Crosstown Arts 2018 Fall Session Residents
Santina Amato is an interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses the basic notion of the intimate body, especially the female body. She was born in Australia to Italian immigrants and has lived and worked in the USA since 2010. She received an MFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017.
“My attraction to the materiality of dough relates back to my childhood growing up within an immigrant Italian household in Australia, where dough was no foreign matter and gender roles were clearly in place. My first memory and experience of femininity and the power of creation (and potentially female desire) was watching my mother knead this soft, white, voluptuous material. Folding it over and onto itself, pushing her whole body towards it – back and forth, back and forth – while steering the dough with her hands, she transformed it from flour and water into our existence as a living organism, to be consumed by our bodies, via our mouths.”
Ama Codjoe is a poet raised in Youngstown, Ohio with roots in both Memphis, TN and Accra, Ghana. She studied poetry in NYU’s Creative Writing Program, is a two-time Pushcart Nominee and the recipient of many fellowships and honors including a Rona Jaffe Award.
“As a poet, I am obsessed with heartbeats: image, repetition, transformation, and sound. Finding a pulse, losing it, and finding it again is the beautiful work of this vocation. Ultimately, I write poems to make meaning of the world.”
Lauren Asta is an artist specializing in illustration, doodle art, street art and murals. Her murals are created freehand without any aid of a sketch, projector, or traced outline. She enjoys and embraces the process of making public artwork. A community’s positive response and ability to follow her progress from start to finish has had a large impact on her process.
“The way we are fed information plays an important role in how we respond to a public message. It is my goal to convey information, light or heavy with content, in an attractive and animated way. Creating public artwork allows me to visually stimulate an audience and if I’m lucky, inspire them with my cast of characters doing what they do best… being humorous about the human experience. Art creates an emotional connection within us. It allows us to pay attention, to be connected to it and thus, be connected with others.”
Karina Alvarez’ work is a multidisciplinary exploration combining video, sound production, and drawing. She also uses software microcontrollers and integrated sensors, creating generative environments that both reflect and question the spaces where her work lives.
“I am currently researching and exploring the use of programming languages and platforms to synthesize audio and images as well to analyze and process algorithmic compositions.”
Alex Paulus received his MFA from the Memphis College of Art in 2009. He makes paintings that are simultaneously funny, sad, and bizarre.
“If I laugh at one of my paintings and say, ‘That is so stupid and weird. I love it.’ then I know it’s a good one.”
Jon Bryant Crawford
Jon Bryant Crawford is a filmmaker, writer, and photographer exploring the loneliness of American masculinity and the celebration of Queer resilience through the perspective of a gay, mixed-race Southerner. He studied experimental film at the SFAI before earning his MFA from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television.
“I am interested in the truth of fiction, the narrative constructs that shape our identities, and the fellowship of outsiders.”
Julianna Johnston is an artist meshing public workshops and live performances with social research and documentary film. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2018.
“As systematic thinkers, our reality is based on observed, created, and maintained systems of understanding. My hope with this work is to shift passive viewers into active system analysts. To challenge their role not only within the systems represented but also their role as representatives.”
Jing Niu is a film director specializing in narrative films and music videos. She has an MFA from Duke’s Documentary and Experimental Arts program.
“Cultivating community through my film processes, I create celebrations of marginalized life through comedy and beauty. Poetic interpretations of (our) lived experiences at the intersection of intolerance and feminism.”
A figurative, Latina artist based in St. Louis, Lizzy Martinez channels traditional techniques while considering the human form with a pointed, feminist perspective through symbolism, humor, and tension. She received her MFA in painting from Boston University and is an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation and Brand Boeshaar awardee. She has exhibited in galleries, museums, and universities including the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
“I marry various cultural outputs of the past to talk about concerns of the present. Advocating for women’s and animal rights in a medium that has traditionally given males the advantage, my work reflects both the hardships and accomplishments women face.”
Rory Golden has received fellowships from Yaddo, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, The Blue Mountain Center, and the Puffin Foundation for major projects “Your One Black Friend” and “See Related Story: The Murder of J.R. Warren.” Recent awards for work across media include a research grant from Duke University Libraries, Blue Sky Project, the Manhattan Graphics Center, and the Franklin Furnace Fund.
“My Duty Free Ranger performative works destabilize colonialism and militarism via public interventions, rituals, and acts of propitiation I call #dutyfreeranger ‘fashion actions.’ In these live art projects, I become an amplifier and transmitter of secret language that enables justice in some fashion. I’m wrestling with history and the present moment, erasure, ghosts, demons, hallucinations, desire, dreams, and Euro-US American capitalist heteropatriarchal hegemony.”
The Ellie Badge is a studio-based vehicle for singer-songwriter Jeremiah Matthews who began writing and recording songs at age 15. After a brief stint as a traditional four-piece band and a short break during which Jeremiah attended graduate school, the Ellie Badge resurfaced as a stripped down, one-man, live show that leans heavily on live-looped drums, synthesizers, and guitars. Song themes revolve around loss, growing up, and connection.
“What started out as a very distinctly (almost cliched) pop-punk sound has changed over the years to become something much more personal and raw. This massive shift in style is due to a change in influences and a commitment to DIY. From the ground up the songs are written, performed, recorded, produced and marketed by me.”
Alicja Trout writes and performs original music in Memphis, TN and runs a home recording studio called Tonic Graveyard. She graduated from Memphis College with an MFA in 1997 and ran a label called Contaminated Records from 1999-2007.
“Music is like meditating with my hands on instruments, waiting to see where they take me. My lyrics come from thoughts that have been swirling in my head in confusion as if a little brain monkey is teasing me. Finally, she can’t resist organizing my thoughts into a nice packaged daydream or soundscape. I’ve been addicted to this cathartic satisfaction since I began.”
Writer Austin Henderson grew up in Memphis, graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in English and Creative Writing in 2013 and worked at Penguin Random House in New York. He writes in all genres but has a special interest in literature for children.
“I believe literature for children often answers our most important questions. Where do we come from? Why are we here? Who are we meant to be? Novels have the ability to shape children and change their outlooks on life. My goal as a writer is to create literature that inspires and shapes children into lifelong readers, and helps them discover who they are meant to be.”
Composer Sid Richardson writes concert music that imbues modern idioms with emotional grit and cerebral wit. He has collaborated on compositions with artists such as Conrad Tao, yMusic, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Deviant Septet, and Amarcord.
“My work explores the intersections of music, literature, and mysticism. I strive to write compelling, emotional, and experimental music in chamber, solo, vocal, electronic, and orchestral settings. Ultimately, I want to share in an experience with my audience.”
Phil Darius Wallace
Phil Darius Wallace grew up and began his performance career in Flint, Michigan. He is an actor, speaker, and business coach now based in Memphis, TN who has performed extensively in a variety of roles at Memphis theaters and around the country including performances showcasing the poetry of Langston Hughes and a touring one-man show about Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr.
“My work is about how transformation lives in the beauty of our stories. I believe there is transformative power in the written and spoken word. Words are made of letters which are signs, which then become symbolic ideas. Ideas are our stories which can manifest our desires into reality. My hope is that through my performance, the audience will find their best self and that which makes them happy in life.”