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  • Writer's pictureHelena Tiainen

Looking For Meaning

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

This September I got a chance to visit Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision exhibition at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and it inspired me. This happened at a very subconscious level, where old memories of the San Francisco Art Institute school days live. Carlos was one of my first teachers there. He was kind and caring, unlike some of the other teachers at SFAI. I think it would be hard to find a teacher more encouraging and supportive than Carlos Villa. The older I get the more I appreciate this rare kindness in the world of art, which frankly can be brutally competitive.

One thing that truly stood out for me in the interview video presented in connection with the Worlds in Collision exhibition was the statement about the importance of ritual by Carlos and the fact that he stated that art has answered all of his questions in life. This opens the doors to a large variety of interpretations. I personally choose to see this as a statement about life being a journey and a process and a creation. In our own personal experience life is pretty much what we make it to be. It is ours to hold and mold in our own understanding.

Thank you, Carlos Villa, for your precious teachings. They keep on unfolding in my own life.

For more info on Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision, check out this link:

Asian Art Museum has created a very interesting exhibition divided in three galleries, including an interactive creative room for making mixed media art. You can view this exhibition in San Francisco until October 24, 2022.

These pictures are of Carlos Villa's works in the Worlds in Collision exhibition at the Asian Art Museum. Starting top left with Artist's Head With Bone Dolls leading to other artworks, including Artist's Shoes, which are inspired by shamanic stories and as the story goes, will make the one who wears them invisible.

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3 comentários
18 de set. de 2022

Dear Helena,

What an inspiring experience you had with this mentor and and we have through your post. I find his art from your photos really fascinating and would love to have the chance to see them “in person”. Our art practice grounds us in a world that is going around too fast… Thank you for sharing!!!


Helena Tiainen
Helena Tiainen
18 de set. de 2022
Respondendo a

Thank you, Adriana. Carlos was determined to make a mark in this world as a Filipino American artist and he succeeded in doing so. He created a legacy.


Helena Tiainen
Helena Tiainen
16 de set. de 2022

I took painting and drawing classes with Carlos Villa throughout my studies at the SFAI. Toward the end I was allowed to paint in my home studio and he would come and mentor me in person, like teachers do MFA students. He and Ivan Majdrakoff were my wonderful studio art mentors. I remember both of them fondly.

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