I was recently instructed to highlight the words and phrases that most resonated with me from my Gallup's Strengths Quest results. "…in your should you know that we are all connected…you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another…It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life's mysteries." And that is all rather wordy but the basic note rings with a lot of truth. No one is ever forgotten and there is a lot of peace generated in that "We're all in this together!" High School Musical mentality. So I rented a car. This past Saturday I drove back up Interstate-5 to the land of my alma-mater to rustle up whoever might be around and this is who I found.
Eric MacLeod. Eric graduated from Biola in 2008 and at the time was nursing a budding passion for the written word. Well, the form of the written word. Type. After graduation he stayed on as a graphic design intern and realized that he couldn't find exactly the typefaces that he was longing for and thus turned to creating his own. Currently he works on the outskirts of Los Angeles for a digital photo frame manufacturer. Eric was kind enough to allow me to invade his home, which he shares with a number of other college graduates, and his small corner workspace/studio. I am impressed by the level at which type hits Eric…he bends over the New York Times and circles the small angles, blobs and bulges that he finds so communicative about the written form that words take.
Laurel Wilson. Laurel, also Biola 2008, is perhaps one of the most thoughtful art makers that I have ever met. She embeds deep threads of conscious thought into her work which straddles the genres of installation, sculpture and, in my opinion, drawing. There is a curiosity in her that keeps it's head close to the ground, hunting for new material and it's meaning. After having completed a number of internships, including working on the set of the film Inception, she will be looking at graduate programs in the Southern California area come this fall.
Jamie Uretsky. Jamie, currently working on her Masters at the University of Connecticut, is another self-aware, curious and excited art maker who also happens to be a dear friend of mine. After graduating from Biola in 2007 she spent one year in Southern California, one year in Monterey, CA and then moved to Stores, Connecticut. Her nearly obsessive need to make work is really an overwhelming call to participate in that which surrounds and forms her. It is, perhaps, a way of processing and a way of taking in information, touching it and watching it change and redefine itself. She will be finishing up at UConn this next spring and will be showing in the NY area come summer 2010.
Sydney Van Orden. Sydney finished up at Biola in December 2007 and took off on a trip through Western Europe. Since then she has moved around San Diego and has cashed in her paints for degrees in copy editing and graphic design. A current student at UC San Diego, she is finishing up at digital arts degree and is working as a free lance designer and photographer. In my opinion the step between her abstract painting and current work is small as the work is consistently concerned with color, shape and space. Upon graduation this coming year she will be taking a job and leaving San Diego for bigger waters.
Hope Bartel. Hope Bartel and I worked in the same studio our last year at Biola and we graduated together in 2008. Hope loves to concentrate on the minuscule. She works as a free lance editor, helping others manage the ever present evils of grammar and punctuation in their dissertations and publications, and she finds delight in small drawings, slight movements of the pencil and of light. She and her husband live in Whittier, CA and will be moving to St. Andrews, Scotland in the spring of 2011 where her husband will be completing a Masters in some sort of crazy uniting of theologic terms and poetry.
Dan Callis. Dan Callis is my professor, mentor and an ever-influential artist in terms of work ethic and commitment to constant study. He is the head of the Biola abstract painting department and though I could write long paragraphs about the work that he has done and exhibited, I would rather speak on the small studio visit that occurred on this trip. Graciously opening his studio to a few old students, Dan took down some work and began to explain how the pieces connected, where his brain and visual field were going to and coming from. And that process amazes me. It is rare to find someone consistently interested in pushing themselves towards what might be around the next bend. And in there, somewhere locked into a brushstroke that surges forth to counteract another, is where he discovers and locates faith and hope and joy and grace. There is a love of color that reverberates, conversing between the different families of work and it is always a joy to share in that.