Cal State Long Beach’s Diedrick Brackens named artist to watch

LONG BEACH — Cal State Long Beach art professor Diedrick Brackens — a fiber artist who hand weaves stories about racial injustice and the intersectionality of him being a queer black man living in the United States —  has been named one of 30 young artists under 35 to watch in 2019.

Cultured Magazine, the Miami Beach publication that covers art, design, and architecture, included Brackens, 29, on its annual list that appears in their latest issue.

“We were surprised to discover that not only are young artists charting new paths and repairing old ones, but helping each other do the same,” Cultured Magazine said in announcing its list.

In describing Brackens’ work they said, “While many artists and critics have rejected allegory and narrative, Diedrick Brackens uses those exact strategies in order to meld questions of identity and history.”

Diedrick Brackens Queer Art

Cal State Long Beach art professor Diedrick Brackens uses a loom to weave stories about racial injustice and the intersectionality of his identity as a queer black man living in America. Photo: Q Voice News file photo.

Brackens, who lives in Leimert Park and joined Cal State Long Beach three years ago, is in charge of the art school’s renowned fiber program, which was started more than four decades ago.

Brackens also teaches advanced classes on fiber weaving techniques.

One thing the magazine doesn’t mention is that Brackens is queer, a vital part of his identity and his work.

In an interview with Q Voice News last year, Brackens said, “Being out in the world, particularly as a queer, black man, it can be a very different experience than other folks might have. Those two lenses of blackness and queerness come into the work.”

Phillip Zonkel can be reached at 562-294-5996 or [email protected]

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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