Visual Art major inspired by USD art atmosphere

by Sarah Brewington | News Editor 

Be it the striking music of a violin, the sweeping steps of a dancer, the thrilling monologue of a stage performer, or the abstract brush strokes of a painter, art finds many forms. At the University of San Diego, art is no stranger.

On the bottom floor of Camino hall reside the architects, painters, sculptors, dancers, filmmakers, photographers, and art historians. The basement, as it is often referred to by art students, is the hub for art students on campus.

Whether it is taking a class or just observing the work of current art students, the basement is where one would find most of the art students and teachers.

Dani Toscano, senior at USD, explained that the basement is her second home.

“I love being a Visual Arts major at USD,” Toscano said. “As corny as it sounds, I’m studying a subject I love and enjoy every day. Since the studio arts courses are typically three hours twice a week, I’ll spend hours in the Camino basement, whether it’s processing film and printing in our darkroom, editing footage in our video computer labs, or setting up a photo shoot in my studio.”

Toscano even joked that her friends tease her for spending so much time in Camino.

“My friends and I like to joke that I should probably just set up a hammock in the basement and sleep there because I am constantly at school, especially as an upper division student,” Toscano said.

Toscano explained that while she spends a lot of time in the basement she enjoys it. Even though the basement has much to offer, there are a few things she thinks can be improved.

“Although I admire the art department for everything they offer, I think it could be highly beneficial if the department offers more contemporary art courses, commercial art courses, and seminars to teach students how to market themselves in the real world, whether it be to a creative agency or an art gallery,” Toscano said. “Our department focuses on more of the fine art aspect, which is wonderful because it encourages us to critically analyze and explore an aesthetic. However, it doesn’t prepare us for the shock of being a college graduate in the modern industry.”

Toscano recognizes that the art department has a room for improvement, but she elaborates about the most rewarding aspects of the basement especially the opportunities she has been given.

“The best thing has to be the professors,” Toscano said. “They’re encouraging and empowering. Whenever I need advice for my work, they’ll instantly set up a meeting with me that week.”

The professors are one of the most rewarding aspects for Toscano. She explains that their encouragement offered her an opportunity for an internship.

“They also encourage internships, which we gain credit for and are offered real-world experience,” Toscano said. “I’ve interned as a Wedding Photography intern with Shewanders Photography and this fall, I’m interning as a Photography intern for San Diego Magazine. I could not be happier.”

As the visual artists work below, the performing artists work above the paint splashed classrooms of Camino’s basement. The theatre and music classes can often be witnessed by listening to the distant melody that seeps through the halls of Camino on a lazy afternoon.

Students can be heard in the corner of Camino playing the piano, practicing the piccolo, or perfecting the cascading crescendos of song.

Toreros can enjoy the art classes offered in order to experience and harbor more creative talents.

Toscano referred the best way to be introduced into the art department, especially as a college freshmen.

“For any students who are thinking about taking an art course, I would recommend taking an Intro to Photography course with Andy Cross or a Video Art course with Victoria Fu,” Toscano said. “The studio art courses are long, but they break up the monotony of a non-creative course. You also bond with fellow classmates in ways that are so important for life you’re working in a project-based learning environment, critiquing and giving advice to students, and most importantly, creating.”

As students around USD look for creative nooks to express their imaginative side, the beloved basement of Camino seems to be the place to get the creative juices flowing.