For this week’s artist conversation I chose Emily Hernandez’s work in the Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery. Hernandez is 22 years old and a senior majoring in art education at Cal State Long Beach. Along side her teaching classes she plans to continue to take art classes. After getting her teaching credential she plans to become a junior high or high school art teacher. Hernandez talked about how she took her first art class as a senior in high school and regretted not taking one earlier. She hopes to encourage kids not to make the same mistake she did and to take art classes as soon as they can. Something that really stood out about Hernandez’s gallery was that it was interactive in the sense that she had everyone that visited paint a selfie for her to hang in the gallery. Although my painting wasn’t the best, I had a lot of fun doing it and I thought it was a really cool idea!
Hernandez works with many different mediums of art, but she focuses on paintings and ceramics. She prefers to use oil based paint on masonite, she describes the oil paint as being “very movable and manageable.” In other words she likes oil paint because its slow drying so she can easily change things later if she doesn’t like how something turned out. She prefers masonite because it absorbs the colors quickly. All of Hernandez’s pieces in the gallery were oil based paintings. She mainly does self-portraits because she doesn’t have people to model for her. Her two favorite pieces were the big self portrait (titled: Self Portrait) and the small painting of her dog (titled: Stella). She’s particularly proud of Self Portrait because she spent roughly 20 hours straight just staring at herself in a mirror. Stella was what she called a “15 minute painting” which is exactly what it sounds like. She says there’s really something special about painting quickly because you have to really commit to what you’re doing and just go with it.
I think everyone (myself included) really enjoyed the interactive aspect of Hernandez’s gallery. She told us the faster we painted the better our pieces would turn out. This honestly stressed me out because when I draw I like to take my time and fix things until I think they are perfect. But this gave me an idea of why she really enjoys doing quick paintings, there really is something special about committing to what you’re doing and just going with the flow.