Profession: The Yale Norfolk Summer School of Art selected Abdi into their program in 2008, and he has spent the past year studying abroad in Southern France
Favorite Artist: "John Singer Sargent is still my favorite artist. He's an old American high society portrait painter but he's got so much swagger. Van Gogh is also a beast, and who can bet against Michaelangelo."
Fun Fact: A recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Abdi was one of four students in the nation to be awarded the Scholastics Art and Writing Gold Portfolio and was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts
Profession: Serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the California College of the Arts
Favorite Artist: Cy Twombly, Raymond Saunders, Jan van Eyck, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden
Fun Fact:Amanda has cultivated a signature style combining color, space, text and fragments of conversations she’s overheard to create pieces that deal with identity and personal freedom.
Favorite Artist: Joel-Peter Witkin
Fun Fact: Erik's film "The Ghost of Christmas Presents" debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.
Resides: Long Island City, NY
Profession: Has her own art studio in a professional artist community.
Favorite Artist: "There are so many! But as for contemporary artists, I've always loved Marilyn Minter."
Fun Fact: Jaclyn’s pieces deal with themes of sexuality and spirituality, and through her narrative paintings of women, she embraces and questions this supposed dichotomy.
Profession: Currently "living off art"
Favorite Artist: "Impossible to answer with only one! Depending on my mood - John Singer Sargent, Rubens, or Doig."
Fun Fact: A self-proclaimed Army Brat and a devout Christian, Jaime Lynn is inspired by her own struggle to embrace an existence of vapid glitz and fame, juxtaposed by her desire to lead a virtuous and humble life.
Resides: Los Angeles, CA
Profession: Art studio manager
Favorite Artist: "I have a ton of favorites! Roger Brown, Petar Cain, Joseph Yoakum, Ray Johnson, Joe Brainard, Jack Smith, Warhol, Jim Hodges, Carter, Jack Pierson, and David Wojnarowicz, among others."
Fun Fact: John has been making art since he was five years old
Resides: New York, NY
Profession: Currently working on solo exhibitions
Favorite Artist: Marcel Duchamp
Fun Fact: The oldest contestant in the competition, Judith proves that with age comes wisdom and with experience comes the desire to keep learning.
Profession: Fry cook by day, photographer by night
Fun Fact: Mark taught himself photography by shooting model portfolios.
Profession: Studio assistant
Favorite Artist: Tim Hudson
Fun Fact: Miles is the youngest artist ever to receive a Minnesota State Arts Board grant.
Resides: Upstate New York
Profession: Currently teaches New Media and Live Art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York.
Favorite Artist: Adrian Piper, Jay DeFao, James Turell, Felix Gonzalez Torres, Jack Smith, Joseph Cornell, Yoko Ono, Ana Mendieta, Francis Bacon, Goya, Linda Montano, John Cage
Fun Fact: Nao’s work is aligned with feminist art, and often explores the intersections of race and cultural identity.
Profession: Nicole is the founder of KNS design collective. She also operates as a freelance design consultant, and is currently developing a collection for Ralph Lauren Home.
Favorite Artist: "Dali, Mathew Barney, and Tobias Wong."
Fun Fact: Nicole's pieces feature themes of connectivity and interaction, science and geometry, ritual and play.
Resides: Kansas City, MO
Profession: Currently curates projects and annual events under the umbrella "Fahrenheit" and owns a lingerie boutique "Birdies"
Favorite Artist: "I am currently into Nick Cave. Sally Mann's photos have always had my heart."
Fun Fact: Peregrine’s sculptures, imagery, and texts explore themes of sexual vulnerability, trends in disease, and social hierarchies.
Profession: Since high school, Ryan has lived solely off his art through prize money, commissions and teaching private art lessons.
Fun Fact: Ryan's work deals primarily with youth culture and the “cult of excess.”
Resides: Brooklyn, NY
Profession: He is currently working on a "metaphysical GPS" application for the iPhone and his artist-as-company project, Humanitarians Not Heroes.
Favorite Artist: "Roger Federer (maybe John McEnroe too."
Fun Fact: Recently, Trong finished writing a "lost chapter" to The Da Vinci Code based on the secret love life of Marcel Duchamp.