The Light Grey Residency Program: Team Tern included a diverse team of concept artists, photographers, illustrators, and fine artists from different areas of the globe. The Team Tern residents hail from the United States and Canada. Throughout the program, the artists will be traveling through Southern Iceland visiting some of natural geothermal pools, rocky caves, waterfalls, and basalt beaches. Each day, we will hike through some of the most secluded and sublime landscapes as we sketch, converse, and teach one another.
Read more about our 2017 artists-in-residence below:
Team Tern: Anna Filbert, Carisa Swenson, Colin Jack, Emily Lubanko, Heidi Unkefer, Sherwin Abesamis, Sishir Prithvi Bommakanti, Syd Weiler, Tiffany Turrell, Zackary Filbert, Rafael Mayani and Zoe Persico
Led by Jenny Bookler, Claire Hummel, and Lana Crooks
Anna Filbert was born and raised in Rochester, New York, but currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, where she works as an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Judson University. Anna has a Masters of Design in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design with a minor in Art History from the State of New York University at Fredonia. During graduate school she attended the summer design workshops at Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst (The Basel School of Design) in Basel, Switzerland. Prior to moving to Chicago, Anna worked as a graphic designer, print production manager, and teaching assistant at corporate branding studio, Chermayeff, Geismar, & Haviv, in New York City. Anna also worked at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and Incredible Graphics leading design projects from ideation to final production. At Judson University Anna teaches courses on typography, print production, graphic design, and leads workshops on letterpress and an annual art + design creative retreat with students. In addition to Anna’s work teaching at Judson University, she also runs her own studio, Anna Jane Design.
Anna’s personal work explores the presence of hand and personal voice in design and the designer’s role in authorship. Using color, materiality, texture, hand-made imagery and manipulations, and expressive typography in her work she seeks connection to her audience through using elements that communicate the designer’s individual voice in their work, while still focusing on clarity of the message.
New York, New York
Residing in NYC, Carisa is a sculptor and textile artist specializing in art dolls. With a background in illustration and a passion for mythology and folklore, Carisa melds these interests together by spending her evenings sculpting and stitching life into various mythical creatures and beasts.
Carisa’s work has been shown in numerous galleries across the United States such as Modern Eden and Gallery 1988, as well as international galleries from Japan to Germany. Her dolls can also be found in publications such as Art Doll Quarterly and Spectrum.
Emily Lubanko is an illustrator and designer living and working in the Boston area. She graduated with a BFA in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and has since worked for various clients including Hasbro, Golden Horn records, PixelJam Games, and many others. She is currently working on several projects, most notably a fully-illustrated 78-card tarot deck. When not making art, she's probably hiking.
"I'm excited to see a part of the world I've never seen and meet all kinds of people. I'm especially excited about being (and painting) outdoors in such a magical place with so many cool artists."
Heidi Unkefer is a designer, illustrator, muralist and professional photo manipulator for late night comedy television. She is a Columbia College Chicago alumni of 2013 and was commissioned to paint her first large-scale mural that year as part of an exhibit for incoming students. Her work often provides a fantastical escape into a cartoonish world filled with highly saturated colors, playful characters and slime.
Heidi painted her largest mural to date, Slime Mountain in summer 2015 and has been continuing to add more murals and large-scale paintings to her portfolio since. After working at The Onion for two years she moved on to television to work at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver while also working as a freelance illustrator and muralist. Heidi currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog, Truman.
"During my time with the Light Gray Art Lab Residency I want to challenge myself as an artist, to expand my creative lens and build upon my skills by creating a community of fellow artists through this shared experience in a foreign environment. "
Zoe Persico is a freelance illustrator with a love for children's books and visual development. Born and bred from the Midwest, she currently resides in Seattle, Washington. A recent college graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design, her client list includes Little, Brown and Co, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Young Readers, Barrington Stoke, and magazine publications such as Highlights, Storytime, and American Girl. Zoe has exhibited work at Gallery Nucleus, The Nerdist Showroom, and multiple locations across Savannah, Georgia.
"I'm so excited to not only see the wide variety of landscapes, but to be fully immersed in such a gorgeous country with other fantastic artists! The inspiration will be endless!"
Syd Weiler is an illustr-animator (illustration + animation), creative streamer and 2016 Adobe Creative Resident. She works digitally both in the studio and on-the-go, and is exploring new ways of sharing process and using technology every day.
"This trip will be a retreat after a year of hard work and exploration. I'm looking forward to taking in the beauty of the place and making work I'll hopefully treasure my whole life. "
Sishir Prithvi Bommakanti
Sishir Bommakanti is a freelance illustrator from Minneapolis. He studied in Florida at Ringling College of Art and Design and currently a MFA candidate at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. His works exists in the fringes, exploring the corners of the weird, ancient, paranormal, morbid and the human condition. His illustration works is a synergy of abstract narrative and experimental media. His clients include Nautilus Magazine, Narratively, This Land Press, Clothesline Gallery, Harvey Milk Festival, Tervis, Ringling College Library Association, Sarasota Chalk Festival, Ringling Underground, UNRB and The Pitch.
When not working at the studio, he is probably obsessing over cats.
Zack Filbert is an Industrial Designer and Educator based in Chicago. He has traveled extensively and was born and raised on the Island of Java in Indonesia.
Zack graduated with a B.S. in Industrial Design from Virginia Tech in 2013. In 2015 he completed his Master of Design in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois Chicago. He has worked in the past for small independent start-ups and larger corporations like General Electric. Zack is currently an instructor in UIC’s School of Design and the Assistant Director of a healthcare product design lab at the UIC Innovation Center. There he works with and leads interdisciplinary teams of graduate students to validate and develop initial concepts for new healthcare products. His personal work has been influenced by his experiences growing up abroad and traveling, as well as, the normal ins and outs of everyday life. He is fascinated by materials and the way people interact and connect with the objects that surround them. Currently, Zack is thinking about and experimenting with the idea of poetry in design — a design that considers and supports, the amalgamation of meanings, associations, and perceptions that define a person’s experience of it.
Rafael Mayani is a Mexican Illustrator/ Art Director based in Vancouver, Canada. By day he Art Directs and Designs at Giant Ant, and by night he illustrates picture books, magazines, gig posters, and lots of other cool things for clients such as Usborne, Harper Collins, CNN, Google and Facebook.
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Tiffany Turrill is an illustrator who first began to create her own characters in the mid 1990s. Originally raised in the Dallas, TX area, she was fascinated with marine biology and paleontology. Instead of taking a science-focused path, she moved to Oakland, CA to pursue her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at the California College of the Arts. There, she cultivated an interest in storytelling, world building, and fairytales. Shortly after graduating in 2006, Tiffany began a nine year career as a concept artist for video game companies - including Disney Interactive and Electronic Arts. There, she used her interest in zoology to develop creatures and characters for everything from a cute children’s MMORPG and various casual and mobile games to brutal survival horror shooters, a Blizzard-like MOBA, and an unannounced Star Wars project. In 2010 while still working in games, she illustrated a children’s picture book, and in the years that followed began to take on projects with tabletop game companies - primarily working with Fantasy Flight Games’ incarnations of the Star Wars universe.
Around the same time, she also embarked on several collaborations with peers, began showing in local group shows, and exhibited at a number of local artist alleys and fantasy art conventions. Tiffany has since committed to freelance full-time while building a body of work in pencil and watercolor that explores classic children’s literature, regional folklore, mythic tales, and dark fantasy. She lives with her fiancé in Walnut Creek, CA, where she drinks too much tea, and is sad that she’s too allergic to have any pets.
Sherwin Abesamis is an animation artist living and working in Southern California. His past clients include Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon Animation Studio, and Titmouse Inc. He currently works as a background painter for Hasbro Studios creating color keys and color scripts for the animated television series Transformers: Robots in Disguise. Sherwin studied drawing and painting at Concept Design Academy in Pasadena, California, where he now teaches an introductory digital painting course. His work has been exhibited at both Gallery Nucleus and Light Grey Lab.
"I am looking forward to seeing new vistas with my own eyes to broaden my understanding of the natural world. A visit to Iceland will deepen my knowledge of our planet, making me a better painter, and able to more effectively communicate my ideas in order to touch upon and improve other people's lives. I am also excited about the opportunity to meet artists from other disciplines and backgrounds. I hold fast to the notion that variety is the spice of life, and we become stronger when we accept outside ideas and incorporate these into our worldview and processes."
Colin Jack is a children's book illustrator and creative. Colin has illustrated several books, including the Galaxy Zack series, Toads on Toast, and If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur. He also works as a story artist and character designer at DreamWorks Studios. He lives in California with his wife and two kids.