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News . Feature Stories . Beautiful and expressive: Q + A with Drawing major Oscar Gresh


September 09, 2014

Beautiful and expressive: Q + A with Drawing major Oscar Gresh

What is your earliest memory of making art?

I was living in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and at the age of seven I was given a set of Crayola crayons along with a small coloring book illustrating the Tale of the Three Little Pigs. I had taken this book as my first lesson in “coloring” and my introduction to the idea of “art.” It was apparent to me what the function and purpose for the book were. Still, I chose not to color that book, and instead I spent most of my days tracing those images on separate pieces of paper. I would then proceed to etch those drawings into the dirt of the terrace.

Did you take a lot of art classes in high school?

I took a general art class for the four consecutive years that I attended high school. I came from a rather small country school in West Liberty, Ohio. My instructor, June Seymour, encouraged me to keep signing up for her classes, an offer that I was more than happy to accept.

Why did you choose to attend an art +design school?

My decision was influenced, not only by my adamant love for all things art (or at least what I had grown to understand as art), but also by the copious amount of time I had invested in attempting to produce something that was both beautiful and expressive. Personally, art provided an escape that was absent elsewhere.

What made you choose CIA?

Out of all the institutions I had visited prior to applying, CIA was the only school that met the criteria I had set for myself. It had variety in all applied areas, that’s to say that the students here have access to a plethora of resources, including the Case Western Reserve University facilities, connections, sciences, etc. I must add that two of my siblings had attended Case, so I was privileged to have had various tours during my visits here in Cleveland. My brother also introduced me to the possibility of Greek life as well as the potential for involvement in the intramural leagues for anyone who was enrolled at Case, CIA or CIM.

What made you choose your major?

I was seduced by the openness of the studio spaces along with the work that the upperclassmen were producing. In addition, the experimental qualities (a focus that came up during my interviews with those in drawing) and the affable characteristics shared by many of those whom I had the pleasure of interviewing helped me come to a resounding conclusion.

Is having your own studio important to your education? And how about interaction with classmates, is that important to your education?

Unquestionably. I think having a personal space where one can produce work and research while brainstorming ideas is a beautiful part of being a student here at CIA. It helps me stay focused as I continue to immerse myself into my practice. I also find it highly convenient that CIA offers each student his or her own little cubicle where we’re left to produce with little to no disturbances. It’s also wonderful that I don’t need to keep traveling home in order to create, especially when I can store all my necessities in my own space. As an added bonus we have access to all the facilities, which are all within reach.

How are your relationships with CIA faculty different than your relationships with your high school teachers?

My relationships with my instructors here at CIA differ from those in high school in that as an individual I’ve matured and have begun to see our instructors as more than just mentors and directors. They no longer hold the position of an authoritative figure. Instead we’ve developed these tight friendships with our teachers, which in turn allows us to be more open to our ideas as we comfortably receive feed back. My instructors are extremely supportive and encourage me in my growth; I don’t think I could ask for anything better when acquiring knowledge.

What one thing about the CIA experience surprised you the most?

The sense of community that has been established among the faculty, students and facilities is astonishing. No matter what major you’re in or walk of life you come from, you can be certain that almost everyone at CIA will lend a helping hand as we continue to develop. As aspiring artists there’s nothing better than the networks and interconnections we develop in this institution. Even Case is a valuable asset in that regard.

How do you like Cleveland?

It’s a beautiful city with much to offer. It’s ever expanding and the sights always seem to leave me breathless. Even the weather has it’s own diversity, which adds on to the days. Whenever I’m not in my studio working I try not to miss a chance in exploring more of Cleveland. I don’t think you can ever run out of things to do here so long as you’re willing to take the initiative. As a bonus, the campus is located in University Circle; I don’t think it could have been located at a better place.

What would you say to a high school student considering attending CIA?

Make the experience happen for you. Take control of the path you want to pursue here at CIA. You will have many people here who would love to help you through your experience as you begin adding to theirs. Take advantage of all the resources available to you and just make the best out of your life. Stay motivated and remember to smile.

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CIA alumna Josette Galiano’s passion lies in exploring behavior and designing immersive experiences. Fittingly, she’s a consumer insights analyst at @NottinghamSpirk​ and a designer at Florette by Josette​.

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