Fullerton College is known for many things: great sports, great academic programs, largest enrollment in the nation for community colleges and even the highest transfer rate for California State Universities.
What makes FC truly unique is not just the programs that are offered or the staff that facilitate them but it is the community of students that call this place “home”.
Nestled inside the art program is an emerging student art group that is making significant strides in pushing student artists to showcase their work outside of the classroom.
Simply Underground Arts is paving the way for both student and non-student artists, whether they are local or even as far as Los Angeles, by providing them with opportunities to get hands on experience in displaying their work in art shows.
Simply Underground was the product of an art show that student Jeff Stone presented at his friend Alan Adoian’s e-cigarette and vapor shop, Boulevard Vapors in Fullerton.
The original goal was to join the Fullerton Art Walk but due to the distance of the shop, Stone was unable to join. He and Adoian decided to host their own art shows.
“I put on the first show and a few people showed up and I thought to myself ‘that wasn’t good,’” Stone said. “Then I figured it would be better if we had a lot more artists showing a piece and sharing the space.”
What strengthens and brings the group together is the passion of the art and the strength of the community that is built with it. This allows students to gain valuable experience to grow in their craft that a classroom environment can’t offer.
“I noticed that there were not many opportunities for college students to show their work,” Stone said. “It was either for the really gifted or the ones who graduated but I thought, ‘what about the one’s in-between who are still figuring themselves out as artists.'”
Stone, a fine arts major, had the ideas and the plans on how to grow but running the shows alone proved to be a challenge.
It was at another art show that Stone met Mike McGinn, a fellow artist and promoter of art shows for the OC Art Walk. Stone shared his ideas and McGinn helped him get started.
“Mike and I began doing these shows at this small little vape shop and within four months it grew to 60 artists showcasing their work and 130 people showed up to the show,” Stone said.
The group has been functioning strong since its birth seven months ago with a consistent crew of roughly 30 artists who are showcasing their work at each show.
What makes the group unique is that they welcome artists from all levels of craftsmanship to all styles.
When a viewer walks into a show they are not looking at one style form, but many forms.
Simply Underground put on its first exhibit for the Fullerton Art Walk on Feb. 5.
Glynness Pruett, owner of Comic Book Hideout welcomed the group and allowed them to showcase their work for the art walk. Over 60 people showed up to the event in support of the group.
“I love original art and I am a proprietor of art work and to be able to provide the community with local original art is absolutely paramount for my store,” Pruett said.
FC students and illustration majors Jonathan Dillard and Martin Martinez believe that the formation of the group is beneficial to students in inspiring them to pursue their art while being encouraged by their fellow artists.
Stone has plans to start extending the shows to multiple venues to allow more opportunities for artists to show their work.
“I’m all about the journey in my art and the same thing goes for this art group,” Stone said. “We’re in the beginning stages of this group and I’m excited to see it grow.”
Simply Underground meets at Big Slice Pizza every second Sunday of the month and will have an art exhibit every first Thursday of the month at Comic Book Hideout.
Big Slice Pizza is located at 523 N. Harbor Blvd.
Comic Book Hideout is located at 215 W. Commonwealth Ave.