Every academic year, the Art Department at Fullerton College invites an established artist to participate in the Artist In Residence program that takes place during the spring semester at the school.

This year, the Art Department proudly presents Spring 2015 Artist In Residence: Thomas Campbell.

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Carol Henke, the art gallery director, spoke about the wonderful Artist In Residence program and she explained the process of a year-long search in finding the participants.

“Most of the faculty here are working artists, so they stay in touch with the community and other artists,” Henke said.

They have faculty meetings where each person will mention potential candidates and nominate them for the program. The faculty looks at the artists’ work and talks about why that person would be good for the program and how they would relate to the students. The faculty then votes and the member who recommended the chosen artist gets to invite them and be the liaison throughout the whole residency.

Henke’s husband Bill, who is also a ceramics teacher at Fullerton College, nominated the honorable Campbell and has been his host from the beginning.

Henke said her husband surfed and skated as a kid and grew up in the same type of culture that Campbell did, so he really identified with his work and felt that the students would too.

Not only is Campbell a painter and sculptor, but he has also has a passion for photography and film making.

During the residency, Campbell worked with Henke on some pieces that are now being showcased in the gallery this month along with other original works by Campbell himself.

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The process of how Thomas Campbell makes his bronze sculptures is displayed in the exhibition. Photo credit: Jayna Gavieres

The exhibition was previewed by a lecture that Campbell gave a day before the gallery opened. He went through a slide show presentation of his different works of art and humorously assured us that they were only bad pictures of good paintings, which he was right about. During the lecture, attendees were able to get to know Campbell on a more intimate level as he shared some life stories and his inspiration for creating such moving art.

Campbell said he began painting pictures in a friend’s garage and that he was such a horrible drawer that his drawings first looked like “cave men.”

The entire lecture was not only very entertaining, but it was also motivational for any type of artist. Campbell was able to find focus and persistence through his everyday passion and hobby of skateboarding and even showed two films during the lecture that he produced. He is a versatile artist and his vision for turning mundane things into treasure is seen throughout the different mediums he uses.

Seeing someone produce art from every day items that are often overlooked shows such creativity that can give anyone hope and inspiration. He emphasized that art is about interpretation and perspective on both the artist and viewer’s point of view so any kind of impact will have a positive effect on someone and that it his ultimate goal.

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Campbell said that a lot of the times he just tries to make himself laugh through his art because if you can’t laugh at yourself, then you must not be having that much fun.

You can check out his exhibition and enjoy his colorful, abstract art that is bound to openly educated the curiosity of your mind.

The Thomas Campbell exhibition is located in Room 1004 and will be available through Wednesday, March 25.

Gallery hours here: http://art.fullcoll.edu/exhibitions_detail.asp?calendarid=C0E9CA08FC95

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