For my artist conversation, I had the honor of getting to speak to Manyu Gao, who is currently a graduate student at California State University, Long Beach. She is part of the School of Art’s program for Drawing and Painting. What sparked our conversation was her artwork displayed inside the Max L. Gatov Gallery West at CSULB. Simple and charming, her painting was made with the use of many oil paints and some turpentine put on very smoothly on a canvas.
The piece came into existence from simple beginnings. Gao shared that it all started from an assignment in which everyone had to create a piece. She told me how it was supposed to involve anything that existed in her sketch book with a figure. She’s an avid artist so she had many works to choose from but she expressed that it was difficult for her to choose. But one piece that seemed to fit the role was a sketch of her friend. The sketch included a candid picture of her friend and also depicted food too, which was one of the first things that stood out to me because of the alluring color of red for the containers holding the food. It was implied that the food on the piece was McDonald’s food, which is widely iconic.
In fact, Gao’s piece illustrated a special moment with her friend when they had gone out to try more Western foods over their usual Asian cuisines. As we talked, she shared her feelings about the painting. She felt the painting depicted a pause in a time, in which this moment with her friend was a moment in time that was worth taking a pause for.
Not only did her piece speak to me but it also made me feel a sense of calm through it. The reflection in the window depicted reminded me of the many moments that I have had in the past where I just stare out of the window and ponder about life and how things are. It made me reminiscence about those moments when I was stuck at home and just staring outside the window just wondering what adventures are available outside of our homes.