Illustration by Jonah Ladesic
Just because galleries and museums have shut down does not mean art needs to go unseen. Senior art majors Jonah Ladesic and Ben Morse recently developed an online virtual art gallery called “One Big Art Gallery.” The Instagram account that features artwork by not only Biola students, but artists from across the nation.
The pair started the account shortly after students went home due to the COVID-19 crisis, with the first post featuring an image captioned, “COVID-19 can’t kill art.”
Welcome to One Big Art Gallery. Please share our page Submissions opening soon #artistshelpingartists
Ladesic and Morse were scheduled to take part in a senior show prior to the crisis and it was in the process of being set up as students were being told to go home. With the senior show being canceled, they did not want the art to go unseen. Originally it would feature the student pieces that were going to be showcased at Biola, but with more thought they decided that they could include everyone’s art from all places.
“We wanted to figure out how art could exist in a different form,” Ladesic said.
Though the format is not ideal, both of them are working to create an online atmosphere similar to a physical art gallery experience. Ultimately, they want to create an “equal playing field” for high-end and low-end art.
“I hope everyone can feel like they have something to contribute,” Ladesic said.
Artists of all majors are submitting their art through a Google Docs application with hopes of being featured on the page. One Big Art Gallery just finished a blue theme titled “Blue AF,” where students submit work either depicting the color blue or evoking a blue feeling, depending on how they interpret the piece as artists. A large number of contributors do not attend Biola.
New York University sophomore art therapy major Alice Rosenthal heard about the account through an Instagram sponsorship. At the time, the page had no posts, but Ladesic and Morse were accepting applications. With the “Blue AF” theme, Rosenthal is featured on the page with a poetry piece titled “Anthropocene,” which tells a story of a suffering planet overextended by humans. Rosenthal includes lines that mention the abuse and harm humans are doing to the earth and that “they might even dare to blame her for acting in self defense…She had no choice but to offend in order to defend.”
Artist: Alice Rosenthal @mistress.r03e – Title: Anthropocene – Medium: Prose poem, January 2020 – Description: N/A
“We take from the earth, and she screams at us,” Rosenthal said in a phone interview.
For her, the blue theme was not just about the color blue, but what it represents—the world. The poem was difficult for her to write, but she believes her words are relevant. The pandemic has given Rosethal free time to dabble in other forms of art such as photography, collages and drawing.
Biola sophomore public relations major Faith Dederich’s passion for visual art and design prompted her to create something beautiful out of old art books and magazines. Friends with Ladesic, she was inspired to get involved after seeing Ladesic display people’s creative work during a time where creativity is necessary. She created a visual piece titled “We Continue,” with the color blue as a main focal point and a theme of grief. Discussing her piece’s theme, Dederich said that certain emotions do not necessarily have to be negative or positive, even though grief tends to have a negative connotation.
“It is important to struggle and fully feel because that’s valid,” Dederich said.
Artist: @ffaiht – Title: We Continue – Medium: Collage – Description: This set of collages explores the idea of allowing oneself to feel grief fully, knowing that pain is not a symptom of weakness. Accepting the validity of what we feel will set us free. We will not be overcome by what we have lost, and even as we feel trapped and lonely, hope will not leave us behind.
TRYING NEW THINGS
The page also displays a painting by Biola freshman business major Braden McCargar entitled “Sniffles,” which displays a man with a blue nose in front of a blue backdrop.
Artist: Braden McCargar @braden.my.hair – Title: Sniffles – Medium: Medium / Printer paper / Oct 1, 2019 – Description: paint on printer paper
McCargar is pleased that One Big Art Gallery does not just feature people who are art majors or consider themselves artists, but gives everyone a chance to spread art and creativity. Adapting to an at-home lifestyle, McCargar has started writing more blackout poetry.
“Blackout poetry has brought out thoughts I didn’t even know I had,” McCargar said.
Organizers Ladesic and Morse are also exploring various forms of art with the extra time they have. Both have been experimenting and exploring painting techniques. According to Morse, the best part of quarantine is stopping to reassess his process of art making.
‘PAY ATTENTION PLEASE’
The gallery is still accepting submissions under their blue theme. To be showcased on the page, artists must submit their work, Instagram handles and short biographies about their pieces. The gallery is also accepting submissions for their next theme, “Pay Attention Please.” This theme will include anything the creator thinks will draw attention or something that would cause someone to go back and look at it a second time.
Ladesic and Morse want artists to know there is no fear of judgement and anyone can submit their work, regardless of whether or not they are artistically advanced. Morse hopes that quarantine encourages people to try their hand at some creative activity.