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glass eyes by Chanmealea Huy and Jean Iwohara
Photo by Kaleen Luu

Art Students Redefine the Collective Human

By Kaleen Luu

California State University, Long Beach School of Art students Chanmealea Huy and Jean Iwohara exhibited their mixed media art, Glass Eyes, at the Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery on Sunday. Their joint showcase featured artwork exploring the rumination with anxiety and the intersection of humanity and technology.


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“With Glass Eyes, we wanted something that was cute, feminine and fragile, but also talk about artificiality and we brainstormed to find words that fit that,” Iwohara, an illustration art major, said. “I’m really happy with how it turned out and how well our pieces complement each other. I think it went really well because we had the same theme of ‘anxiety’ but each artist has their own way of approaching the different aspects of it.”

Huy and Iwohara brainstormed ideas for their gallery before deciding on the name Glass Eyes, for their first collaborative showcase. They explored the concepts of man versus man, man versus himself, man versus nature and human, man, woman. Their  goal was to redefine woman, and take the word man to mean the collective human.

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“As an artist myself, I’ve learned that art for viewers can mean different things. What I want to portray, as the artist to the audience, can be different to what the audience may interpret it as and I have to take that into account,” Huy, a pre-production art major with a minor in marketing, said.

To induce anxiety in their audience, Huy and Iwohara wanted to explore the internal and external forces that cause anxiety—those being religious reasons, intimacy reasons, societal pressures and femininity itself could be a cause.


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“Anxiety can be crippling and restricting and we tried to depict that in our pieces and content,” Huy said, “but anxiety can also be free flowing and freeing in that it can also be utilized to be synthesized to create energy and a propelling force. Anxiety is energy that can be internal and external.”


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“I learned about how the space can really affect the way you look at your work,” Iwohara said. “As an illustrator, I didn’t view my work as something worthy when compared to the huge paintings in fine art, but this gallery helped me view my work with more respect and made me think about its presentation.”