Artist: Connor O’Brien
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
During this week for the artist experience, I was able to speak to Connor O’Brien, who is a senior at California State University, Long Beach. According to him, he has always had a fondness for visual art and aspired for a photo major because he wanted to explore his talents as well as share it with others. He sees himself as an individual with a very care-giving personality in addition to being a very humble and well-rounded person. Ever since he was a child, he has always had a fondness for the camera. Being outside gave him an outlet to express how beautiful he saw the world and allow others to be able to see the world in the same way.
In his exhibition, Mentia, his work focused mainly on the notion of illness and medication. He did so through the utilization of audio and visuals. For the audio, he used music that was made by his cousin and close friend and for the visuals, he used his abilities in photography to really bring out the beauty and the real moments that he had seen and wanted to share. It shows a member of his family going through difficulties in health and mental ability but also showing the sentimental feelings that he felt when he was in those moments. It shows the important memories that illustrate the endearing feelings that a person can hold towards another through times of natural hardships.
On a personal level, I thought his piece was very relatable to me because I think of my grandma and how she is ill. People within my family really do care about the wellbeing of my grandma but they also understand that the biological forces that are coming upon her have a very strong effect on it as well. Furthermore, while they wish for her good health, her health is slowly decreasing, which is a very sad thing for my family and my relatives to see because they do not want to see my grandma being in such a bad state. I feel that Connor’s personal sentiment with elders and also the notion of illness is very strongly connected to my own personal experiences. We always want the best for our family but sometimes the only thing that we can do is to just watch and take care of them to the best of our abilities because we can only help them and enjoy the moments that are left in the world with them.