“Plumb, Level, & Square,” an art exhibit by Rancho Cucamonga resident Joe Pastor will be on display July 7–11, 2013, from 9 a.m.–9 p.m., at Azusa Pacific University’s Heritage Gallery, located on West Campus at 701 E. Foothill Blvd., in Azusa. A reception takes place Sun., July 7 from 6–8 p.m. Pastor, who graduates from APU on July 26, 2013, with his Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art, celebrates the culmination of his work with this thesis exhibit, which is open to the public and free to attend. For directions, visit apu.edu/gallery/visit/.

Pastor’s display features nine contemporary oil paintings on plywood that depict construction workers. He derived inspiration from his life experiences growing up in Central Los Angeles as the son of a sheet metal worker and from his own career as a carpenter and remodeling contractor. He is also influenced by the art of famous painters throughout history who captured people at work, including Jean-François Millet, Jules Breton, Gustave Caillebotte, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Vincent Van Gogh, and George Bellows.

“All people are worthy of becoming an artist’s subject,” Pastor said. “The artist’s job it to make the subject captivating.”

Pastor said that preparing to paint often involved bringing a camera or a sketch book to a construction site. “Workers usually relax a bit after seeing what I’m up to. I do not depict an individual’s identity in my art. Instead, my interactions with workers serve as inspiration for a future painting, like a man telling me how the economic downturn led to his bankruptcy and loss of his house.”

Pastor said the theory and philosophy he learned in his Master of Fine Arts program prepared him to pursue a career as a fine artist and art teacher.

The Department of Art and Design, housed in the new College of Music and the Arts offers a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art, an online Master of Arts in Modern Art History, and three undergraduate art degrees.