Spotlight On: Cordelia Albertson

Cordelia is an artist and writer studying in her fourth year at PSU, working toward a major in English Literature with a minor in Spanish.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: I haven’t really had a favorite book for a long time, but there are books that resonate with me for a particular period of time in my life. One that consistently resonates with me is “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss, because his prose is incredibly well-crafted. A collection of short stories called “Enfermario” by Gabriela Torres Olivares, which is has both the original stories in Spanish and the English translations side by side, continues to move me. Olivares’ work is so visceral and beautifully unsettling.

Q: How does your daily life inspire your art?

A: I don’t know about inspiring, but I feel an inexplicable urgency to create almost every day. The raw emotions that I feel in reaction to daily events often overwhelm me. Writing allows me to take what I’m thinking and feeling and interact with those thoughts and emotions without worrying about finding an immediate solution. Sometimes I feel inspired by others’ love for and struggle with their art. Lately, I’ve been writing songs in reaction to streamed shows of people table-top role playing games like Critical Role and LA by Night. In any case, I think making art is more of an act of survival for me. As a result, feeling inspired may just be my preferred norm. I run into creative blocks, I take breaks, I live my life, but I always come back to art.

Q: How do you go about transforming an idea into a finished project?

A: That depends on what I’m doing. With writing poetry, it’s this strange push and pull where I write a phrase in reaction to a feeling and then I either explore the feeling further or I probe my brain, testing out rhyme, meter, figurative language, and mnemonics. I’ll go back and forth between those until it’s all out. Then I go back and edit for consistency, flow, feeling, and sensitivity. Writing fiction usually involves a long process of me writing, editing, getting feedback, and revising. With visual art, I start with a form or idea and keep working at it until it’s done or until my hands start hurting. With clay and foam and wire, I would often just dig into the feel of the medium and pay less attention to how it looked and more on the flow of the texture and form in my hands. In all my work, I think creating sense of shape, texture, and feeling is key to my process, even while exploring very abstract topics.

Q: Is it important that your art feels alive and in conversation with you?

A: For writing, yes. My writing focuses on having a dialogue with myself, with others, and sometimes even with itself. When I write poetry, while I do value my audience, I’m usually talking with myself about something I’m struggling to express or explore. My feelings towards visual art are less one-sided. While I do make visual art that’s emotionally visceral, it’s less imperative for me that I do so, and I often draw for fun without any intention of a piece being anything more than fun to make.

Q: What themes do you like to explore in your art? 

A: With visual art, when I’m trying to explore something, it’s usually shape and texture and/or an aspect of darkness and pain. My sketches often center around characters I’ve read about or made and the pain they experience. I draw a lot of crying faces, people with scars, people who look rough around the edges. My poetry is an avenue for me to explore guilt, founded or unfounded. I often explore sexism and racism and how they affect the way things are read and how people are perceived. Lately, I’ve been exploring pain in the loss of little things. One of my most recent poems is an exploration of no longer being able to drink caffeinated coffee, which I grew up drinking almost every morning. I also often mix scientific concepts into my poetry, because I like to explore the poetics of science, especially as a human attempt to understand and interact with the universe. I love being able to bring that awareness to the table along with my knowledge of literature, history, and poetic devices.

Spotlight On: Joe Eichenlaub

Joe is a master’s of sociology student studying invented religions at PSU, to which he says “The Temple of the Jedi Order to be precise. They are an invented religion, almost fully on-line which follows the religious sub-texts in the Star Wars films.”

Q: Who or what influences and inspires your art the most?

A: I really love Basquiat and Hundertwasser, but on the other hand I also like realism, particularly Caravaggio, NC Wyeth and his son, and Maxfield Parish.

Q: What are your favorite art mediums to work with?

A: I really like pen and ink, water color and gouache. Watercolors are very unforgiving, and in that vein quite challenging. I love the way a watercolor work looks so alive and vibrant.

Q: What do you do about creative blocks?

A: I try and daydream and just let my thoughts wander. I also find that while I am skateboarding or doing other cardiovascular exercise that you sometimes find yourself lost in a Zen-like moment where free-association and open thought tend to come a little easier.

Q: How does your daily life inspire your art?

A: I suppose daydreaming and maybe looking at the world in ways that others perhaps do not. I find that while “spacing-out”, say on the Max or bus that you can see something that may inspire you. Or you might see a combination of things that give you inspiration.

Q: How do you go about transforming an idea into a finished project?

A: I will write out my idea or tear out a page from a book or magazine and make a note to myself describing where I want to go with the idea in explicit and clear terms that I will understand later, maybe a little sketch to go with it. I will then sit with that idea for a while, see where it goes. If it looks promising, I will then start to draw or paint it, but not go all the way. I like to do things in phases, that way you can see how the piece is going to evolve in a way that creating it all in one go does not allow for.

Spotlight On: Moxxy Rogers

Moxxy is a poet and an artist studying as a junior in the Poetry MFA program, minoring in film studies.

Q: Who are your favorite poets?

A: It’s a very typical answer, I really like Sylvia Plath. She’s always had incredible meter and rhythm. I think I’m more enamored with her life than her poetry, and that’s because her life is reflected so much in her poetry. I feel like she’s speaking to me from beyond the grave. I also love Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

Q: How does your daily life influence your art?

A: I think I walk around constantly in a state of love, I fall in love very easily, whether that be with people, or nature, or moments, or memories, so when I write, I pull from the strongest memory in that moment so I’m always writing from a place of love. If I’m not writing from a place of love, it’s a place of pain that has resulted in that love hurting me. I love a little too hard.

Q: Is it important that your art feels alive and in conversation with you?

A: Yes. When I’m writing, it’s like the page is speaking to me, I almost don’t know what I’m writing until I’m done. It’s really important that my pieces are alive, it’s really important that readers are able to feel a fraction of what I was feeling when I was writing the poem. I know if the poem can speak to me, it can also speak to other people. Poetry, I think, is one of the few art forms in which when you’re reading it, it reads you back.

Q: How do you go about transforming an idea into a finished project?

A: Sometimes I get stopped by the fear of writing bad poetry, then I remember that I just have to write. I have to get away from being so scared of not producing perfection and just dive in. The thing with poetry is I feel like its almost never finished, there’s always so much more you can add or take away. You can read a poem and it can take you back, and in that way it’s going to read differently at different points in life, even if it’s a piece that’s 5 years old. Some of my favorite poems are going back to my old ones and revising those.

Q: What are your goals?

A: By the end of my college career, I would really like to have published a poetry book. I have been keeping a journal since freshman year of college of all my poems, and I would like to publish that as it is. As a film minor, I want to be a screenwriter one day, and I would like to find a way to incorporate poetry and film together. My biggest goal is to be happy. I’m constantly hoping to be happy, and to find my peace, and to grow closer to God in everything that I do.