The Art of Ms. Lopez

SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Being an art teacher not only comes with credentials but also a flavorful personality. Griselda Lopez indulges herself with art, film, music and an interesting life story that has shaped her classroom into what it is today.

A photo of Griselda Lopez in her habitat, spinning discs
Credit: Provided by Lopez

Lopez has been teaching for 16 years, but she wasn’t always interested in it. “I attended the University of San Diego for my Bachelor in Physical Anthropology and Studio Art.  I have my credential from UC Irvine and my MFA from the School of Visual Arts New York.”

Her teaching career started after doing accounting for five years, trying to figure out what to do with her Bachelor of Arts. After her friend recommended teaching, she fell in love with her job. “Even though teaching was something I never thought I would do, I love it so much… It is a gift to meet and work with so many unique and bright young people.”

Lopez’s love for the arts started when she was very young, and since then, she takes immense pride in her interest. “My love for making art started early. My dad gave me a wooden box to paint when I was three and I drew Humpty Dumpty.  I remember the joy and freedom I felt in painting, this event sort of started the trajectory to more art making.” 

Along with her experience with art, she enjoys observing and working with students who create art pieces with their own visions and imaginations. 

“I believe everyone has a story to tell that is uniquely theirs and it is absolutely important to allow students to explore their own ideas and the teacher serves as a guide/support to the student.  The best part of artmaking is the process and understanding of why we do what we do and the choices we make along the way.”

With her accomplishments as an artist, being a teacher brings Lopez great joy in seeing other students find themselves through art pieces of their own. “It’s wonderful to see where their ideas come from and end up”

Along with teaching art, Lopez was the first teacher at Silver Creek to bring Film Studies to the East Side Union High School District. “I spent a year rewriting the curriculum and being audited, the course was accepted and passed at the district level and is now available for ESUHSD art teachers to teach.”

Film Studies is a course run by Lopez consisting of a curriculum revolving around the study of famous directors and their directing styles. Lopez enjoys getting lost in the beauty of a good story and watching how directors create these stories through the characters and the magical places that they make. “Filmmakers are real magicians in a sense.”

Film and art have brought Lopez joy and inspiration, but these aren’t the only two things that inspire her, as she works as a DJ on the side, known as “Little Gris.” Lopez is very open with her students about her passion for music.

An example of a flyer for a gig she has recently done
Credit: Provided by Lopez

“I have been djing for close to 15 years all on vinyl 45’s, mostly 60s Rock n’ Roll, garage and at times 80s and New Wave… I really enjoy bringing people together–through dancing and live music. My love of music and music collecting has been a passion of mine since a very young age.” 

Recently, Lopez’s work has been featured in a CBS news article. Her work has been recognized, as it is a big step in her passion as an artist. “ I am working on having a production/event company soon since I do feel this is something I want to continue doing in addition to making art and teaching.” You can check the article out here: CBS News

Although she enjoys this and has loads of fun collecting music, it’s something she wouldn’t consider doing full-time. “it’s a lot of work, and it makes it more fun to do it from time to time.  As far as the music/promoting, it’s something I would definitely do more because it’s fun to book bands and put together a lineup and DJs with a common theme.”

At the end of the day, Lopez has provided advice for anyone in need of encouragement, “My biggest advice I can give young people is to pursue everything and anything you are passionate about.  No one can tell you the right or wrong path to take as it’s your story, your dream, and your life, yours alone—so go and live it and do everything that you want to do.”

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