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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

When pigs fly

Christina Gardner, 20, is an art and graphic designer student at City College who self taught herself how to knit and is now putting up "yarn-bombs" around the campus. Tony Wallin | [email protected]

In front of the Technology building on a gloomy day, rebellion lurks—but it’s not for destructive or political purposes, but rather for the love of art.

As she knits the last few steps of her newest work, City College student and art major Christine Gardner is on the lookout for campus police, in fear they will yank her yarn-bomb down. The piece, a 3-D model constructed of yarn, is a form of guerilla art.

Although guerilla art is often associated with graffiti, it is not limited to that form. Artists use sculptures, stickers and even chalk to put their art in public places—all in the pursuit of artistic expression.

“I’m not doing anything really illegal,” says Gardner.

Gardner is not the only artist on campus who makes guerrilla art—there are many students on campus who create such art on the sly. And while some, like Gardner, may fear that their work will be taken down by authorities, there are some City College art professors who support their work.

City College Kondos Gallery Curator Suzanne Adan, for example, says she advocates students’ art around campus.

“I think it’s a great thing to give the students exposure,” says Adan.

It’s been a year since the since City College art Professor Mitra Fabian’s 3-D art student assignment created a stir after students took the initiative to hang sculptures around campus.

The concept of their work, Fabian says, was based on a simple question: “When will SCC accept our art?”

The students responded with their own answer: “When pigs fly.” But when the students then hung models that resembled pigs made of straws on campus, it didn’t take long for the work to be removed. Some sculptures were deemed inappropriate by administration and taken down, Fabian says.

“It was misconstrued as figures being lynched,” says Fabian. “[Student] artists were hurt by censorship.”

Aside from the pigs controversy, Fabian says that the campus administration is usually understanding of art being sporadically placed around campus, as long as it doesn’t push the envelope.

College’s Public Information Officer Amanda Davis explains the art’s removal, saying that City College “encourages free thinking, freedom of expression and freedom of speech,” but that the college is against conduct that makes groups or individuals feel uncomfortable.
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Fabian says she understands the importance behind freedom of expression with students, including Gardner.

Apart from the abstract sculptures all around and the classroom Fabian says she tries to open her students up to an array of art delivery—guerilla art being one of the many.

“I try to display my students’ art work around campus as much as possible,” Fabian says. “It’s very empowering to the students.”

Now, back in front of the Technology building, Gardner is finally ready to make her mark. With some snips of the last few pieces of loose yarn, the speed of a turtle and the grace of a bull, she pounces onto the soil surrounding the tree and strikes. After a few minutes and a trip back to her book bag on a neighboring bench for her trusty blue-handled scissors, the artist’s work is complete.

Although Gardner says she worries about the preventative force of campus police, Gardner shows no sign of concern about onlookers.

“I have not seen anything,” one watcher says as he takes a drag of his cigarette.

Gardener’s newest yarn-bomb, is a blue and yellow bird couple, tied to a tree between the large doors of the auditorium and red bricks of the Technology building, is constructed of nothing but yarn and craftsmanship brought together by six hours of work.

Gardner has no secret agenda, she says, other than to introduce the rest of the world to knitting as a feasible form of art.

“The whole point is [that] I’m trying to break a stereotype that knitting is for your grandma,” says Gardner.

As she reminisces, Gardner is in awe that her previous yarn-bomb from a year ago, her rendition of an octopus garden, is still raggedly hanging from a tree outside the art building.

“It was a test run. I wondered how long it would be up,” Gardner says. “To put my own mark on my college, where I hang out, my tie.”

As Gardner admires the once bland limb of a tree that she made colorful with her sleeve of vibrant octopi, she reflects.

“It feels awesome,” says Gardner.

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