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MFA Students

Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Candidate

David Bell is an artist and independent arts organizer who founded and directs the Los Angeles artists’ project Visitor Welcome Center. Much of his life practice is inspired by his upbringing on an ecological preserve in Southern California, where he was raised in a family of wildlife and environmental conservationists. He explores materials reuse and living sustainably through his woodshop, Manzanita Change. Noticing and walking are central to his creative process, and he is also influenced by situationist theory, hip hop, and plant and animal behaviors. Prior to making a life in the arts, Bell worked as a firefighter for the US Forest Service and as a park ranger at the Upper Tampa Bay State Park in Florida. Bell studied visual art at Metáfora School of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Spain and at UCLA. Currently, he has been making a spoon a day, and is completing his second book of short stories published by N-o-nS…e;nSI/c::::a_L.

Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Candidate

Annika Berry is an interdisciplinary artist originally from Portland, OR. Recently she’s lived in Santa Fe, NM, and Brooklyn, NY, where she worked for artists and collaborated with cowboys and doomsday survivalists. Annika also produces and presents work as one-half of the artist duo “My Husband” (2016–current). She holds a BFA in Film/Animation/Video from the Rhode Island School of Design and has trained as an oral historian and dementia caregiver.

Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Candidate

Pete Brook is a writer, curator and educator focused on prisons, photos and power. In 2008, he founded the website Prison Photography to speak to issues of visibility, distribution, ethics and abuses within image production. In 2014, he curated 'Prison Obscura' which brought together images about mass incarceration created outside of the documentary tradition. In 2015, Pete co-curated 'Status Update' which took on change and chance (gentrification) in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2016, Pete walked, south to north, across the United States. In 2018, he was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Fund’s Howard Chapnick Award and a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting which funded 8-months of teaching at San Quentin State Prison. Between 2018 and 2021, Pete taught photo history at CSU Sacramento.

Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Candidate

L. Gilbert is a farmer, artist, and educator based in Northern California. They received their BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art in New York, NY in 2017. 

In 2021, L. built a sustainable, off-grid tiny house on wheels. The small mobile house was designed in response to the changing climate and as one approach to the current housing crisis in the Western United States. The 200 sq. ft., mobile dwelling includes solar power, a solar air heater, gray water recycling, a rainwater catchment system, and composting toilet for energy and water conservation. 

At UCSC, Gilbert will engage in research around the intersections of queerness and rural life throughout the history of California and into the present moment. The practice of growing, cooking, and sharing food will be at the center of this community-based research. Other current research interests include regenerative agriculture, rotational livestock grazing, queer farming, and food sovereignty.

Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Candidate

As a queer non-binary (two-spirit) Japanese-American Chickasaw conceptual maker, my/our practice reflects on displacement/placement, alongside the recurring themes of queerness, biodiversity, and movement. I/we would describe my/our work as a meditation on materiality as a result of digesting the intersectionalities of my/our being (in collaboration with other life forces). 

I/we use they/them/theirs or we/us/ours pronouns.

Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Candidate

Ant(onia) Lorenzo is an interdisciplinary artist, organizer, and graduate student in Environmental Art and Social Practice at UCSC. Their work investigates structures of power, dominance, and distribution while seeking to undermine individualism in art-making through an emphasis on that which emerges during processes of research, improvisation, collection, and curation. They are a graduate of UCSD’s Jacob School of Engineering. 

Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Candidate

Isola Tong is an artist, architect and activist whose artistic practice is committed to decolonizing transness through vernacular mysticism, indigenous knowledge and gender diversity in the global south. Her bi-cultural Filipino-Chinese upbringing and the tension between her transness and hetero-patriarchal structures influenced her layered and rhizomatic process. She graduated cum laude at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture. She also studied and worked in Osaka, Japan for several years whose avant-garde movements influenced her practice. She has shown and performed in Korea, Slovenia, Serbia and the United Kingdom. She taught architectural design, theory, and history at the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde School of Design and the Arts in Manila.

Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Candidate

Grew up a Chicago native, in a neighborhood that bridged nature and concrete. Part of my studio is my kitchen, and my kitchen continues to expand beyond 4 corners. My work speaks from experience in the languages of love and tragedy in the making, consuming, and sharing of food. Utilizing photography, site specific sculpture, and plant foraging to document relationships between human and non-human inhabited environments, familiarity and foreignness of the land that I inhabit versus the land of my ancestral-resided nation, and nostalgia as chronicled via technological archives that simultaneously separate and bind us to present and past moments.

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