SD Art Prize



 2021 SD Art Prize 

The SD Art Prize 2021 recipients reflect the rich and varied trans-national experience that makes our region truly unique. Living and working on either side of the border; whether they are US or Mexican born, immigrant or mixed national parents, all experience this trans-national life from an individual vantage point. They share their singular vision through their art, enriching our community with their stories.

Beliz Iristay

Photo Credit: zeynep Dogu

Beliz Iristay studied traditional Turkish ceramics at Izmir Dokuz Eylul University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics. She moved to the United States in 2005 and recently built her ceramic studio in the Guadalupe Valley, Ensenada, Mexico. There she incorporates local clay into her practice while exploring traditional & contemporary ceramics. 


In her work, Iristay often uses the traditions of her "home countries", Turkey, Mexico, and the US, and combines them with contemporary techniques. She collects the subject materials for her work from the traditions, politics and gender issues of the countries she lives in. 


Iristay has shown work in the Bienal de Estandartes, Tijuana, Mexico; Balboa Park Centennial, San Diego, CA; El Paso Museum of Border Art, El Paso, TX; El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX; LUX Art Institute, Encinitas, CA; and many more. Her installation at the El Paso Museum of Art Border Biennale won first prize and she has won individual prizes in the National Ceramic Biennale of Mexico; 4th National Ceramic Biennale of California, Brea, CA; and UNICOM Jury’s choice, International Ceramic Biennale, Ljubliana, Slovenia. She was first nominated for the SD Art Prize in 2015 and became a SD Art Prize recipient in 2021.


Hugo Crosthwaite

Hugo Crosthwaite was born in Tijuana and spent his formative years in Rosarito, Mexico.  An American citizen with family on both sides of the border, he graduated from San Diego State University in 1997 with a BA in Applied Arts. Crosthwaite lives and works in Rosarito, Mexico and San Diego, CA.  


Allowing the act of drawing to dictate his compositions in works that range from intimate drawings to large scale murals, Hugo Crosthwaite juxtaposes a wide range of textural and tonal ranges with a deep respect for the narrative.


Crosthwaite is the 2019 winner of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.  His works are included in the permanent collections Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; San Diego Museum of Art, CA; Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA; Boca Raton Museum of Art, FL; the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL; The Progressive Art Collection, and numerous private collections around the world.


Born in Chula Vista, CA, to Mexican parents, PANCA is an Illustrator-Painter-Muralist- Installation Artist that resides in Tijuana, Mexico. She grew up speaking English at school and the "outside" while exclusively speaking Spanish at home and spending weekends and all holidays with family in Mexico. Her parents felt it very important to keep her connected to her heritage. She has been working between Mexico and the United States since 2004.

This binational, bilingual and bicultural artist feeds her art from her experiences living and working in Tijuana and San Diego. These very personal yet contrasting experiences fill her work with raw emotion, isolation and nostalgia as it pours out full of symbolism.


Her work has shown in museums, galleries, magazines, Netflix movie sets, on the streets and tattoo design. Her most recent work was featured in a fully published book in partnership with Bread & Salt gallery. 

Perry Vásquez

Perry Vásquez was trained as an artist and designer. He lives in the San Diego/Tijuana area and draws inspiration from the region’s bi-national cultural milieu. His father was born in East Chicago, Indiana, into a family of Mexican migrant workers. His mother was born in West Virginia, as a coal miner’s daughter. His parents met in Los Angeles where he was born in 1959. At age 7 his parents divorced and his mother subsequently relocated him and his brother to North Carolina where they took up temporary residence with their grandmother who lived next door to a free-will Baptist church. A Catholic son of Southern California, he was abruptly dropped into a predominantly white, Protestant, evangelical cultural environment where his odyssey as an Appala-Chicano began. Since then he has blended both Mexican, American, Catholic and Protestant cultural influences into his work. He has a life-long love of learning and has degrees in Political Science and Painting from Stanford University and Painting and Criticism from UC San Diego. 

Vásquez is co-creator of the Keep on Crossin', a seminal project in the development of the San Diego/Tijuana border art scene. Vásquez has produced a range of works across different media. Among his other works are The Gates of Heck, inspired by the mythologies of superhero-dom and Rodin’s Porte de l’Enfer, and Under the Perfect Sun, a series of paintings that explore the myths of Southern California and its changing landscape. Vásquez was recently selected to create murals for the new San Diego County Probation Building and has work in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. 

The SD Art Prize is presented by 
SD Visual Arts Network
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