The Daily Aztec

Art education junior wants to inspire

Photo+courtesy+of+Jesseca+Aquino.
Photo courtesy of Jesseca Aquino.

Photo courtesy of Jesseca Aquino.

Photo courtesy of Jesseca Aquino.

by Nicole Sazegar, Senior Staff Writer

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When Jesseca Aquino was 8 years old, her mother took her to visit an art gallery. Seeing mannequin parts coming out of the ceiling inspired Aquino to join a community where she could have her own space.

Since that moment, Aquino dedicated herself to art so much that her friends even consider her to be “walking art.”

“I think if you just saw her walking down the street, you could immediately tell that she walks and talks art,” computer engineering junior Trisha Tolentino said.

Since Aquino is an art education junior, she has the privilege of dabbling in different mediums from photography to ceramics to paintings.

Although she has always been involved in art classes as a child, it wasn’t until she got to college that Aquino realized she wanted to make a career out of art. Part of her choice to become an art teacher was due to her high school art instructor who became her mentor.

When she saw his dedication to his job and his students, Aquino said she realized that being a vessel for someone in the same way her teacher was a vessel for her would be a rewarding career.

“A lot of the time you don’t get teachers that care about you [or] want you to succeed,” Aquino said. “They want you to dole out assignments, but with him, it was like ‘I care about what you’re doing’ and ‘I’m going to be critical about it, but I’m going to be nurturing about your process.’”

Tolentino sees Aquino as a future art teacher who will inspire her students in the same way Aquino’s mentor inspired her.

“I think when it comes to her specific teaching style, she will definitely involve intersectionality of different problems and conflicts,” Tolentino said. “She’s definitely a type of ‘if you feel it, you should do it’ kind of person, so I don’t think she will hinder any of her students in their creative paths.”

With the help of her art instructor, she was able to find her identity and bond it with her artwork.

“Writing about certain experiences helps you connect with your community,” Aquino said. “I think that creating art that’s tied to your identity is very important.”

Aquino relates her art to pop art and describes it as contemporary. Aquino said she uses a lot of lines and colors to create an aura and energy in both her paintings and drawings. Since Aquino uses different forms of mediums to create her art, each medium expresses a different side of her.

She uses her visual art to express her inner feelings, expressions and thought processes while her writing mostly deals with her identity, emotions and trauma.

Aquino came to San Diego State as undeclared, but ever since she joined the School of Art and Design, she’s felt more connected to the art community on campus.

“I think that even though SDSU has its certain focuses, I think that the School of Art and Design is a great resource for artists out there,” Aquino said.

Through SDSU, she was able to find a job as a gallery assistant at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

“If I wasn’t able to get the job at the gallery and if I didn’t know about the downtown location at all, I don’t know where I would be,” Aquino said.

Aquino’s biggest art influences are Frida Kahlo, Barbara Krueger and PANCA, a Tijuana based artist.

“I really like women artists, especially queer women artists who kind of just don’t have enough visibility but should because their perspective really brings something to their art,” Aquino said.

Like the women artists and queer women artists who influence Aquino, Tolentino says that Aquino uses her intersectional knowledge of women’s studies, gender rights and reproductive justice to help and inform people with her art. Tolentino has noticed how Aquino’s art affects every aspect of her life from the way she dresses to her involvement in the community.

Tolentino said that Aquino has become a strong influence in the world of social media and the art community.

“Walking down the street with her is difficult because people will always stop her to talk about what she just did or how she’s dressed because her art extends to how she dresses and how she looks,” Tolentino said. “Even if she doesn’t realize it yet, we tell her this all the time, I think she’s a true artist and every single aspect of her life is touched by a certain aesthetic.”

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