The walls of the Dutzi Gallery tell a mystical story. A small green character carrying a magical paintbrush staff is seen in every framed illustration. The pieces tell the story, “Ai’sos’ Fables,” a series created by the Society of Student Illustrators and Animators.
Each illustration was created by a member of the club and depicts Ai’sos, a heroic explorer collectively imagined by SOSIA. According to club member Jonathan Yip, Ai’sos’ name was generated by simply flipping SOSIA’s name.
With magical powers that allow her to create portals connecting separate worlds, several illustrations set Ai’sos in a distant, fantastic world entering new worlds through magical portals.
Though each artist was prompted to illustrate Ai’sos, members were given creative freedom to interpret the character in their own way. According to the artists’ statement posted on the gallery wall, the exhibit was a space to “showcase each artist’s voice and individual style.”
Studio arts major Jose Amador’s illustration showcased the character entering from a portal into a desert-like environment while fighting off a snake-like creature.
“We all collaborated together designing this character… her physical attributes, her attire and her weapon,” said Amador who also serves as SOSIA vice president. “We all think differently, we all view the world differently, and I think art … gives form to your imagination.”
Near the entrance of the gallery stood a small table decorated with artificial plants and a notebook where viewers could write feedback and comments for the artists. Above it floated the names of all 16 artists in the group show surrounded by white lights.
For Amador, a first-generation student, the essence of teamwork reflected in his collaboration with SOSIA and is a skill that shines through all his work. It all began in his youth, when he would spend time with his siblings Ricardo, 15, and Fabian, 13, drawing and coloring in their Salinas home.
Amador would do the drawings and pass it on to his brothers to color. His early drawings were based on the siblings’ favorite cartoons.
“I would draw their favorite cartoons or shows they liked. Sometimes when I go back home, I still see that they have them hanging on the wall,” Amador said, fighting back tears.
That sense of teamwork he built with his brothers helped Amador through college. After enrolling at Long Beach State, he participated in the annual 24-hours animation contest in which groups of students from various schools compete against each other to create the best short animation film in 24 hours. Amador has taken part in the contest for three years.
“I’ve formed teams with different people throughout the years,” Amador said. “I just love working with each one of them because they bring something different to the table. It’s a bonding experience.”
It was those bonding experiences Amador sited that led him and his SOSIA colleagues to finalize their gallery as a group show. According to Yip, the exhibition and the character helped bring together its members and share their ideas.
“I feel like this character is a big reflection on SOSIA in that Ai’sos encourages all of us to look after one another to remind us that we’re all a community of artists and animators,” Yip said.
The SOSIA group will continue to display its exhibition at the Dutzi Gallery until Thursday, March 5. Galleries are open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. and noon to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.