Please meet Professor Sarah Vanderlip from the Art department.
What is your field of study?
I am an artist and an art professor. I work in sculpture, drawing, photography and installation. I also teach all levels of sculpture along with drawing, senior project and professional practices at CSUB. And I am currently the chair of the art program.
My field chose me in a way, as art has always been around me-literally. My parents were both first generation college graduates who went on to have long careers- my mother a curator; my father an architect. At an early age, in Philadelphia and New York they exposed me to art, artists, architects, musician, curators and places like museums, art schools, and galleries. When I was a kid, I was embarrassed when my friends would come over and see all this weird stuff my parents hung on our walls. My friend’s houses had regular pictures of recognizable things, not abstract paintings that looked like throw-up. But, now I understand what a gift it was to have had creative parents who through art and architecture fashioned an interesting and original world. I was and still am continually exposed to the power of human imagination and ingenuity. After studying various subjects in college, and graduating with a BA in English and a minor in Art, I went to Yale for graduate school in sculpture. After school, I lived and worked in New York for over a decade before settling in LA for the last 14 years. I commute to Bakersfield to teach, make work in my studio and “study” art in Los Angeles and around the world.
What is your favorite class to teach?
That’s hard; I enjoy all my teaching assignments! I like the range of my work-helping freshman get fired up about the major or working with the seniors as they prepare for their thesis show and
Last semester, I particularly enjoyed my sculpture classes where we explored ideas behind Land Art and Earthworks which I had studied recently on sabbatical. My favorite part of teaching is when students realize their own power to create. It makes me love my job.
What are you excited about this semester?
In October, we will be installing a 30-foot-diameter Geodesic Dome -originally designed by Buckminster Fuller- northwest of the Visual Arts building. The dome will serve as a source of study, a public gathering place, and an exhibition/event/workspace for our students to utilize. A team coming down from Oregon will oversee the installation with the help of our students and staff. We will be the second University in California (after UC Berkeley) to have a dome on campus!
Also in October, we will be partnering with the Music and Theater Departments to host Taste of the Arts where we showcase all the arts on campus. Additionally, we have a great Todd Madigan Gallery program and Visiting Lecture Series planned for fall semester!
What was the last book you read?
I recently finished “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara. And, I am now about halfway through “The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud” by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. Both are exceptionally written, sad stories.
What was your worst subject in school?
What is your secret talent or hobby?
No secrets here…. Artist have to make art so don’t really have time for many hobbies. That said, I do enjoy cooking when I don’t have to!
If you had to make a documentary, what would the subject be?
I wouldn’t begin to have the skills or knowledge of how to do it, but a subject that keeps me up at night- after all these years of teaching at CSUB- is the air and water quality in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. I worry for the health of the region and would like to see massive restrictions in how we pollute there. I would imagine something like divestment from fossil fuels in the Central Valley is a longshot ....so what to do?
What do you do for fun and relaxation?
All the good stuff -travel with my family, hike, walk, swim in the ocean, check out new things, watch movies, hang out with friends!
Do you have any advice or thoughts for our students?
Meet the Professors of AH
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