By Richard Aranda and Kai Watson
Art can be found anywhere as showcased in a RAFFMA-hosted event that was meant to inspire students to display their art to the world.
On November 14, artists gathered together at the RAFFMA Made in California art exhibit. The event showcased the portrait style photography by Wayne Shimabukaro. Accompanying him at the panel were artists Wayne has collaborated with in the past. They discussed the art scene when they were up and coming artists and how it compares to today, offering advice to young artists.
New York is known to be the place of emerging artists and setting trends. This is contrary to painter and sewer Monique Prieto’s belief saying, “There are many art worlds, and there is something for everyone. The more of us who stay here, the more that we can contend.”
She lived in a basement in New York for a year and a half after graduating with her bachelor’s but decided to move back to Los Angeles to attend California Institute of the Arts to get her masters. “I felt like people were looking over my shoulder in New York than in Los Angeles.”
When asked whether going to New York to become a successful artist was important as an artist today, the general consensus was no. Wayne who felt indifferent about going to New York went to school in Sacramento and was told, “Man, LA is a wasteland.”
Contrary to this, HK Zamani, an Iranian born multimedia artist who moved to LA to pursue his art said, “The scene now in LA is insanely thriving. Don’t wait for someone else to come along and discover you. Put your work out there. Just do it all, don’t wait for it to happen.”
Hung Viet Nguyen said, “You don’t have to go to New York. Set up a day where there are a lot of shows in LA so you can network.”
Blue McWright, who went to Rhode Island School of Design, started out as a painter but now sculpts. Having intriguing jobs such as a wilderness guide and a ski instructor paved the way into her art career.
“Artists have to stick together and support one another,” McWright said.
Zamani mentioned several friends who opened up art galleries in San Bernardino. “Doing this helps the art scene in San Bernardino and allows for collaborations to take place,” Zamani said.
“As students, you have to be honest with yourself with the kind of artist you want to be. Do you want to overwork yourself and make a gazillion dollars or do you just want to make art?” Prieto said.
Being an artist who does it for the money is unfulfilling. Everybody has to make a living off of what they do, but when you have tons of deadlines to meet for an extravagant art exhibit, your art will feel like a regular nine to five. Your work will suffer and people will see that the passion and artistry aren’t there anymore and feel disconnected to your work even if it has a message. Art comes in various forms from various people and should be treated delicately so the artists can express their versatility.