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Gary Kachadourian '79 Wins 2011 Mary Sawyer Baker Award

Four Alumni Honored with Baker Artist Award b-grants

Posted 04.19.11 by MICA communications

MICA alumni Gary Kachadourian '79 (general fine arts) was named a recipient of a 2011 Mary Sawyer Baker award on April 19, 2011. Kachadourian received a $25,000 prize as part of this prestigious honor. Each year, The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund recognize up to three metropolitan Baltimore artists with the award. This year's winners will be featured in an exhibition at The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) from September 7 - October 2, 2011, including a celebratory Late Night event on October 1, 2011. The winners were presented on Maryland Public Television's ArtWorks Special: The Baker Artist Awards 2011.

Kachadourian makes drawings and Xeroxed or ink jet printed booklets, prints or posters and occasionally curates small scale multi-artist exhibitions. He worked for the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts for 22 years where he coordinated grant programs, exhibitions for Artscape, the city's mural program and numerous temporary public arts projects. He is currently attending an MFA program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

In addition, four MICA alumni were presented with Baker Artist Award b-grants in early 2011, including Shaun Flynn '01 (general fine arts) and Justin Sirois '01 (printmaking) in January, and Bruce Willen '02 (graphic design) and Nolen Strals '01 (general fine arts) in February. The honor recognizes the quality, diversity, and depth of the region's art scene.

Flynn was recognized by the organization for his work as a sculptor and musician. Based in Baltimore, he has been an active member of the city's art and music community for the past 13 years. Primarily a sculptor and percussionist, his first Baltimore band Cutter/Hammer once played for 60 hours straight in Times Square. Later forming Wzt Hearts, he performed both as drummer and vocalist, and with them toured the country and released two full length albums with Hoss and Carpark Records. Currently, Flynn is working on his first solo record as Vows. He also makes sculptures, drawings, installations, and conceptual projects. His body of work is a varied but complementary synthesis of these elements, often utilizing photography-as-evidence-as-the-art of his ephemeral sculptures and interventions in public spaces. Formally, the sculptures seem to be concerned with extracting difficult and fragile realizations of common material elements, like plywood, sheetrock, sign-making vinyl, and traffic cones, in and out of the spaces where these materials are indigenous. As an artist, Flynn is perhaps most widely known for his poster and album art, creating headache-inducing posters for bands such as Animal Collective, Lungfish, and OOIOO, often involving complex mixtures of hand-drawn, experimental typography and image.

Sirois, recognized for his work as a writer, designer, and publisher, lives in Baltimore. His books include Silver Standard (Newlights Press 2006), Secondary Sound (BlazeVOX Books, 2008), MLKNG SCKLS (Publishing Genius, 2009) and Falcons on the Floor (forthcoming, Publishing Genius, 2011) written with Iraqi refugee Haneen Alshujairy. He also runs the Understanding Campaign with Haneen and co-directs Narrow House, a small press in founded 2003. He has received several individual Maryland State Art Council grants for poetry and fiction in 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2011.

Willen and Strals were recognized for their work as collaborative graphic artists and as musicians. Their design studio, Post Typography, has a list of clients that include AIGA, Business Week, Johns Hopkins University, The New York Times, the U.S. Green Building Council, and WIRED. Their work has received multiple design awards and has been featured in numerous books. In 2005, Post Typography curated Alphabet: An Exhibition of Hand-Drawn Lettering and Experimental Typography, a well-regarded art show that has spent the last five years traveling nationally to dozens of galleries and universities. Post Typography has appeared in numerous art and design exhibitions, and the studio's posters are collected by high school punk rockers and prominent designers (whom they consider equally important). Strals and Willen teach at MICA, and have lectured at the Cooper Union, Minneapolis College of Art & Design, and Harvard University among others. In addition to their work as designers and business owners, Strals and Willen are dedicated members of the punk band, Double Dagger. The group's third album, MORE, released in 2009, is a reference to the band's hometown of Baltimore as well as the numerous attributes of the album that are more-so than their previous recordings.

Six b-grants were awarded in January, and 18 total were awarded since November, 2010. The b grants recognize emerging established artists exploring new directions. Up to eighteen $1,000 awards are given annually to artists selected from nominations on the Baker Artist Awards website. Each year, two b-grant winners will receive additional awards in honor of Semmes G. Walsh and Nancy Haragan.


Visit Post Typography and Double Dagger's MySpace.

See a collection of Willen and Strals' work, and read about the Baker Arist Awards at http://bakerartistawards.org.