Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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    Compound Gallery goes for the KO

    Boxing takes center stage at local art exposition

    Laura WongLaura Ming Wong and Justin Pastores are Laney College alumni and local artists. The Tower interviewed some of the artists featured at the The Compound Gallery opening reception on Sept. 19. All expressed their artistic insights on art and their artwork.

    David Amoroso
    “I’m obsessed with Pop Art/Culture,” he says. “I like to portray everyday people in an iconic manner. I started my career as a photographer, felt limited by the static images. 
    “I felt that I could put more of myself into my work using paint and manipulating the image. All of my current work starts with a photograph, and from there I begin to break the image down into color zones.
    “I am technically color blind, so working with skin tones often presents a problem for me. To compensate, I’ll often use a limited color palette and create my paintings with differing tones within the color. In the ‘Boxers’ series, I’ve primarily used red and black because they are passionate and violent. 
    “In my ‘Viajeros’ (Travelers) and ‘Manifestantes’ (Protesters) series, I photographed and interviewed undocumented day laborers to uncover their stories and struggles in the USA. 
    “Each portrait told a unique story and provided a voice to marginalized members of the community. My ‘Delicate/Violent’ series highlighted local Latino hip­hop artists. Each portrait was accompanied by a QR code. Viewers were able to hear the music of the depicted artist while viewing his portrait.
    “I’m inspired by the works of Andy Warhol, George Yepes and Kehinde Wiley. Whether working with celebrities or everyday people, each artist elevates his subject matter to a pop icon status. Cheech Marin’s ‘Chicano Visions’ exhibit was also inspirational to me. After seeing the show, I began to paint and explore more Mexican American themes.”

    Justin Pastores 
     The painter and draftsman studied art at Laney from 2008 to 2013 and transferred to CSUEB in 2013. He graduated in Spring 2015 with a bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.
    Pastores has been a professional artist for two years. “In 2013, I started entering art contests such as the ‘En Plein Air,’ a French expression which means ‘in the open air’ and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors, which is also called peinture sur le motif (painting of the object(s) or what the eye actually sees) in French. 
    “I entered another contest called, ‘Art Of Aging: Cycles Of Life.’” The Oakland Museum of California event, where the artist showed his artwork, was able to bring other things to promote his art business.
    Pastores is a printmaker with a wide variety of landscape monoprints. As a student painter, he took classes in the Laney College Art Department where instructors influenced his artwork. In particular, Charles Chavez was his main influence when watching his class painting outside on campus. “Mr. Chavez would be painting alongside the students and fully engaged with his students’ artwork.”
    How did the artists come together to show their work at the Compound Gallery? “There was a call out in the art community, so I created two boxing pieces. I decided to make two watercolor boxing artworks for the Compound Gallery show this Saturday,” replied Pastores. “To be an artist, timing, networking, and showing your artwork are opportunities to promote yourself.”

    Laura Wong
    An artist and freelance photographer, Wong contributes news and sports stories to the Oakland Post, while pursuing long-term documentary projects related to her interests in social justice, women in combat sports, and longstanding communities in Oakland.
    Laura Wong“My projects have brought me to a variety of places and situations: from scrappy gyms where female boxers prepare for their championship fights, to marches through city boulevards alongside thousands of protesters, to the streets of Cuba, before and after it renewed relations with the US. 
    “I photograph a lot of boxing matches and fighters here in the Bay Area because I love to watch the sport. The passion, drama, and rawness is what engages me. So when I was in Cuba, a country that produces huge numbers of top-level, internationally competitive amateur talent (semi­pro was permitted by the government only recently), I knew I had to see how the Cubans trained. 
    “This coach at a popular gym remembered me from a previous visit years ago and introduced me to his stable. 
    “Eventually the boxers allowed me into their circle and I documented everything: from their training regimen, what they ate to stay healthy in a country where food is rationed, their families, their own personal struggles, and their love of life. In spite of the number of tourists that come through there, I knew I was lucky to know them as true friends.”
    Wong continued, reminiscing about her time at Laney: “I took two semesters of photojournalism with Joan Bobkoff. That class is great because, although the fundamentals of telling a story will be the same each semester, the topics and politics evolve with current events. That leads to awesome discussion and debate.” 
    Wong graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in Psychology and studied photojournalism at Laney. She is also a member of the Asian American Women’s Artist Association in San Francisco.

    Knockout: A showcase of Boxing themed Art
    The Compound Gallery
    Sept. 19th through Nov. 1st
    For more info visit:
    Free to the public

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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