The Art + Ag Fest is an exhibition showcasing the intersection of art and agriculture. Join us on September 11, 2021 for our virtual event.

Amanda Breitbach

Amanda Breitbach is a photographer and multi-media artist based in Nacogdoches, TX. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Breitbach grew up on a family farm and ranch in eastern Montana. She studied photography and French at Montana State University before serving as an agroforestry volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Guinea, West Africa. She has worked as a newspaper photographer, writer, and editor as well as a freelance photographer. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 2016.

ARTIST STATEMENT

I hope that the photographs I made while in residence along the Red River reflect the beauty that I found there, as well as the warmth and generosity shown to me by the local community.

I first applied to the 2019 North Louisiana Artist Residency, created by the Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation, because I recognized the name of my former classmate, Ross Lynn, and because I was interested to explore an agricultural landscape in this part of the country.

I was able to spend three long weekends in residence in Gilliam and on Lynn Farms, from September to November. The timing was perfect for me to capture the changing of the seasons, from late summer to fall. It also came at a good time for me personally, when I needed and valued the beauty and quiet that I find in photographing land.

I am indebted to all of the local people who hosted me and helped me explore. Thank you also to Ross Lynn, for leaving behind a legacy of love and adventure. Through your family and friends, you continue to contribute good to the world.

Aresenio Cofield

Aresenio Cofield was born in San Diego, California and grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana. His Early influences in life were from his older siblings, who loved to draw and paint. Since 2012 he has been the owner of Astudios where he offers services in mural painting, sketch art, photography, graphic design.

ARTIST STATEMENT

My observation of life itself and the realization of fact, as far as what makes sense, have influenced me to become a visual artist. I have no specific artist as a favorite, I'm very versatile. I love all abstract, non-abstract, hyper realistic, and 2d art. I believe every artist has their own unique styles. I like to create bold, and intense images and colors to add emphasis on my artwork."

Chlese Jiles

Chlese Jiles is character designer and illustrator. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 2019 with a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Digital Illustration. Her work strives to provide diversity within imaginative and adventurous worlds.

ARTIST STATEMENT

As an adult, I still constantly think about the cartoons I watched as a child. Almost everyday I find myself being reminded of a line, a scene, or character from an animated series by something in the world around me. I used to spend hours in front of my television, drawing and creating my own characters that could exist in the many animated worlds to which I prescribed. Often, my characters were simply me: the girl with brown skin I saw missing from the rest of the cast. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized how much the presence of black characters on cartoons meant to me. I felt represented. I felt included rather than having to include myself within the confines of a sketchbook no one else would ever see. But I've always longed to see more of these characters portrayed in ways I still haven't seen: through whimsical or thoughtful or adventurous narratives that seem easily accessible to those with lighter skin. When it comes down to it, inside I am still a child striving to see someone like her captivating the screen.

I have become passionate about creating diverse characters with stories that make it possible to imagine more for our lives - or perhaps help us see what stories are being played out around us everyday. I think all of our experiences are necessary to tell true stories - stories of adventure and fun as well as those of suffering and strife whether it be a magical friendship or the experience of losing someone you love. With so many different human experiences, I believe the characters and stories we digest in media (cartoons, books, movies, etc.) should reflect this diversity. We have no shortage of stories to tell. Through the characters and narratives that I create, I seek to explore the complexities and diversities of human beings and this life that we live.

Leah Floyd

Leah Floyd received her Bachelors of Arts with a degree in English from Stetson University in 2006. After graduating from Stetson, she moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina where she worked as an English teacher until 2008 when she began graduate school in the photography department at the University of Florida. After completing her MFA she relocated to New Orleans to live and work. She is the professor of Photography at Loyola University

ARTIST STATEMENT

I was raised in Florida where the beach was my second home. I grew an immense appreciation for the water as a place of recreation, renewal, and rest. When I moved to New Orleans in my 20s I longed for that water where I had found fun, solace and answers for so many years.The Mississippi River soon became my new oracle and I found enjoyment and rebirth along her levees, tributaries and surrounding land. In 2019, as a Northern Louisiana Artist in Resident, I traveled up to the Red River Valley to explore what the river and land could mean for me and observe and investigate what it has meant for several generations of farmers and families living along-side it. The photographic work included in the show Holding Lands highlights some of the rich land and even richer community I met while staying on a cotton farm in Gilliam, LA. The Red River has kept the land fertile- and allowed communities to continue to exist along its banks. Utilizing landscape and portraiture photography I had the pleasure to photograph the water, land, and some of the individuals who share a sacred appreciation for the ground they live upon. The community I became a part of for two short weeks told me their stories and histories as we explored water and land together by plane, kayak, tractor, vehicle and on foot. This area and community have now become a place of both restoration and joy for me as I continue to return and photograph.