November 20, 2015When art major Nicole Williford makes a portrait, she doesn’t just paint a face. She’s not interested in the split-second capture of two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Instead, she crafts oil and pigment into the essence of a person’s soul. Her work was recently on display in Brougher Hall, where viewers could see her exploration of movement and truth in her subjects’ profiles. Portrait painters usually work to accurately render one perspective of a human face, but Williford was unsatisfied with this traditional method. Her images, at first glance, are a little odd. The eyes of the person are not where they should be, or are not there at all. Faces come out from faces, eyebrows overlap noses, and the overall effect looks like a badly timed photograph with a slow shutter speed. “We live in a world of visual manipulation and filtration,” she explained in her artist statement. “A large portion of my exploration of portraiture has been an intense pursuit of honesty.” Williford believes most of our online portrayals of ourselves are not accurate. With a myriad of editing options, filters, and the convenient “untag” button, it has become easy to lie about ourselves. To Williford, a bad photo—where a person is caught in motion—might be more telling about him or her than an edited online image. “Oftentimes, [that kind of photo] is more real,” she said. Painting a true image of someone’s essence is not easy, as she’s found. Williford began this portrait project with a painting of her friend Grandpa Roy (Heibert), but realized her large-scale image was not an accurate depiction of his character. “Grandpa Roy is such a gentle man, and it’s such an aggressive size,” she said about the painting. “I want to be honorable to who the person is.” Williford often uses more than one artistic method to get closer to an accurate representation of the person. With Grandpa Roy, she first made a series of photographs, then sculpted a bust to work from before beginning to paint. “I can feel his face, without actually holding his face,” she said with a laugh. “I’m making the actual object, then going back and painting the illusion of that exploration.” Williford enjoys the kinesthetic experience of sculpting first, and she believes it helps her render the subject more accurately. She finds sculpture very fulfilling and even considers it a spiritual practice. “There’s this deep sense of ‘I am doing the right thing,’” she said, “and that this is where I’m supposed to be.” With her portrait series, Williford hopes viewers see that her images are uncomfortable and even a little troubling, but also true. Her paintings may take some time for viewers to understand, and she’s okay with that. “I hope they cause enough tension … for people to really look at something,” she said. “We are so complex, and there are so many different parts of who we are, even in one moment.”
November 20, 2015By Kosette Isakson, Crescent Staff As president of the International Club at George Fox University (GFU), Jack Tan knows the importance of exploring cultural differences: an exploration that will take place with ASC’s new event, Culture Corner. Culture Corner is a revival of a previous event called English Corner. Both international students and domestic students are invited to attend Culture Corner to take part in games and discussions and learn about other cultures. “Just sharing the story with each other can fill the gap between them,” said Tan. “So that’s why I wanted to be president of International Club this year, to try and achieve and emphasize that voice on the campus.” Tan saw the struggles of the international students as an orientation assistant this fall. Having been new to this country six years ago, Tan could put himself in their shoes. Tan’s family moved here from Guangdong, China, before his freshman year of high school. “It’s totally different than America,” he said, remembering his first terrifying days at Beavercreek High School in Ohio. Reflecting on new international students, Tan said, “They’re scared, because they’re by themselves. And they’re here because they want a better life, better job, better opportunity in the future. I know how they feel. So I think having this Culture Corner back can really help them.” During his first semester at GFU, Tan attended English Corner and saw firsthand the power of having conversations about culture with other students, both domestic and international. At the beginning of this semester, Tan was one of the multicultural representatives for ASC. The Vice President of Multicultural Life, Noelle Ho, says the purpose of this new ASC subcommittee is “to represent our multicultural students; cultivate awareness, respect, and appreciation of cultural diversity; and provide students of diverse races and cultures [with] a supportive environment.” There are three multicultural representatives currently working under Ho, but Tan has since given up his position on ASC to focus on academics and the International Club. Tan and Ho confirmed that the ownership of Culture Corner will transition from ASC to the International Club starting next semester, in hopes of increasing international students’ attendance. Culture Corner happens every other Thursday from 7-8 p.m. The first week’s theme was “Get To Know You” and the second theme was “Appreciation,” in honor of Thanksgiving. Students discussed the ways in which they show appreciation to their friends: ways that Tan says are very different in China. Tan hopes to increase attendance so that “eventually this event can be a symbolic event on the campus.” Tan’s desire to help connect cultures extends outside GFU as well. He is a junior finance major and has been working for a nonprofit in Portland called IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization). “I want my life to be meaningful to people by serving others,” Tan said.
November 10, 2015Last Saturday night, George Fox University hosted a talent show where several people were allowed to put their talents in the limelight and bask in the applause. Among those talents (and carrying an impressive amount of praise) was Nathaniel Burmeister. Burmeister beat boxed to the tune his choir team sang and the audience was changed and impressed. He is a Cinema and Media Communications major with a minor in Computer Science and a member of the William Penn Honors Program. If that doesn’t sound like a plate full, he also juggles photography, singing, choir, and RA Life. “Ranked from third to first I would love an internship in Portland, Seattle,” said Burmeister, “and my first choice would be going with the CTO program over to Nashville and spending a summer over there working either in the studios or doing a partnership with Belmont University.” Several people will agree that Burmeister’s natural excitement and passion for life rubs off on the people around him. His drive and hard earned talent gives him energy unique only to him. “My mom and dad,” said Burmeister, “definitely put a lot of emphasis on, ‘You try a whole bunch of things,’ and did not put any emphasis on, ‘if you fail then it’s just not meant to be.’ Persistence is one of the biggest things they emphasized.” During the quiet hours Burmeister finds himself turning to his stress relievers. Burmeister calls himself an extraverted-introvert and turns to singing, reading, or watching TV to recharge. “My favorite book for a while has been The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis,” said Burmeister. “There have been very few books that I’ve read and have kept me up in the very early morning hours reading. That’s one of them.” Burmeister finds a way to inspire the people around him either with the talent he show’s in his music or the passion he puts into his studies.
November 10, 2015A young woman walks across her college campus wearing a short black dress with torn, knee-high black stockings and clunky Doc Martens. A few years ago, she might have been the recipient of some judgmental stares. But in 2015, ’90s grunge is a real thing, and her fashion sense is right on the money. What is ’90s grunge, anyway? Acid wash blue jeans and chokers come to mind, as do short, choppy haircuts and plaid shirts slung lazily around hips. Think back to movies like Clueless, and shows like My So Called Life; the decade of the ’90s had a distinct look that was both carelessly simple and purposefully frumpy. The 2015 take on ’90s grunge thrives on minimalism, so when you’re shopping online (or in your parents’ basement), look for shades of black and white. A white tee with rolled sleeves tucked into a pair of slightly baggy high-rise jeans is a perfect place to start. If I could choose a word to describe 90’s grunge, it would be “substantial.” Nothing about it is frilly or ethereal; the fabrics of grunge are hefty denim, wool, and stiff cotton. This look has to come across as carefree: you got up this morning, grabbed a mug of black coffee, and threw on your clothes before hurrying off to band practice. This style is not for the faint of heart, but it is blessedly easy, and the sturdy fabrics and full coverage silhouettes are perfect for the colder months. The look goes from frumpy to luxe when silhouettes like boxy turtleneck sweaters are recreated in quilted cotton, in various shades of soft pink, mustard, and baby blue. Even baggy overalls get a fresh interpretation with gold hardware and cuffed hems. If you’re needing inspiration for your own foray into ’90s grunge, check out sites like NastyGal, Asos, and Sabo Skirt. ’90s grunge might be a style none of us thought would come back. But back it is, with brushed-cotton vengeance; I’m sure Claire Danes would be proud.
November 7, 2015Austin Coates, president of the George Fox Film Society (GFFS), is a transfer student from San Jose State University. As a student of animation and illustration, he found the lines quickly blurred between class and extracurricular club in his experience there. Looking back, he sees the relationship between large clubs (nearly 600 students) and lackadaisical faculty as a dysfunctional, even harmful, product of club dynamics. He brings a sense of democracy and relational growth to the GFFS. The club meets every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in EHS 102. While some may easily dismiss , Coates sees it as somewhat more spectacular, more glass half-full. He insists that this is not just a CMCO club; accounting, theater, computer science majors, and more have all attended to share in cinematic art and life perspectives. Coates leads the group with Christ at the center of his heart. It is one of his three main pillars for the club. His other visions are increasing the value of visual literacy – the individual interpretation of art or images – among students pursuing art or any other skill, and to keep the discussion of cinema’s core going on: the thinking, the talking, and the experiencing of life. As a brand new club, getting established has been more of a tightrope walk than a cakewalk. The group, open to any and all, hopes for more students to engage in the meaningful conversations the club hosts. At the end of the day, Coates just wants people to know about his passions. He believes in the joy of discussion groups, and he wants to see the GFFS shine from here on out.
October 10, 2015By Rory Phillips Austin Coburn was eleven and almost exclusively watching relatively kosher movies like “Left Behind,” in place of essentials like “The Godfather,” when he was given a film camera as a Christmas present. “Point and shoot” was about all the advice his parents gave him. Prior to this gift, Austin knew that he was over the moon about the movies. He had never shot a film, produced a script, or cut a scene. What he did have under his belt, or perhaps in his heart, was the sympathy of gathering stories. Finally, with the “click” of the power button and the cool breathing of the reeling frame rate, he was given the life-defining incentive to share stories. Since then, Austin has been shooting films for himself and others; and has been garnering awards and attention along the way. In 2012, he was charged with producing a Veterans Day short film, in which he looked through student and teacher interviews; then spliced (by hand) a warming tribute to the troops overseas. For this film, he was awarded the Oregon Optimist prize for the Salem-Keizer District. “[This] was probably the film that I learned most about,” Coburn said. “Like what goes into the producing of film, and looking at it from that side of planning and how you’re going to do different elements.” “Dear Veteran,” the name of this tribute piece, served a higher purpose than just local attention. He entered the film to the George Fox University Scholarship Competition in 2013 to apply for funding as a student of film. This movie, which he considers a personal favorite, earned him a safe place in the school as a cinema and media communications major. For the first time, he felt like a director. “It was the first time I remember people looking at me for direction. People would sit down in this chair I set in front of them and would say, ‘Okay, hey, what am I going to say?’ And I had to have the answer.” Austin has crafted a life in pictures. He gathered his intuition, on- and off-set, with his pictures. His high school vlog, “Vinny and Austin,” provided him the skills he needed to work cooperatively with others. From working on promotional bits for S.K.I.T. (Salem Keizer Inspirational Teens), he acquired the insight of working toward a higher goal, even when partnering with administrators and kids interested in the arts. In sharing and in loving film, Austin is taking stories, thoughts, and words and making something new and comprehensive out of them. He is the photographer, capturing little of moments of life just being life, without disturbing them.
October 10, 2015Five years ago, senior Wonsil Lee left South Korea and her parents to come to America. Shortly after arriving, Wonsil accepted Christ as her Savior, becoming the first person in her family to do so. She decided to change her name to Serena, a variation of a Korean word meaning baptized, because she believed it was important to honor the fact that she was a new creation. Serena no longer wanted to be Wonsil, the embarrassing one who had made so many mistakes. “Whenever someone called me Serena that made me happy,” she said. “It is like someone calling me ‘baptized person’ and I really liked that.” The new name has also made for introductions. Serena is a nursing major with a biblical studies minor. Both areas of study allow her to help those who suffer mentally, physically, and spiritually. She exudes an infections love for Christ. . During her junior year, Serena found a deep passion for working with geriatric patients, yet she was unsure of how this would translate after graduation. Over the summer, Serena flew to Boston to spend some time with her brother. He told her that he wanted her to come back after graduation and work for his business. “He has a plan for me,” she said. This conversation weighed heavily on Serena’s heart. How does she honor her brother who has been helping her pay for school school? Her heart was not in his business. Serena was stuck. One day, after returning to Newberg, Serena sat in the Bruin Den with her journal and a pen. She started to write, seeking God’s help in regards to her future. A question popped into her mind: “What do you want?” Serena quickly wrote that she wanted a community where she could continue to help people heal mentally, physically, and spiritually. A few minutes later, a sophomore and fellow nursing student, Tiffany Nguyen, asked her how things were going. With a refreshed heart, Serena told Tiffany what she just wrote. “Tiffany told me to look up Good News Community Health Center in Gresham,” Serena said. After her discussion with Tiffany ended, Serena began to research the faith-based volunteer clinic. The clinic was started by Dr. Bob Sayson (lovingly known as Dr. Bob) and his wife in May 2007. Those at Good News are unabashedly open about their faith and ask patients if they can pray for them. After reading about the clinic, Serena decided she wanted to check it out. She made an appointment to get a shot. She left Newberg early one morning and drove to the clinic, arriving early. She could see the staff inside praying and instantly felt connected to Good News. “The day I met Serena, the staff had done a morning devotion on Isaiah 43:1, which says. ‘But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine,”’” explained Dr. Bob. During their meeting, he asked Serena what her Korean name was and what it meant. She explained that it was “Wonsil, and it means first fruit.” Dr. Bob shared that before she arrived at the clinic, the staff had been studying a passage that spoke to being named by God. “Her father, who does not believe, had the foresight to name her ‘first fruit,” said Dr. Bob. “I find that powerful.” Serena left the clinic feeling that she had found the community she wanted to be a part of, but she also felt compelled to think about her birth name. “After I became a Christian, I did not want to think about the old me anymore,” Wonsil said. “I was happy with Serena. I only wanted to think about good things. However, after talking with Dr. Bob, I saw the beauty of the name my father had given me. I decided to go back to being called Wonsil.” This decision allowed Wonsil to embrace her old self in the knowledge that God had called her by name. She annnounced this change on Facebook in August and became a volunteer at Good News. While some people still call her Serena, Wonsil explained that “it doesn’t really matter what name I use. What matters is who I am. Now I can be Wonsil, which is really special. There is a reason my father named me Wonsil.” Dr. Bob and his family have become her surrogate family. They do devotions each morning and pray for each other. Good News Community Health Center allows Serena to not only gain practical experience in being a nurse but also gives her the community she longed for. From the moment she let God know what was on her heart, Wonsil has seen Him bring her a wonderful gift and help her reconcile the past. Wonsil said, “We have to let God know what is on our hearts. Only then can He answer us.”
September 26, 2015By: Kelsey Herschberger “The War Room.” The title of the film evokes images of maps in a poorly lit room, with strong men in identical clothing who are arguing and bargaining over the lives they feel obligated to send out into danger. If this was reflected in the film itself, it would be much easier to explain why it was the number two movie its opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. “The War Room” is instead a film centering on the call for followers of Christ to have an active prayer life. However, the film has been panned by secular critics, earning a 37% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and film critic Brad Wheeler reported the film as being so “oppressively preachy that Jesus himself reportedly did a sacramental-wine spit take during an early test screening.” This isn’t the first time that Christian film has been dismissed as being purely didactic, and it certainly won’t be the last. Perhaps the Christians who line up for the film consider it par for the course, being dismissed by secular media. Shouldn’t there be a hunger for art that is centered toward God? Isn’t the message all that matters? No, it is not. What matters is that true art is created. But what does true art accomplish? Dr. Steve Classen, professor and chair for the Department of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts, answered this question by quoting C.S. Lewis: “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects with their Christianity latent.” “What good art does, what good Christian art does, is encourage the good reader—somebody who approaches art or literature—to expand his or her world, to experience a new insight into life, to put them into the experience of the other,” Classen said. This idea of art being somewhat alienating is supported by Dr. Abigail Favale, William Penn Honors Program faculty fellow and assistant professor of English. Favale maintains that “there needs to be a space in Christian media, art, or literature that isn’t quite so moralistic in the sense that there is a coherent moral vision, but it allows for the ambiguities, mysteries, and paradoxes of the human experience to be displayed.” Favale uses the book of Job as an example, as it raises questions that are essential to the human experience and doesn’t excuse them, but brings God into those sufferings. These stories ring true for readers centuries later because of that dedication to realistic human emotion that is filled with nuance. Favale argues that “the whole point of literature is to create an experience that draws the reader into the dream of the story, and if you don’t have a compelling dream, then the reader isn’t going to be drawn in.” Furthermore, this is not a new idea to be pioneered. There is a rich history of this approach, according to Dr. Joseph Clair, director of the William Penn Honors Program and assistant professor of religious studies. “A lot of the great artists from Western civilization—the Dantes, the Christina Rosettis, etc. —they had pretty sophisticated understandings of how beauty relates to God and our knowledge of God,” Clair said. “They all had a rich understanding of how our experiences of materially beautiful things—whether paintings, or poems, or even natural landscapes—could draw our souls up to He who is the source of all beauty, the truly Beautiful One.” There has been a consistent lack of focus on beauty and therefore artistry in Christian media, and “The War Room” is no exception. Its plot is formulaic, and the direction is subpar. The film settles on a saccharine comfort that serves to placate the person who already believes. It is American-centric, focusing on the neat lives of a nice, clean, middle-class family. There is nary a hard-hitting consequence for their humanity and brokenness. It is familiar, and striving to be familiar is not what good art tries to accomplish. “The War Room” may borrow from imagery of strife and conflict, but instead it serves as an opiate, dulling the audience’s senses to whatever higher messages that may have otherwise been revealed.
March 30, 2015Jana and Spencer Giles, students at George Fox University, have been married since May 31st, 2014. Jana is a junior majoring in Elementary Education, and Spencer is a senior majoring in Accounting. They have been married for less than a year, but they first started dating five years ago. They were high school sweethearts, and they got to know each other well because they were both in band. Jana and Spencer got engaged December 23rd, 2013. After that was one semester of planning the wedding as it quickly approached. Spencer said that it was not necessarily stressful planning the wedding, “but very busy.” They both said the one thing that made it more difficult was the fact that they were getting married in southern Oregon. Jana’s mother helped a lot with the planning, but it was difficult to touch base with her since she was so far away. After being married, Jana says that “schedules are crazy, like trying to figure out lunch together is hard. I wouldn’t say that it’s harder. I think it was harder when we were dating because we weren’t living together.” Spencer said, “I find [marriage] easier because I have a support network right here.” Having someone to study with, and work together with makes the going easier. Jana and Spencer gave some good marriage tips. Jana said, “Get a dishwasher. I know that sounds really weird.” Jana explained that sometimes little things, like cleaning and doing the dishes, can add up, because there is another person now. Little things, like a dishwasher, can help minimize the busyness. They both said one of the most important things in a marriage is communication.
March 30, 2015The rumor that Netflix is making a live-action Legend of Zelda show has been a popular discussion point among fans of the video game. The show is being described as similar to Game of Thrones, but directed towards a family audience. Before this, Netflix has developed other shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and Marco Polo. These shows have been fairly successful, giving hope to fans of Legend of Zelda. The show is still in the beginning of its process—a writer has not even been chosen. Because there is little information on the direction of the show, there are mixed feelings among fans of the video game, including fans at George Fox University. Alec Deering, a freshman at GFU, said that judging by what Netflix has done in the past the show could definitely turn out great. On the other hand, that format might not work due to the silent protagonist. But that very fact could be the source of a new twist or interesting change in giving the protagonist a voice. Garrett Burr said, “I think a live-action Zelda show is what a lot fans have been waiting for, and since Netflix would be making it, I think it’s going to do well. I can’t wait to see what it’s like.” Daniel Mellers, also a freshman, said “Personally, I think a show based on a video game, especially one with such a large and loyal fan-base, is almost certainly destined to fail. The show could go two different directions—it could come up with a storyline largely unrelated to the games, simply borrowing the characters and the fantasy world, or it could attempt to follow the games’ storyline, at least as a general rule. If it decides not to follow the games, then fans of the games are almost certain to think of it as disloyal. If it does decide to follow the games, then the plot would likely be lacking, because plots designed for interesting gameplay do not necessarily make interesting TV shows. Plus, there is a good chance that a live action show will fail to capture the artistic charm of the world of the game, which was enhanced by the style of animation.” There are clearly many mixed feelings about Netflix and Nintendo working together on this project. All the fans can do now is hope that Netflix honors the spirit of the Legend of Zelda.
March 30, 2015George Fox University will be hosting a fashion show this Friday entitled “La Belleza del Chiaroscuro” which means “The beauty of shades of light and dark.” This show is a culminating project for upperclassmen majoring in fashion design, and begins at 8 p.m. Eileen Celentano, assistant professor for Visual Arts said this is their “culminating project for them [using] the skills that they’ve developed and the education they’ve had here.” Racsan Limbauan, one of the designers, said that the designers will have a chance to meet people from the professional fashion world at the show. They will also have the models walking around in their designs after the show so the designs can be seen up close. This event gives students the opportunities to show their work to professionals, add to their portfolio, and show the culmination of their years at GFU. Because of this, the fashion show carries a lot of weight for the designers. The fashion show has been in the making for several months. Celentano said that she, the two directors and the other assistant began discussing the fashion show in October. They started to decide when it would be, the theme, and how they wanted the mechanics to work. The students have also been working on the fashion show since last semester. Limbauan described the work that goes into this for the students. They have each developed a “story” or theme for their line. After determining their theme they worked on sketches and reworked them until they were just right. They then created muslins which Racsan described as “rough drafts for your garment.” It must be fitted to the model, then the final works are created. In a way they have been preparing since they were freshman. The students came in knowing that the fashion show would be one of their final projects. Through their classes they have learned the styles they like and how to apply the skills they have learned. This has helped them slowly develop their ideas for what their “story” will be. Because each designer chooses a “story,” each line is not connected to the others with an overarching theme. There is a lot of diversity in the lines. Each line reflects the personalities and passions of the designer. The designers, models, and all others working on the fashion show invite students to come enjoy the fashion show and see what the designers have created.