Student artist proves talent

Gomez shines with artwork

Gomez painting the side of her utility box.
Jamie Perlee
Gomez painting the side of her utility box.

Staying up until 4 a.m. working on a piece of art because sudden inspiration is what LMC art student Stephanie Gomez considers a “perfect night.”

Gomez is majoring in studio arts, fine arts and liberal arts at Los Medanos College, where she is a part of the Honors Program and Alpha Gamma Sigma Honors Society, and will be transferring to UC Berkeley in the fall to work toward getting her bachelor’s degree.

Gomez was raised in Brentwood and said she knew she was going to be an artist since she was young.

“I first expressed my interest in art as a toddler when I colored on the walls of my house,” she said. “From the moment I won first place in the yearbook cover design contest in the fifth grade, I anticipated becoming an artist, and my relationship with fine arts had emerged.”

While wearing a chic floral shirt, high-heeled boots, flawless lipstick and perfectly winged eyeliner, Gomez explained, “The way you present yourself is important, I want to show symbolically that I am an artist.”

Gomez wants to express she is an artist through her makeup and wardrobe, but all you need to do is look at her particularly short nails and paint and graphite-covered hands to know she is, indeed, an artist.

When Gomez was first becoming serious about her future in art, she knew she had talent, but lacked “a strong foundation of understanding of the basic techniques for creating cohesive compositions.”

As a junior in high school, Gomez enrolled in a summer art program at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She said there, under the direction of instructors, she began to develop formal skills and refined techniques.

Gomez has already accomplished quite a bit. At 17, she became the youngest member of the Art Guild of the Delta, an East Contra Costa County nonprofit art organization sponsored by the Brentwood Art Society.

She has sold art at the Delta Gallery of the Arts and the annual Art Wine and Jazz Festival and displayed art at the Brentwood City Hall. And at the Delta Gallery of the Arts, she also completed an internship where, she said, “I learned how to run an art gallery.”

In the future, Gomez sees herself getting her master’s degree from either UCLA, Yale or NYU, then working as a fine arts professor at an institution of higher education.

“I hope to influence and inspire future artists who share as deep a connection to the visual arts as I do,” she said, adding she also hopes to “help them find their artistic purpose and identity.”

This year, Gomez faced what she called her most challenging task as an artist yet. She was commissioned through the City of Brentwood to design and paint a utility box to help beautify the city. Gomez said when designing the box, she wanted Brentwood to have a public work of art that illustrated the playful youth and culture of the community.

Her design — a little boy holding a bucket, facing a “U-Pick Cherry” farm — was inspired by her childhood memories of going cherry picking at a local farm on the outskirts of Brentwood. She also added some black and white swirls on the side of the utility box, which can be seen on the corner of Sand Creek and O’Hara in Brentwood.

“I committed myself to serving my community by producing this public art display, which allowed me to understand for the first time what it feels like to work under pressure, knowing that a work of art needs to be completed by a deadline under certain regulations,” she said. “This experience took me way out of my comfort zone, as it was my first time painting publicly and it helped me acknowledge that sometimes my work has to meet others’ standards in challenging work environments.”

What makes Gomez so passionate about art is that it is created through visual self-expression.

“An artist interprets and expresses their ideas and thoughts about society and culture through visual art. No words can begin to describe the feeling I get when I step back and view my art work when it is completed,” said Gomez. “It amazes me how I am capable of transforming blank canvases into cohesive compositions that consist of images that will last and represent my sensibilities and creativity.”

LMC graphic design isntructor Curtis Corlew said he enjoys Gomez’s artwork and admires her dedication.

“It is always fun to have students like Stephanie who put their heart into their work,” said Corlew.

When Gomez isn’t creating art, she enjoys singing, listening to all forms of music, and doing community service. She loves to explore art galleries in the Bay Area — specifically San Francisco — and is excited about the upcoming reopening of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this month.

Gomez is versatile with many mediums, but her strength is drawing, and though she loves all colors equally, she tends to lean toward warm colors when producing art because she believes them to be more inviting.

Over the past few years, Gomez has not only “gained a stronger foundation in art,” but also has become a “better-rounded individual” through the opportunities she has had as an artist.

“Being creative is a strong quality I have always possessed. However, an even stronger quality that grows each day through my obstacles and experiences is my self-determination and perfectionism,” she said. “They have allowed me to strive for excellence as I am strong-minded and a highly driven individual that strives for perfection to distinguish my identity and purpose as an artist.”