CSUN faculty exhibits its art at West Gallery on campus

CSUN student Astric Lopez, looks over a mixed media piece called “Joe” at the exhibit Flipside: The After Hours Art of CSUN Faculty and Staff at the West Gallery on campus March 18. Tony Velis, the artist of the puppet, said he was inspired by a custodial person in the art gallery who is also a semi-professional musician. Photo Credit: Krista Daly / Senior Reporter

Puppetry, photography, quilting and silk screening are a few pieces on display at the first art show exclusively for CSUN faculty and staff.

“Flipside: The After Hours Art of CSUN Faculty and Staff” will be at the West Gallery on campus until March 24. Michelle Giacopuzzi, art gallery exhibition coordinator, said the exhibit came about when one of the artists, Mark Armitaje, was interested in doing a show.

Talin Saroukhanian, political science professor, said she was also interested in putting an art show together.

“I thought it would be nice to get people back to campus for things other than work, something fun,” Saroukhanian said. “I’m surprised how many people there were and that’s wonderful because we all have different talent when we come together.”

Saroukhanian said she spread the news of the exhibition through word of mouth. James David Ballard, sociology professor, was one person she asked to get involved.

“I had an idea about taking poems and making a visual presentation of them,” Ballard said. “I’ve written poems for years and I wanted to challenge myself. We were talking about art, and I thought, it would be kind of fun to visually interpret the words that I use.”

Ballard said people will probably expect the artists to be from the art department, but it is faculty and staff from the other departments who are involved in the Flipside art show.

“This is the stuff we do afterwards. It’s what you do that’s in your real life, because we all have jobs but this is the creative side and we’re lucky to be able to have time for it. It’s our ‘Flipside,’ Ballard said. “It’s a very different thing for me and I think that’s true of all of us. We’re trying something different and that’s the real beauty of this.”

CSUN student Astric Lopez said she was showing the gallery to a friend who may be transferring to the campus and was invited to come see the show.

“I think there are some really great pieces and they really call out to you,” she said.

Lopez said her favorite piece was the acrylic painting, “Postflick” by Marcos Armitaje.

Armitaje couldn’t be at the reception Friday, but the artist statement about the piece said it was done by “capturing light and heat passing through crystals.”
“(Armitaje) does crystal art,” Saroukhanian said. “He calls it ‘Crystal Wave’ and he enlarges the crystal images into paintings.”

CSUN alumnus Blaine Marks said “Postflick” also really stands out.

Marjorie Chase, part-time faculty in the social work department, said she couldn’t choose a favorite piece.

“They’re distinctively different from each other, so it’s hard for me to say if I have a favorite,” Chase said.

Michael Neubauer, a guest at the reception, said he was invited by two of the artists to come to the gallery.

“It’s very nice to see CSUN people not necessarily in the art department getting a chance to exhibit their work,” Neubauer said.

He added his favorite piece was “Persimmons,” a photograph by Marion Brown, because they look so luscious and ripe.

“It’s beautiful to see everybody’s talent exposed and not knowing that ‘wow you can actually do that,’” said Tony Velis, the equipment technician of the art department.
His work is of a puppet, which he said was inspired by someone he knows.

“Joe is our custodial person here. He kind of inspired me because he’s also a musician and  a semi-professional. I thought it  wouldn’t it be cool to make a puppet of a semi-professional musician here who is also a janitor, so he inspired me and that was kind of cool.”

Marion Brown said her photographs are inspired by her art instructor, Lesley Krane.

“I worked with (Krane) last semester and she’s just really really good,” Brown said. “She gets you motivated. She makes you think outside your comfort level, which is really nice. She really makes you head off in directions and try things you wouldn’t normally try.”

She added that Krane even got her involved in the art show.

“(Krane) said there’s a faculty/staff exhibit and you should be in it, so take your homework and go,” Brown said.