Introducing new faculty


Please join us in welcoming three new instructors to our faculty.

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Phillip Carpenter

Phillip Carpenter is from Nashville, Tennessee, and gained his MFA from the University of Washington in 2013. Of his work, he writes “Everything seems ephemeral… The objects of the world move with us and by us, between us and without us. As we set something down to pick something else up, the specifics of that placement give insight into our personalities.” In his photographic work, as well as his more recent sculptural work, Carpenter looks at the spaces between people, and the experiences that shape relationships with strangers or with objects . His work engages thoughts of the past, the spontaneity of the present, and the unknown possibilities of the future.

We asked Phillip to tell us a bit about his favorite road trip, and this was his response: “The Paradise Gardens road trip was a great experience that began to clarify a path for myself to go down, although still somewhat blindly. I learned from that trip the importance of trusting your instincts as an artist and following those impulses without question or hesitation. Life carries you along to some degree if you let it. I have gotten to a place where I am somewhere between making art and letting it tell me how it needs to be made, if that makes any sense. There is often a leading impulse and then a following of it to see where it goes, which always leads to unexpected results. I like not knowing what will happen, even though there is a fear of that same thing to constantly overcome.”

Erin Elyse Burns

Erin Elyse Burns was raised in Reno, Nevada. She earned her BFA from the University of Nevada in 2004. She has lived and worked in Basel, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany and has exhibited her work widely. She completed her MFA at the University of Washington in 2009 and currently resides in Seattle where she is adjunct photography faculty at the University of Washington and North Seattle Community College. Burns’ artwork occupies territory between image, performance and artifact. She constructs experiences that embrace struggle and the potential for failure, yet simultaneously evoke a sense of the picturesque, the humorous, the vulnerable and the absurd. She utilizes both still and video cameras to transform expectations of authenticity, document and reality. Oftentimes she is cast as a subject in her work, exploring the desire to be both seen by and in control of what the camera witnesses. She creates objects that are given life and context when activated in front of the camera. Concepts of private ritual, identity, physicality and fascinations with the process of learning persist within her work.

Nick Shepard

Nicholas Shepard’s photographs employ the visual language of classic paintings to explore contemporary American life. He shoots primarily using large and medium format film cameras, then scans, edits, and prints his images digitally. He grew up in New York, and after graduating with a degree in Studio Art and Art History from Carleton College in 2007, he earned his MFA in 2011 from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He lives and works in Portland.

A bit about Nick’s most recent project:
De bekende wereld is Dutch for “The Known World,” a title chose to describe images that are both anchored in contemporary society and in a larger historical continuum. This project looks closely at commonplace objects, spaces, and scenes—at the world we know so well. It depicts the people who make up contemporary American society, the objects with which they interact, the processes that produce these objects, and the constructed landscapes in which we live. By looking closely, we see behind the facades that mask the modern world’s cheap construction, to understand the significance that even throwaway objects have in our lives. Equally important, these images evoke the timelessness of classic paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Courbet, and other masters.

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