3 Bay Area visual artists win 2022 Artadia Awards: ‘I’m honored and a bit in shock’

Astria Suparak’s mural “Tang Rainbow”. Photo: Courtesy of Astria Suparak

Bay Area visual artists Miguel Arzabe, Gregory Rick and Astria Suparak are the three recipients of the 15th Annual San Francisco Bay Area Artadia Awards for 2022.The award, announced Wednesday, July 6, offers each recipient $10,000 in unrestricted funds. It also provides access to the network of artists, curators and collectors associated with Artadia, the New York-based nonprofit granting organization that funds artists each year in seven major US cities.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized, especially after this intense period of exhibitions and performances,” said Suparak, artist, writer and curator in Oakland. “The money will give me time to focus and learn new technologies and skills, and also get the job done.”

Artist Astria Suparak Photo: Courtesy of Astria Suparak

The timing of the award, Suparak said, was ideal. Her multidisciplinary work includes video installations, murals, online databases and performative lectures.

“I am at this critical moment in my practice. I have been doing this work for a long time, but I feel that I have only been recognized as an artist in the last two years.

Artist Miguel Arzabe Photo: Courtesy of Miguel Arzabe

Arzabe, who was born in St. Louis to Bolivian immigrant parents, creates hand-woven acrylic paintings that are inspired by Andean textile traditions.

“The award is validation that the ideas I worked on are seen as an important part of the conversation,” the Oakland artist said.

“It’s an exploration of my own political and racial identity. I never learned anything in school about Andean weaving – everything I learned about what I had to research on my own in order to to be able to put these aspects of my identity into productive confrontation.

“Para Humber” by Miguel Arzabe Photo: Courtesy of Miguel Arzabe

Prize money, he said, was less likely to fund a particular creative project than to help make ends meet.

“The Bay Area is such an expensive place to live. This money will disappear very quickly.

Artist Gregory Rick Photo: Courtesy of Gregory Rick

Rick, who just completed an MFA at Stanford before moving back with his family to Oakland, said he felt “uplifted” by the news of the award.

“I’m honored and a bit in shock,” he told The Chronicle. “It’s one of those things that doesn’t seem quite real. But you learn from it, and it can uplift your whole day — your whole week, even.

Rick’s highly representative collages, paintings and sculptures are inspired by his turbulent personal history, including his time in combat during the Iraq War.

“When I came back, I was a bit lost. There was a period of about five years when I couldn’t integrate into society. But even then I always had my little notebook to drawing; putting pen to paper has helped empower me to try to exorcise my demons.

In addition to the three winners, the group of six finalists also included Maria A. Guzmán Capron, Taro Hattori and Laine Justice. Among the jurors were Joseph Becker, associate curator of architecture and design at SFMOMA, and Jasmine Wahi, founder and co-director of Project for Empty Space.

“John Brown and Crispus Attucks Walk into a Forest” by Gregory Rick (2021) Photo: Courtesy of Gregory Rick

The San Francisco Artadia Awards are open to visual artists working in any medium who have lived for at least two years in one of the Bay Area’s nine counties.

Last year’s winners were Sydney Cain, Terri Friedman and Dana King.

Briana R. Cross