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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Archives

    Wallflower

    bent over

    Anna is one of those amazing artists whose artwork deserves attention,’ said Robert Abrams, referring to Laney College Art Professor Anna Vaughan. Her 40-foot mural can be seen on the east wall of the Abrams Claghorn Gallery in Albany, which Abrams owns.
    Vaughan’s artworks explore both the functional and sculptural traditions of ceramics. As a painter, she often incorporates the use of layered slips and sgrafitto, or clay etching into the work. 
    Most recently, she completed the mural by spending hours doing sketches of the local neighborhood around the Ohlone Parkway. Vaughan then collaged her sketches together into a playful composition of abstract colors. 
    Even before the mural was finished, Vaughan got the chance to engage with her audience. She said there were a lot of starts and stops talking with people who were going to be seeing this mural on a daily basis. 
    Vaughan was “the obvious choice for the muralist,” said Abrams, who also described Vaughan as diverse and experimental in her artwork.
    In fact, in addition to the exterior mural, Vaughan also has a solo art exhibition now on view at the gallery. 
    Vaughan said her current installation is a way of combining her “spiritual practice of mindfulness and my art practice.” 
    Out of a 600-pound block of red clay, Vaughan will create a self-portrait in her own medium: a sculpture of herself, called ‘Clay Body’. 
    “For a while I was having problems getting up early to do a totally still meditation practice, but I could get up and do pinch pots,” Vaughan said. Those pots can now be seen in the part of her exhibit titled “My Darling,” after which Vaughan was struck with the idea to do a performance art in the gallery space was formed.

    Cups

    “I will be building a podium and sculpting myself out of a 600-pound block of red clay, surrounded by art,” Vaughan said, “which reminds me of the poet Rumi who speaks of being surrounded by things you love.”
    For a piece called “King of the Seas,” a meditative figure is seated in lotus position to reflect the overall show’s theme being of spiritual seeking, a vision inspired by the California surf culture she was immersed in while living in southern California. 
    Indeed, the show’s sculpture evokes much of what Vaughan loves.
    Beyond the gallery, Vaughan’s love for art brings about inspiration, motivation, and appreciation on the part of her students. 
    Vaughan’s classes provide a solid structure and freedom, which encourages students to explore their own artistic interests while gaining an understanding of the traditional and technical processes of clay.
    “Anna Vaughan’s class changed everything for me,” Leslie Plato Smith, one of Vaughan’s former students, said. Smith is an artist herself, and a former instructor and dean of City College of San Francisco.

    Butterlfy

    “She taught me how to see color differently,” Smith said. “She knows how to structure and scaffold the curriculum so what the students are assigned can be both challenging and enjoyable.”
    Laney College art major Chris Perata agrees. Perata has taken three semesters of Vaughan’s classes in drawing, sculpture and ceramics.
    “Each time she provides very useful exercises such as starting by doing quick sketches with your non-dominant hand and then taking that into the next sculpture stage.” Perata said. 
    She also speaks highly of Vaughan’s work as a mentor and muse. 
    “She’s very insightful in helping you see things you couldn’t see before and she is kind when she’s giving you feedback,” Perata said.
    For Vaughan, being an artist and an art professor go hand in hand.
    “In order to be of use to students you really need to have a passion for making art,” she said. “It is important to model the artist’s love of art in your life.”
    Vaughan herself is a student as much as a teacher: she said she felt lucky to have worked for a time under Hung Liu, a celebrated Bay Area painter. Vaughan described her as very sensitive and precisely skilled in her critiques and teaching style.
    “The teaching of art makes you analyze, articulate and break down the many steps in the process of making an artwork,” Vaughan said. “This is very different from being in the intuition or flow of creating [the sculpture or painting itself.]”
    As for her gallery exhibition, Vaughan finds it to be the perfect way “to interact with people and combine my three loves: meditation, art, and teaching.”
    “Anyone is invited,” she said, “not just artists.”

    Mural

    Abrams Claghorn Gallery
    1251 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706
    Anna Vaughan’s performance and exhibition will continue through the end of April, on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1–5 p.m.

    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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