SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica’s next studio artist-in-residence at the Camera Obscura Art Lab is illustrator and artist Shannon Freshwater, according to a press release from Constance Farrell, the city’s Public Information Officer, on Tuesday, August 1.

Freshwater uses collages and assemblages to “appropriate and re-contextualize imagery and ideas,” notes the press release. She is inspired by the mysterious and unknown, in addition to pop culture and various sub cultures.

From Thursday, August 10 to Saturday, November 11, she will create a collection of 2D and 3D sculptures and costumes incorporating items from local thrift stores such as discarded toys, jewelry, and blankets to “depict strong warrior women characters,” the press release stated. She will explore transformation, self-empowerment, and upending power dynamics through folk art and crafts techniques such as bead work and weaving, city officials noted.

Freshwater will explore a different topic each Saturday during her residency, covering the practice of image-making through a range of methods. Members of the community have the opportunity to work with the artist during these workshops. Her first event, titled “Intro to Illustration,” will take place on Saturday, August 12, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. On the following Saturdays throughout September and October, she will lead workshops on crafts such as “Character Collage,” “Collagraph Portraits,” “Natural Loom Weaving,” “Memory Jug Creation,” “Foam Relief Printing,” “Cardboard Maskmaking,” and “Foil Embossing.” Her final presentation will take place on Saturday, November 11, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Freshwater grew up in Las Vegas, studied painting and film in New Mexico, and lived in a collaborative art community in Seattle. She graduated from the Art Center College of Design, where she currently teaches in the illustration department. She also teaches in the art department at Calfornia State University Northridge. Her illustrations have appeared on book covers as well as The New York Times, Le Monde, and Scientific American, among other publications. Her art has been exhibited across the U.S.

Residency programs allow the public to connect with artists working within and between the worlds of craft and fine art. Resident artists share their work through public workshops and events. Additional information is available at, under Artist Opportunities. Workshops are available for adults who are 18 and older. Online registration can be completed at Freshwater’s first and final events can be viewed at for easy RSVP.

The Camera Obscura Art Lab is located at 1450 Ocean Avenue in Palisades Park, between Broadway and Santa Monica Boulevard. Visitors are advised to use the Metro Expo Line to reach the lab, exiting at the Downtown Santa Monica Stop. Parking is available at Structure 6 and costs $2.75 for 3 hours. The Camera Obscura mechanism is free to the public and open Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For additional information, contact (310) 458-2239 or, or visit

Santa Monica’s Cultural Affairs Division brings the city’s art scene to life for the community. Programs include grants for arts and culture organizations; artists and schools; festivals and series including the Airport Artwalk, Art@Tongva, and Jazz on the Lawn; managing the Annenberg Community Beach House, the Camera Obscura Art Lab, and the Miles Memorial Playhouse; and more. For more information, visit