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Sculptures and Paintings Explore Concept of Race

VALLEY ROUNDUP | Northridge

May 02, 1999|ROBERTO J. MANZANO

The most eye-catching creation among the drawings, oil paintings and sculptures at the Art Station studio was constructed of gold-painted jeans wrapped around each other.

Six pairs of jeans were stuffed with newspaper, starched and held together with safety pins, said its creator Noelle Raffy, 18.

Raffy wasn't the only busy artist, however.

The art school bustled with 13 students--teenagers and adults alike--preparing projects for an exhibition sponsored by the Art Share Los Angeles organization in downtown Los Angeles on May 13.

"They've been working three months, some tirelessly, others lazily," joked director Gregory Mansi.

All of the works were inspired by the concept of race, he said.

"I wanted to see what kids do visually when you throw a word like that at them," Mansi said. "Race is real topical. We're trying to look at this from a positive point of view."

The jeans piece was the first sculpture for Raffy, who said she came up with the idea as a play on words. She looked up race in the dictionary and found a definition referring to the difference in people's genes.

"I took it literally and made a sculpture with jeans," said Raffy, of Granada Hills.

Joy Liu presented an oil painting of people sprinting down a blood-red racetrack above a city. She said it was inspired by her high school track team experiences where competition often made people treat each other badly.

"We're all running the same race and segregated by the same lines," said Liu, 17, of Northridge.

For many students, it was the first time they had entered an exhibition--an experience that was important for young artists who want to build portfolios and go to art schools, Mansi said.

"Art is not just technique, but also learning how to professionally install or present a work," he said.

Some students were also parents who attend classes with their children. Carrie Sorosky, 40, said she is taking a drawing class and her 9-year-old son is studying cartooning.

"My son started here first. He kept bugging me to come with him," she said. "I would never have considered taking art classes. Now I'm as addicted to it as him."

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