The Talents of the HCC Visual Arts Faculty

Liz Rummel, Not Sarah

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If you could describe art in one word, what word would you choose and why?  Originally, I believed this question would require a longer pause considering only one word could be used.  Surprisingly, when asking HCC faculty members Bob Apolloni, Sam Tucibat, and Jim Planting, they responded without delay.  Furthermore, their word choice depicts their personal pieces in the exhibit.  Bob’s chose communication because “many times people don’t realize that all art in some way, shape, or form is communicating something.  He elaborates by saying, “it might be so personal on behalf of the artist, that the average person isn’t going to understand it, but it could also be something universal where the average person could understand it, or maybe get an idea from it.”  Sam’s response was, “life because they are one in the same.  Anything that you pull out of life and separate and hang on the wall or put on a pedestal, saying this represents something about life is art, and it reflects life in some way.”  Jim’s response was, “inspiration, because art is not only the result of an inspiration or a inspired piece, but it will also inspire others for good or ill.”

Bob Apolloni has been a visual arts instructor here at HCC for almost twenty-five years.  He teaches Drawing I, II, Life Drawing, Introduction to Art, Independent Studies “for those students who want to work on a specific skill or build their portfolio”, and on occasion Two-Dimensional Design.  Apolloni recalls that he first became interested in art while taking art classes in high school.  In fact, his art instructor during his senior year had a huge influence on him artistically.  However, it was not until his second year at a community college that he truly knew he wanted to be involved in the visual arts as a career.

Apolloni has four works of art on display, all acrylic on canvas.  On average, each of Apolloni’s exhibited pieces took roughly three or more hours to complete and the process is quite intriguing.  Apolloni says he take photographs, typically his own, and combines the images using a software such as Photoshop and InDesign.  These type of editing and design softwares help morph Apolloni’s images into a matrix layout that gets projected onto the canvas.  “From there, I allow them to change quite a bit.  If you could see my computerized sketches, they would look kind of like my finished pieces, but not exact at all.  When I go to apply the paint, that is when they become much more detailed.”

The inspiration for Apolloni’s art pieces comes from his love of dichotomy and the stereotype of an artist’s hands.  Apolloni explains how he is influenced by things that oppose each other, but in reality they actually compliment each other.  He further explains his inspiration by elaborating on a stereotype of the art world; “that a person’s hands are so unique and special, but in reality that is not what is going on.  An artist’s most important tool is their mind, we just use our hands because it’s easier most of the time to do that.”  Apolloni says he is trying to “force the issue with focusing on hands while using opposing colors which represent water and fire; two opposing elements, yet how dependent water and fire are and how we need them.”

When asked which of his four exhibited pieces were his favorite, Apolloni had to pause.  Each of his four pieces correlate with one another, but “there is something about [Chroma Forza Vitale]; the idea of the hands and hidden images that are in that one.”  Hidden images, such as his own face or other faces that he has morphed, are characteristics embedded in many of Apolloni’s pieces.

Sam Tucibat has been teaching at HCC for seventeen years.  He teaches photography and Graphics Design I, II, III, and IV.  Artists such as Jackson Pollock, Ansel Adams, and many surrealists, such as Salvador Dali have influenced Tucibat as an artist.  Tucibat says he was not always interested in art.  In fact, he is extremely interested in writing.  Tucibat studied Journalism with his Communications degree and says, “photography was part of that curriculum, so that is what got me started and it just took off from there.”

The seven works of art that Tucibat is exhibiting are all digital photography.  Tucibat has been creating digital photography for fifteen years.  Digital photography as Tucibat explains, “is taking many photographs, pulling elements out of each one, then blending all those elements into a new image on the computer.”  Out of his seven pieces, Tucibat’s favorite is titled Tree Huggers, but he laughingly says, “I am not sure if that particular one is my favorite because of the way it looks or simply the fact that it sold.”  That is always a plus.

Areas along the Mississippi River, such as the old architecture that is now falling apart, nature, and the terrain, play an immense role in Tucibat’s inspiration.  How Tucibat portrays his inspiration in his digital photographs, has become an identifiable style for him.  He says, “now that I have been doing this so many years, yes.  Maybe not so much in the beginning though.”  Tucibat also explains how he is identifiable by the first few lines in his artist statement, which describes his style.  This can be read on his personal webpage.


Even though art was not a dominant part of his life growing up, Jim Planting, a part-time instructor here at HCC says, “I had an great-uncle who was a graphic designer.  My father went for graphic design and was a color matcher for Bally-Midway (manufacturer of coin-operated arcade games); therefore I was continuously around art.”  Planting has been a visual arts instructor at HCC for twelve years.  He has an array of art forms in which he has taught.  These include: Drawing, Painting, Two-Dimensional Design, Three-Dimensional Design, and Sculptor.

Planting exhibited four pieces of handmade jewelry, concentrating mainly on the intricate silver detail that he prefers to work with and is also his unique identifiable style.  Out of his four pieces, Planting says his favorite is titled “As Above, So Below because the stone is a piece of Swedish slag; made from the slag of melted iron that was pulled off and thrown away during the Swedish Iron Age.”  “The slag then became a glass-like substance which was dug up and polished, and it changes color when held up to the light”, Planting says.

A considerable amount of Planting’s inspiration comes from “archaic lore, myths, and artwork”  As part of his artist’s statement, Planting states that “[w]orks feed the thoughts, which feed the works.  Each idea forms the seed of a meditation.  Each meditation may have numerous sessions until the core idea is translated into the medium that is most appropriate. . . . [p]erhaps , through these meditations and their physical manifestations here, we may find personal guideposts to a deeper understanding of the natural world, of humanity, and ultimately ourselves.”

The beautiful aspect of art is that if you involve yourself in a piece of art and look at it on a subjective level, you incorporate something completely different than the next person.  Art can move you.  It can reach deep into your soul and bring out an emotional response in the most simplistic ways.  So, if you find yourself with a break in between classes or wanting a relaxing activity to do on the weekends, engulf yourself in the HCC Faculty Art Exhibit at the Freeport Art Museum.  You may just find yourself stimulated and appreciating the additional art that the museum has to offer.  The Faculty Art Exhibit is open for viewing until October 20.  What are you waiting for?

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The Talents of the HCC Visual Arts Faculty