Art pieces hung, videos played and sculptures stood stationary as students, faculty and community members meandered the makeshift gallery that held “Pushpin,” Cal Poly’s student-run art show, on Jan. 27.
Club 34 and Cal Poly’s chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) hosted the show, gathering work from students in the art and design department. Club 34 is made up of approximately 25 art students that share work, get feedback and collaborate on projects for classes.
Traditionally Club 34 hosted “Pushpin,” but this year they worked with AIGA to make the event more inclusive. Previously, AIGA did promotional work for “Pushpin,” but this year many artists in the organization also showcased their work.
“Joining forces really gives more of a voice to the entire art department,” President of Club 34 Kelsey Dunkelman said.
The gallery featured photography, videography, studio art, graphic design and illustrations. Among these was art and design junior Dunkelman’s painting titled “Self Portrait.” Two faces are melded together in the painting. Warm pink and purple hues illuminate the faces while somber, distant blues fill the background behind the head. Dunkelman explained her face on the oil on canvas piece as an expression of resistance on its path to an expression of confidence.
“I painted this when I had a self-realization moment when I stopped being critical of my appearance,” Dunkelman said.
Two additional standout pieces of the night were drawings by AIGA President Ellen Fabini. Using graphite and watercolors, the drawings featured women in various positions, emphasizing the curves of their bodies.
Art and design senior Fabini said that although graphic design is her concentration, she enjoys all different aspects of art.
“I love to draw,” Fabini said. “This project was a fun trip back to my roots.”
Aside from paintings and drawings, there were several 3D sculptures at “Pushpin.” Among these was art and design junior Solstice Zaranski’s sculpture made of wire and wrapped in different colored pieces of yarn. The piece resembled a human body lying on the ground, trapped underneath a blanket of yarn. Zaranski said that she had a special image in mind when creating the statue.
“I wanted to show the heaviness versus lightness of mental illness,” Zaranski said. “Anyone who has had depression knows that it’s very hard to get out of bed. I wanted to recreate that.”
Zaranski also said that depression is something many people think can be “shaken off,” when in reality it’s not that easy. The yarn that makes up the blanket may look light, but it feels like the weight of the world to the person underneath it.
Like Zaranski’s sculpture, art at “Pushpin” proved to not only be aesthetically pleasing but thought-provoking and emotionally touching. Many of the pieces encouraged
further discussion by highlighting important issues.
“Pushpin” is the only student-organized, promoted and driven art show on Cal Poly’s campus. Organizers encourage artists of all skill levels to submit their work to later “Pushpin” shows. Work in all mediums is accepted, including video.