Tulips, self portrait, pink armored mermaid displayed at student art show

Alena Naiden, Staff Writer

Photo Credit: Alena Naiden
Viewers gather around work produced by students at De Anza College in the Euphrat Museum on Wednesday May 6.
Huge fluorescent paintings, a small garden of ceramic plant figures, photos, posters, sculptures and a performance of a blues band attracted hundreds of visitors to the Student Art Show reception at De Anza College’s Euphrat Museum on Wednesday May 13.
“I would die to be able to draw like that!” said Michael Vail, a plumber.

Local artists Yvonne Escalante and Hitoshi Sasaki awarded $100 to nine De Anza College students for their work.

De Anza also purchased ten students’ works for its permanent collection.

Many students who exhibited their work were not experienced artists. Elnora Nikitina, ESL student, took a brush for the first time in her life to paint “Tulips.”

Nikitina said she decided to try art herself after she didn’t get into any of the ESL classes. She said she asked herself, “What do I really want to do?” while sitting at the main quad when another class turned out to be full.

Nikitina said her second painting was an expression of her cultural shock after coming to America. “Self-portrait” displays a smiling woman, and Nikitina described how strange she felt about people smiling to her everywhere in America.

“They don’t know me!” Nikitina said, “Maybe I’m an awful person.”

Photo Credit: Alena Naiden
Ceramics professor Rocky Lewycky speaks discusses work produced for the student art show on Wednesday May 6.

The painting “Galactic Mermaid” by Victor Castillo, 19, art major, was the biggest piece exhibited. The painting depicts a pink, armored mermaid set against a black background with stars.

Castillo said he came up with the idea of the painting when he felt fed up with life. His family lived in a poor neighborhood and was robbed several times, but his mother didn’t want her kids to cry and feel bad. He said the mermaid in the painting symbolizes his mother and protection.

“I wanted to paint my own guardian angel that would always be there for me like my mom was, “Castillo said. He explained the cosmic theme by the fact his mom dedicated stars to him.

“Butts stink,” a found-art pieceby Shayne Oseguera, 20, art major, drew much attention as well. Oseguera found cigarette butts for his sculpture on De Anza’s campus, and modeled them into a human behind.

Oseguera explained that he wanted to bring attention to environmental issues.

Another one of Oseguera’s sculptures, “2-faced society,” was made from metal he bent himself. He said the two sides symbolized the “two-faced nature of people,” and the space between represented the emptiness everyone needs from time to time.

Oseguera said that the ladder on his sculpture implies the idea to climb to your dreams. “Or something cheesy like that,” he said.

After the first hour of the reception, the crowd started to disperse, but some visitors stayed well past the end time.

One of the late night visitors, (waiting for first name) Miller, said the exhibition brought back memories about De Anza to him and the desire to paint again.

“We all have creativity, but we need to put our mind to it,” said Terry Miller.

The Student Art exhibition is open until June 11, and is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.