The Elena Baskin Visual Arts Center bustles with activity this week as students work to complete the finishing touches on their artwork. It’ll be showcased at this quarter’s Open Studios on Dec. 7 from noon to 4 p.m. The event acts as a final exam for art classes where student work will be showcased as a pop-up gallery of sorts.

“Art really doesn’t come to fruition until its seen, appreciated, interpreted and taken in by other people,” said J. Gaston, operations and facilities manager for the Art Department. “It’s very challenging for an artist to evaluate their own work because they get so attached to it.”

1) Over the sound of rattling chicken wire, Nicolette Hodgson described her final project for Sculpture II.

“Flocks of starlings that fly around in Europe create these beautiful shapes in the sky,” Hodgson said. “They gather by the thousands. I thought that’s a cool design. I want to see if I can replicate it.”

The piece is inspired by her passions in both science and art. Made of chicken wire and tinted window film, the materials allow the viewer to see through the shape’s organic design.

Photos by Nikolasi Saafi

2) Whenever her friends ask where she is, Ella Boker usually says she’s in the Art Department’s printmaking studio. She’s spent most of her time this quarter there, working to create a series of prints — a time-consuming and complicated process which involves using acid to etch an image into limestone and rolling ink onto glass.

“You spend a lot of time on things you care about,” Boker said.

One of the prints depicts baggy-eyed businessmen and their inner thoughts, who stand against a blue background. She finishes up the piece on Wednesday night before her due date for Open Studios.

“The art department is very intimate, so you’re seeing everybody frantically running around at work, and you give advice to people,” Boker said. “Seeing the final product is  heartwarming.”

3) Megan Griffith is producing a piece of intaglio, a variety of printmaking focused on copperplate etching, for her final project. She’ll print four plates on one paper to create a piece dedicated to her grandparents, who lost their home in the Camp Fire.

“Each plate focuses on a memory of their home,” Griffith said. “Two of them reflect their yard and their garden, something that they put a lot of energy and love into. The other two are musical instruments they lost in their home. One was my papa’s old guitar and the other was my grandma’s standing piano.”

4) On the night before his final critique, Aceuedo sat listening to music, staring at the wall upon which his seven paintings hung, nervous for the next day.

“I’m new here to this environment,” said Juan Aceuedo, “so I’m taking this time as a self reflection of where I was in these two self portraits.”

Aceuedo is a transfer in his first quarter at UCSC. His interest in art began in community college. He ended up in an art class after registering for classes late, and he ended up pursuing it as a major.