The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

Instagram
View this profile on Instagram

The Trend (@thetrendusao) • Instagram photos and videos

Facebook

Baeza’s Experiences Mold Art Program

Freddy+Baeza+works+in+USAOs+Art+Annex+on+a+ceramic+bowl.+After+molding+the+clay+into+the+desired+shape%2C+Baeza+used+a+unqiue+technique+to+make+the+bowl+a+one-of-a-kind+item.
Emily Loughridge
Freddy Baeza works in USAO’s Art Annex on a ceramic bowl. After molding the clay into the desired shape, Baeza used a unqiue technique to make the bowl a one-of-a-kind item.

USAO provides an art program where students get plenty of time with their professors. Every art professor has something unique to offer their students. Alfredo Baeza Jr, more commonly known as Freddy by his students and fellow staff members, is a special instructor of Art.

He teaches classes such as pottery on the wheel, ceramic hand-building, sculpture, and even printmaking. Baeza is not only a skilled artist and professor, but a mentor and friend to his students.

Baeza ‘s unique background and the struggles he has had to overcome allow him to connect with his students on a deeper level. He grew up in Ulysses, Kansas, but his parents are both immigrants from Chihuahua, Mexico. His father came to the U.S. when he was only 14 years old and Baeza’s mother was 16 years old.

“The main work that I do is inspired by the struggle that immigrants have crossing the border, specifically what my dad went through to get here and get his citizenship. My parents taught me to never give up, so a lot of my work is a tribute to them,” Baeza said.

Many artists started as kids and knew that it would be a major part of their life whether it was just a hobby or a career; however, Baeza did not know his true love for art until a bit later in life. He drew in high school but never thought he would do it professionally. After high school, he worked as an electrician in the military but decided he wanted to try something new. He remembered his high school art teacher, who was always there to support him through hard times, and decided that he wanted to teach art like him so he could inspire other young students.

His journey at USAO started as a young student. He first attended another college but when he saw the campus and the close connection students can have with their professors he chose to try it out for a year.

“The community that the Art Department was creating is what drew me in. When I came to school at USAO it was the first time I did any serious drawing. I didn’t know I enjoyed it as much as I did until I started taking classes here,” Baeza said, continuing to state that professors like Jordan Vinyard, the dean of Visual and Performing Arts, helped him understand his true potential.

Baeza then attended grad school at the University of Kansas (KU) where he was able to explore his love for pottery and ceramics and continue his path towards his dream of becoming a professor.

“I thought it would be nice to teach at a college but sometimes I thought maybe I just wanted to be a studio artist,” Baeza said.

It was not until he got a graduate teaching assistantship that allowed him to teach his first class that he fell in love with being an instructor. He was given the opportunity just two weeks before the semester started and had to make a syllabus and assignments for the first time. “I am probably going to screw this up badly,” he thought, but the opposite happened, it went well and his students thrived.

He had one student who was involved in sculpture despite being a painter and he was inspired by her improvement throughout his class. She asked, “How can I take more of your classes” and he realized that this interaction was why people teach and he said that was when he knew teaching was what he wanted to do.

While attending KU he was also able to take his first trip to China, the porcelain capital of the world. There he learned about the history of porcelain, a smooth and refined white clay. He said he fell in love and to this day porcelain is still one of his favorite mediums to work with alongside metalwork.

“I have plans to try and merge ceramics and metal, and I am excited to see what I can create,” Baeza said.

When he graduated he figured he would never come back to Oklahoma. That was until Vinyard asked if he be an adjunct for her while she took a sabbatical. After filing the position for a while, he was hired into his current position, where he said he is glad to stay.

“My time here has been going in a direction that I’m very excited for. As soon as I started teaching here it drew me back in, coming back and being on the opposite side of things has been a new and rewarding experience. I always looked up to the professors here and now that they see me as one of them, it feels unreal. I am becoming something that they saw in me a long time ago,” Baeza said.

He said he hopes to help the Art program, specifically, the ceramics program grow even bigger.

“I think that we have the right people here and me being in ceramics, I want to help it grow so we can have big events, maybe a giant Raku firing downtown for the Chickasha art walk. Being a bigger presence in the community is one of my biggest goals,” Baeza said.

Baeza, in his time teaching at USAO, has shown his capabilities as an artist and as a professor. His unique background and ability to connect with his students has made a lasting impact on the art community. The campus and community can look forward to Baeza’s work with the ceramics program as Baeza continues to transform and grow the program.

Baeza will showcase his ceramic works in “From Ashes to Porcelain,” his solo exhibition at Art Wrecker Studios. The studio, located at 222 W Chickasha Ave., will host a reception Friday, July 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the monthly Chickasha Art Walk.

 

Haley “Kitti” Robinson is a second-year Art major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Haley "Kitti" Robinson, Contributing Writer
Haley "Kitti" Robinson is a second-year art major with a business minor from Edmond. Kitti has a hairless cat and wants to open a public art studio/cat adoption center one day. She is an animal and music lover, you can always catch Kitti with her headphones on.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: July 2023 - present
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a third-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining a minor in psychology, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant, where she takes photos of the various athletic events and assists with the live broadcast. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream on the couch with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Dec. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022