Department of Art & Art History

Art Studio: Alumni Stories

Check out what some of our incredible Art Studio alumni have been up to since they graduated! 

Used paint and paintbrushes
  • Alan Corkery Hahn | BFA Studio Art: Painting & Drawing - 1996

    Art studio alumni Alan Hahn created from art supplies

    "After graduating I moved to Seattle which is currently home to myself, my wife, and two teenage sons. I earned my MFA in Fiber Arts from the University of Washington in 2000. In the ensuing decades, I have worked both as a professional artist and as a business intelligence analyst for Nordstrom. As an artist, I produced a large body of book-related work which was featured at the Bellevue Art Museum, collected by corporate buyers, and cataloged in a collaboration with Marquand Books in 2013.

    While I’m less active as an artist these days, I still regularly leverage the artistic sensibilities I developed at Chico in my role as an analyst for a global fashion retailer. My ability to problem solve, envision solutions and make them real, can be traced directly to what I learned at my alma mater. I am ever in debt to my BFA advisors, Sheri Simons, James Kuiper, and Dolores Mitchell." 

  • Atsushi Iwai | Master of Fine Arts Degree - 2005

    Art studio alumni, Atushi Iwa

    "My life goal is to contribute to my community, wherever that may be. If I can achieve that through my art, that would be my humble success. Life after school has been an amazing learning experience and it will continue to be so. Along the way, I became a husband and a father. Currently, I have a job as a curator at the Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan in DC using my research and hands-on skills that I learned at Chico State."

  • Catherine Paolillo | BFA Studio Art: Sculpture & Printmaking - 2008

    Art Studio alumni, Catherine Paolillo

    "After graduating from CSU Chico in 2008 I went on to earn an MS Library and Information Science and an MS History of Art, Design, and Architecture from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. While pursuing my graduate degrees I worked as a Library Assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s research library. In 2015 I relocated to beautiful San Diego and am now the Visiting Evening Access Librarian at the University of San Diego. I was inspired to pursue a career in librarianship after speaking with Erin Herzog at the Ira Latour Visual Resource Center shortly before graduating from Chico State.

    When interviewing for jobs I always talk about how my art degree from Chico State taught me to take and use constructive criticism of my work; how to manage my time to meet deadlines; how to think creatively; and how to scrap a project and start from scratch if it’s not working. I never stopped making art, but now it’s more for fun. I rediscovered my love of painting when I moved to San Diego (mostly because I don’t have access to a foundry or printing presses anymore) and have entered a few open-call group shows hosted by the Thumbprint Gallery. I have also discovered a love of gardening, cider and hot sauce making, and baking. Color theory, drawing, and sculpture skills sure are helpful when making custom cakes!"

  • Edie Overture | BFA: Printmaking - 2006

    Edie Overture carving into linoblock

    "Edie Overturf graduated with her MFA from CSU Chico in 2006. While studying in Chico she focused on printmaking and sculpture, both forms she uses in her current work. Edie currently lives in Portland, Oregon, and teaches printmaking, drawing and Visual Storytelling at Mount Hood Community College. Her path between Chico and Portland included years back in her home state of Illinois and her adopted home state of Minnesota. While in Minneapolis, she co-founded a community printmaking studio and taught printmaking plus a variety of other art courses at the University of Minnesota. Her studio practice keeps one foot firmly rooted in printmaking and book arts, while also stepping back into sculpture, installation, and drawing. Overturf’s work has been previously represented by Zinc Contemporary gallery in Seattle, Blackfish Gallery in Portland, and her artist books are currently represented by Passages Bookshop in Portland. Overturf is a recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship, two Minnesota State Arts Board grants, the Larry Sommers Fellowship from Seattle Print Arts, and the Waddell Printmaker of the Year 2023 award from Whitney Center for the Arts. She has attended several residencies, including those at Kala Art Institute, InCahoots Residency, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and a Professional Development residency at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Connecticut. Overturf is actively involved with many printmaking organizations and councils, and is a co-host of a printmaking news podcast called NewsPrint.".”

  • Eric Pawloski | BFA: Sculpture - 1997

    A sculptural piece by alumni Eric Pawloski

    "I am currently working for the Department of Fine Arts at the College of Southern Nevada, in Las Vegas Nevada, as both an instructor and as the department's art preparator. Over the course of the past 22 years, I have worked across the country, at various academic institutions, within my original field of study. My degree has allowed me to attain on-going financially stable employment, but also to do work that is meaningful to me, satisfies my desire to travel and collaborate with a wide variety of artists, and aided me in completing personal projects.”

  • Franziska Kolling | Master of Fine Arts - 2019

    Art Studio Alumni and exchange student, Franziska Kolling

    "If I was asked to put my time at the Art Department at CSUC into one word, I’d probably pick intense. As an exchange student from Germany, I only got to study there for a year, but what I’ve learned exceeded the official curriculum to an extent that I still cannot wrap my head around. Not even did I learn skills I never knew I needed in my life (from Bronze casting and Woodworking to Printmaking and Alternative Photography), but I am foremost grateful for the life skills Chico has taught me and the lifetime friendships I’ve made.

    I studied at CSUC when the Camp Fire broke out which was also an unusual occurrence one usually does not associate with a study abroad experience. Yet, by overcoming challenges while being thousands of miles away from home, I realized that my study abroad at CSUC made me into a more resilient person, one that is not afraid of tackling unknown or hard things and one who knows that her second home in Chico is a place where everyone works and lives to help others develop and grow. After my stay, I decided to pursue not only a career as an artist but also a teacher – as to eventually inspire my students in a similar way as my teachers, fellow students, and friends at CSUC had inspired and influenced me.”

  • Hannah Bearden | BFA: Sculpture - 2013

    Art Studio Alumni, Hannah Bearden

    "I moved to Portland after a couple of years of traveling for art residencies, which is an amazing way to see the world. I began working for an art glass company but quickly realized that a corporate environment was not for me, so I plunged myself into self-employment. I joined an art coop and began screen printing, I fixed an old kiln and started making pottery in my basement, and I sculpted toys and jewelry. I basically utilized every skill I had obtained while in Chico and ran with it, somehow it worked.

    Don’t get me wrong this was not easy, and I worked odd jobs when I needed to. During that time I decided to take animation classes. Towards the end of my life in Chico, I began gravitating towards stop motion animation, specifically the model-making aspect of the art form. Coincidentally, most of the major US stop motion animation studios are in Portland. I was studying animation as a way to understand another medium and build my skillset when I was contacted by a friend who knew I had a background in sculpture and offered me a dream job! I have been working full-time as a stop motion animation fabricator and project coordinator at Bent Image Lab ever since.

    I can truly say that my experience at Chico State taught me to cherish my friendships and to trust myself even when life is hard, and the future seems cloudy. My experiences in the Chico State Art Department shaped me into the person that I am. I would have never had the courage to follow my own path without all of the advice and encouragement I received. I am forever grateful to the faculty and staff for cultivating such a supportive place to grow."

  • Heather Martindale | BFA: painting - 2013

    Art Studio Alumni, Heather Martindale

    "After almost 10 years since graduating with my BFA in Painting, my career has come full circle and I am living my dream of painting full time. It all started with an enriching experience in the art department at Chico State that I will be forever grateful for. Shortly after Graduation, I moved to Boise, Idaho, where some of my family had moved while I was in school. I quickly moved from being a full-time nanny of a couple small kids and painting here and there, to working full time at a local start-up software company that was called TSheets. There was so much creativity in the start-up culture that I didn't feel the need to make artwork for quite some time.

    During this time, I met my husband, we started a family and had two little girls, and bought two houses together. Everything seemed to be in place the way we wanted it. We both had stable jobs in software, a new house and a new baby.

    After about 6 years with the company, we got acquired by Intuit and slowly transitioned to be Quickbooks Time. The creative outlets became few and far between and I found myself getting stuck in the trenches of the corporate world.

    About a year after our acquisition, now insert COVID-19. The demands of the job working from home and with kids needing more and more of our attention, we decided to make a big move to sell our house in the middle of a pandemic to move just on the outside of the city limits of Caldwell, Idaho, as well as quite my job at Intuit to be a full-time mom and painter!

    It has been about 2 years and we haven't looked back! It has been so great for our family as a whole but also has allowed me to really develop my art practice and build a solid body of work that has been featured in multiple international magazines and will be in my upcoming Solo Show at Chico Art Center in August 2022!"

  • Ryan Maran | BFA: Sculpture - 2019

    Art Studio Alumni, Ryan Maran

    "In 2018, during my time as a student at Chico State, I was displaced from my home due to the Camp Fire. That moment in time completely reset my entire life. From that point, I was still going to class, but doing so while living in hotels. My wedding was postponed twice: once due to the Camp Fire and again due to COVID. But through it all, I persevered and graduated.

    Fast forward to now, my fiance and I bought a property in nearby Paradise, built a home, landscaped the backyard, and had our wedding on the property. My family purchased property nearby, and now we all live on the same block.

    My focus on succeeding in the art world has never lost its intensity between when I was in school and now. I always wanted to be a prop maker. After graduating, I opened up my own online prop store where I sell movie replica props that I make myself. I am self-employed and set my own schedule, and am currently planning to build a larger shop on our property to expand my small business. I have never stopped making, and continue to do so every day."

  • Kristy Moreno | BFA: Ceramics - 2020

    Art studio alumni, Kristy Moreno

    "My personal journey at Chico State was a meaningful time of growth amongst some of the most motivating peers, professors and community I have ever met. Most of my friendships and connections on campus flourished and developed during studio classes and open studio hours. I found myself constantly in awe of the resources available to us, as well as the overall knowledge of my art community. This community kept me stimulated to try new techniques, and even learn how to fail in the process. Although the pandemic disrupted my last two semesters, I am grateful to have experienced in-person classes and to have built the friendships and connections prior to the campus shutdown. Throughout the remainder of my undergraduate degree, I quickly learned just how much this community shaped my education, professional growth and how this experience helped me tackle future endeavors worth pursuing. At the moment, I am living in Helena, Montana where I am currently a Long-Term Resident Artist at The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts. I plan to complete my two year long residency in October of 2023 and look forward to the continued growth and challenges this current opportunity brings me."

  • Rickie Barnett | BFA: Ceramics - 2013

    Art studio alumni, Rickie Barnett

    "When I first started attending CSU, Chico I had no real concept of the fact that people even went to school for art. That kind of thing was so far outside of my upbringing that the idea of it kinda blew me away. To be honest, even the idea of attending college seemed pretty far-fetched to me, but I had to walk through campus everyday to get to work and one day the notion just took hold that I should try to go to college. I honestly had no idea what I was about to find in that art department. The hunger that awoke in me to utilize the act of making as a way of expressing myself and finding myself was tremendous. Being surrounded by students and faculty that were also striving to enrich their own lives and the lives of those around them, through art and expression, was exciting and like nothing I had ever been a part of before. The Chico State Art Department took me in and pushed me to be a better version of myself. They made me question everything and find reason and matter in everything I was doing. They gave me the vocabulary and the mindfulness to approach each step of my art career with enthusiasm and the confidence to face each challenge, knowing that if I didn’t yet have it figured out, I surely could. Although I have never even seen my diploma or ever been asked to show it, the skills and knowledge that I gained from attending this university were the foundations that have supported every step that I have taken in my career. I now live in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina with my wife, Lynne, and our wild Carolina mud hound, Smokey. As of last year, both Lynne and I were able to quit our day jobs and go full time in the studio. Doing this has easily been the greatest accomplishment of my life and absolutely none of it would have happened or would have been possible without the fire that the Chico Art Department lit inside of me. Chico State gave me mentors and friends that have continued to offer me support and encouragement to this day. Heck, I even talk to some of them on a daily basis. I honestly am not sure where I would be in life if it wasn’t for my time at Chico State but I’m dang sure that it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as where I am now. My time at Chico gave me the skills and will to best myself and save me from myself and for that I will eternally be grateful.

    Artist Statement: Raised the son of a minister, I was instilled with a desire to link myself to a purposeful life. With promises of being bound to a higher power, I found little doubt about my place in this world. As I grew older and moved away from the church, it left a wound that leaked fear and doubt into every aspect of my existence. My work has always come from this place of longing to better understand the world around me and my place within it. I work narratively, creating characters based on the struggle of balancing relationships, where I can navigate the landscapes of emotions experienced but not quite understood. It is in this continual self assessment where I find the restlessness of my mind soothed, my vulnerability eased and my empathy expanding as I grow more honest with myself and loved ones. Through this practice of work, disguised as play, I have begun to mend my faith in what I find sacred. The studio has become my church, the work my prayer, and the completion of pieces my testimony to a pursuit of healing, in an effort to find myself at the threshold of a meaningful and purposeful life.

    Bio: Rickie Barnett grew up in the Northern California city of Redding. He attended California State University, Chico, receiving a Bachelors of Fine Art degree with an emphasis in painting and ceramics. After Graduating in the fall of 2013 he took up a year long position as an Artist in Residence at Taos Clay Studio in Taos, NM. He then moved to Seattle for a long term position as a Studio assistant to Deborah Schwartzkopf at Rat City Studios. During this time he also worked for sculptor George Rodriguez. In 2016, he moved to North Carolina, to become a studio assistant to ceramic sculptors, Cristina Cordova and Jeannine Marchand. His work has been shown both internationally and nationally. He has taught and done numerous short term residencies all over the country. Currently, he lives near Penland School of Craft, where he shares a home and studio with his partner, Lynne Hobaica, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains."

  • Carlos Ramirez | BFA: Ceramics - 2003

    Art studio alumni, Carlos Ramirez

    "My time at Chico was instrumental as it was a time when I made a real commitment to getting a degree and to pursue a life in the arts and a big part of that decision was because I found myself in the incredible ceramics program at Chico State. I applied to the BFA program and getting in was a turning point. I felt that I had the belief and support of my mentors in the ceramics program and that lit a spark in me. The faculty at Chico State were challenging, supportive and most importantly, inspiring.

    The BFA program was great because I got to have Cameron Crawford and Sue Whitmore as my advisors and they guided me through the process of putting together the final installation of my BFA show with the goal of using my own voice to create a cohesive body of work. There where so many lessons learned during this process that I still think about today; like, how to talk about your work and questions to ask of yourself when you're in the studio and thinking about making things. I also worked closely with Manuel Lucero, who I TA-ed for and learned so much about teaching and Mike Murphy, who oversaw me as work-study student and taught me so much about the inner-workings of a ceramics lab and they also had a huge impact on me.

    I have even been lucky enough to stay in contact with my former professors at Chico State with some of them visiting me, like Cameron and Manuel during my time in graduate school and so that connection and guidance extended past Chico and is something I treasure.

    I would also be remised if I didn’t mention how great it was to be amongst my fellow peers in the ceramics and BFA program. Finding my people and building a community together was so fun and inspiring. We worked the days and nights away in the lab and I was pushed and motivated by my fellow students and many of them I still keep close contact with to this day almost 20 years after graduation. Such a great experience overall and I loved my time at Chico State!

    After graduating from Chico, I went on a receive my MFA from the California College of the Arts in 2011. 

    I have exhibited my work at The Palo Alto Art Center, Southern Exposure, The American Museum of Ceramic Art and the Los Angeles Municipal Gallery. I was a Brooks Fellow at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and a recipient of the Murphy and Cadogan Fellowship sponsored by The San Francisco Foundation.  Most recently, I mounted a public art installation through the Arts Council for Long Beach’s NEA funded A LOT initiative. 

    I have taught at numerous colleges and most recently, I am so happy to update and say that I accepted a full-time teaching position in Ceramics at Pasadena City College."

  • Jacob Troester | BFA: Ceramics - 2013

    Art studio alumni, Jacob Troester

    "It's hard for me to imagine an educational experience that could rival the three years I spent in the CSUC Arts Program. I will be forever grateful for the attention and support which my instructors gave so freely, both during and after my schooling, and for my peers, many of whom are still my closest friends. ALL of these friends, and myself, have maintained artistic practices or found careers in the arts since graduating; a testament to the quality of the Chico State Arts Program.

    After receiving my BFA in the Fall of 2013, I began working as a Lab Technician in a number of ceramics studios, including Chico All Fired Up, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Mendocino College, and currently Butte College. It’s wonderful getting paid to do what you love."

  • Holland Larsen | MFA: Printmaking - 2017

    Art studio alumni, Holland Larsen

    "I received my MFA in printmaking from CSU, Chico in 2017. Chico, specifically Eileen Macdonald, was pivotal in my understanding of what a print shop could be and the amazing community that can be created in those spaces. I thought I knew a lot about printmaking when I got there, and realized very quickly that there was so much more! Not only in technical printing, but Eileen had so much knowledge on the history of print and where it was going. I made some of my best memories in that shop, and if I had to describe it would be revelatory and inspiring. I am currently the printmaking studio coordinator and instructor at Utah State University."

  • Steven Osterlund | BFA: Ceramics - 2018

    stevenosterlundalumnisteven osterlund alumni photo

    "Steven Osterlund transferred to CSU Chico from Palomar College in San Diego in 2015. He attended school at Chico State, graduating with his BFA in 2018. Since graduating he has acquired his teaching credential in art and Masters of Education, and is currently teaching high school art and working in the art communities around San Diego. He makes his work in his studio at Nottingham Center for the Arts in San Marcos, California.

    Steven’s views on art and his conceptual abilities grew exponentially during his time at CSU Chico, entering as a functional potter and leaving making sculptural forms. The influences of the art department of Chico State have continued to impact his artwork today. The time at Chico was one of countless unforgettable memories and personal connections that are irreplaceable."

  • Valeria Moreno | BFA: Digital Media - 2021


    "The time I spent at Cal State Chico was an adventure that I won’t soon forget. Being a part of the Art Department was one of my favorite aspects of my university experience. I got to meet so many interesting people and learned a lot, not only from my instructors, but my peers as well. When I first started taking classes, I wasn’t sure what path to take. All I knew was that art was my passion and, really, the only thing I ever wanted to do. With some guidance from my instructors and some deep conversations with my fellow peers, I was able to learn more about what I wanted from my art, what worked and didn’t work, and just how much I wanted to allow outside opinions influence what I create. It took some time and lots of long nights, but I was finally able to find what I was looking for in my art and what path I wanted it to take me. My time at Cal State Chico was a time of struggle, achievements, and growth. Now I’m working as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator at Mad Engine Global located here in Chico, excited for more adventures to come."