Meet the Winners of the 2024 NOT REAL ART Grant

Meet the Winners of the 2024 NOT REAL ART Grant cover

What would you do with $2,000? Revamp your studio? Invest in an artist residency? Take a vacation to clear your mind? Today, we’re proud to introduce the winners of the 2024 NOT REAL ART grant. Founded in 2019, our artist grant offers financial backing to six self-driven artists with a no-strings-attached award package of $2,000.

Along with financial support, each winner receives publicity, including an interview on our podcast and a full-length feature published on NOT REAL ART. “The money is great, but the grant is also about audience and promotion,” says Scott “Sourdough” Power, NOT REAL ART’s founder and publisher. “We want to give artists a platform for their work, let them tell their stories, and make them feel seen.”

We’re so excited to welcome a new group of artists into the NOT REAL ART community, which grows every year, thanks to our loyal readers and creative collaborators. Please join us in congratulating our 2024 grant winners by scrolling through and reading more about their work.

Alison Hiltner

Today, we’re proud to introduce the six lucky winners of the 2024 NOT REAL ART grant for artists. Learn about their work in today’s special feature.
‘We Have Merely Been Detected’ by Alison Hiltner

“As long as I can remember, I have lived with a complex anxiety disorder,” says Minneapolis-based artist Alison Hiltner, who finds “comfort in imagined worlds where the things that terrify me are transformed and neutralized.” Drawing from sci-fi cinema, Alison creates interactive multimedia installations that explore the evolving nature of science, technology, fantasy, and the future.

“I view myself as an archeologist of science fiction, exploring its terrain in films, television, and video games, then intertwining these concepts with current scientific inquiry,” she continues. “My visual touchstones combine all those subjects to create ever-expanding worlds.” Alison’s interactive installation “We Have Merely Been Detected” (above) interprets brain activity in real time, creating “connective moments of vulnerability and empathy through the inner mechanisms of our daily thoughts.”

Learn more about Alison Hiltner here.

Casey Fletcher

Today, we’re proud to introduce the six lucky winners of the 2024 NOT REAL ART grant for artists. Learn about their work in today’s special feature.
‘Ulysses’ by Casey Fletcher

Bridge-building is central to my practice,” says Wisconsin-based interdisciplinary artist Casey Fletcher. “Trying to reconcile the mind and the body is the biggest bridge.” Influenced by the politics of race, machine/human interaction, Christian mysticism, and the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases, Casey creates sculptural work that subverts the emptiness of modern American life. “Making work in physical space is—in part—an attempt to create moments of embodiment in an age of disembodying advertisements, interfaces, and social circumstances,” he says.

Using everything from found clothes and steel to Crayola crayons and sharpened pine, Casey explores racial identity in America through a distinctly personal lens. Works like “Red Man” challenge widely held assumptions about working-class Black men in public spaces. “The role of my practice and my work is to create moments that foster inquiry and reflection for the sake of human connection,” says Casey.

Learn more about Casey Fletcher here.

Danielle O’Malley

‘Materials in Motion I’ by Danielle O’Malley

Using upcycled materials and industrial surplus, Montana-based ceramic artist Danielle O’Malley creates large-scale, site-specific sculptural installations that explore the ecological impact of industrialization. “My work is rooted in an environmental consciousness that derives from my concern for the Earth’s rapidly declining health,” says Danielle. “I use it to highlight the misuse and abuse that we (humans from Western industrialization through present day) inflict on local and global natural ecologies.”

Growing up in a rural location, Danielle learned to garden, preserve food, and care for livestock. “As an adult, reflecting on these experiences that influenced my values and heightened my sensitivity to local environments, I am especially perceptive of our hazardous climate,” she says. Works like “Materials in Motion #1” (above) offer a warped vision of the American landscape, coal carts forever rumbling across the vast, rusty expanse. “My large-scale work offers my viewers a space to reflect on our hazardous environmental situation,” says Danielle. “I hope that my passion for making, my love for the Earth, and my delight in observing the world around me, in combination with my work, will encourage people to join me in reconsidering our daily routines.”

Learn more about Danielle O’Malley here.

Jessie Rodriguez

Today, we’re proud to introduce the six lucky winners of the 2024 NOT REAL ART grant for artists. Learn about their work in today’s special feature.
‘Mermaid’s Dressing Room’ (video still) by Jessie Rodriguez

“Film has always been my gateway to a larger world,” says “official film nerd” Jessie Rodriguez, who crafts every detail of her stop-motion films by hand, right down to the hidden pull tabs that facilitate the movement of beating paper hearts and wriggling mermaid tails.

It is indeed a very laborious process to make a [stop-motion] film,” says the Denver artist, who calls her shorts “hand-printed movies” because of the stamp-and-print—or linocut—method she uses to create the skeletons, birds, and sea creatures that scuttle freely across her work. “The amount of time it takes, from conception to completion, could be days, weeks, or months, depending on the piece,” Jessie continues, explaining that her ideas undergo extensive storyboarding sessions before either the knife or the camera appear. “Through my animations, I have confronted personal experiences of loss, death, and violence,” she says when asked to share the catalyst behind her chimerical shorts. “It can be a very profound process to work through my thoughts and feelings around an event, as I cannot hide from my art; however, other pieces can be pure joy to create as I tap into playful absurdism.”

Learn more about Jessie Rodriguez here.

Jordan Vinyard

‘Modern Relationships’ by Jordan Vinyard

“My work is about re-establishing the virtue of the physical body,” says Jordan Vinyard, whose machine-like sculptures satirize our contemporary romance with technology. “Mutilated by tiny cameras, filters, and split screens, and segmented by data, we have ironically become posthuman and subhuman,” she continues.

Working with kinetic steel parts, LEDs, and reactionary sensors, Jordan creates installations and performance pieces that explore gender, sexuality, linguistics, and social media through a technological lens. “I believe technology can be utilized to re-humanize by prompting an audience to begin asking not ‘What is this thing doing?’ but rather ‘What am I doing that makes that thing do what it’s doing?’” she says. “This engagement is central to the work and acts as an alarm for societal reboot, where viewers are asked to recognize the deep need for humanistic responsibility and presence within a technological and numerically driven culture.”

Learn more about Jordan Vinyard here.

Nastassja Swift

‘Blue Black Baby’ by Nastassja Swift

Using dyed wool, Virginia-based textile artist Nastassja Swift creates striking soft sculptures that explore womanhood, spirituality, community, and geographical histories. “Inspired by West African masks and Yoruba ritual practices, these needle-felted and fiber-based portraits morph into a form of storytelling that re-interpret who can be worshiped, challenge archived histories, and narrate Black stories, experiences, and memories,” says Nastassja.

Her work spotlights the often unseen labors, rituals, and rights of passage that Black women and girls experience across eras and geographies. “My work has and will always involve a visual coded language that translates to and is inspired by African diasporic communities,” says Nastassja, who pulls “from the culture and history of specific spaces where we exist/existed,” including West Africa and the American South.

Learn more about Nastassja Swift here.

All photos published with permission of the artist(s).

Want to be featured on NOT REAL ART? Email editor@notrealart.com with a short introduction and a link to your online portfolio or three images of your work.


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