Artist: Michael VanOverbeck
Exhibition: BFA Thesis Exhibition
Media: wood working
Gallery: CSULB School of Art,
About the Artist
Michael VanOverbeck is a student at CSULB and is studying wood working. He earned his associates degree at El Camino College for wood working. He explained that at El Camino College, wood working is seen as a science, but at CSULB it is an art. While attending school here, he also teaches a painting and drawing workshop at El Camino College.
Each of his art pieces are wood so they look extremely smooth. The dresser is very smooth looking and also contrasts dark and light colors. The colorful rocking chair is made from different scraps of wood, which then creates the beautiful mixing of colors. The other rocking chair is made from a much darker wood. It also contains a mixture of light wood, which then creates a beautiful streaking pattern within the chair.
While talking to the artist, I found out that the rocking chair took over 200 hours to complete. He also explained that he made that chair for his mother, so it has a special place in his heart. The other multi-color chair took about 250 hours to complete. When we asked him what his favorite piece was he explained that it was the bowl. He then told us the story of the bowl and why its his favorite. Michael explained that while volunteering at an animal hospital he grew to love this dangerous cat. He would wear a protective glove and stick his hand in the cage. The cat would attack his hand and with the other hand he would pet the cat. He did this every time he was with the cat. The cat then began to trust him and they formed a friendship. He explained that like the bowl, the cat was beautiful on the outside but damaged on the inside. The bowl is smooth on the outside but burnt and cracking on the inside, making it useless. He explained that society then thinks that the cat and the bowl are useless because they are damaged.
Synthesis / My Experience
I thoroughly enjoyed Michael’s art and getting to speak with him. Each piece was absolutely beautiful and usable. So often we only look at art but we can’t touch it. Michael insisted that we touch his art and explained that he loves wood working for that reason. He even let us sit in one of his chairs! This really surprised me. Every piece of art I have ever looked at, you feel so uninvited to interact with it. I also really enjoyed how each piece of art took so much time and effort to complete. It was so well done that it almost look store bought.