Harvey Mudd Art Walk

Thursday, December 27, 2012 by Falone

Earlier this month the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts department hosted an event that featured student produced artwork from classes taught by HMC professors Ken Fandell and Rachel Mayeri. The event showcased photography, abstract artwork, and multimedia productions. The artists were on hand to talk about their creations and share their vision with the attendees. Below is some of the artwork that caught my eye.

These photos were part of an assignment given by professor Fandell called “Big.”  There were only two rules: (1) You have to think big, (2) You have to have a big print made. Professor Fandell expanded on what he meant by big, “I am not talking only about size here (although that is one thing I am talking about). But think in big ideas too. Like the meaning of life big. Of course, where you’re going to eat lunch is also sometimes a big deal.” I picked the first photo because it seemed appropriate given the time of year, I figured most students could relate to it. I didn’t initially realize the photos in the second picture were related; the big bubble is an egg in a frying pan, and the “after” of the photo below it…I guess the photographer is a breakfast fan!

This is Ken Fandell’s first year at HMC. At the event I spoke with the chair of the Humanities, Social Science, and the Arts department, Darryl Wright, and he talked about appreciating the approach used by Fandell in the classroom, “his assignments are very non directive…he gives them a concept and lets them run with it.”

This piece is Mary Elise Elam’s “Recycled Phoenix: Packaging Reborn,” produced in professor Mayeri’s class. The Phoenix was created using three dozen cans of soda. I actually wish I took video of this one because Mary Elise was also playing puppet master and making the Phoenix “fly” and come alive as she talked about her inspiration for creating this. In case you were wondering she didn’t drink all the soda on her own, but told the attendees that it will be a while before she has another Orange Crush!

“Putting All your Eggs in One Basket?” by Tim Yee. I know, another egg piece, and truth be told I don’t even like eggs! I’m not sure the amateur photo from my camera phone fully captures how uniquely awesome this was. The eggs pictured above are real, even the ones without the shell. I talked with Tim about this piece but I apologize for not remembering the method he used to accomplish this. Notice the egg he placed between the trays sporting the half shell/half yolk. You can see in the second photo that he let people GENTLY touch the shell-less eggs.

Both “Recycled Phoenix…” and “Putting All your Eggs…” were products of the same assignment from (recognized film maker) Rachel Mayeri’s class. I asked her about the assignment and she said it was, “to create an artwork inspired by or created through science or technology. We spent the whole semester surveying the work of artists whose work is inspired by science. Students attended the (HMC Sponsored) Nelson Speakers Series, Art, Science, and Technology: Between the Studio and the Lab.”

Unfortunately the rest of the pictures taken by my aforementioned camera phone didn’t come out very good, and I don’t want to do a disservice to the wonderful work produced by these artists. My primary motivation for blogging about this event is to show that HMC offers a range of formal outlets for students to express themselves artistically. Many prospective students and families assume that Mudders have to rely on the other Claremont Colleges for quality classes in the arts, but this isn’t the case. And the addition of our new Teaching and Learning Building will expand the opportunities in the arts available at HMC. So rest assured if you are interested in continuing or exploring your artistic pursuits while earning your STEM degree we got you covered!