2016 Artists-In-Residence

The selected artists received studio space either in Balboa Park or in Horton Plaza, small stipends for production, as well as solo presentations of their work in 2016. All artists were chosen through a competitive application process by a panel of artists, curators, and arts administrators.


Robert Andrade is an artist and teacher based in Southern California. He has exhibited throughout the United States including San Diego, New York City, Chicago, and Dallas. Most recently he has been included in a publication titled Imagine Architecture by Gestalten Books and will be having a solo exhibition at Providence College in late 2016. Andrade approaches making work through various media including sculpture, video, photography, graphic design and curatorial projects. He typically investigates issues related to urbanism, architecture and spatial production. Andrade holds an MFA from Cornell University, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Vabianna Santos holds an MFA in Visual Art from University of California San Diego and a BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art. The daughter of an obscure Tijuana rock and roll musician, Santos’ work focuses on systems of display, the re-mediation of popular culture, and the state of absence. Her work indulges in willful contradiction and the reimagining of social interactions in conjunction with natural phenomena and has been described as terrifying and meditative, earnest and utterly lucid. She has exhibited recently at Helmuth Projects, San Diego and Headlands Center for the Arts.

Standard Fantastic Studios is helmed by Omar Lopex. Lopex is a filmmaker & artist based in San Diego/Tijuana. He employs analog formats including: wet-plate photography; Polaroid; 16mm / Super 8 film; & VHS tape to produce collaborative work with strangers. His pieces tend to focus on Lies, Risk/Reward, Pretend, & Poetry. Lopex has exhibited at SDAI, LOW Gallery, La Jolla Athenaeum, San Diego Museum of Art, Oceanside Museum of Art, and Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Brian & Ryan collaborate on numerous performance and intervention-based works. Their unconventional installations and competition-based performances challenge societal preconceptions of masculinity, identity and athleticism. Both artists work and reside in Southern California. A California native, Ryan Bulis completed his MFA at the University of California Santa Barbara. A California transplant, Brian Black completed his MFA at Northern Illinois University. Ryan brings his deeply contemplative demeanor and ability to over-intellectualize, while Brian brings his cynical humor and uncomfortable tension to the work. However when collaborating, the artists find a way to truly function as one entity.

Michelada Think Tank is a group of socially conscious artists who are interested in hosting conversations, creating safe place, opening opportunity to connect and build with other people of color (PoC) and allies who are socially engaged / community artists and grassroots activist type folks interested in creative ways of making change happen. MTT’s core group is Noé Gaytán, Mario Mesquita, Shefali Mistry, and Carol Zou. They have recently facilitated conversations at CalArts, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Otis College of Art and Design, 18th Street Art Center, and the Queens Museum

AMANDA CACHIA is an independent curator from Sydney, Australia and is currently a PhD Candidate in Art History, Theory & Criticism at the University of California, San Diego. She is a 2015-2016 UCSD Center for the Humanities Dissertation Writing Workshop Fellow, and her dissertation focuses on the ways in which phenomenology of disabled bodies informs a politics of space through various contemporary art practices.

Cachia has curated approximately 40 exhibitions over the last fifteen years in various cities across the USA, England, Australia and Canada. Her critical writing has been published in numerous exhibition catalogues and art journals including Canadian Art, Art Monthly Australia and On Curating, as well as peer-reviewed academic journals such as Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, Disability Studies Quarterly, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Journal of Visual Art Practice, Museums and Social Issues: A Journal of Reflective Discourse and The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal. Forthcoming publications include a journal article in Senses and Society by Routledge, chapters in several interdisciplinary Routledge Companions, and a paper for an edited volume on art history and disability studies by Ashgate Publishing, UK.

Cachia held the position Director/Curator of the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada from 2007-2010, and has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grant and the Canada Council for the Arts. She is a dwarf activist and has been the Chair of the Dwarf Artists Coalition for the Little People of America (LPA) since 2007. She also serves on the College Art Association’s (CAA) Committee on Diversity Practices (2014-2017).