A New Chapter: Art by Recent University and College Graduates

The time post graduation after earning a Bachelor’s degree in visual arts often is followed with the question, “What Next?”

How do we blend studio practice with practical needs like making a living supporting oneself and maybe a family.

This work reflects the time of transition right before or just after leaving school.

The artists are Jorge Gomez-Gonzalez, Jennifer Ortiz, Natalie Jauregui Ortiz and Karina Tavares Perez from University of California, Santa Cruz,  Narsiso Martinez from California State University, Long Beach, and Ysabel Martinez from the Cafritz Art Center at Montgomery College, Silver Springs, Maryland.

We have also featured these artists in our Hablamos Juntos series of broadsides. The 11 x 17 posters are available for downloads, along with text of interviews with each artist.

Keep an eye out for the work by these artists- you will see more of it in the ensuing years- I’m sure of it.

19 thoughts on “A New Chapter: Art by Recent University and College Graduates

  1. I chose Ysabel Martinez’s work of art because it reminded me of the dreams I had as a child not exactly but just how my dreams never have color. The piece that caught my attention the most is the one with a smile. It all seems like a quick dream that’ll vanish within five minutes but she had captured it. I like how only one is colorful like a mural on Mission in San Francisco. I even like the shading on the first one looks like it brings out what’s happening like something running.

    1. Hi Fernando, this is Ysabel the artist! I appreciate your translation of this piece as a moment, the brevity of the moment before waking from a bad dream. Bright color encapsulates the mania and anxiety of displacement, the constant cultural purging taking place both locally and globally.
      Dreams are both familiar and foreign; a smile, a personified non-human object, driving moccasins. One’s nightmare can easily be another’s dream, I am a witness to both

  2. I chose “Valiente”, watercolor and woodblock print, 22*30, 2018 because it reminded me of Mexican rancheros in a typical day. What attracted me about the art was the cactus in front of the woodblock. It also reminded me where I live there’s a few cactus in the area. The distance between the woman and men on the background brings the focus on them. The few colors used in the woodblock makes the colors pop and the title Valiente goes with the art because it means brave.

    1. Hello Maria! 🙂
      This is Karina, the artist of the piece. Thank you for choosing my work. One thing I’d like mention is to give a double take on the play of viewer distance vs. the theme of the piece “Valente” – Brave. Here, most of the figures are placed in the back, scaled rather small but positioned as getting ready for their next battle. Even though the letters of “Valente” are big, some of the letters blend in with the cactus, in relation to the roles of the figures you see on top.
      Thanks again!

  3. The art piece I chose that really caught my attention was Jennifer Ortiz’s “Recuerda tus Raices.” The piece is embroiled inject print on 100% Belgian linen. I selected this work because I was drawn to the way the woman is holding her dress, and how it’s a dark figure like her own shadow. It seems as if this woman is about to dance to a traditional Mexican dance. The translation of the title is, “remember your roots.” In our present day, especially Latinos, are constantly being attacked for looking a certain way and being who they are. This art piece showed that you should remember where you come from and be proud of those roots. Ancestors before you sacrificed a lot for all of us to be where we are today. It’s time to celebrate cultural diversity and individuality.

  4. The art piece that I chose for Slow Art Day was “Sunday Morning” by Narsiso Martinez. Before reading the description on the bottom I tried to focus on what it was made of and what story it’s telling. I appreciated the details throughout the whole piece. I saw a hard working man out on the fields on a hot day. He looked exhausted but thats how he makes his living. I really like how this piece not only tells a story through the acrylic, gouache, and charcoal used but how its made on an actual asparagus box. I feel that makes it very authentic, real, and tells the story of field workers while showing the harsh reality and appreciation of the field workers. The colors used in this art piece too shows its a hot day but the farm workers are still working hard. The subject of the artwork is an embracement and reminder of where many of the food we ate comes from. It comes from hard working people who work long hours and get paid so little just to get food that we take for granted on to the table.I identify with this piece in particular because I took it as a learning experience. I think this is a reminder of how we need to be more appreciative of the food we eat and how it gets to our table.

    1. Hey Allyssa.
      Thanks for sharing your reaction to the piece. Asparagus picking is indeed a back braking job under harsh weather conditions. Your analogy of the piece helps in continuing shining a light to the plight of not only the asparagus pickers, but also to the farm workers in general. I believe their contribution to the nation’s economy is of great importance, and it needs to be recognized.

      Again, thank you.

      Narsiso Martinez

  5. The piece I chose for Slow Art Day was “Yo Soy Amanda Miguel” inkjet print, 44” x 70 by Jorge Gonzalez. This piece first stood out to me because of the look on the face of the person and how emotional the photo looked. Later i read in his interview that emotion is a huge part of his photography as he grew up feeling isolated, and misunderstood, being gay in his Mexican culture. He said that his intent of his work is to “create more representation for the brown queer population
    which I feel is lacking in our society, especially in the arts.” It seems that Jorge mainly uses photography as his medium for art and tends to involve makeup, costume, and dramatic set design. I can identify with this piece because i am also apart of the LGBTQ community and am inspired to hear and see other stories and walks of life.

    1. Hello Arianna,

      Thank you so much for choosing my work to write about. I really appreciate what you had to say and taking time to read my interview. It makes me so happy and excited, especially that people from the LGBTQ+ community are able to see my work. If you more comments or any questions feel free to reach out.

      Again thank you so much for choosing my work, it means so much!


  6. I chose the art piece “Soy maz de lo que vez” by Jennifer Ortiz because this art piece to me shows strength. This art piece name translated in English is “I am more than what you see”. Showing that she has a lot more to her than what catches the eye. This painting shows that she is strong and she stands tall for what she believes in and for what she believes is right. One thing that really attracted me was the red lipstick, it sticks out to me. I identify with this because the girl in the art piece is a Latina who stands with pride and who is happy with who she is and is happy with where she comes from.

  7. I chose the art piece from the “Unnumbered Portrait” series by Narsiso Martinez. I chose this particular piece of art work because it thought it was something different. it is all based on the cardboard and its in the shape of a box. The person also really caught my attention. It seems to be a person covered by some material, mainly covering the face and head. All three of the people on it seem to be covered by the same material. It attracted my attention because of the way it is hung. I really like the box shape. it makes the people feel more in depth. Its got some depth to it. it really draws me because it looks like a box they put fruit or vegetables in. I was really drawn to the people because it may get hot outside or dusty and they want to stay un sunburnt when they are out tending to the field or garden. I really like this drawing on the cardboard. especially because its a box and you don’t see it being portrayed a lot of the times like this.

    1. Lawson Sims.
      It’s great to hear your description of the piece. The cardboard boxes helped me start up a conversation within my work, the subject matter and the medium. The masked and or hooded individuals, besides protecting themselves from the dust and the hot sun, are also protecting themselves from various chemical residues applied to the trees. I feel the produce boxes bring the farmworkers, the produce, and the companies into one piece, allowing conversions like the one you are starting, thank you.


      Narsiso Martinez

  8. From the selection of uniquely made and portrayed art pieces, the one that stood out the most was “Sunday Morning” by Narsiso Martinez. The acrylic, gouache, and charcoal piece that was all made on recycled asparagus boxes caught my attention the most because of the portrayal of field workers picking asparagus for a living. Someone like me who comes from a rural town that most of the population has to pick vegetables to make a living really does hit home when seeing this piece. By having the piece made in an actual asparagus box makes it even more meaningful and can portray a suffering man under the bright sun, which can be very impactful. I identify with this piece in a way that I can say that I’ve been in his shoes, and it isn’t a fun experience.

    1. Hey Williams.
      Yes, working in the fields is rally hard, and not fun. I worked in the fields for many years. That’s why I decided to work really hard at school too and have a college degree. Life is better for sure. Through art, I not only highlight the farm worker’s contribution to the nation, but also try to speak about the importance of education. I hope for the next generations in the farm working communities to be educated and have better lives. Education can lead to desired jobs and give the confidence to demand better payments and or better working conditions.
      Thank you for you thoughts on this piece, it’s appreciated.

      Narsiso Martinez

  9. The piece of art I chose Hellbilly #3 by Ysabal Marine, the reason I chose it was because of the bold black and white contrast along with the amount of detail and position there is within the image. The image was made with pen+ink,gouache & pen on bristol board. I find the artist’s ability to move to fluidly with ink on bristol board astonishing. I also found it interesting how the longer you look at the image the more things you can see.

    1. Hi Terreana, thank you for your feedback. This was a style/creative process I employed for years. Neither underpainting nor drawing were used beforehand, any uncertainties were resolved within the piece. This made for a lot of detail!

  10. The piece I choose was “El Lucharfor” by Jorge Gomez Gonzalez because it represents gender barriers being broken down. In my eyes the mask represent the masculine persona that society forces onto men but the makeup expresses the breakthrough of femininity within that. The image was done with inkjet print which was done so vividly. Overall this artist is consistently trying to charge the gender norms and I enjoy it.

    1. Hola Raul,

      What you had to say about my work was put so beautifully. Thank you for taking time to look at my work, I appreciate it a lot. El Luchador is so special to me because its a reflection on what barriers I have to work on to make sure they are broken and never built back, especially since it is true that society forces onto us.

      I am so glad you enjoyed it and if you have more comments or questions feel free to reach out.


  11. Hi Fernando, this is Ysabel the artist! I appreciate your translation of this piece as a moment, the brevity of the moment before waking from a bad dream. Bright color encapsulates the mania and anxiety of displacement, the constant cultural purging taking place both locally and globally.
    Dreams are both familiar and foreign; a smile, a personified non-human object, driving moccasins. One’s nightmare can easily be another’s dream, I am a witness to both

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