2021 – 2022 Distillery Artists-in-Residence

Distillery is a yearlong studio residency designed to help emerging artists transition into a professional artistic career by supporting a rigorous studio practice and providing professional development and mentorship opportunities. The program focuses on inspiring participants to embrace new challenges in their work and builds a supportive community in which to create.

The Artists:

Jessica Alpern Brown is a multidisciplinary artist that comes from an eclectic background driven by curiosity. Brown started her career as a photographer in the United States Navy stationed in Japan. After graduating from the New England School of Photography she accepted a position as a forensic photographer for the state of Texas. After several years working for government institutions Brown decided to explore a more diverse range of opportunities. Primarily a paper cutter, Brown works with a variety of materials from resin and acrylic to found objects and organic matter. I believe that the best art comes from the moments when thoughtfulness and skillful making intersect.

Tara Fay Coleman is a Pittsburgh-based artist working primarily in conceptual performance and visual art. Coleman’s work is centered on identity, Black womanhood, and exploration of self. Coleman mine’s her own life and lived experiences for subject matter, with a goal to continue to expand on a body of work that is autobiographical in nature, and create within a variety of mediums.

Juliandra Jones, also known as PBJ Customs. is a self-taught artist from Las Vegas, NV. After obtaining her degree in Criminal Justice and Pre-Law from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2014, she moved to Pittsburgh, PA where she began to explore social justice through my artwork. Jones is a multi- faceted artist who uses acrylic, aerosol, wood-cutting, and various other mediums to tell a story. Jones enjoys depicting light and movement with monochromatic lines and objects popping off of dark backgrounds.

Darrin Milliner is the founder of Social Living, a one-person artist-owned brand based in Pittsburgh that provides high-quality, empowering, “counter-culture” style wall art in various forms and artistic clothing with lifestyle goods. Aiming understand and portray mindsets that many of us may have but can’t express or visualize. Taking the opportunity to absorb various cultural/social subjects that spark emotion and action, Milliner brings them to the forefront of the art, all in an attempt to highlight the importance of the separate worlds that surround each of us.

Samira Mendoza is an interdisciplinary performance artist, curator, and educator. In their performances they often combine costume, video, sound, and movement to ignite conversations on disenfranchised communities. Mendoza guides audiences through mindfulness explorations and action-based scores creating fertile ground for self-care and emotional support. They believe we can combat discrimination that occurs throughout the world by providing safe spaces for people of different backgrounds to communicate and collaborate. In their curation they look for ways to encourage cross pollination of ideologies and culture by matchmaking diverse artists and otherwise distinct audiences.

Lizzee Solomon was born in New York, NY and grew up north of Chicago, IL. She earned a BFA in Studio Art with a Minor in Hispanic Studies at Carnegie Mellon University in 2011. Since then, Solomon has been based in Pittsburgh and am a freelance painter, designer, sign maker, teacher, and fabricator. Solomon creates mixed media portraits that explore color, texture, and the juxtaposition of natural and manufactured materials. The vibrant colors and patterns are drawn from my experience woodcarving in rural Oaxaca, Mexico.

Zeal Eva, is a visual artist, whose work captures feelings of nostalgia, appreciation of the environment present, and a cultivation of safe space through digital and film photographs, painting and illustration. Zeal Eva’s work centers around home, finding safe space, memory mapping, as well as the celebration of blackness. By expressing herself visually, Zeal Eva hopes to foster a sense of joy, discovery, remembrance, and appreciation of the world around us.

The Exhibition:

The Exhibition for Distillery 12 will take place March 31 – May 14, 2022 at the Brew House Association Gallery.

The Mentors:

Each year, Distillery artists are work with professional mentors from the region. Mentors for the Distillery 12 Cohort included:

  • Ashley Cecil is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based artist specializing in paintings and sculptural works of flora and fauna that illustrate connections between the natural world and its human inhabitants. Her love affair with all things organic and wild blossomed as the result of studying landscapes with accomplished master painters in London while earning her master’s degree at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, immersing herself in nature-inspired decorative arts collections in European museums, and painting from live observation at conservation institutions such as the National Aviary.
  • Jessica Gaynelle Moss (b. 1987) is an artist, independent curator and arts consultant to institutions and private clients. She has an extensive background in program management, production and fabrication, nonprofit leadership, grant writing, community engagement, education, and the advancement of equitable development. Jessica is committed to developing innovative, ethical and responsible solutions to improve the conditions that directly affect Black people, women and underrepresented artists.
  • Brent Nakamoto is I am a multidisciplinary artist and teacher from Santa Clara, CA. He received a BA in Art from UC Santa Barbara in 2012 and an MFA in Visual Art from the Sam Fox School of Art and Design at Washington University in St. Louis in 2018. Nakamoto has lived in Pittsburgh for three years, where his is an instructor at CCAC and PCA&M.
  • Heidi Wiren Bartlett is an interdisciplinary performance artist from the Great Plains. Her work is concerned with the portrayal, oppression and subversive existence of women in America today. As a white woman raised by a lesbian in Nebraska, Bartlett feels obligated to confront racial and misogynistic injustice and my escape from it, into the prairie. Heidi Bartlett recently received a MAP Fund Grant, FRFAF Grant from the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, Iowa Arts Council Project Grant, and have been nominated for the United States Artists (USA) Fellowship. She is a co-founder of the Propelled Animals, a transdisciplinary arts and social justice collective.