A portrait photo of a person from the midriff upwards. They have brown skin and braids that hang down beside their face to the cheek. They have dark sunglasses and no expression. They are wearing a baggy black long sleeve shirt with colorful print on their right sleeve and a small yellow figure on their left chest. They are standing in green grass with green trees behind them, the grass and trees nearly fill the remainder of the frame. The lighting is low as if it is early morning or late afternoon.

American Artist

Queens, NY

American Artist’s sculptural, digital and filmographic work, is rooted in Black Studies and considers Black labor and visibility within networked life. Artist has collaborated with authors such as Simone Browne, Fred Moten, and Jackie Wang. Artist is a 2021 LACMA Art + Tech Lab Grant recipient and artist-in-residence at Smack Mellon. They are a 2019 recipient of the Queens Museum Jerome Foundation Fellowship, and a former resident of EYEBEAM, Pioneer Works, and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. They have exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, Studio Museum in Harlem, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Nam June Paik Center in Seoul. Solo museum exhibitions include My Blue Window, Queens Museum, New York, and Dignity Images: Bayview-Hunters Point, Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, Artforum, and Huffington Post. They have published writing in The New Inquiry and Art21. Artist is a 2021 Regents’ Lecturer at UCLA, a faculty member at Parsons School of Design and New York University, and is a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation.

Photo: Alex Hodor

Shaper of God

American Artist’s sculptural, digital and filmographic work considers Black labor and visibility within networked life.

Artist Bio

In a sculpture and video installation entitled Shaper of God, American Artist connects the life and work of Octavia E. Butler to the migration of Black Americans to California, the epicenter of the science fiction movement, and the rocket science industry local to Altadena where Butler and American Artist were born and raised. American Artist’s sculptures often reference quotidian objects that construct social space—like desks, chairs, walls, and industrial tools—but create critical dialogue through inversions of their intent and purpose. Works in Shaper of God will explore what seepages, contaminations, and spurs of thought resonated between Butler and her space-adjacent surroundings at such a formative age. The project also includes an interactive web-based artwork which allows users to navigate color fields and enter portals to uncover seemingly disparate facts about Butler, Black migration, science fiction, and rocket science, similar to playing an 8-bit video game.

Award Year

In Progress