setting is a broken circular cushion that’s split into quarters, while encircling a glass table filled with piece of text. Regarding colors, there isn’t anything particularly outstanding; I’m assuming this is purposeful in order to not distract from what Kiyomi is trying to get portray. Off to the edge of the room there small shelf platforms holding the selection of origami overlooking the center of the room.

Content Analysis

If I recall, Kiyomi briefly went over how she found inspiration for this piece from the many difficult conversations with her father she had about her family’s past, coming to terms with her identity, and feeling like an “other.” The muted, “boring,” colors ironically bring attention to the artwork as a whole. It looks like Kiyomi is trying to tackle the importance of cherishing what the impermanent things are in our lives. Sometimes they can be overlooked, and we won’t realize how good we have it until they’re gone.

Synthesis/My Experience

I really agree with Kiyomi’s message in the piece. It’s not vibrant by any means, but the statement it makes is really important. When I was looking at the center piece of the artwork, it reminds me of the moments where we finally decide to have those conversations that we feel are difficult for us to have. Sometimes we need to be able to have those conversations to be at ease and find some solace.


#12 My Virtual Art Gallery

Theme: Immersion

One of the greatest things to have come to grace our society and the gaming community is the beautiful genre of Massive Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPGs) and the world of animation in general. You download what game you’re interested in and are taken to a character selection screen and get to customize your character. You might even want to create a character that embodies the traits that you’d like to role play in this new world. In any case, the wonderful thing about MMORPGs the storytelling in our favorite nostalgic animated shows brings me to the topic of immersion. When we become immersed into something, we kinda start building this attachment to it. It becomes a part of us in some way that we can’t help but find some relation to. In an MMO we play our character and get introduced to a whole new world that has a huge story to tell us. When we watch a show, we can get attached to the characters and their story, the character development that the creators have to offer us. The anxiety that plot twists and their conflicts bring to the table. While artificial and man made, the emotions and connections that these give us are genuine and what helps the developers and creators thrive in their communities. What I wanted to show today were three artists and three environments in game that I felt were unique and special to me.


Matt Cheung, Hirohito Araki, Kim Jung Gi

Environments (from World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV):

Shadowmoon Valley, Dalaran, Kugane

Artists Panel:

Photography by Matt Cheung; A Street in Kyoto, Japan

Drawing by Hirohito Araki; Cast of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Sketch by Kim Jung Gi; Depicting World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’s Battle of Undercity in-game scenario

Environments in game:

A quick sidenote, I chose these places because they hold the most nostalgia to me over the years that I’ve played WoW and FFXIV.

Screenshot of the Dalaran, city of magi
Screenshot of Kugane Castle at night
Screenshot of Shadowmoon Valley, home of the Shadowmoon Orcs

#10 Drawing and Your Brain/ Artist Conversation #4

I work for Parking and Transportation Services so I’m very familiar with the campus. This was the best I could come up with from memory.
My version of a human “spirograph”
Me applying some finishing touches to my drawing.

What was your experience like?

I thought this was a fun experiment. Closing my eyes and just going about drawing organic shapes was relaxing. I didn’t have to stress about making a certain look for a character. There wasn’t any face that I had to worry about it with features and all. I didn’t have to go for any specific theme. My aim was to simply get something going on, then to color it in and hope it looks nice.

How do you feel about the results?

The results have left me feeling very satisfied and proud of my work. I spent more than an hour just coloring and filling in different shades of similar colors. There was jazz playing in the background and I didn’t have to worry about anything else. My mom even said she wanted to hang it somewhere in the house. I imagine this would have come out much better had I used oil pain instead.

Artist Conversation #4

Exhibition Information
 Mahsa Soroudi
Nature’s Cadence!plant-show/bzxke

7,500 Miles
Media: Photography, Digital, Nature, Contemporary, Culture, Paint
Gallery: Online

About the Artist

Mahsa Soroudi is a Muslim artist born in Tehran, Iran in the year of 1988. As a child growing up, she was exposed to a variety of different cultures through media like Hollywood cinema and just traveling to a multitude of Asian countries. Her father is also a painter who runs his own academy. She acquired her BFA from Sooreh University in Tehran and thereafter immigrated to the United States, residing in Southern California.  Most of artwork explores the issues of women, gender inequalities, and clichés, as well as society’s expectations of females. Things that are very apparent and laid bare for the audience to take in are depictions of intimidation, intimacy, and vulnerability.

Formal Analysis

                In the case of Soroudi, we aren’t given any specific type of art piece, rather, we are given two projects of hers, Nature’s Cadence and 7500 Miles. Nature’s Cadence straightforward, takes the form of drought-tolerant succulents. The nature of this work uses actual plants rather than the type of art that we see in digital, painted, or sketched. Colors in this work aren’t very vivid but are just the natural colors of the everyday plant life.
                7500 Miles in contrast takes a more vivid approach in terms of appearance. With the use of a variety of different colors and styles, the exhibition offers a vibrant textures and shapes through differentiation styles. Artists’ use of lines varies from straightness, jaggedness, blurred edges, and give off an almost impressionistic vibe that of Claude Monet.

A shot by Mahsa Soroudi outside her house

Content Analysis

Nature’s Cadence: The content used in this project primarily uses the drought-tolerant plants that she has collected to parallel her experience coming to the United States for the first time.  Rather than using paint, pencil, pen, or typical cliché types of art, Soroudi opts for the use of planted succulents.

7500 Miles: The idea behind the name of this project is to defy the Western stereotypes that have been projected on women; in Soroudi’s case, the emphasis is more so upon Iranian women.

Synthesis / My Experience

Going through every single piece of artwork showcased on her site was a very profound experience. Her message through Nature’s Cadence reminded me of one of our first assignments early in the semester where we had to find a piece of on campus. 7500 Miles presented a really raw perspective of how Soroudi feels for her fellow Iranian women. To see many styles of artists come together to paint similar stories was a unique experience.


#8 Writing a (romantic) Pop Song


If I could have a dream

It’d be one without boundaries

Time, place, reality, unbounded by means of suffering

If I could have a day

It’d be one where I focused on hustling and bustling

Game on, game on, it’s always game on

Game on, game on, it’s always game on

Day by day it’s a back to back battle

The current path laid out sometimes feels a bit shallow

So, game on. What’s there to lose I say

I’m finding things out day by day

And hey, it’s all about the experience

If we focus on ourselves in the future, we paralyze ourselves in the present

And that’d feel like a meaningless existence

So, game on, game on, it’s always game on

Game on, game on, it’s always game on

If I could have a dream

It’d be one without boundaries

Time, place, reality, unbounded by means of suffering

If I could have a day

It’d be one where I focused on hustling and bustling

Game on, game on, it’s always game on

What were you trying to think about in your song?

I was thinking about how a lot of the time, we tend to focus on the future and the past and have it define ourselves rather than just focusing on the present moment before us. While the past should be acknowledged, it shouldn’t be something that we hold onto and define us. The future is an accumulation of multiple “nows” of our everyday lives, so why not focus on that?

What was your process for writing your song?

There really was no flat out specific structure that I wanted to go for with the lyrics. I simply set myself upon a theme and went with it. Everything else came through as stream of consciousness.

Was it easy? Hard What you expected? Surprising?

Having taken time to write my own song, I have so much more appreciation for songwriters and people who do this full time. It takes a lot of mental energy to get phrasing right, themes, and tones that you want to be able to convey to a vast audience. It’s pretty difficult and nothing like I initially expected at all.

How successful do you think your song is?

Considering that I was able to amass this piece in less than two hours. I would say not that great. I feel like it has a more spoken word type of feel than a rhythmic pop song.

Do you think you will ever write another song?

I don’t see myself writing another song in the future, but who knows that might just change.

If you did write another song, what do you think it might be about?

If I did write another song, it’d probably be about coffee considering the amount that I drink on a weekly basis.


#7 Counterfactual Identity


What did you try to do?

In this day and age where a lot of us are really slowly embracing a comfortable indulgence in our mobile tech devices and personal computers, I wanted to show that being active and exercising can be a really fun lifestyle that we all should incorporate.

I’ll be honest, a lot of people just passed me and didn’t pay any mind as I was jump roping and doing my usual routine of practicing transitions. I got the name Kevin, James, Alex, and even my own actual name, Andrew (haha). A lot of people assumed I was a school athlete and thought I was a kinesiology major. Everyone came off very friendly and weren’t really turned off about me doing my business. At the end of the day, I was just another student to them.

In conclusion, a lot of us can only draw so many things from a person at first glance until we actually get to know them. We generalize things and go off stereotypes to give us an idea, because they are usually the easiest things to do. For example, just looking at my physical appearance you would consider me athletic and very active. From the looks of it, I like to jump rope as a hobby, and I probably have a lot of free time considering that I just chose a random spot near commencement lawn to jump rope; there was not a single backpack or educational material on my end. I thought it was a very profound and interesting experiment.


#6 Shocking Art!

1) Why did you choose this idea?

I chose this idea because it was something that was on my mind for quite some time and this assignment allowed me the opportunity to showcase a little of what was going inside my head.

2) What did you hope to communicate?

What I wanted to communicate with this drawing, was simply how the world is slowly deviating from the use of books and into the integration of eBooks instead. There is more than just meets the eye that I want to get across. Traditional books during my childhood were things to be treasured and to be taken care of. I think a lot of this generation, we are also getting consumed by technology as well.

3) How successful do you think you were?

My artwork is rather straightforward. I think I was successful with the drawing and its straight depiction of books slowly dying out, but I think it could have been much better had I had more confidence in adding in other intricate visuals with complex colors and imagery to enhance the drawing.

4) What would you do different if you did it again?

I would have added a multitude of colors into the mix. There would have been a lot more symbolism and “reading in between the lines” if you will. I would have opted for a more digital paint style rather than just simple line art.

5) What is another idea you might explore through “shocking art?”

Another idea that I might explore is the evolution of “masculinity” over the years. Through western imperialism and colonization, we have seen many different styles evolve across different cultures. In America alone, we have seen a huge style change for men coming from the 19th century to the 21st. The idea of “masculinity” has also been challenged. I would have to do more research to really get an idea of what I am looking for.


#5 Storytelling (Photography)

Topic: A Scope Into My Journey

The very first scale that my dad bought me. During high school I struggled a lot with my self image. I would weigh myself every single day. I did not like my body and had a bouts with my self.
My self esteem had gone up with something that I could now take pride for my high school self. Lots of sweat and tears were created in here.
A few glasses that I’ve amassed over the years. Senior year of HS to early freshman year of college, I had started to become more conscious of my fashion sense.
My first real job that I had (still working here) was with CSULB Parking & Transportation Services. I’ve cultivated lifelong friendships with my coworkers here and am proud at how I’ve seen people grow.
My first time going hiking in Big Bear with some of my university friends. It was breathtaking and an experience I will cherish.
One of the first leadership roles that I took in one of my organizations was helping mentor my own group of high school students in this three day camp.

Why did you choose this story?

I chose this one because I felt like it would give people the easiest insight into my life and general outlook of my personality. Furthermore, it’s probably the most simple one to do.

How do you think you did?

I actually think I did a really good job of keeping this assignment really minimal while explaining a lot.

Which image do you think is individually the “best” image in your story?

Aesthetically, the professional shot of me in the dry riverbed at Big Bear would have to the best image and my personal favorite. We were busy hiking and I got lost in the moment taking in the surroundings. My friend Jason took the candid while I was in the small trance, and it came out really well.

Does your photostory contain an image that you think is not, by itself, a “great” image, but that is nonetheless important because it helps to tell your story?

I think the first image of the scale isn’t all that appealing. While it is just a picture of a digital scale, the memories that come with it still stick with me. It reminds me to stay humble of my struggles back in high school with my self image and that the numbers shouldn’t define my self perception.

What would you do different next time?

Next time I would take more time putting together a lot more pictures in between to have a more detailed outlook of my life. This time around I just wanted to put pictures that depicted certain milestones.

Are there other Photo Stories you might like to tell?

A future photo story that I would love to tell, is when I have amassed a lot of pictures of my travels. I haven’t done much going out of the country, but I would really like to within the next two years.


#4 Drinking and Drawing

Riley (person 1)
person 2 (me holding a cup)
drink 1 – my custom made mug filled with black coffee
drink 2 – a simple Pepsi cup laying around my friend’s house filled with water
Random tree on campus 1
Random tree by my house

1. Was it fun?

It wasn’t that fun because this was an assignment. I do like to draw, but only when I’m in the mood to do so and have something specific I want to convey or create. With regards to trying again, I might do so another time when I’m feeling more inspired.

2. Do you think if you practiced for 100 hours, or 1000, that you would get a lot better?

Absolutely! With practice comes development of technique and a better feel for drawing. The mind to muscle connection is an advantageous tool.

3. What is your major? Can you think of anyways that simple sketching of some kind could be useful in your major?

My major is in accounting. Sketching might be useful assuming you’re an auditor working with a lot of clients in manufacturing. It helps a lot to understand how their machinery works. Other than that I can’t think of how drawing would help an accountant.

4. Is Drawing a Language? Can drawings say things that are hard to say with words?

Language is something we use to communicate with other people. While it is mainly spoken and written, it can also be signed through our hands through the use of sign language. I don’t think drawing is a language, but it can be used as a means to convey a certain language/message that we are trying to get across, that isn’t really well explained through words.


#3 Finding Art Anywhere!

  1. Down below you will find a collection of my art, including me.
Ah yes. Art.
I shall call him…Philip.
Me and Philip chilling.

2. Discuss the Form, Aesthetics & Content of your art.

The form of the art is organic and natural. We can see that the piece of art is a plant that has sprouted from the crevice between two slabs of cement. Judging from the size and length of the stem, we can assume that the plant is has had an approximate lifespan of a week or two.

Aesthetically and content wise, we chose this piece of natural artwork due to the juxtaposition of its looks with the profound ideas of life that it portrayed. One of the interpretations that I brought up was looking at the small plant and seeing it for an idea. An idea that you never thought you expected would come to mind. Or possibly something that you were looking for all along, but overlooked it because you were consumed by all the other huge things going on in your life.

3. Was your Art, Art before you put a rectangle around it? Why or why not?/ 4. Will your Art be Art after the rectangle is gone? Why or why not?

Had we not deliberately taken interest in it, it would have been just another plant awaiting death in its surroundings. It definitely was not a piece of artwork like a painting, but what it did was help paint artful concepts, and we were able to find inspiration in our profound contemplation.

We are exposed to art as children in the most simple forms: drawings, colors, sketches, paintings (digital/traditional). Through television and other sources of media/entertainment we find characters and people we like. Gradually, we come to understand feelings of turmoil, anguish, love, happiness, sadness, sorrow, anxiety, depression, and empathy. We take English classes and have teachers that have us explain literary symbolism, imagery, figurative language. We come to learn theory and the scientific way of thinking.

I think most of us in this world come to know Art as it is with experience and enlightenment. We can’t realize what is Art unless we have some foundation of knowledge that we can pull from to connect the strings to form our own unique understanding. So yes, I would say the Art that I have come to experience, will continue to stay a piece of art long after the rectangle was there.

5. Does art reside in the body of the object? So that some objects are art and some objects are not art? Explain. How do we know which objects are art and which are not?

Human anatomy would be a perfect concept to explore with this question. Most objects in and of themselves are just as they are. But I feel it’s what we can take from them and see past is what makes the view a little more colorful. If the object is used/seen with an intent of creativity it can be considered art, however it all we see is just another everyday object for what it is, it’s just that.

6. Can art be something other than an object?

Yes, absolutely. For example, an artist creating and doing things in their own lives don’t automatically make those things art. I work as a barista can consider the coffee I make a work of art. The way I pull my espresso shoots, how I carefully treat/pour my steamed milk, how I layer my foam. These are all things that I purposefully try to perfect and hone and that’s what I believe makes something other than an object art.

7. Does art reside in the experience of the viewer? So that it isn’t an object per se, but a way and a choice of taking the time to have a viewing experience? Explain.

Art doesn’t solely reside in the experience of the viewer, but also the person who decided to create it. But I do think that it is largely in the experience of the person taking the time to understand what they’re perceiving.


#2 Finger Painting

  1. What was the experience like?

The first time I started painting was back in elementary school. We basically picked a painting that we liked by famous painters such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, etc. To get back into the groove through finger painting felt really refreshing.

2 and 3. Was it easier, harder, or different than you expected? How was the experience of making a painting with no subject? Confusing & Frustrating? Liberating & Inspiring?

I found it easier since I didn’t have to worry about getting anything specific down. Simply choosing my colors that I wanted to work with to give it some overall “theme” was the primary objective. Painting without a subject felt unusual. When I do draw or sketch to music when I find some free time, most of my compositions result in a character subject or something concrete like environments. It definitely did feel liberating knowing that I could just freehand and work with my fingers.

4. How does this compare to other paintings you have seen?

A lot of paintings I have seen usually consist of subjects are easy to look at with the eye. There is a focal point of interest and we can make sense of it. However, abstract art like mine below do not really consist of anything point of interest really. It’s paint all sloshed around on some piece of canvas and is up to interpretation. The only person who can really understand it is I, the artist. And that is the beauty of making abstract art. The vast expanse of uncertainty and complexity makes abstractness all the more captivating.


My First Blog Post

Maintenance Art

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.
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The class taking turns wiping the “satellite dish” portion of the piece
  1. How did you feel performing Maintenance Art in the area around the USU?

Taking my time to go out and clean the piece of artwork really made me appreciate it a little more for what it is. While Kowalski’s NOW is literally pieces of bent steel, we the audience don’t have to necessarily have to give it some physical representation of some sort to have to understand it. I believe the beauty in abstract art comes from not being able to fully understand it, and embracing the uncertainty that comes along with it.

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Me applying the finishing touches to the sculpture

2. How are Mierle Laderman Ukeles cleaning the steps of an art museum and Richard Serra flinging molten lead against the walls of an art museum different? How are they the same? Are one or both “art”? Are one or both “not art”?

In Mierle Laderman’s Manifesto for Maintenance Art, she breaks down her ideas of art into two different “instincts;” one based on Death and the other based on Life.

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The first page of the manifesto

The portrayal of her washing the steps of the art museum is a representation of her acting with the Life Instinct through “Maintenance,” where as Serra’s dynamic act of flinging molten lava against the wall of a museum is more so a portrayal of the Death Instinct. While they are different in portrayal, they are both one in the same in that they are representations of art.

3. Was Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ Maintenance Art performance at the Wadsworth Atheneum “art”? Did the fact that her performance was at an Art Museum make it art? What if instead, she had simply gotten hired as a janitor at a factory somewhere and performed that job for 6 months? Would that have been art? What makes an act “art” or “not art”?

What I believe should separate the two distinctions of the performing of the job and the portrayal of art, should be the intent of the performer and also the perception of the audience. For example, one’s job could be a door to door salesman. How he or she executes their speech and performs on a daily basis is representation on their style. They could argue that their way of doing things is an “artform” itself. From the outsider’s perspective, they are just doing their job, but what’s not to say that the act of trying to sell someone something in a particular manner that is special to you isn’t some form of “art?” What I am trying to get at is that some people may find some sort of beauty in the embracing of their daily professions. Art in the grand scheme of things is abstract and ultimately subjective.

4. Is an object or an action Art or Not Art because of some intrinsic property of the medium? Or because of the intention of the person performing it? Are all paintings on canvas art because paintings on canvas are exhibited in art museums? Is all house painting not art because we don’t exhibit painted houses in art museums? Can a painting on canvas ever be not art? Can painting a house ever be art?

In the most basic literal sense, to bring some tangibility to the question at hand, a piece of “art” can be just a drawing, painting, sculpture, mural, or the like. However, an object or an action isn’t simply defined by Art or Not Art due to its intrinsic properties. Art can be what is perceived and what is created with the intent to portray something with meaning. Painting a house can be a form of art just as much as an abstract painting using different shades of the same color.

5. Has Mierle Laderman Ukeles, or Jennifer Lopez, made you think differently about “Women’s Work”? Is “Women’s Work” ever art? If yes, when? If no, why not?

Not necessarily. Women who aim to do a great job in life and in their relationships will one way or another find a way to succeed in what they do just like any other person. I am not sure what “Women’s Work” even is, what difference does it make if a women does something another person does? A person who happens to be a women can do something that is meaningful and can be perceived as “art” just like any other person.

6. In class we discussed the woman who cleaned Donald Trump’s Star on Hollywood Blvd. Whose Star would you get down on your hands and knees to clean?

Hands down Al Pacino and Christian Bale’s.