Tag: Sculpture

A family tradition

A family tradition

Many years ago, my Mom helped Alyson and I create a special gift for Dad.

We went to Color Me Mine, a chain of shops for the commercial buying and painting of porcelain goods ranging from dinnerware to sculptures of robots and dragons that are put through a kiln on-site.

In my experience it’s a popular suburban activity for kids with vague creative aspirations and too much energy to burn. The Rochlin family has made its fair share of goods there, which is another subject I may have to circle back to one day.

All those years ago, Aly and I made Dad a mug with our little baby handprints on it.

The gift was very well received and used for years. But… That mug in the Featured Image isn’t the original piece.

That first mug actually broke through a heartbreaking turn of events.

So in 2005, we made him a replacement mug:

The 2005 mug continues to be used and has held together relatively well over nearly 15 years.

But now it’s starting to crack.

That mortality was the subject of a recent joke from Dad which got our gears turning. We figured it would be as good a time as any to continue this family tradition by making him a new handprint mug for Father’s Day.

Here we are last Wednesday getting our hands all dirty.

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Unfortunately the idea was a bit spur of the moment, so the mug wasn’t finished in time for us to hand it off before all the Grandpa Joe and pasta-making stuff happened.

I was able to pivot our time out into a fun little Tweet about Jamba Juice. It was meant to simply cover our tracks, but a few days later grew into something more.

Yeah.

Shout out to that social media person for having a bit of fun with us. I’m usually cynical about that kind of brand interaction, but it’s kind of cool to actually see it happen.

Today we were finally able to pick up the mug — and a little more Jamba Juice, but I didn’t want to push my luck by grasping desperately for further social media clout.

Here are the fruits of our labor:

The end product is perhaps messier overall, but that’s what happens when you decide to color everything instead of leaving a large portion of the body white.

Personally I think the brushstrokes are indicative of the energy we put in.

Even if I’m less enamored with my handprint, because at this point it’s big enough that I struggled to fit the whole thing.

But that said I hope Dad will be happy with the gift.

Because you know. He’s not home from work at the time that I’m writing this. So I don’t actually know how he’s going to react. And I’ll be telling him not to read this until he gets home later.

It’s like you all get to be in on a little secret. Hopefully you enjoyed the brief glimpse at part of my family history!

Campus Architecture

Campus Architecture

If there was anything I learned while touring college campuses about three years ago, it was to appreciate the architecture that each campus offered.

For me aesthetics were a fairly big driving factor in deciding where I wanted to go to school. It sounds somewhat petty and shallow I know, but I enjoy wandering and taking in sights. So it mattered.

Honestly the look of Cal State Fullerton as a whole was a strong component in why I decided to go there. I love being on campus, and that’s important for someone who’s commuting every day and wouldn’t have a reason to necessarily stay otherwise.

But I’ve come to appreciate campus architecture overall during trips to a number of California universities because of the kind of insight I’ve gathered at CSUF. Namely the idea that the kind of architecture you see is a signifier for what era the buildings were constructed, and as a result you can essentially walk through time and see what became more important for students over the decades or even eons that the campus existed.

Cal State LA and El Camino College were pretty strong examples of the vastly different building styles on different parts of campus from what I recall.

As was UCLA when I went and wandered that campus after a Boom event some years back. But that school is also massive and ancient so it’s a whole other beast in terms of things like structural construction.

Today I found myself at Pasadena City College, where Alyson was auditioning to be a part of the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. If she gets in she’ll be performing at the next Rose Bowl Parade, so… That’s pretty fricken cool if I do say so myself.

However parents and family were not allowed to sit in on the auditions. So my parents and I were sitting out on the campus proper enjoying a slightly overcast afternoon, some clashing musical performances from practicing students all around and absorbing the nervous energy of basically everyone taking their shot.

Delicious, pure nervous energy. It’s kind of nice when you’re not the nervous one.

As my set-up suggests, I decided not to just sit around the entire time perusing Twitter or whatever. Instead I wandered the campus to get a feel for the different pieces of architecture built over time.

Because, as previously suggested, I’m the kind of weirdo that enjoys that sort of thing.

Now I’m certainly not an expert in era-specific architecture by any means, so I can’t personally tell you which buildings are from which time period just by looking at them. I’m more of a fan from an aesthetic perspective, so that’s my main purpose here.


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I’ve always liked buildings where the top portion hangs beyond where the bottom portion ends.


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For some reason there were no sculptures in the sculpture garden…


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I like how the front of the library looks like numerous faces depending on how you look at it. It’s a goof.


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The avian-looking light above the door to E Building gets a thumbs up from me.


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This kind of tree plaza in front of a building seems like something I might build in Minecraft… I’ll have to save that idea for later.


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More trees, this time in pink! With clock towers. And cops.


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This building felt vastly different from the others because it was red, and I have no idea why it was red if nothing else is.


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It’s nice that even the parking structure gets to look cute.


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Obviously the newest-looking building I could find, the performing arts center looks modern as hell. Aly probably hates it from all that associative stress.


But of course, no architectural tour would be complete without also including at least one piece of bizarre modern art.

At PCC, I think this one took the cake.

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It’s just a horse. Made of wood.

The plaque included with the sculpture doesn’t explain anything except who donated the piece and what it’s called. So I have no idea why some artist decided to make a horse out of wood.

I’ll admit it’s impressive and well-constructed.

But just baffling to me.

So yeah. Pasadena City College. Pretty place, bizarre wooden horse. If you’re all curious about how Aly did in her audition, we won’t know until later, this isn’t really the post for that discussion.

Though I guess if you see me talking about the Rose Bowl Parade later, now you’ll know why.

A Day of Fine Arts

A Day of Fine Arts

After a rare day spent almost entirely outdoors at the Manhattan Beach Pier and at Wilson Park in Torrance, I’m pretty beat.

I’m also pretty sunburnt at that, so I’m sure I’ll come to regret not putting on sunscreen once my face starts to seriously burn up. ‘Tis the unfortunate truth of being an overtly pale, caucasian shut-in.

But that’s neither here nor there. Just consider it my excuse to not write the Citizen Kane of blog posts tonight.

All my tired, complexion-driven complaints aside, it was actually quite a lovely day. My friend Mimi and I spent the afternoon just catching up and venting about all of the drama pervading our lives lately.

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Excuse the wink. I swear it’s the sun, not me trying to be a douche.

Of course there are few catalysts better for bonding than pizza. So luckily I was able to take the opportunity to introduce her to my favorite pizza place: The Manhattan Beach Pizzeria.

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Ain’t that a tasty-looking slice? I’ve certainly been a proponent of it since days long past, when this particular joint was a preferred spot to hang out at after volleyball camp every summer.

Plus the calzone was definitely worth the long journey through L.A. traffic, from what I heard through a totally objective third party.

Speaking of that long journey through traffic, it facilitated my having a little bit of extra time before we started to hang out to just wander the shopping plaza at the top of the hill there. It has been a while since I’ve had the chance, as I haven’t gone nearly as much as I should have over the summer.

For some reason, the thing that stood out to me most while I was traversing the grounds was all the public art all around. A lot of it was new, clearly meant to spruce up the area around city hall and the library.

I decided to try and take some artsy, angled pictures of all the different pieces I found as a sort of miniature time-killing project in the middle of the grey, overcast afternoon.

So yeah if you’re interested in strange, not necessarily copacetic public art, enjoy:

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After a couple of hours at the beach, we decided to hang out longer with no real plans set for the next day. That time spread into more fine art, as mom pointed out that there was a Shakespeare by the Sea performance in Torrance.

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For the uninitiated, Shakespeare by the Sea is a theatre troop that has done free performances across California for the last 21 years. It’s a popular event for my family, and one I enjoy bringing my friends to.

How can you go wrong with Shakespeare, after all?

I guess to be fair the show tonight was one of the stranger plays: The Winter’s Tale. It was particularly funny at token moments, but overall holds the distinction of being the only Shakespeare play I can recall seeing where everyone was alive at the end — including many characters who had died during the course of the play.

Weird stuff.

While attending the show I had another obscure little observation. This one relating back to seeing the audience watching it.

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I’m not entirely sure why, but I felt a strange sense of pleasure watching a large crowd of people all quietly engaging with the live performance. As if they were watching a particularly awe-inspiring television program.

Maybe I was just drawn to the idea that we’ve retained the same kind of interest with live performances, particularly Shakespearean performances, as we once had in the days before being overwhelmed by the constant media barrage of the 21st century.

Especially considering just how timeless and relentlessly clever the Bard’s works are.