Artists & Poets
Mika Aono was born in Sendai, Japan, and received a BA in Primary and Special Ed from Miyagi University of Education in Japan, BA in Art from University of Oregon and MFA in Printmaking from San Francisco Art Institute. Currently, she teaches printmaking and works as a studio technician in the Department of Art at the University of Oregon. Her work has been shown at various venues nationally and in international exhibitions in India, Spain, Brazil, Canada and Switzerland; some are in museum/public collections.
Gregory S. Black pushes the Black Lives Matter Movement forward using film. All film is propaganda revealing facts and information about the human condition. Artists interpret, absorb and re-emit perspectives outside of the 6-sided box that most live within. As a filmmaker and photographer, he connects the past, present and future through visual mediums and seeks emotional responses about the Black Human Condition. Interviews and documentaries of systematic racism around education, employment and housing are currently being archived within the libraries of Oregon State University, University of Oregon and The Oregon Black Pioneers Museum where they can be researched, understood and never forgotten.
Kathleen Caprario traded the concrete canyons of New York City for the real canyons and broad skies of the Pacific NW and has established herself as a widely exhibited artist and art educator. Caprario is the recipient of an Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, the Jordan Schnitzer Black Lives Matter Artist Grant, the Modesto Lanzone Mostra Award and three Ford Family Foundation Mid-Career Artist Residency Awards. She has attended numerous artist residences with those experiences continuing to inform and inspire her work. Caprario is a founding member of the Gray Space Project, and an artist member of Eugene Contemporary Art. She writes a monthly arts column for the Register Guard’s online and print publication, Café 541.
Kaitlyn Carr-Kiprotich (Kip-roh-tich) earned a BFA in Applied Visual Arts from Oregon State University. Her studio practice primarily consists of collage and mixed media textile work. She currently teaches Middle and High School Art in a small rural town in Northwest, Oregon. She has lived in Oregon most of her life.
Ka’ila Farrell-Smith is a contemporary Klamath Modoc visual artist based in Modoc Point, Oregon. The conceptual framework of her practice focuses on channeling research through a creative flow of experimentation and artistic playfulness rooted in Indigenous aesthetics and abstract formalism. Utilizing painting and traditional Indigenous art practices, her work explores space in-between the Indigenous and western paradigms. Ka’ila displays work in the form of paintings, objects, and self-curated installations.
Ka’ila is a Co-director and Co-Guide for Signal Fire, a certified Wilderness First Responder, and a current Fields Artist Fellow with Oregon Humanities. Her work has been exhibited at Out of Sight, Museum of Northwest Art, Tacoma Art Museum, WA; Missoula Art Museum, MT and Medici Fortress, Cortona, Italy; and in Oregon she has work in the permanent collection of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Portland Art Museum. Her work will be on view in 2020 at the Hoffman Gallery and Nine Gallery in Portland SCALEHOUSE Collaborative in Bend. Her solo exhibition Ghost Rider: Performing Fugitive Indigeneity will be on view at Ditch Projects in Springfield, Oregon in 2021. Ka’ila has recently been selected to attend artist residencies at Djerassi, UCROSS, Institute of American Indian Arts, and Crow’s Shadow.
Ka’ila Farrell-Smith received a BFA in Painting from Pacific Northwest College of Art and an MFA in Contemporary Art Practices Studio from Portland State University.
Benjamin Gorman is a high school English teacher, a political activist, an author, a poet, and the co-publisher at Not a Pipe Publishing. He lives in Independence, Oregon, with his son. His novels are The Sum of Our Gods, Corporate High School, The Digital Storm: A Science Fiction Reimagining of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Don’t Read This Book. His book of poetry, When She Leaves Me, was published in November of 2020. He believes in human beings and the healing power of their stories.
Perry Johnson (b. 1949) when in the studio, will be found at his easel, wearing his black apron and focused on his current project. Perry is an orderly and dedicated artist. In between making artwork for specific exhibitions, or working on commissions, he generally gravitates toward similar subjects. Several years ago, he primarily painted his family—homages to his beloved mother, his siblings (in particular his triplet brothers), as well as his extended family. He would also paint about his time as an employee at Wentworth Buick Automotive: depictions of when he first started working as a car detailer, and then paintings about when he was laid off 40 years later. He’s painted many self-portraits, portraits of his triplet brothers, portraits of other family and friends, and portraits of well-known, public icons like Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, O.J. Simpson, George Floyd and Donald Trump. Most recently he has moved on to painting cityscapes of Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.
Johnson is a quiet man, especially if he doesn’t know you that well, but will always shake your hand or smile for a photo. He loves having his artwork on display and enjoys the recognition he’s received for his notable style and point of view. His other areas of interest include photography, dance, improv theater, printmaking, and participating in Special Olympics. Perry was born and raised in Eugene, and when he is not at the OSLP Arts & Culture Program you will find him at various places and events around town, often with a camera in hand. He has been an artist at the Arts & Culture Program since the winter of 2013 and is represented by the Lincoln Gallery in Eugene.
Ana-Maurine Lara (PhD) is a national award-winning novelist and poet, and a scholar. She is the author of: Erzulie’s Skirt (RedBone Press, 2006), When the Sun Once Again Sang to the People (KRK Ediciones, 2011), Watermarks and Tree Rings (Tanama Press, 2011) Kohnjehr Woman (RedBone Press, 2017), Cantos (letterpress, limited edition 2015), and Sum of Parts (Tanama Press, 2019). Her academic books include: Queer Freedom: Black Sovereignty (SUNY Press, 2020) and Streetwalking: LGBTQ Lives and Protest in the Dominican Republic (Rutgers University Press, 2020). Lara’s work focuses on questions of black and indigenous people and freedom. She has been published in literary journals (Sable LitMag, Transitions Literary Journal), scholarly journals (Small Axe, Bilingual Revue, Sargasso, Feminist Review) and numerous anthologies, as a scholar and as a creative writer. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon, in the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Carter McKenzie is the author of the chapbook Naming Departure (Traprock Books, 2004) and two full length books of poetry, Out of Refusal (Airlie Press, 2010) and Stem of Us (Flowstone Press, 2018). From 2015 through the spring of 2020, she co-hosted the Springfield Poetry Series at the Emerald Art Center in Springfield, Oregon. For the past 15 years, she has taught poetry classes through private sessions, summer literature camps, school residencies, and after-school programs, as well as offered workshops through Oregon Poetry Association conferences. She is an active member of the Springfield-Eugene Chapter of the national organization SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice).
William Rutherford’s work is his contact with the world outside of the context of his insular life. He has sculpted and drawn as long as he can remember, but he had no role models, no mentors for fine art. Portland, Oregon, where he was born and raised, was a very segregated place. He is African American, raised by political activists, who fought the freedom wars, all of their lives.
Expressive fine art was and is always living in his mind and at times, in surges of effort, he produced quantities of work and just as suddenly, he would deny his creative self and with admitted anger, stop. He did not sculpt or paint for over 20 years, returning to himself in 1995. He is older now and hopes to be wiser. He knows that art is him and he is art. He knows that it is something he can do without feeling outside of life. His early work was often angry, resentful and filled with darkness. He is currently producing work that offers expressions of his multi-cultural heritage without the anger getting in the way of the work. His focus is still outside the perfect view, elicited perhaps by being self-taught and viewing the work through cultural eyes. Working in wood affords a sense of peace and a spiritual depth. His work in wire, plaster and found objects allows expansion of expression with materials and styles. Drawing and painting affords him the opportunity to document his worlds. According to Rutherford himself, he is still an emerging artist by all definitions of the words. His work has been represented by numerous galleries in both Oregon and California.
Josh Sands is an artist interested in material culture and the way objects and moments shape our lives and memories in unexpected ways. Common subjects include fallacies and misconceptions, stereotypes and race, and how they intersect.
Kerry Skarbakka (b. 1970) is an artist working at the intersection of studio arts, performance and constructed photography. The core of his practice examines the complexities of existence, control and the vulnerabilities of the human condition through performative physical acts and expanded roles of identity. Skarbakka’s performance-based photographic work depicting acts of falling, drowning and fighting have been exhibited in galleries, museums and art fairs internationally. Highlights include the Torrance Art Museum, CA; the Haifa Museum of Art, Israel; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the North Carolina Museum of Art and Fargfabriken Norr, Stockholm. A Creative Capital grantee, he has received funding from the Oregon Arts Commission, The Ford Family Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Chicago Center of Cultural Affairs. He was also awarded a commission from the City of Seattle through the 1% for the Arts Program.
Skarbakka’s work has been featured in notable publications including Aperture, Art and America, After Image and ArtReview International. Extensive online media coverage includes The Huffington Post, Wired, Slate, The Guardian and many others. Additionally, Skarbakka has appeared on several live radio and television interviews including NBC’s Today Show. His work was included in After Photography, a documentary film series by Stan Neumann and Juliette Garcias, co-produced by the Centre Pompidou, and Rene Daalder’s Here is Always Somewhere Else, a documentary film about the artist Bas Jan Ader. Skarbakka received his BA in Studio Arts from the University of Washington and an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. He is an Associate Professor of Photography at Oregon State University.
Yvonne Roberts Stubbs is an artist of African American and Native American heritage. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she has lived in Eugene for close to 40 years. Yvonne graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon taking all art classes offered. She holds a BA in Fine Art and a BFA in Painting and Sculpture from the University of Oregon. Later in her life, she completed a Master of Art also from the University of Oregon.
Art is a life-long passion for Yvonne. She has been creating works of art since she was a small child. She considers herself to be an image maker, storyteller, composer and singer. She believes in taking historical events and translating them into a coherent visual concept. Her multimedia work is based on the expression of her life, family history and the discovery of “Black Indian” culture. Hearing family stories over the years inspired Yvonne to tell her family’s hidden tale through her artwork. With the use of abstract figures and textural components, her work tends to reflect her findings. Yvonne’s pieces are, as she stated, “Not really revealing the information because the information is not revealed to me.”
Yvonne’s works include acrylic and watercolor paintings, sculpture, hand-built ceramics, mixed media, and alcohol ink prints. She has been involved with the Eugene art community for many years. She is a member at both The Pacific Rim Art guild and The Emerald Art Center. She has studied art in Las Vegas, NV, Lincoln City, Silver Creek and Eugene, Oregon. She has taken master ceramics classes with Dan Chen, Thomas Blacksher, Robert Warren and Ruth Steward.
Stormie True is an Afro-Futuristic, socio-political, multimedia artist who focuses on themes of Black Liberation. Stormie was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and has been living in the Pacific Northwest for the past 20 years. Through her one-of-a-kind inter-dimensional textile creations, she reflects the beauty and innovation of those within the African Diaspora.
Lydia K. Valentine is a playwright and poet, director and dramaturg, editor and educator. Her proudest accomplishment, though, is being a mom to two caring, creative, and intelligent humans. Through her own writing and the projects to which she contributes under Lyderary Ink, Lydia seeks to amplify the voices of those who are often stifled, ignored, and marginalized in what has been the accepted narrative of the United States. She is currently working on The Virus, a play set in the year 2095 (50 years after the eradication of COVID-19) which explores the legacy of both the pandemic and systemic racism, inequity, and injustice. Lydia’s Poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Bird,” appears in Not a Pipe Publishing’s anthology of resistance literature, Shout: An Anthology of Resistance Short Fiction and Poetry. Her book of poetry, Brief Black Candles, was released by Not a Pipe Publishing in November of 2020.