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Art History Studio – Bauhaus, Narrative Art, and Painting Food

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Instructor Hilary Galián’s students discuss what they notice in an art slideshow, as a way of warming up to making their own work. A former PCC student, Hilary earned an MFA in Studio Art. Lately she paints neighborhood scenes as a way of reflecting on Portland’s housing market and its effects on her community. In the Fall, watch for her drawing workshop in Spanish.

As a 2D arts instructor, the basis of my art practice and teaching is classic observational drawing and painting methods. However, I challenge students to convince the viewer of what they see, whether they are focused on the naturalistic representation, or a more unique individual perception. For example, in “Painting Food”, we don’t strive to paint the orange as precisely as the Dutch masters (mostly because of the time constraints). Instead, we’ll take on a looser representation of orange like Cezanne’s or other Impressionists’.

Most classes start with a short slideshow of images as a warm-up and introduction to the day’s tasks. As a natural introvert, I tend to skip the traditional “icebreakers” (they always give me terrible anxiety). I believe that a gentler way of building a group dynamic is by simply focusing on art and starting a dialogue about it – “what do you notice?” I love the discussions that can come from looking at art in a group. This way of warming up grew into an idea to expand the slideshows into a mini art history lesson combined with a studio component, as in “Art History – Bauhaus”.

I loved my experience as a PCC student and was excited to return as an instructor. After transferring credits from PCC to Portland State University, I graduated with a BA in Drawing and Painting, and went on to Mills College where I completed my MFA in Studio Art.

In addition to my background in art, I have worked in social services and health services, from Head Start in Multnomah County to teaching pregnant and parenting teens in the Mission District of San Francisco.

This side of my professional background has in no small part influenced my work in the studio, which is an exploration of attachments to place and cultural perceptions and divisions. Growing up in a multicultural family (I’m Spanish-speaking bilingual/bicultural) has also influenced my focus on cultural roots and ties. Lately, I have painted many neighborhood scenes and reflected on Portland’s housing market and its effects on a community. “Narrative Art” is most in-line with my own style of art-making.

Last year, I lead a mural project, collaborating with students from Hillsboro High School to paint over 100 feet of murals inside the school, resulting in new imagery that reflects and honors the cultures of the diverse student body. My favorite example from the murals is the “Chicano Movement”-themed mural which depicts current Hillsboro High School students at the 2016 “Stand with Forest Grove” walkout. Students were excited to see not only their portraits on the wall, but their generation included in a mural dedicated to social change.

About Justin Eslinger

Justin is the Graphic Designer for PCC Continuing Education. His responsibilities include designing departmental promotions, student support and customer relations. Justin has an Associates of Applied Science in Graphic Design from Portland... more »

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