Studio Culture

Alix Gaytan

“I think Francis Bacon understood his life through his human figure.”

Alix Gaytan is a Mexican-American artist born in El Paso, Tx. Gaytan’s work explores the abject and its relation to chaotic human behavior. She creates images of insect humanoids forever confined in their constant fragmentation within chaotic atmospheres. These humanoids are born from body fragments with diverse mutations, while they become surrounded by dysfunctional human organs and vascular systems. By employing painting, drawing, and printmaking techniques, bodies and backgrounds coalesce into an attraction-repulsion frenzy. When fear and confusion are expressed through our bodies, they are violently transformed into something uncanny. Ultimately, her ambition is to offer a visual testament to the durability of the human mind and its never-ending metamorphosis. 

Gaytan obtained her BFA from the University of Texas at El Paso with a major in painting and a minor in printmaking. Currently, she lives and works in State College, PA. where she is pursuing an MFA in Studio Art with a concentration in painting and drawing at Penn State University.

Talking to Alix

Audrey An

“I am referencing my cultural upbringing and the social norm. What experiences are different from here and there?”

Audrey An received her BFA and Art History Minor from Alfred University. Upon completing her degree in 2017, she received the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship from Center for Craft to fund her two-year post-baccalaureate at Colorado State University and to travel around historic and contemporary centers of ceramic innovation, including Icheon, South Korea and Jingdezhen, China. Audrey currently lives in State College, PA where she is a graduate student at Penn State University. 

Deeply investigating the boundaries of physical-digital design and its fabrication, Audrey’s work explores the intersection between craft and technology. During her time at Penn State, Audrey’s objectives will be around the question of how to apply advanced digital technologies to ceramic creativity from the perspective of ‘convergence’, which could be cultural, technological, dimensional, or interdisciplinary.

Talking to Audrey

Marissa Baez

“Looking into personal ancestry allows people to participate in some way of decolonization.”

Marissa Alise Baez was born in 1997 in Houston, Texas. Based in the United States, Baez is a multidisciplinary artist interested in memory, ephemerality, identity, and the body. They studied Sculpture in the Department of Visual Art at Texas Woman’s University and graduated with a BFA in May 2019. Baez graduated with an MFA at Penn State School of Visual Art 2021. 

Death, history, ancestry, material, and decolonization strongly influence my work. I connect these paths in order to explore third-space identity. Learning and talking with Lipan Apache elder Dr. Eloisa Tamez inspired me to research more about Texas history and the absent truths. There are people who still carry knowledge passed down through oral histories, and should not be overlooked. This led me to weave family narratives into my cosmology. I have been searching for the origin of spiritual practices passed down in my family that my maternal grandmother kept secret. I encountered a path full of patches when exploring my family’s past. Similar to my methods of creating, my research paths are endless.

Talking to Marissa

Zsuzsanna Nagy

“In the end, what I want is to make people feel.”

Zsuzsanna Nagy is a Hungarian-American artist currently residing in State College, PA. She received her MFA from Pennsylvania State University in 2020. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions across the US, including in On the Block, Images from the Street at the Lucie Foundation in Los Angeles, CA, and WideOpen 2020: Excellence in Photography, Second Biennial Exhibition in Athens, OH. 

Zsuzsanna currently teaches photography at PSU. She is the gallery manager and curator of PSU’s Woskob Family Gallery in downtown State College.

Talking to Zsuzsanna