Introducing our 2023–2024 Cliff Notes columnists

For the past six months, Cliff Notes subscribers have gotten the smartest/coolest/nichest/most fascinating art recommendations from four of our favorite regional writers, Demian DinéYazhi’, Sharon Arnold, Gabrielle Lawrence, and Christopher Alam. Check out their past picks here.

But here at Variable West we’re all about a diversity of voices, and we’re thrilled to introduce you to our next four columnists!

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Southern California: Mariah Green

My journey into now becoming a columnist began when first discovering oil paints. It was an Inland Empire summer in my family’s garage where the bond with painting bridged myself with the term artist. Looking through family photo albums to reference created a power of remembrance and imagination. It was then I started painting portraits past and new of my family. Feeling how we are a part of a larger migration story from South to West deep inside the Inland Empire. Still anchored in the practice of painting, the smell of oil paint brings forth what it means to me to be a storyteller. How painting, writing, curating, archiving, and history all make room for me and others stories to be told individually but at the same time collectively. I learned all of this here where I live. The Inland Empire is to be described as a place where the arts are the seams holding the valleys together. 

Northern California: Vanessa Perez Winder

Vanessa Perez Winder (b. Lima, 1996) is a Peruvian American art historian, writer, and family support worker from Portland, OR, currently based in Oakland, CA. They believe in working toward liberatory and experimental forms of art historical study and curatorial action, and are particularly interested in collaborative, community based, and site specific artistic practices + public interventions. This fall, they will begin their M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies at California College of the Arts in hopes of expanding on this work in the Bay Area.

Washington: Jas Keimig

Jas Keimig is a writer and critic based in Seattle. They previously worked on staff at The Stranger, covering visual art, film, music, and stickers. Their work has also appeared in Crosscut, South Seattle Emerald, i-D, Netflix, and The Ticket. They co-write Unstreamable for Scarecrow Video, a column and screening series highlighting films you can’t find on streaming services. They won a game show once.

Oregon: Sam Wrigglesworth

Sam Wrigglesworth is a photographer and writer from Oregon. Their work engages relationships between memory, somatic experience, and the natural environment while being informed by lineages within queer and feminist thought and practice.  Sam received their BFA in Photography from the University of Oregon in 2019 and is a current University Fellow and MFA candidate in Studio Art at The Ohio State University. 

They have recently shown work at Blue Sky, San Diego Mesa College, Photographic Center Northwest, Astoria Visual Arts, and Carnation Contemporary. Their work has been supported by the Tee A. Corinne Memorial Travel Fellowship (2023), a Make|Learn|Build Grant through the Regional Arts and Culture Council (2021), and a residency at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology (2022).

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