Reynold A. Martinez, George Rivera’s art student, explains that his paintings mirror visions of things he has seen. Â Outside the Vargas Gallery at Mission College’s Gillmor Center on Saturday, May 21, Martinez displayed many pieces of his work, including “Double Action,” showing powerful waves at a beach and “Outside of My Kitchen Window,” the projection of a flower called the bird of paradise. Mission College’s Art and Design Open House, held on May 21-22, showed the work of students such as Martinez.
“We’re doing the Open House in conjunction with Silicon Valley Open Studios,” says Lynne Todaro, art instructor and director of the Vargas Gallery. Â “We want to open up our facilities so people could see our studios and our labs and have an idea of what we do here. On Saturday morning, the drawing lab would be open so people could see the students with their projects. On Sunday, we’re doing a bronze pour. We’re pouring molten bronze into sculpture molds.”
Inside one of the work labs was Brian Meek, metalsmithing instructor. He showed off a couple of pendants he designed from cuttlefish bone.
“Carving with cuttlefish bones is something safe and quick I can do with beginning carvers,” Meek says. “The thing about metalworking is that there are so many techniques and this is just one of them. Cuttlefish bone carving goes back 5,000 to 6,000 years. You just take a pencil and a piece of wood to carve into the cuttlefish bone. They’re very soft.”
According to Meek, after the cuttlefish bone is carved, the artist pours bronze into it. When the bronze hardens up, the artist cuts the cuttlefish bone off and what remains is the piece of bronze. Meek will be teaching a metalsmithing workshop on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from June 4 to Aug 13.
Inside the Vargas Gallery, art instructor Helayna Thickpenny pointed out the prize-winning art work from the department’s recent student art show. Created in Kristin Lindseth’s digital art class, Hadi Aghaee’s painting of a flirting couple called “Heart or Mind?” won the President’s Award of $1,000.Â According to Thickpenny, this award is given every two years to a student here for their art.
“‘Heart or Mind?’ combines an old traditional realistic painting style with Persian poetry and is now transformed using a modern digital painting technique,” Thickpenny says. “This piece is one of a series related to Persian poetry.”
Benjamin Hunter’s “Oak,” from art instructor Mark Engel’s watercolor painting class, won an honorable mention. Another honorable mention winner was Steve Dellicarpini’s “Round Box” created for Todaro’s basic design class.
“Some of the students showing their art here are beginners,” Thickpenny says. “So we hope it’d be an inspiration to others to try an art class here.”