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Interview Series: BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations are live virtual events where graduating students from CCA's Textiles, Photography, Individualized Studies, Sculpture, Glass, Printmedia, Jewelry and Metal Arts, Ceramics, Community Arts, and Painting and Drawing programs publicly share their capstone work. Each event features student presentations, responses from art professionals, and time for discussion. Through this online presentation we celebrate each student’s dedication to art-making during their time at CCA, and provide a way for family, friends, and the general public to connect with and celebrate student work.

This spring, in anticipation of these events, we invited seniors to share their influences, their artwork, and their plans for the future with us. The interviews were conducted by Daniela Segovia and edited by Katherine Jemima Hamilton and Liz Godbey, with editorial and graphic design by Sarah Chieko Bonnickson.

Contents:

Jordan Barram

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 19, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?

"‘My ET Ex-Girlfriend’ is an exploration of friendship, sexuality, and self-esteem to discover both by using imagination as a safe alternative to reality. The creation of this story began as a way to validate my own feelings of isolation, attraction, and ultimately confusion around 'what is allowed.' By pulling iconic imagery and references from movies, books, music, and other storytelling devices, this soon-to-be book is the story I would have wanted—and still want— as a young queer person. With this story and stories like it, I want to participate in diversifying the narrative we provide for ourselves, our peers, and our future by destigmatizing, identities, experiences, and relationships larger society does not recognize or support."

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Cameron Bunting

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 8, 2021

How do you approach atmosphere and color?⁠

"I love color so much. I love that I’m able to see things and have good vision. Color is a big part of my work, and having my surface materials natural looking helps show the intricacies of the colors I use. I think living in California is my biggest inspiration when it comes to color. And in terms of atmosphere, I think that can be seen when looking at my work in person. Painting lines so close together gives a nice blurred effect and depending on how far away your eyes are to the painting you get a certain energy from it."⁠

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Yifan Chen

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 5, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?⁠

"I used to think of my mother as a very strong and undefeated woman, and I realize now that I took all the things she has done for granted. The truth is that I know her as a mother, but not as a woman. I started to ask questions like: how does she feel in the family? What is she always complaining about? Do I pay enough attention to my own mother? Does she regret moving to this country? Does she mean it when she says something cruel to me? Am I suppressing my own mother in a way that I don’t even realize? My thesis work demonstrates the transpacific relationship between three generations in the context of an immigrant family."⁠

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Annaleah Gregoire

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 15, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?⁠

"My upcoming thesis exhibition 'Unpleasantly Beautiful' is investigating a physical and conceptual notion of peeling back layers to expose one's interior. By touching on my own vulnerabilities, I can open a door for conversations around discomfort and the process of healing. I have built a visual language with art and science revolving around the visible and invisible wounds of trauma. Through dissection, amputation and exploring anatomy in many mediums, my work examines the human form by exposing its interior. I use medical images such as x-rays as a way to depict the internal form. By exposing spots of trauma layer by layer, it allows me to illuminate the uncomfortable and honest pain of healing."⁠

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Kirra Teal Hellfritsch

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 1, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?⁠

"The dissonance between our inhibition and our desire to be unapologetically ourselves. I am exploring⁠ mental health. All of the negative ways we express anxiety, stress, discomfort, etc. Each piece is a physical⁠ transfiguration of these inhibitors, and by placing on parts of the body, I want to bring to focus just how⁠ uncomfortable and distracting those can be. To move through a room wearing one of these pieces over the face⁠ can affect the ability to eat, think clearly, even hindering movement of their own body. I want to bring attention⁠ to something most everyone experiences consistently throughout their lives.⁠"⁠

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Chiapei Huang

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 12, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?⁠

"The thesis is to define life, death, love, and hate from my own experience and perspective. Life is about abundance, growth, and culmination, and life for me also means being an orphan after losing my parents. The topic of death is never pleasant; my experience dealing with death came when I lost my parents three months apart and the fact that I had an unborn sibling that I did not know of. We have all heard of the phrase, 'it is a thin line between love and hate.' In the psychological analysis, love and hate are similar and yet opposites, and it is these polar opposites that I am trying to translate through ceramics.⁠"

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Howsem Huang

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

March 29, 2021

What is your major influence at the moment?⁠

"I'm studying East-Asian photography, which I didn't get many chances to learn in the US. Studying Japanese post-war photography, which has shown us a provocative photographic language, I've been trying to use a similar disturbing language in my photographs to address the outrageous reality. In other words, the reality is also a major influence on my works. The BLM movement happened worldwide last year, the Hong Kong 2019 protests, and many social injustices in China keep reminding me of the role of creating which is to reveal the outrages and challenge the power."

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Fredi Lopez

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 19, 2021

How has your project evolved?

"A major turning point in my analysis of conceptual grounding has been with my artwork Adapting Is… in January of 2020. Since that project, everything shifted to be more personal and vulnerable. I want to experience the self through environments, experiences and emotional maturities met with processed based ways of creating like drawing, ceramics and sculpture, that oscillate and mend ideas, sketch to sculpture or drawing. In my newer works, I emphasize the emotional efforts of providing solace among viewers—that vulnerability can spark conversation on topics of home, love, and our mental perceptions of ourselves."

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Rulin Ma

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 8, 2021

What is the question you are trying to answer for yourself through your practice?⁠

"What kind of person I am is a question that I constantly carry with me in my practice. Through my practice, I have been watching what I have given up, struggled with, feared, kept, and returned to repeatedly. And then, through these observations, I piece them together and know myself a little bit better. So I think that no matter what my artwork's outcome is, the process is critical and precious in my exploration of this question. There doesn't seem to be an ultimate answer to this question because I am continually discovering and revising what I know about myself as I create and practice."⁠

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Jason McDonald

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 12, 2021

What or who are your major influences?⁠

“Fred Wilson, Theaster Gates, Kara Walker.”⁠

How has your project evolved? ⁠

“When I came to school I was very craft focused. I realize now that I was missing a huge opportunity to tell my stories through my work. Now when I get into the studio to create, I'm asking how I can use my media to speak about important issues.“⁠

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Elaine Moreno

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

March 29, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?⁠

"My thesis is investigating my parents’ decision to go back to Mexico after 30 years of being in the U.S. This project, Mami y Papi, narrates the story of my parent’s life coming to, living in America and their decision to go back. Asking why do my parents want to go back to Mexico? What is missing here, in America? Was this always their plan? When I started on this body of work in 2019, during Trump’s term, there was a rise in racist and xenophobic terrorist acts across America. We saw and continue to see a lot of hate towards American people of color, other countries, cultures, and immigrants. Unfortunately, the list goes on and so I was determined to create a body of work that showed my reality and experience as a daughter of immigrants."⁠

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Shanti Moreano Freire

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

Thursday, April 1, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?⁠

"My thesis investigates the colors that have been passed down generationally from my grandmother, mother, and sister. Growing up in the whitescapes of Minnesota rewired my brain to only accept sanitized forms of seeing the world exiling the existence of the brown women in my life. After discovering the invasion of white in me and unearthing the beauty of colors I have inherited, it was urgent to look at my lineage and collaborate with them because they have so generously passed down colors to me. I wanted them to see that their insistence in bringing pieces of Ecuador with them so that I could know my roots was achieved. That they warmed me when I was frozen."⁠

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Joel Murnan

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 15, 2021

What or who are your major influences?

"My biggest influence has to be the landscape I grew up in. From watching frogs in the creek to building stick forts with my friends I was lucky to have a hands-on youth. It connected me to the earth, its life, and its history. Another major influence was model dioramas. I was first introduced to them at a young age at my local county fair’s train museum. The fact that I could create a new world in a physical form kickstarted my art production. Since then I have always had a fondness for creating dioramas and other models of the sort."

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Carlos Daniel Perez-Boza

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 19, 2021

How do you approach atmosphere and color?

"When working on large pieces, I use color to break up the flatness of my line work by implementing texture through color. I use saturated colors to pop in and out of my work. I also draw color and atmosphere from tribal patterns from Chile, Africa, and indigenous clothing."

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Ashley Ross

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

March 29, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?⁠

"I chose to title my thesis 10/27/03. It’s taken from a certificate I received as a child after being baptized, given a 'spiritual birthday,' and then it declared that I was given a 'new birth experience.' The idea of being a child and indoctrinated with complicated spiritual concepts and religious doctrine such as 'being born again' has continued to fascinate me throughout my life. This body of work is an exploration of themes centering around my religious upbringing, identity, family, and how it has informed who I am now."⁠

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Ethan Schoefer

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 26, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?⁠

"My thesis is a collection of work exploring fantastical scenes and landscapes in an imaginary world. These scenes are dream-like in nature and they are very materially-driven. I love drawing and I love getting hands-on in the studio. These images can end up getting pretty bizarre and immersive simply because there’s so many ways to combine media and materials. I’m working towards creating a cohesive visual experience. I want people to feel immersed in my work as they navigate through my illustrations. It’s really fun combining sci-fi and fantasy along with a lot of my historical influences!"

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Megan SooHoo

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 5, 2021

What is your thesis investigating?⁠

"idea of being things you carry things you go through is a body of work that focuses on the traumatic childhood experiences I faced that span two decades. This is the first attempt I have undergone to explore the trauma in a physical form, through the use of family archives and my own photographs. In the process of undergoing countless personal writings to truly understand the extremities of the mental, physical, and sexual abuse I faced, I was able to gain a better understanding of how to cope with what happened to me and really try to flesh out all the things I’ve been unknowingly holding in."⁠

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Fan Zhang

BFA Senior Thesis Conversations

April 22, 2021

What is the question you are trying to answer for yourself through your practice?

"What is the simplest way to solve the design and show my stories to my viewers?"

How has your project evolved?

"After COVID-19, I built up my home studio, and started to work with many other materials which can satisfy my limitations, for example, use magnets to replace hinges for holding boxes."

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