Santa Cruz Critical Art Discussion Group (Drop-In Critique)

Levels: All Levels Welcome!

Offered: Monthy on the First Tuesday: July 2, Aug 6, Sept 3, Oct 3, Nov 5, 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Instructor: Facilitators Include:

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Are you a visual artist looking for feedback on your artwork from an active group of other artists? Join the monthly Santa Cruz Critical Art Discussion Group in the Santa Cruz Art League studio!

The Critical Art Discussion Group is open to the public but specifically focused on art and artists. Its purposes are to:

  • develop a vocabulary of critique
  • help each other in expanding our technical, conceptual, and practical capabilities
  • establish a sense of community

The group meets monthly at 6PM on the first Tuesday night of each month, at the Santa Cruz Art League studio.

Discussions are facilitated by a local art instructor or fellow artist, and follow a prescribed format. Each artist will have a space to show and discuss their work and get feedback, within a time limited format, to allow opportunity for all participants. You’re encouraged to bring your actual work (rather than photos), keeping in mind transportation and protection of the work is the artist’s responsibility.


We hope to see you and your work there!


This program is open to all at no cost for the first 4 to 6 sessions. In the future there will be a small fee to attend dependent on membership status.

Meet the Facilitators:


Danielle Torvik-Staffen
In my paintings, I create microcosms that integrate visuals gathered from my immediate surroundings, memories from lived-in environments, impressions of architecture, and indications of my flesh and body. I include in my work references to familiar and pervasive Western folklore that often become deeply ingrained in the psyche from childhood. I comment on the alluring aesthetic qualities of these stories while critiquing their more harmful properties. One such theme is the misogyny reflected in the willful romanticism and idealization of gender roles and female bodies against the backdrop of intoxicating and mystical landscapes and architecture. I recognize the influence of these depictions in many aspects of my life and aim to evaluate the lingering effects while repurposing their aesthetics and contexts. I explore the theme of lost innocence as it relates to coming to terms with the dangers of internalizing these stories by fusing contrasting personal images that represent my particular pre vs. post innocence stages. Parades of confetti commingle and contend with deep water-colored, foreboding orbs. Additionally, by employing architectural motifs from environments that I have experienced, both real and fictional, I explore notions of home, belonging, and permanence as they relate to my own body and the physical spaces it inhabits.


J.C. Cockrell
Jim “j.c.” Cockrell retired in 2021 from a 38-year career in engineering and technology at the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Presently he is an art student at Cabrillo College
in Aptos, California, where he is expanding his visual arts vocabulary in dry media and oil
painting. His focus is on figurative work and landscape. j.c. resides in Santa Cruz, California.
J.C.’s Artist Statement: I consider myself a visual storyteller. My primary interests are painting
landscapes and the human figure. Through landscape I wish to share the joy I gain from our
natural world, and to invite my viewers to consider their relationships with the land. The dialog
between us and the landscape speaks to where we’re from and who we are, and informs our
choices about where we’ll next go. Currently I’m producing a series of paintings called “You
Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Until You Lose It)”. In this series I depict the precious creatures,
things and places that we take for granted but that are rapidly being lost due to climate chaos,
rampant development and other forms of our neglect. My hope is that by raising awareness we
might gain appreciation, and that appreciation inspires the work to preserve these wondrous
things on the brink. In my figurative work I strive to tell of the subjects’ characters and narratives
through gestures, movements, and interactions. I invite the viewer to interpret these tales in
reflection of their own story, and perhaps tell something of our shared human experience.

@cockrelljc-Insta (Instagram)


Laamsha Young
Laamsha holds a BFA in painting from Sonoma State, an MFA in painting from San Jose State and an MILS from San Jose State. She is also a jeweler by trade and is the owner of BlankVerse Jewelry. She has taught at San Jose State and currently works as a Librarian at the SCPL. Laamsha Young’s Artist Statement: The term poetry feels like it most closely describes the artmaking process for me. It represents a fidelity to an enigmatic, malleable truth; a trust in intuition and surprise over explanation. Making art is the alchemy of control and release; of chance and will, of clarity and obfuscation. Often my work references a tangential narrative about the tenuous relationship between inside (domestic) and outside (wild), building layers of meaning rather than a linear storyline. For me, making is an act of recognition and dialog with both my skills and my inadequacies. Making is a way to express gratitude and to struggle with materiality and concepts and limitations all at once. I see now that a lot of my art-making comes from a need to meet the world with a kind of physical and emotional ardency. There is tenuousness and intensity in my process which reflects my life experience. This is where I am able to make chaos, and make peace with the universe. It is the dialogue between my nature and the nature of the materials that I need to explore in the hopes of communicating with something that I don’t understand but long to hold in my hands.


Additional Instructions: Bring your artwork with you! Be mindful of size and weight.

Fee: Free of Charge for Everyone! (Membership or Small Fee may be Required in the Future) Join Now