Octavio Ocampo, Forever Always
Today marks exactly one month since the beginning of my third year as a college student majoring in art. This year is a little bit different, however, given that I have transferred out of my community college in the Bay Area and into the University of Santa Barbara in southern California. Moving away from home has forced me to completely step outside of my comfort zone which is why during the past month I have been absorbing every setting, every sound and every smell just so that I can fully explore this new reality of mine.
Having been accepted into a school like this one has been a dream come true and my new art classes have been nothing less than mind blowing. Some days during my oil painting class, we’ll paint facing the beach--in plein air. Others, we stay inside and work in a class consisting of rows and rows of easels as well as unlimited art supplies. My print class has introduced me to a whole new medium, one that I already know I will continue to use and enjoy for a long, long time. My contemporary art class consists of an auditorium filled with 200+ students and a different artist guest speaker every week. There, they speak over their techniques and what sorts of inspirations from the past led them to the making of their modern day art pieces. I always come out of this class incredibly inspired to make something of my very own. I always do, which is the reason why I will go to bed at two in the morning almost every single Thursday night...hehe!
Something that has been going in circles within my head is something that I have found to be a common theme among each of my art classes here at UCSB. This involves the topic of vision and how our lived experiences determine how we take information in and well, see things. And it's true, have you ever looked at something with a friend and they interpret the image in a completely different way than you have? It will literally take them having to explain to you what they are seeing and how they are viewing it just so that you can understand it in the same way.
Little simple changes such as changing a picture's color, filling it in, changing its setting, etc, come to create a drastic difference among an image. It is such a coincidence that my roommate Amelia came to me with an optical illusion book just the other day that completely embodied this idea. While she flipped through the pages, the image that most stood out to me was illustrated by this surrealist artist called Octavio OCampo titled Forever Always. This picture appears to depict the romance of both a couple that is about to live a happy and long life together as well as an elder version of the couple that already has. Therefore, there are two ways in which one can interpret this picture--by either only seeing the younger couple as they are about to share this symbolical gold cup of happiness, or by seeing the couple that is in their elder ages--an old man who appears to be still very much in love with the woman he is locking eyes with, even after that lifetime of happiness. It is just so interesting to me to see which one of the two people see depending on the way that they interpret the world. Ever since Amelia first showed me the picture, I ask everyone I possibly can just out of curiosity over the subject.
Another artist that played with this idea, just in a different way, is the famous Eadweard MuyBridge with his project titled, The Horse in Motion. In it, he photographed different images of horses running and placed them one after the other in order. Although Muybridge did not animate the horses to run, because the images of the horses were placed one after the other in order, the human brain is able to use its lived experience to see images in the form of movement and fill in the gaps.
I feel as though I can't think about another way of seeing things other than my very own. The world shows up for every single human being in a different way and essentially, every single person sees whatever they believe they are seeing. This is what makes artists so special and so capable of depicting something in a totally different light than the next. This is something that is so intriguing to the public---no one has had the same background and therefore will never be able to process scenes, colors and ideas in the same exact way. So, what I will do is continue to captivate my own view of the world and welcome others into my very own lens through my art. By doing so, I know I will begin conversations and ultimately we will have a better understanding of one another. So, I encourage you to do the same!