In 1992, after a few years at community college trying to find my footing, I was encouraged to transfer to CCAC (now renamed to CCA) in Oakland by my life drawing teacher, Mark Eanes. I was reluctant to leave College of San Mateo, which was a genuine community with many great students and teachers (and still is!).
I visited the campus in Oakland and fell totally in love. It is a tree-lined utopia, full of shade and lovely buildings. The neighborhood was full of vintage buildings and was still a little funky before its “renewal” into a destination shopping area in the mid to lates 90’s.
Even though I’m a big booster for public education, I have to say I really benefitted at the time from the small classes and the wonderful faculty at CCAC. I doubt I could afford to go now, could barely afford it at the time, but it was a magical place to make art, think and talk to people. Being crippled with shyness for most of my life, CCAC was a place where I finally felt comfortable enough to be a person and talk to people and participate.
I also underwent a transformation from a relatively traditionally-oriented painter (influenced by the Bay Area Figurative movement) to a Ceramics major. At the time, Ceramics was one of the few departments where underclasspeople got dedicated studio space to keep their supplies in and do their work. Painting was an impacted major and I wanted to start taking the sexy art classes right away and not just beaver away at core major reqs. Ceramics 1-2 with Arthur Gonzalez had space available and I jumped in and after that switched my major.
I had the privilege of knowing and learning from many wonderful people like Viola Frey, Charles Fiske, John Toki and the studio tech Lisa Clague. I also kept taking painting classes, having the great good fortune to have Philip Morsberger as a teacher. Not only was he a guiding light on many important thoughts on being an artist, he also tried heroically to break me of my habit of mixing every color into brown and mostly succeeded. Later he and my book-making teacher Betsy Davids spoke up for me when I later applied to CCAC’s MFA program and was almost rejected, a gift I can never repay.
(Since this has gotten long, I will post photos from this time in a couple of separate entries)