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!"

  • 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."

  • 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."