Arts & Life, Fine & Performing Arts

Humor is in the eye of the beholder

A comedy fan since as early as he can remember, graduate illustration and animation major Aaron Brown has always found comfort in humor.

By having a comedic outlook on daily situations, Brown believes that humor is an integral part of who he is despite the many deeper dimensions to his persona.

“[Humor] is a way of coping with what I see. I chose to laugh at something instead of cry,” Brown said. “Maybe that’s my own personal ice breaker.”

Brown’s comedic yet introspective dimensions translate through his artwork on display at the Master of Fine Arts Advancement galleries in the Fine Arts building on campus.

Brown’s exhibit features multiple sculptures from a rainbow wool doll titled “Intangible self-portrait representation” to a dog seated at a table named “Talk show host.”

One of Brown’s humorous pieces, “Dancer” depicts an orange cat wearing a pair of underwear and four bras and singing into a microphone. This piece is the beginning of a future project idea in which Brown hopes to film a stop-motion video of the cat as a performer for a television station.

Noticing the cat immediately when entering Brown’s gallery, junior psychology major Susie Yeo appreciated the sculptures unique subject matter.

“It’s something you don’t see very often,” Yeo said.

Taking a more introspective approach in his piece “Persona & Shadow,” Brown displays multiple variations of eyeballs and lips on pegs inside of a frame. According to Brown, this artwork was inspired by analytical psychologist Carl Jung and the idea of an ego, also known as an identity.

Valuing authenticity, Brown created “Persona & Shadow” as a representation of his belief that it is important to truly be yourself.

“We repress things that we may not like about ourselves,” Brown said. “When people are fake it kind of gives us an uneasy feeling and I wanted to reflect what’s behind the surface.”

Brown also experimented with stop-motion in his gallery with his sculpture “Shyboy bed” and video “Shyboy film.”

“Shyboy bed” depicts a boy sitting in his bedroom that has been transformed into mountain ranges and trees. The stop-motion video played behind the sculpture, “Shyboy film” displays the bedroom model Brown created with a narrative of the boy laying in bed and metamorphosing into a sea monster.

Brown intended for this piece to be a metaphor for an artist’s studio and the transformations that occur within a person.

Sophomore sociology major Kimberly Vascuez took notice of Brown’s stop-motion and sculpture crossover.

“It looks like something out of Dreamworks,” Vascuez said, adding that she likes the stop-motion video that accompanies it because it tells more of a story.

The video running just over one minute took Brown the entirety of the spring semester to create, which he completed through the MFA concentrated studies and experimental illustration courses at Long Beach State.

“I have a lot of patience and I like to toil away quietly for hours and hours,” Brown said.

From the humorous to the psychological, Brown hopes that his art collection will provoke thought in those who view his artwork, not just due to the nature of his self-proclaimed “odd” style, but because of its deeper context.

“It’s mostly funny … but then I want people to question what else is going on,” Brown said. “I want people to look beyond what they see on the surface.”

The MFA Advancement galleries are available for viewing Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. and Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m.

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