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Painting by alumna Bijou Karman (BFA 14 Illustration).

Features / Alumni / Film / Photography and Imaging / Illustration / Art
November 15, 2017
By Solvej Schou
Images Courtesy of the artists

4x4 Gallery: Alumni Whose Work Explores Improvisation, Imagination, Simulation, Documentation

Sarah Awad

For Fine Art faculty Sarah Awad (BFA 07 Illustration), painting is an interplay between spatial complexity, improvisation and structure. The Los Angeles artist—born and raised in Pasadena—creates multihued works that have been featured in exhibitions in L.A., New York, Copenhagen and Vienna. “My large-scale paintings mine the territory between abstraction and late modernist figuration,” says Awad, who recently finished two paintings for L.A.’s remodeled Hotel Figueroa. Her drawings—including 2015’s paint, ink and pastel Consideration 1 and Consideration 6 of wrought iron gates—help her work out ideas. “I use them as a different way to consider the subject,” she says.

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Drawings Consideration 6 and Consideration 1 by Sarah Awad. Courtesy of the artist.

Cedric Angeles

Born in the Philippines and raised in the U.S., New Orleans-based photographer and director Cedric Angeles (BFA 98 Photography) is constantly on the move, documenting cultures all over the world. “I see things people don't normally see,” says Angeles, who co-founded photo stock agency Intersection Photos, and whose work appears in magazines including GQ, Dwell and Rolling Stone. For “Out of the Blues,” a 2017 British Airways High Life magazine story by Faris Mustafa tracing the southern Blues Trail, a photo Angeles took of an abandoned, branch-covered Tennessee farm house represents deeply rooted blues music that’s “slowly dying out,” Angeles says.

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Photo of a Tennessee farm house by Cedric Angeles in British High Life magazine. Courtesy of Angeles.

Bijou Karman

Los Angeles-based artist Bijou Karman (BFA 14 Illustration) uses fashion—including bright, bold patterns by Italian label Marni—to express the distinct personalities of her imagined subjects. “My paintings are inspired by unique women, nostalgia, flora and the California landscape,” she says. And after Rihanna promoted Karman’s detailed and vibrant illustrations for the singer’s Holiday 2016 Stance Socks campaign on her Instagram, doors swung open. Karman has a line of socks with Stance coming out in 2018, and her clients include Harper's Bazaar and Penguin. Social media provides “exposure and a chance to create an image for yourself,” Karman says.

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Paintings, from 2017 and 2014, by Bijou Karman. Courtesy of the artist.

Michael Reisinger

“My lead characters tend to express private, solitary experiences that often go unnoticed in a world saturated with social noise,” says Seattle director Michael Reisinger (MFA 09 Film), whose short films weave together dystopian visions and humanistic yearnings. A 2017 video Reisinger directed for electronic artist Lusine’s song “Just A Cloud”—with cinematographer and fellow alum Jeremy Lundborg (BFA 09 Film)—dives into a woman's mind as she listens to music on a bus. Influenced by the concept of reality-as-simulation, Reisinger crafted a lighting rig with 2,300 LEDs that flash colorfully in sync with the beat. “The music transports her to a higher plane of existence,” Reisinger says.

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Still from the 2017 music video for Lusine’s “Just A Cloud,” directed by Michael Reisinger. Courtesy of Reisinger.