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A History

Creative Fusion Mentor Artists


Creative Fusion fosters relationships between renowned professional artists, the student and the art-making process, and cultivates an in-depth and life-long experience with the arts.

Summer 2018 Mentor Artists

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Gala Bent

Gala Bent is an artist, mother and educator living in Seattle, Washington. She has a BFA in Painting from Ball State University in Indiana, an MFA in Visual Art from State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, and currently teaches full time at Cornish College of the Arts. Drawings on paper, colored with gouache, are her most prevalent medium, but she also works, when possible, with installation, animation and writing. Gala’s work has been shown locally, nationally and internationally, and she is represented by G.Gibson Gallery in Seattle

Learn more about Gala at her website: www.galabent.com

Creative Fusion Arts Workshop
Satpreet Kahlon

Satpreet Kahlon is a multidisciplinary artist based in Seattle, WA and Providence, RI. Born in Punjab, India and raised in the Midwest, she is interested in creating visual language and immersive encounters that express and explore intersectional experiences as well as the structural systems of inequity that dictate their boundaries. In addition to her studio practice, which has been featured in Artforum, she is the founder of the online art space Deep Space Gallery, and between 2015 and 2017, she was a member of the curatorial collective The Alice, and designed and taught social engagement programming in partnership with the Seattle Art Museum. She is currently studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received a full fellowship to pursue her MFA in Sculpture.

Learn more about Satpreet at her website: www.satpreetkahlon.com

Summer 2017 Mentor Artists

A History Creative Fusion Mentor Artists
Dawn Cerny

Dawn Cerny is a multidisciplinary based in Seattle. Her recent works on paper and in sculpture examine the formal articulation of value and power—or lack thereof—through everyday gestures, bodily postures, and personal aesthetic choices. Corresponding physically to the body and readily personified, her monochromatic sculptural works also evoke racks, chairs, and cabinets of uncertain purpose, at once amplifying and distorting furniture’s connection to the human form.

Amassed together within the gallery, they might comprise a domestic arrangement, a showroom, or a crowd of people, alone together in public space. Like Buster Keaton’s slapstick comedy—a favorite of the artist’s—Cerny’s sculptures can be seen as an absurdist response to the productive rationalism of modern times, one that both represents and is alienated from everyday life. Cerny’s work has been exhibited at many venues including Henry Art Gallery; Or Gallery in Vancouver, Canada; Night Gallery in LA and Derk Eller Gallery in New York.

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Paul Komada

Paul Komada was born in Seattle. In 2002, he completed MFA program at the University of Pennsylvania. Between 2003-06, he worked at a Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Today, he lives and works in Pioneer Square.

Paul paints geometric abstraction. However since he started knitting as an alternative to painting while he had became a stay-at-home dad for his son in 2007, he has incorporated knitting into the paintings. Now, he continues to combine knitting and painting in his studio exploring the boundary between Art and Craft. He has since been extending his search of “hybrid paintings” into digital media using chroma-key tool. Paul combines his photos and paintings in the space between computer and physical studio. Than he produces a video of the process inquiring the meaning of the Painting as an enduring art form.

He has exhibited works in Seattle, as well as internationally in Toronto, The Hague Netherlands and Kobe Japan. In 2015, he was a finalist for the Neddy Award and a nominee for the Northwest Contemporary Art Award and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant. In 2016, Paul’s works were selected for the NW Biennial “Art Now” at Tacoma Art Museum and he was selected again as a finalist for the Neddy Award. In 2017, he was awarded a fellowship at Virginia Center for Creative Arts funded by Columbus School for Girls Endowment. Currently Paul is preparing a solo exhibition, “The Monument in Memory: Abstract Alaskan Way” at Gallery 4Culture in Seattle in June 2017.

Summer 2016 Mentor Artists

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Kathy Fridstein

Kathy received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with an emphasis in photography. Upon graduation she began a 20-year career of teaching photography in the northwest including Eastern Washington University, Pacific Lutheran University and the Bush School – and showing her art. Her work has been widely exhibited at regional and national venues, including the Seattle Art Museum, where it was prominently featured in a 3-person show “Altered Images.” It is also included in numerous public art collections.

All her life experiences have influenced what and how she photographs, with each new development building on the last.

On a trip to New Mexico she discovered petroglyphs, which for her, presented the same visual impact as walls totally covered with graffiti. This led to her continued interest in petroglyphs, as well as other pictorial languages – such as Egyptian hieroglyphics, hobo signs, ancient Roman signs – and using these signs and symbols in her own work.

On a trip to England, she discovered stone circles, sparking her ongoing work of finding and exploring stones and relics around the world. She is interested in the relationship of ruins to their current surroundings compared to the knowledge of their ancient state.

After a trip photographing Mayan ruins she visited Fort Worden in Port Townsend. The remnants of the Fort’s Battery’s in such a beautiful landscape reminded her of being in a Mayan ruin. This began her current project of photographing Fort Worden, Fort Flagler, and Fort Casey throughout the four seasons, with the intent of capturing the abandoned forts entwined with the rich landscape while bringing to mind the vision of fortresses filled with American soldiers prepared to defend the Puget Sound.

Photography is not Kathy’s only interest. In 2006, she launched aftertheimage, a full-service design firm offering brand development, marketing collateral, web design and development, and photography.

Today, she has found a nice balance between her professions as an artist, and designer. Her fine-art background influences her design while her design background affects the way she sees, thinks about, and creates her photographs. Each set of skills strengthens the other.

Learn more about Kathy at her website: kathyfridstein.com

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Maria Coryell-Martin

Maria Coryell-Martin is an expeditionary artist following the tradition of traveling artists as naturalists and educators. She graduated from Carleton College in 2004 and received a Thomas J. Watson fellowship to explore remote regions through art from 2004-2005.

Since then, Maria has worked with scientists, local communities, and expeditions in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the Antarctic Peninsula. In the field, Coryell-Martin sketches with ink and watercolor, and collects multimedia recordings to build her palette of place, a record of experience, climate, and color.

This work is the basis for exhibits of large-scale studio and field paintings, as well as multimedia presentations and hands-on workshops for audiences of all ages to promote observation, scientific inquiry, and environmental awareness.

Summer 2015 Mentor Artists

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Graham Fracha

Graham Fracha’s intuitive style is used to convey changes in nature and evolving landscapes. Overlaying his brushstrokes with charcoal lines and hard edge shapes, the sky and land collide. A patchwork of metal encroaches on the organic simplicity of the board. Architecture that once filled the horizon is sanded away and replaced with conversing natural patterns.

By strategically sanding through layers of paint, Fracha exposes sections of his birch wood panels, giving depth to the composition and showing the fragile charcoal strokes underneath. In this way, we see echoes of what came before, we trace the artist’s progress through the imagery of the final piece.

Graham Fracha was born in Annapolis, MD, in 1974, raised in Tucson, AZ, and came to Seattle, WA to attend Cornish College of the Arts in 1992. Seattle’s thriving art community encouraged Fracha to focus on painting.

Fracha’s work resides in private and municipal collections, including Swedish Hospital in Seattle, WA, as well as the collection of the city of Kent, WA. He has exhibited in Washington, California, Colorado, New York, England and France.

He lives and works in Edmonds, WA.

Learn more about Graham at his website: grahamfracha.com

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Heidi Preuss Grew

Heidi Preuss Grew is an artist and educator living in Salem, Oregon who is best known for her figurative sculptures that straddle real and fictional worlds. She earned BA and BFA degrees in Art History, Germanic Languages and Literature, and Crafts from the University of Illinois and her MFA from Ohio University.

Preuss Grew’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Recent awards include a 2014 Lighton International Artist Exchange Program grant, first prize of the 2013 Ceramics Biennial in Aveiro, Portugal, and two Oregon Arts Commission Artist Fellowships. She was elected into the International Academy of Ceramics in 2007.

Find out more about Heidi at her website: heidipreussgrew.com

Summer 2014 Mentor Artists

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Marita Dingus

Marita Dingus was born in Seattle, Washington. She attended Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia for her BFA, and received her MFA from San Jose State University.

Dingus currently lives and works in the state of Washington. She received a Visual Art Fellowship from the Artist Trust, a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship and the Morrie and Joan Alhadeff PONCHO Artist of the Year Award in 2005.

Dingus has had solo shows at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and The Stenersen Museum both in Norway and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma Washington. Her work has been included in Nature/Culture organized by The Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC and 21st Centrury American Women Artists at the Residence of the United States Ambassador to NATO in Brussels along with many regional museums and corporate collections.

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Eva Funderburgh

Eva Funderburgh is a sculptor living in Seattle, Washington. While her work ranges from bronze to installation work, clay and the wood firing process are the focal point of her body of work.

While technically a Seattle native, Eva grew up in Kansas and Pennsylvania before attending Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s in Science and Art, with focuses in chemistry and sculpture. Not long after graduation, she made her way back to her birthplace of Seattle with her partner and now husband, Ben.

In Seattle, she first worked as an assistant to wood fire potter and sculptor Steve Sauer. After that, she teamed up with five other artists to found Florentia Clayworks, a small cooperative clay studio, where she now works full time. She continues to woodfire with Steve Sauer at his ochwangama kiln. In 2010, she spent five weeks as an artist in residence at the Guldagergaard center for ceramics in Skaelskor, Denmark.

Since Denmark, she has been inspired to expand her range of work, experimenting in both installation and bronze casting. She has also begun teaching workshops, and assisting with the introductory bronze casting class at the Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle.

Summer 2013 Mentor Artists

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Emma Levitt

A native of the Northeast coast, Emma moved to Seattle after earning her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis. Arriving in the Northwest for the first time via tall ship, Emma’s experience of Seattle and western Washington have been marked by the local waterways and much of her work is inspired by her observations from the waterline. Using printmaking, photography, collage and artist’s books as her media, Emma’s work explores the relationships between topography and transcendence.

Emma has been the recipient of a Clowes Foundation Fellowship, a 4Culture Individual Artist Project Award and the Art Bridge Fellowship from Pratt Fine Art Center. She exhibits nationally and internationally and her work is included in the collections of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and John Hancock.

Emma finds great joy in sharing her knowledge, skills and passions with both youth and adults. She holds an M.Ed from the University of Washington and has worked as an artist and educator for several local organizations including the Drachen Foundation, Seattle Art Museum, The Center for Wooden Boats and IslandWood.

Emma now splits her time between Seattle and Albuquerque, where she is pursuing and MFA in Studio Art at the University of New Mexcio. Often far from the waterways of the Northwest, and overwhelmed by the sun, the use of cyanotypes (sun prints) is becoming central to her artistic practice.

For more information, please visit: emmajanelevitt.com

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Jenny Heishman

Jenny Heishman creates inspired work that encourages us to find pleasure in the act of looking. Encountering her sculptural work, one recognizes Heishman’s reuse of humble materials, including aluminum foil, tape, fabric, Styrofoam; and her interest in broken patterns, highlights of color, faux surfaces, and optical illusions. The artist’s playful gestures, in which she subtly transforms prosaic materials into refined and measured objects, reward the viewer with unexpected discoveries.

Jenny Heishman was born in 1971 in Gainesville, Florida and received her BS in Geology from University of Florida and MFA from Ohio University. She studied at Penland School of Crafts and has been a resident artist at Vermont Studio Center, Pilchuck School of Glass, and Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her work has been recognized with grants from Artist Trust (2005), King County 4 Culture (2006), Artist Trust and Washington State Arts Commission (2006), and PONCHO (2009). Most recently, she was awarded the Betty Bowen Award through the Seattle Art Museum and a grant from the Pollock Krasner Foundation (both in 2011). Heishman has completed three public art projects in her adopted hometown of Seattle, one commissioned by the City of Seattle and two by Vulcan Real Estate.

For more information, please visit: www.jennyheishman.com

Summer 2012 Mentor Artists

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Matthew Offenbacher

Matthew Offenbacher grew up in the Northwest and received a B.A. in American Studies from Tufts University in 1994. He currently lives in Seattle. Interested in collaboration, Matt’s work focuses on blurring the boundaries between groups and individuals, and between art objects and the contexts in which they appear. These interests have led to special projects such as ‘The Gift Shop’ at the Henry Art Gallery in 2010, and ‘La Norda Specialo’, an ongoing independent publication for artists’ writings. He has exhibited widely on the West Coast. In 2010 his work appeared in ‘Reclaimed’ at the Seattle Art Museum, and ‘The Divided $elf’, a solo exhibition at Vignettes in Seattle. Other notable exhibitions include ‘Intellectual Property’ in 2010 at Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery, and ‘C.A.T.’ at Howard House in 2009. In 2009 he won the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition award from the Seattle Art Museum.

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Sheila Coppola

Sheila has spent the last 26 years working with and for visual artists, helping them to realize their personal visions through the medium of original printmaking. In 1982, after receiving a BFA in painting from the University of Washington, she co-founded Ink on Paper and worked under the direction of master lithographer Charles E. Matson. Although she learned a great deal about lithography, her interest and passion have always been in the more three-dimensional forms of printing known as intaglio and relief. In 1996, she founded Sidereal Press, which she continues to operate today in Tukwila, Washington. Over time, she has acquired the necessary equipment and experience to produce fine original intaglio and relief prints using traditional methods of printmaking. In 1998, she met and became friends with Marcia Bartholme, master printer at Beta Press, and developed a working relationship with her, which has continued to inspire her and inform her understanding of intaglio printmaking. Sheila has also been fortunate to work closely with many fine Northwest artists, sharing and trading information, learning, teaching and experimenting in one of the most intimate forms of artistic collaboration. She owes most of what she knows to this rich collection of collaborative experiences, and is most grateful to all the artists, designers and printers who have generously shared their knowledge and vision with her.

Summer 2011 Mentor Artists

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Laurie Hall

An Oregon native, Laurie Hall is an art jeweler and teacher, who enjoys creating strong narrative pieces that incorporate incidents from her life and the American experience. Having studied under the renowned jewelry artist and UW professor emeritus Ramona Solberg at the University of Washington, Laurie holds a B.A. Degree from Willamette University and a M.A.T. from the University of Washington. Laurie has continued to develop her art career while teaching at Mercer Island High School 1967-1992, The Bush School 1992-2001, and in the Portland area at Sunset H.S. and Mountain View H.S. Vancouver, Washington, and is currently teaching at the Multnomah Arts Center. Represented by several galleries in the United States: Facere / Seattle, Helen Drutt / Philadelphia, Mobilia / Cambridge, Massachusetts, Julie Artisan Gallery / New York City, Hibberd McGrath / Colorado. Her jewelry is published in several art books and included in collections at The Museum of Art and Design / New York City, The Tacoma Art Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts in Racine, Wisconsin, the King County Arts Commission, and the Washington State Art Commission.

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Dan Webb

Dan Webb is a sculptor who lives and works in Seattle. He graduated from Cornish College Of the Arts in 1991, and immediately embarked on a busy showing career. His work has been seen in the New Museum in New York, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Tacoma Art Museum, as well as numerous galleries around the country. Currently he shows at the Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle. Along with shows in galleries and museums, he also does large public commissions, one of which he just completed in the Pike Place Market here in Seattle.

Summer 2011 Mentor Artists

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Claire Cowie

Claire Cowie was born in Charlotte, NC, and now lives and works in Seattle. She received a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997 and an MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1999. She is represented by the James Harris Gallery, Seattle and the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland. Recent awards include a Pollock-Krasner Grant and fellowships from Washington State Arts Commission, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and the Behnke Foundation. Collections include Microsoft, Amgen Corporation, 4Culture, Tacoma Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery and Swedish Cancer Institute. Reviews have appeared in Art in America, Artforum, Artweek, and Los Angeles Times.

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Margot Quan Knight

Margot Quan Knight holds a Master in Fine Art degree from the MiltonAvery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. She earned her BA in Studio Art at Dartmouth College, graduating summa cum laude in 1999. Margot’s photography and video work has been featured in over 70 international publications and exhibited around the world, including solo shows at GAS Art Gallery, (Turin, Italy), 911 Media Arts Center, (Seattle, W.A.), and California State University (Chico, CA) and group shows at the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Ar/ge Kunst Galleria Museo (Bolzano, Italy), and the Dotmov Festival (Sapporo, Japan).Margot lives and works in Seattle. She is represented by GAS Art Gallery in Turin, Italy, and by James Harris Gallery in Seattle.