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Featured Art

Jake Northington, Photographer

Artist Jake Northington  

Major-Visual & Performing Arts: Arts & Technology, Minor-Ethnic Studies, Minor-Women's Studies, CSUSM graduate (alumni)

I am a person that has recognized the many issues in today's society that have never been addressed, much like many have, but I choose to use my art as a corrective measure in various ways.  We all can help in fixing society's oppression against certain people and I am just one person doing my part. The major issue that is always at the forefront is racism and specifically towards Black people.  I will always go at this issue head on and not run from. We cannot correct this problem by deflecting and dismissing its importance as it relates to how it directly and daily affects millions of people physical and mental health.

I took a photography class here at CSUSM in the fall of 2016 taught by professor Dibenedetto.  She assigned a final project to create a photobook on any topic we wanted. Many students used it to speak about their family or pets or hobbies.  I took the opportunity to discuss a very serious topic which spoke to the 2016 11th circuit court ruling that employers could in fact discriminate against natural hair styles of Black people due to the courts standing that hair is immutable but hair styles are not.  This ruling negatively affects Black people in all areas of society when simply being human and wearing their natural hair. I chose my photography project as a way to promote Black people living, loving, and operating in all areas of the CSUSM campus with their natural hair.  

The final project for my photography class started my journey of photobooks where I use each one of them to address and attempt to correct a social issue affecting Black people daily.  I have created a book each year with a different emphasis and right now I'm currently working on my 4th book. Two of my photos from these books are currently on display at the student art juncture on the CSUSM campus in the art building. Below are some of my photos of students from 2016-2019

Black Woman Leaning Against a Wall

Black Man Smiling



Black Man Looking at Distance
Black woman


Black Woman Dark foreground
Black Man looking at you


Mountain Shadows Foundation and Art Miles Mural Project,

Project leaders

The Mountain Shadows: Painting Our World Radiantly (M:POWR) Mural Project is a partnership between CSUSM,  Established in 2012

The Mountain Shadows: Painting Our World Radiantly (M:POWR) Mural Project is a partnership between CSUSM, the Mountain Shadows foundation and the Art Miles Mural Project. Since 2012, CSUSM students and developmentally disabled adults from Mountain Shadows have painted beautiful and powerful murals that Art Miles co founder and director Dr. Joanne Tawfilis then distributes around the world to communities dealing with natural and human disasters, from hurricanes to school shootings. For many students, this is their first time interacting with developmentally disabled adults. Despite any initial trepidation, they find great joy in interacting with the Mountain Shadows clients, who in turn enthusiastically look forward to painting with the students weekly. 

The M:POWR Mural Project sessions occur every Tuesday from 12 to 12:50 p.m. at the USU First Floor Patio and select Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. at Mountain Shadows Community Homes in Escondido. This project is open to all students regardless of artistic ability, and every session also features a powerful drum circle with instructor Aki Burkes. Help us promote world peace and the great power of artistic expression by contributing to these incredible murals and making new friends. We hope to see you there!

Mural painting
Mural painting with students