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An Artistic Reunion

In celebration of Cal State LA’s 70th anniversary, the university unveils a riveting art exhibition featuring the work of talented alumni.

A+mural+of+the+veteran+actor+Strother+Martin+by+Kent+Twitchell+in+Hollywood%2C+CA.
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An Artistic Reunion

A mural of the veteran actor Strother Martin by Kent Twitchell in Hollywood, CA.

A mural of the veteran actor Strother Martin by Kent Twitchell in Hollywood, CA.

Pliffgrief

A mural of the veteran actor Strother Martin by Kent Twitchell in Hollywood, CA.

Pliffgrief

Pliffgrief

A mural of the veteran actor Strother Martin by Kent Twitchell in Hollywood, CA.

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

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This year marks Cal State LA’s 70th anniversary. What better way to celebrate than by bringing back alumni from throughout the school’s history? On Sept. 9, the Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery opened a new art exhibit to the public, featuring the collective work of former Cal State LA students.

“Legacies”, is designed to display just that: the cultural and artistic impact of alumni as they have gone on to forge successful careers of their own. The gallery is curated by artist Mark Steven Greenfield who earned his MFA in painting and drawing from Cal State LA in 1987.

After graduating from Cal State LA, Greenfield served numerous directorship roles as an Arts Administrator for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. His pieces have been displayed here in the United States and abroad.

His art has been exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, and the California African American Museum. His international fame has taken his work as far as Thailand, Italy, South Korea, and China.

One of the artists featured in “Legacies” was renowned muralist Kent Twitchell, whose larger-than-life murals can be seen throughout the Los Angeles area. His murals are concieved to be realistic, depicting his human subjects in a lifelike manner.

One of his most famous murals, “The Freeway Lady”, depicts his grandmother with a gorgeous afghan blanket. He painted the mural in 1987, overlooking the 101 freeway. Since then, it has been erased by a billboard company, though Twitchell received approval to repaint it in 2015.

At “Legacies,” Twitchell displayed a graphite sketch of his famous Freeway Lady in an alternate position. The drawing was done with a 3mm pencil on wood.

“My hand hurt so much that I’d never do another one!” said Twitchell.

Upon completion of his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972, Twitchell’s art exploded throughout America, garnering him massive media attention. He attributes his success to his training at Cal State LA.

“My professors at Cal State LA had me do public art for a lot of my assignments. They were really supportive of me, and so I think I owe them a lot,” said Twitchell.

He recalled a specific incident in which his work on a Strother Martin mural in 1971 had prevented him from showing up to class. In spite of this, his teachers respected his artistic talent and burgeoning career.

“A woman who was teaching weaving gave me a B. I didn’t have to go to class,” said Twitchell. “I can’t give you an A , you’re not coming to class. I’ll give you a B if you do a good job painting it,” the teacher said.

Another featured artist is Kaz Oshiro, who completed both his Bachelor of Art and Master of Fine Arts degrees at Cal State LA in 2002. His work bridges the medium between painting and sculpture, using painting materials to build three-dimensional replicas of mass produced objects.

One of his more famous pieces consists of three steel beams made out of stretched planes of painted canvas. This strikingly realistic work was displayed at “Legacies.”

Oshiro began studying at Cal State LA in the early 1990s. During that time the recession hit, shrinking art programs across the United States, including the program at Cal State LA.

“It wasn’t an easy time for the students.” Oshiro said “I stayed here longer than I had thought, but I will say that it really helped with my development as an artist.”

The “Legacies” exhibit will remain open until Sept. 30. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, from 12 to 5p.m. The exhibit is located in the Fine Arts Gallery within the Fine Arts Building.

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