The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

    Student artist balances career and his classes

    Rough, solid black profiles of God and Satan are painted directly on the wall, in front of which a lattice of taut black and white strings is drawn between metal supports with the excess string draping to frame the wall-height heads on either side. The creator, Marshall Astor, has a long history with EC’s arts program and gallery. His career has been diverse. He was hired to work in the EC Art Gallery while attending college in the ’90s and he has since worked as an exhibition artist, curator and program manager for multiple galleries. For the past eight years, he has been the visual arts director for the Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro. He is also a full-time student, having returned for his degree, which he did not have the chance to complete before going into the arts industry. Currently, his installation piece, “Equally God and Equally Satan ,”occupies about a 10-foot triangular chunk in the corner of the EC Art Gallery.

    “This image of Satan is from a TV show called ‘Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil,’ which is a cartoon on Adult Swim,” Astor said. “I can imagine its being done with flash in Korea in some factory.”

    The mass produced origin of both of these images is a statement in itself.

    “In most of the Judeo-Christian world, it’s kind of blasphemous to picture God,” Astor said. “So I’ve got the next best thing here which is Charlton Heston from ‘The 10 Commandments’.”

    Despite Astor’s impressive artistic resume, his most useful training did not come from a Fine Arts background.

    “I took a class at this college called Gallery Management and Artist’s Career Issues and Michael Miller, who is the preparator of this gallery and who still teaches the class, was there and it was his first semester,” Astor said. “He taught it in a technical way like, ‘We’re going to run a gallery and we’re going to handle and install the art.’ So the gallery was being run by people who worked here and I was one of those people.”

    His current job as visual arts director is a product of this training.

    “I ended up coming into the arts through a technical background. I was the only person who knew how to swing a hammer, who knew how to run a gallery,” Astor said.

    After more than a decade, Astor is still deeply connected with the arts program at EC.

    His long standing friendships and working relationships with the gallery staff and helping run the gallery itself have kept him thoroughly invested. He is also the Inter-Disciplinary Exploration Artisan Society’s acting secretary of finances. A brainchild of the Arts department, which Astor is working to promote is the IDEAS club, which provides opportunities for student artists to share and be exposed to new artistic concepts and meets in Art 106 on Tuesdays at 1 p.m.

    “We thought that we could help younger students in the arts program. Not that the students in a master’s program have any better idea necessarily but when I talk with students here, I realize they’re more separated from the continuum of contemporary art practice than students at CSULB.”

    “A lot of the students here have no idea what they’re going to do,” Astor said. “I thought being involved with the art club was a way to create opportunities for them to be better prepared to go to those schools and learn to be the people who succeed in that environment.”

    For more information on Astor’s work as well as pictures and art, visit Astor’s Web site at

    More to Discover