This week, had our first artist conversation and I had the pleasure of meeting artist Kelvin Lopez. Kelvin is from San Diego and he chose to come to California state university Long Beach because he wanted to be in the middle between San Diego and the north. He is an undergraduate at CSULB and in the process of getting his bachelors in fine arts degree and is going to go to graduate school after. He told us a little bit of how and why he became interested in art. He has always had a knack for art ever since he was a child and his want for experimenting things drew him closer to becoming an artist. What he enjoys most about art is the reaction whether is be a positive reaction such as “wow that’s neat” or a negative reaction such as “wow that sucks”. When he was little, he always found things really cool and wanted to make his own, thus his interest in art.
I saw some of his art pieces in the Dr. Maxine Merlin gallery, it was the first time i’ve been in that area, and it was truly fascinating. He also said that he has never had the resources before like he does right now. He incorporates his personal life into his art pieces such as incorporating himself and his nephew into his printmaking portraits. I learned that printmaking requires several layers of paper and you need to be extremely precise and align the pieces perfectly otherwise it’ll be messed up. I can clearly see what printmaking is in his pieces. His pieces have such a variety of colors as seen in the piece named “Baby Trip”. He also incorporates a faint but clear image of a crystal because he is a big collector of crystals. His pieces, I’ve noticed, are more jagged than they are straight.
Kelvin has several different influences such as Alex Grey, Fred Tomaselli, and his own boss, Bob Brown who does a lot of geometric and trippy works. He told us that he looks at the ideas from his favorite artists when he’s creating his pieces. When asked what he thinks the role of an artist is in today’s society, he said that “the role of an artist in today’s society is to speak to the audience” such as current events. They should use their power to educate people about what’s happening around the world today. The nature of Kelvin’s works resonates with my perspectives with art in a way that it helps me understand that art isn’t a subjective thing, art comes in many many forms and printmaking is one of those forms.
I’ve done something similar to printmaking in the 5th grade such as creating the same images from a pieces of paper I cut. But, it wasn’t as abstract as what Kelvin does. When walking through the art galleries, the portraits and pieces that caught my attention the most were “Baby Trip”, “Noise Pollution”, and “Wolf Pack”. He mentioned that he was a big collector of crystals, and there was a display of several different crystals in the gallery. The reason why those pieces, specifically, stood out to me was because I see what print making is now and because he was able to incorporate crystals into his creations which I thought was extremely neat. He took his passion for art and collecting crystals, and combined them to create his masterpieces. I can clearly tell how he incorporated his personal life also because some of his work had pictures of his nephew in them.