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Bio and CV


Syl Arena (born Phoenix, Arizona) is a California-based artist known for his explorations of non-representational photography. He freely admits that he is addicted to color and shadow. In his current series, Constructed Voids, Arena deconstructs white light into vibrant hues and mixes them onto monochromatic constructs. Through the intersection of light, construct, and lens, Arena finds transformative relationships that he describes as “inner landscapes.”

Arena is also greatly interested in commenting on the loss of the image-object in our screen-based world. Increasingly he positions his photographs as objects rather than merely as images. To this end, the Constructed Voids are hung as bare sheets of chromogenic paper in a manner that bends the prints outward from the wall and allows them to undulate gently.

Arena earned an MFA from Lesley University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and a BFA from the University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona). He has taught workshops for Maine Media Workshops, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, and at events in Brazil, Canada, Cuba, and Dubai.



MFA      Visual Arts—Photography, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA

BFA       Studio Art—Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ



2020      Projected Voids,  Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, IN



2022      Perspectives 2022—CICA Museum, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

2021      A Digital Art Salon, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo, CA

     Abstract—Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita, Kansas

                 Blue—Decode Gallery, Tucson, Arizona

                 Decontexts—Loosen Art, Milan, Italy

                 Layered Light: Contemporary Pinhole Photography—Light Art Space, Silver City, NM

                 Light Sensitive 2021—Art Intersection, Gilbert, Arizona

                 Purely Abstract—Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

                 Rewrite Reality—Independent & Image Art Space, Chongqing, China

                 Seventh Annual Group Show—Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson, New York

                 Thirty Over Fifty, Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO

2020      Abstract, Auburn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

                 Transformations 2020, Pennsylvania Center for Photography, Doylestown

2019      Abstract 2019, Southeast Center for Photography, Greenville, SC

LA Open 2019, TAG Gallery, Los Angeles CA

Magnus Opus 30, Sacramento Fine Arts Center, Sacramento, CA

Phantom Project 17, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo, CA

PULSE Art, Treat Gallery, New York/ Miami, FL

Sixth Open Call, Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, Providence, RI

2018      Abstracts 2018, 311 Gallery, Raleigh, NC

Color Cue, CENTR, Santa FE, NM

Contemporary Photography 2018, CICA Museum, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Faculty Exhibition, Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Kromatik, Praxis Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2017       Color Photography Now, Blackbox Gallery, Portland, OR

EAFA Juried Abstract Show, Evergreen Assn. of Fine Arts, Bellevue, WA

Good Bokeh, DAB Art / H Gallery, Ventura, CA

LA Artcore 1st Annual Photographic Exhibition, LA Artcore, Los Angeles, CA

Left Coast Annual, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA

Light Sensitive 2017, Art Intersection, Gilbert, AZ

MWCP Juried Exhibition, Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita, KS

New Visions 2017, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo, CA

Order and Chaos Chautauqua, Giles Gallery, Richmond, KY

Photowork 2017, Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

Visions of Cuba, Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba

2016       Aperture Summer Open: Photography Is Magic, Aperture Foundation, NYC



2017       Penumbra Workspace Program, Penumbra Foundation, New York, NY



2017       Todd Walker Research Fellowship, Center for Creative Photography,
                  University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ



2015       Speedliter’s Handbook, Second Edition, Peachpit Press.
                  Translations: Chinese, Spanish

2013       Lighting for Digital Photography, Peachpit Press.
                 Translations: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese

2010       Speedliter’s Handbook, Peachpit Press.
                  Translations: Chinese, French, German, Korean, Polish, Portuguese



2022–                      College of The Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA
                                    Tenure-Track, Photography

2018–                      West Valley College, Saratoga, CA
                                    Adjunct, Photography

2017–                      Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA
                                    Adjunct, Photography

2013–2021           Mission College Prep, San Luis Obispo, CA
                                    Chair, Visual & Performing Arts


PHOTOGRAPHY COURSES—Instructor of Record

2022–                       Photo 155: Photography I, College of the Canyons
                                     Photo 156: Photography II, College of the Canyons
                                     Photo 191: Photographic Studio Fundamentals I, College of the Canyons
                                     Photo 192: Photographic Studio Fundamentals II, College of the Canyons

2021–                       Arts 62C: Color Photography, West Valley College
                                    Art 249B: Digital Photography II, Cuesta College

2019–2021            Art 244: Photography I (Analog), Cuesta College

2018–2019            Arts 62A: Basic Photography, West Valley College

2017–                       Art 249A: Digital Photography I, Cuesta College



2014–2019            Rocky Mountain School of Photography, Missoula, MT

2012–2015            Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, Santa Fe, NM

2011–2014            Maine Media Workshops, Rockport, ME

2012–2013            Peter Read Miller Sports Photography, Manhattan Beach, CA

2010–2013            Paso Robles Workshops, Paso Robles, CA

2013                         Estudio Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil

2011                         Gulf Photo Plus, Dubai, UAE



2021                        Al-Tiba9 Issue 08—Al-Tiba9 Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain
                                   Abstract —Art Ascent Journal, August 2021



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