If you have the urge to dicuss art with someone, Marina Bottini Vilhena is the woman you’re looking for! This graduating Studio Art major has an emphasis in Art History and has mixed her education with endless on campus experience. You may recongnize her from her various roles on campus, including her current positions as Treasurer of the Art History Society and Art Director of Statement Magazine. Marina knows how to appreciate the art in everything, from the beauty of teaching to traveling to all parts of the world, encompassing it all into her life. With graduation so close, Marina spoke to Her Campus to reflect on her college career, what she has left before the year ends, and what her future plans include.
How did you become interested in your major?
I truly believe that teachers are a major influence in a person’s life. I have always appreciated the career. Since I can remember, I have desired to become an inspiring Professor; someone that creates a positive impact on students’ lives and assisting them to reach their full potential. In order to become such an exceptional Professor, I knew that I needed to teach something that I am passionate about, and that is when I enrolled into fashion school. That was my first step into my academic career, in a field where I acquired my Associates degree and worked for 10 plus years. However, a technical degree and experience alone was not enough to start teaching, and once the economic crises drastically affected the fashion field, I knew that it was time to go back to school and finish my academic requirements.
By that time, I had developed an increased appreciation and understanding over the artistic aspect of fashion, and I had become passionate about the creation process and aesthetics. I knew at that point that if I enrolled into an art program, it would serve as a complement that would eventually develop into a more versatile and complete academic and personal career.
What made you want to join the Honors College?
Since I intend to work on my MA and eventually PhD, I knew that the Honors College would be a great opportunity to start to develop my academic skills and increase my scholastic abilities in the early stages. Once I was introduced to the program, I was extremely excited with the idea of working with a group of selected Professors and outstanding students. Also, the undergraduate Honors College program teaches and assists students how to develop a thesis, which is an example of the excellent preparation and practice for the types of requirements and work-types at the post-graduate level.
What are you involved with on campus?
My first involvement on campus was with the Fine Arts Gallery, where I worked and assisted the gallery director, Karin Lanzoni with several projects. Ms. Lanzoni, who also teaches and is an artist herself, had a major impact in my experience at CSULA. She not only inspired me but assisted me in many of my other accomplishments. While working at the gallery, I also became the Arts and Letters representative for the student government body on campus (Association Student Inc – ASI), a position that I was gratefully and proudly reelected to for a second year term. While in that position, I was able to connect with many students allowing me exposed them to extracurricular activities as well as present them with opportunities to showcase their work. In addition, I also connected with many clubs and orgs, and my connections increased among employees and staff of the University, which introduced me to a more “career minded” perspective of academics. That is also when Dr. McAllister, the Dean of our college invited me to become his intern, in which we worked in several different projects. As I got closer to graduation, I had to diminish my commitments with extracurricular activities to prioritize my student obligations and reach graduation in best standards. Currently, I am working as the treasurer of the Art History Society, and am the art director for Statement Magazine.
What kind of events does the Art History Society hold?
Our biggest event is a yearly Mesoamerica Symposium which incorporates art History and Anthropology/Archeology – considered to be the biggest in its nature. The Symposium usually hosts 60 plus scholars and receives an average of 600 people from in and outside of campus during the 2 day event. Because of the magnitude of the event, the AHS Symposium is indeed a good representation of not Arts and Letters, but of the whole Cal State L.A. community.
What duties do you have as Art Director for Statement Magazine?
I first became familiar with Statement Magazine while I held my position at ASI, which allowed me to indirectly work with them for a couple years. Once I was no longer at ASI, I was invited to become the Art Director of the Magazine so we could increase the art submissions and therefore the quality and exposure of art and artists.
Can you tell us about your thesis for the Honors College?
Because I am a Studio Art major, I first designed an art installation for the conclusion of my degree. However, after approval from the college, there was a conflict within the Art Department regulations and I had to readjust the project last minute. Such challenge was extremely overwhelming to a point that for moments, I thought I would no longer be able to accomplish the requirements to graduate with the college on time. However, I had an amazing support and assistance from the Honors College team in which along with the Dean, Dr. Michelle Hawley, our Professor Dr. Gomoll, and my tutor and chair of the History department, Dr. Scott Wells, I was able to adjust and overturned the challenge into a successful theses.
Close to graduation, I am happily presenting a study over Baianas, iconographic figures who represent in many forms a national Brazilian identity.
How do you relax off campus?
With all my accomplishments, I don’t really have much time during the weekends, but when I do, I love spend time with my loved ones and if possible, by fresh water (lakes and waterfalls), and through camping. During breaks, I travel as much as possible because I am amazed and in love with our beautiful world and can’t get enough of seeing it! I try to see as many historical sites that I have learned about as possible as a way to increase even more my knowledge over my field of choice.
What other projects do you have left for graduation?
In conjunction with the thesis, I am working on my senior project presenting an Avant-Garde visual version of Baianas, which will be showcase at the Fine Arts Gallery during weeks 10th and 11th of spring quarter. By using ceramics, Paper-Mache, and fabric to produce a cohesive line, the project will combine all knowledge I have acquired during my experiences at Cal State L.A., in addition to reviving what I have learned and am still passionate about fashion.
What’s the first thing that you are going to do after you graduate?
Visiting my family back in Brazil is always on top of my list, but I also want to use the time to catch up with my mind, body, and soul. In addition, I am planning to travel a bit more before I start getting ready for grad school and other studies that I like to accomplish aside University.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I will be on final chapters of my PhD.
You are very well traveled; what’s your favorite place that you’ve been?
Antelope Canyon in Arizona has a natural pleasing appearance that is stunning, while in contrast, New York has a metropolitan beauty like no other city! Most places in Europe hold a unique sophisticated history, culture and taste, which we cannot find anywhere else. Secular places are usually equally impressive. To name a few, Old City in Jerusalem – Israel, Teotihuacan in Mexico, Longman Caves in China, and the Christ of Rio de Janeiro are places that makes you fall in love with our world and humans ingenuities. The more I travel, the more I realize that the list of places I still want to see keeps increasing, along with the certain mindset that “there is no place like home” and that is for sure, and it will always be my favorite place of all time.