Art is defined as one of the most beautiful ways to express ideas and emotions, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. However, not a lot of people are able to express what is in their minds with art because it requires skill and creativity.

There are art students at El Camino College (ECC) that express different ideas, messages and emotions through their art as they hone their skills through visual arts classes.

“[Art] is more about taking realistic experiences and finding something to hold on to. Like weve all been through things that we wish we could change, and through art, I feel like you have the power to do that,” ECC studio art major Abigail Lew said. “I want to use art to do something inspiring instead of having realistic experiences and just be depressing.”

The experiences that the students go through help them express their emotions and thoughts on a canvas. Although some of these experiences may have been uncomfortable, such as the COVID lockdowns, they are able to learn and rediscover their passion.

I feel like I’ve definitely grown as an artist this whole time because during quarantine is when I really discovered my passion for painting. Because before I was mainly illustration based and just drawing all the time,” ECC studio art student Jacqueline Robinson said.

As a result, Robinson’s art now consists mostly of acrylic paintings and is inspired by life and places around the world.

These art students try to show the world different and unique messages through their own creations.

“The main thing I want people to know or to resonate with my art is empowering women. I draw so many female characters,” Lew said. “I want all of them to just exude powerfulness and elegance and everything beautiful and amazing.”

Attaining various knowledge from their journeys of becoming artists, students like Robinson get inspiration for their art with different life and school experiences they encounter.

“I literally just have the ambition to learn everything and then put it in my art. I’ve changed my major many times, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I have so many passions that I need to use those to inspire my art,” Robinson said.

While each student expresses their own ideas and emotions, they still encounter the challenge of comparing their work to other people’s artworks.

“It is really hard because you’re your own worst critic. You’re like ‘I don’t know about this, this is not the move, nobody’s going to like this, or this is not as good as so and so,’ like comparing yourself to all these other people. And it’s so hard to really unlearn that behavior.” Robinson said.

Although students might have similar experiences or are taking the same art classes, creating unique art pieces that set them apart from others helped them recognize the best techniques during the creative process to feel more confident about their work.

“Like, you can retry again if you don’t like something, you just paint over it and try again. I had a problem where if I was drawing something I didn’t like I would just rip it or I would not even care about it,” Robinson said.

These student artists might find themselves to be their own worst critics, but others have different perceptions when it comes to their standards of beauty.

“Sometimes you’d be surprised what people like, you know. You think something is so awful on your own. You’re like ‘Oh, this is a really bad drawing’ and then your friend will see it and be like, ‘that’s amazing,’” Robinson said.

For students to continue improving their craft, they need a mentor to teach them different artistic skills and techniques.

At ECC, there are many professors who are passionate about art, and they want to teach this passion, like drawing and painting professor Randall Bloomberg. He started his artistic career as a graphic designer but after, he became a teacher.

After being a graphic designer for a while, Bloomberg discovered that the passion that he had for art had to be shared.

“I started to teach to see if I liked that. And it was one of those things that I liked right away. So, it never felt like a job. Whereas graphic design felt like a job. It just wasn’t for me,” Bloomberg said. “[When teaching], I could talk about the things that I was really most interested in. And I never turned back.”

Every artist, like Bloomberg’s students, come across different challenges in their path but in the end, he said that what art is about the uniqueness of each individual’s expression of feelings and thoughts.

“Everyone’s art is amazing in their own way,” Robinson said. “I believe that.”

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Isabella Villatoro