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Brandeis senior excels at the fine arts

By Alana Hodson

Section: Arts

September 11, 2015

The extensive realm of the fine arts can be a daunting field in which to major, but it is in that realm that Cesar Pineda ’16 has found his passion.

Pineda has narrowed his focus to photography and painting, expressing his emotions and ideas through colors and abstract shapes. Though photography holds an important place in Pineda’s collection, oil painting accounts for the bulk of his work, illustrating a variety of subject matter including landscapes, still life and human models. The fine arts have broadened his perspective of the world and of himself, though perhaps the greatest influence on Pineda’s life and art was his study abroad semester in Japan in the spring, which has altered his plans for the future immensely.

Though Pineda now seems like the ideal fit to the fine arts, his original plans were meant to lead him down a very different path. On the road to becoming a business major, Pineda entered his sophomore year with this declaration in mind. However, one class stopped him in his tracks—econ. Having encountered his kryptonite, he suddenly found himself facing the reality that business was not the path he truly wished to follow. Seeking an outlet for his stress and creativity, Pineda took Introduction to Drawing with Professor Joseph Wardwell (FA)—a class that would lead him to his true calling.

Pineda soon invested more of his time in painting and photography, eventually declaring his major in Fine Arts. He tried many styles and media, discovering his strength for oil painting with color and his dislike for hyperrealism. One of Pineda’s favorite artistic endeavors is his series of self-portraits. “I did it like six or seven times … I don’t know why. A lot of it has to do with how I felt when I painted the portrait, so a lot of the colors changed, a lot of the shapes changed … there were a lot of similarities, but also a lot of differences.”

While he learned much about the world of art through his classes, the fine arts have taught him even more about himself, creating an opportunity for introspection that would have otherwise been missed. In the typically hectic life of the over-invested and over-worked Brandeisian, art became a source of therapeutic relief for Pineda. Free from papers and exams, he could enjoy the work he put into his projects, and he could find freedom in his ability to create a new world through visual expression. “It’s given me a better appreciation for the hard work that people do. For example, I always try to buy music now because I know what it’s like to have your work out there and appreciated,” he explained.

Pineda was not interested in Japan prior to his study abroad. “It just seemed natural to pick Japan,” he said, yet the country could not have been a more perfect match for him. In his first years at Brandeis, Pineda kept to himself, reluctant to expose his character to the judgement of others. However, in Chiba, Japan, Pineda had to make a new life for himself on his own and in a completely different culture, forcing him to accept the idea of becoming independent. He met many great people and found a family that taught him the value of recognizing and appreciating the people in his life, as well as confidence in his own abilities. Pineda’s artistic world also expanded as he was exposed to a new culture of art. “In the States, there’s a negative stigma against comic books … but in Japan they’ve incorporated manga and anime into popular art … I liked how creative they were.”

Now that Pineda has returned from Japan, he has turned his focus to his final year at Brandeis, taking senior studio and preparing for his upcoming project. While there are no concrete plans yet, Pineda hopes that his senior showcase will reveal personal growth through the artwork he has created over the past years, and he also plans to incorporate Japanese culture into several new pieces.

When asked about his plans after graduation, without a second of hesitation, Pineda exclaimed, “Go to Japan!” He hopes to do something in the creative arts, hopefully to become an art teacher. Pineda offered some advice for underclassmen planning to major in the fine arts: “Don’t be afraid, just because the fine arts is really big compared to other areas … don’t be afraid that you can’t do something; it takes time to develop your skills—like learning a new language … be creative; everyone has their own distinct style … and just have fun with it.”

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