The Cincinnati Art Ambassador Fellowship Program
Katie St. Clair is currently in her final year as an MFA candidate at the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. This year she was awarded a Smucker•Wagstaff Scholarship to embark on an ambitious 800+ mile bike ride from Ann Arbor to Marquette Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. For two weeks, she cycled along county roads, cow pastures, corn crops, and Michigan’s beautiful coast, collecting imagery and material for upcoming paintings inspired by growth and decay in the natural world. Exploring has always been a priority in St. Clair’s art practice, traveling to countries in Southeast Asia, South America, and Europe. In 2006 she graduated Magna Cum Laude with her BFA in painting from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. She was granted artist residencies at Parsons, The New School of Design, Munich Exchange Program, and the Vermont Studio Program. She has held solo exhibitions at NCRC Gallery in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Global Lead Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her numerous group exhibitions include shows at Arts Space Beijing, China, and at Broadway Gallery in New York City. She is currently represented by Kuaba Gallery in Indianapolis, which will be hosting her in a solo show in 2014.
From drawing pictures for the stories he overheard as a boy in his family’s College Hill barbershop to the 2012 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor award for a book he illustrated, Terrace Park artist Will Hillenbrand has led a life full of colorful images and characters.
Those images and characters are on display in the exhibit “The Book Art of Will Hillenbrand” at the Main Library atrium through Jan. 6, 2014. Selections include his illustrations from beloved children’s books such as Bear in Love, Spring Is Here!, Whopper Cake, Down by the Barn, Mother Goose Picture Puzzles, and Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep.
Sunday, Dec. 8. Hillenbrand will talk about his career and sign books afterwards.
Besides the Parents’ Choice award for “Bear in Love,” other accolades Hillenbrand has won include the 1990 Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators; a Notable Book Award from the American Library Association for the first picture book he illustrated, Traveling to Tondo; and Children’s Choice Awards from the International Reading Association for Sam Sunday and the Mystery at the Ocean Beach Hotel and The House That Drac Built.
BFA Painting, 2007
Current Positions: Art Critic for Artforum.com; Adjunct faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Associate Director of Iceberg Projects
My practice involves being an artist, writer, and curator. In my art, I use photography, installation and other interventions into space to articulate the cultural positionality of the queer political subject within imbricated systems of control. I am interested in how tropes of both subtlety and excess can be used to render visible the complex erotics that underlie social landscapes. I am currently working on a series of spreads for the next issue of the art journal Monsters & Dust, as well as work for exhibitions at PEREGRINEPROGRAM in Chicago and Fjord in Philadelphia.
My writing and curatorial work likewise reflect interests in the production and recognition of queer space, as well as in the capacity for formalism to be attached to urgent philosophical and political concerns. I have recently been writing about the Cincinnati artist Tony Luensman, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Roni Horn, and the post-human imaginary that is developing in contemporary painting practices. I am currently writing an essay about queer rappers as hyphenated cultural producers that will appear in the Jan/Feb issue of Art Papers. I am also writing two courses I will be teaching at SAIC in 2014 called “Painting Queer” and “Bodies and Technologies.”
All of these interlocking parts of my work began in Cincinnati and can be tracked to ways I was involved in the culture at the Art Academy. I was afforded the flexibility to work across disciplines, and develop an approach to production that was less dependent on totalizing stylistics and more concerned with following an inquiry through many possible forms. I started to be curated into exhibitions by some of my faculty and began exhibiting my work regionally and nationally even before graduating. At AAC I was given an initial introduction to philosophy and aesthetics, and my writing was encouraged. Starting in my freshman year, I began working in the school galleries, and was introduced to the methodologies of curating and the mechanics of putting together thoughtful displays of art. When I graduated, I immediately began writing art criticism and operating not-for-profit gallery spaces like semantics and U·turn Art Space in Brighton. I’ve recently completed my MFA in Art Theory + Practice from Northwestern University, where I also earned a Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies. My time at the Art Academy and my years participating actively in Cincinnati’s art community led directly to the rigorous work involved in my masters program and my present life and work in Chicago.
BFA Design, 2011
Current Position: Designer at Facebook
For the past three years, I’ve been designing projects that span multiple mediums and audiences. Sticking to my gut and pushing myself to take on new challenges has led me down a path of being a freelance designer, a designer and print lead for the 2012 Obama campaign, the lead UX / UI designer at a startup in Los Angeles, a designer for sustainability in Chicago, and most recently, a designer at Facebook.
During my time at the Art Academy, I was supported and motivated by the faculty and students to never stop designing, to find inspirations in my environments and to use design to solve problems. After transferring into the Art Academy from studying computer engineering and having little to no experience in the design field, the Art Academy provided me with a self-motivated environment to prepare me in my post college career.
BFA Printmaking, 2009
Current Position: Cryptogram. Owner, designer, & printmaker. October 2010 – Present.
Since starting Cryptogram in 2010, projects have been widely varied but based in the arenas of promotional, identity, and print design. I split my time between projects for Cryptogram, and design & screen print work for clients like Landor Chicago, Union Institute & University, Ault Park Concours, Cincinnati Art Museum, and bands like Pop Goes The Evil, and The Harlequins.
Recently I’ve been working on more and more projects for musicians and for visual art based events that have grown into long-term relationships, allowing me to provide consistency throughout their applications.
When at the Art Academy, critical discussions with professors and a thorough understanding of art & design history served to build the foundation for creating and learning from work. At the point I found a direction to move toward, using AAC’s resources, both internal and external, were instrumental in seeing through my plans and decisions, providing invaluable references and connections which would’ve otherwise made for a difficult transition from the academic environment into the professional world.