WK 10- Artist Conversation- Helen Werner Cox

Artist: Helen Werner Cox

Exhibition: Silent Screams

Media: Oil, Pastel, Maker, Inks, Crayons, MonoPrints, Basswood Carving

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery West

Website: http://www.HelenWernerCox.com

Instagram: No Instagram

Helen Werner Cox was a delight to speak with for this weeks artist conversation. She is a student of the CSULB Fine Arts Program of Drawing and Painting where she is currently working towards a Masters Degree. Cox left her home in Ithaca, New York at age 18 to study fine arts in Massachusetts. For 30 years she taught high school and middle school art. Teaching led her to going for a masters where she spent 13 years in Boston before having enough snow and rain. She landed a middle school teaching job upon coming to California where she spent 17 years doing so, then another 13 years as a librarian in North Long Beach. She carries a notebook with her wherever she goes in case an idea crosses her mind, she can quickly jot down or sketch her idea for later referencing. Next to drawing and painting Cox enjoys gardening and fictional books

When asked how Cox would describe the lines in her paintings she said “structure and energy”. In ‘The a Blue Mule’, Cox uses cooler, darker colors in the foreground, and the warmer colors are used to paint the animals coming forward. The differentiation of warm and cool colors evokes the feeling of warm lighting, and gives dimension to the painting. Her painting ‘Silent Screams’ shares more warm colors, and her strokes in the foreground create movement and energy.

Cox exhibit was centered around the visual depiction of carousel horses, but the fun loved image held a deeper context. The horses’ expressions in Cox paintings were fearful, and the emotions felt dark. Cox message was to illustrate how society is stuck on a track, going in circles, spiraling out of control. Cox shared that many who are a fan of carousels do not like her art because they feel the work is altering the image of horse carousels from fun to dark.

Of all the artists, Cox has been my favorite conversation. She was such a fri fly conversation and I absolutely enjoyed every piece in her exhibit. I have a personal connection with carousels as my grandmother adores them, so we had carousel horses all over our home. I enjoy metaphors that reflect images of societal behavior because typically, as humans, we don’t recognize when we are stuck in a loop or when we repeat habits; and art is a powerful motivator to get people to reflect or react. There’s something about art that captures us and evokes mindfulness.


Wk 7- Artist Conversation- Andrea Williams

Artist: Andrea Williams

Exhibition: Sacrifice

Media: Ceramics, Raw Clay, Cement, Mason Strain

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: http://mrsdubbayoo.weebly.com/

Instagram: @AndreaWilliammms

Andrea Williams is a undergraduate in the CSULB  School of Arts Ceramics Program. It wasn’t until Williams 20s that she developed an interest in painting, however she was raised in an artistic home. Art and music have always been in Williams family circle; Williams was once a drummer for a band. Williams developed into handling ceramics with the encouragement of her husband, and when she is not creating, she loves being a mother to her baby and her house of pets. Motherhood has given Williams a great source of inspiration and influence as reflected in her creations.

Williams creations are hand crafted with cement and ceramics on large scales. The pieces are not smoothly crafted, but Williams paints over the molds with orangish-red and white paints. The pieces look like paintings one would see on stone walls of a Church or a Mission from the use of texture.

Her symbolism for sacrifice uses religious context, referring to the Lords Son  Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins. The symbolism of a woman spread on a cross is referring to the sacrifices that women and mothers give for their children, spouses,  family, and friends. Sacrifices like bearing children, both physically and mentally alter the female body. The distortions of imperfect molds further symbolize how the female body changes.

To some it may be offensive, however I view Williams use of biblical reference inspiring and empowering as she takes a powerful global image and recreates it in a relatable social problem. She speaks not to disrespect the Lords Son, but to gain public eye of woman sacrifice.

WK 5- Artist Conversation- Andre Ritter

Artist: Andre Ritter
Exhibition: Fuse: Join to Form; Single Entity
Media: Metals, aluminum
Gallery:CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Website: N/A
Instagram: N/A

Andre Ritter is a spring 2015 CSULB graduate with a BFC in Metals. Aside from creating, Andre is a father of two- an 8 year old and 10 year old. The exciting thing about Andre that he is inspired to keep art in our schools as many schools are removing art programs with increasing budget cuts. To make sure his kids have an education with art he devotes his own time to establish an art program at their school where artists come to the kids and show them their own artwork. Just like we do every Thursday! Between being a father, an artist, and directing an art program Andre’s hobbies include beach volleyball, comic books, and The Walking Dead (I’m sure he’s watching the newest episode tonight!)

Andre’s primary media consists of metals. However in his headdress the most attention grabbing media are the tall blue and green feathers. The base of the headdress is made up of aluminum metal pieces, but the use of metal does not take away from the Pacific Islander vibes. There are circular, rustic metal pieces that surround the base of the headdress that make the piece look like an authentic Polynesian artifact. The lamp was composed of aluminum, which one wouldn’t think of as authentic Polynesian materials, however the designs in architect and neutral tones give pacific island night vibes.

Andre’s art is Polynesian influenced. The headdress was influenced by more traditional pacific island culture- the side of the tropics most people don’t vacation to. The lamp shares a Polynesian architect style while giving off dim light; the purpose was to keep the piece authentic and soothing.

Coming from a Hawaiian background I enjoy seeing others captivate more than what they see on television. Andre’s industrial pieces remind me of being a kid when my family had all these scrap pieces of metal in the garage. My parents would let me glue them together and make metal animals. I personally related to Andre and his art, and I really admire him as a person hearing how he is rallying together artists to keep art an interest to children and a focus in our educational system. Andre is so deeply passionate about what he creates and speaks to it.

WK 3- Artist Conversation- Joshua Vasquez


Artist: Joshua Vasquez

Exhibition: Vida/Morte

Media: Clear Plastic Trash Bags, Red Rosin Paper, Ink Markers, Various Discarded Flowers

Gallery: CSLUB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: http://www.joshvasquez.com

Instagram: @Joshybehr #VidaMorteArt


In a solo exhibit titled Vida/Morte, Joshua Vasqez reveals a 6 month project of his own artwork. Joshua Vasquez is a 5th year undergraduate of the Drawing and Painting Program at CSU Long Beach School of Arts from Downtown Los Angeles. He graduates Spring 2017. Josh enjoys all forms of art, but favors using ink marker with his trash bag canvases. He has held a passion for art since a young boy, but never went after the idea of pursuing art until 2 years ago. Before pursuing art, Josh majored in communication studies.

Josh’s work depicts flowers and skulls-life and death. The room was dim, only illuminating his pieces on the wall and floor, evoking a sense of darkness. It was interesting to look into his piece, Los Ojos– composed of acrylic on red robin paper, layered with discarded flowers, because Josh successfully captures life and death in a single artwork. When asked why he uses simply black and white, he answered that the discarded flowers are his color. His black and white pieces on the walls, composed canvases made up of clear white trash bags and black ink marker embody more death as they depict human skulls and a cow skull. A fellow art appreciator was quick to ask Josh what he was attempting to encompass in his wall canvas because they were so different from the pieces on the floor. Josh responded that he depicts many skulls, however in a single piece-Rosado, he describes envisioning a rose. The soft, circular strokes were inspired by rose pedals. When Josh was forwarded with questions about his inspirations, influences, and drive he was short and hesitant. His hopes are for his admirers to draw their own personal conclusions to the meaning. I admire Josh Vasquez’s art and how he does not only embrace the beauty of life, but his art forces the observer to feel the beauty of death.

I can’t say my experiences have influenced my views on Joshua Vasquez’s art, however I am visually attracted to the dimness of the room and how it compliments the neutral tones from the red robin paper used in his flower-centered pieces such as Los Ojos and La Flor Muerta. His use of trash bags for canvas is intriguing in itself because I had never seen such resourceful innovation in art.