Meet CCAD class of 2018 valedictorian Jason Elizondo

ccad class valedictorian jason elizondo

Jason Elizondo (Fine Arts, 2018) wanted to attend Columbus College of Art & Design since he was a freshman in high school. It was close to his home in Columbus, and he liked the work being made by its students and faculty. But it wasn’t until he toured campus that he knew this was where he had to be.

”On my first campus visit, I saw an illustration of Lady Gaga from the CFDA Fashion Awards by alum Christian Cimoroni and I knew it was the place for me,“ Elizondo says. ”And it didn’t disappoint.“

During his time at CCAD, Elizondo paid that experience forward. He mentored high-school students at his high-school alma mater, Arts & College Preparatory Academy, through the Art Against Bullying project (co-founded by CCAD alum Paul Richmond). Elizondo helped install a show with his mentee’s and other students’ artwork across Columbus as part of the program.

en pointe art jason elizondo

Self-Hybridizations | En Pointe by Jason Elizondo

His own multidisciplinary practice is, ”a manifesto celebrating the nuances of counterculture often assumed as grotesque or shameful,“ he writes. ”It is an invitation to my personal explorations as a queer man and an anthem to queer visibility.“

Using video, photography, painting, and performance, Elizondo collapses color and texture to evoke violent and sexually explicit overtones. His are portraits that ”act as a political memoir, seducing the viewer into visceral confrontations with the queer body.“

Elizondo’s work has been featured in exhibitions in Brooklyn, Dayton, and Columbus. He received the Mary Lane Grant and Smilack Grants for academic achievement, and was a nominee in the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio 2018 awards. His work has been featured in publications such as Outlook Ohio Magazine and POPULUV (”Meet Jason Elizondo, Ohio’s Most-Talked-About Student Artist“).

He was also a resident artist at the New York Studio Residency Program in Dumbo, New York, for four months, and this semester he’s completing his last honors course, Gender and Sexuality with Jeremy Stoll.

”Graduating with honors is a huge gag for me,“ he says.

Not only is he graduating with honors, Elizondo was recently announced as valedictorian of CCAD’s 2018 graduating class.

Read more following about Elizondo’s impact at CCAD, the college’s impact on his practice, and where he’s headed next. Then, check out more of his work at and follow him on Instagram @jasonelizondoart.

Congratulations, Jason!

a(lie)n art ccad student jason elizondo

A(lie)n by Jason Elizondo (collaboration with Tatum Maura)

How has your practice evolved since coming to CCAD?

I was accepted into CCAD with a portfolio consisting mostly of Gaga drawings and paintings with little to no concept behind them — they’re gorgeous, though. CCAD has pushed me to think much more conceptually about my work and believe in what I’m capable of. As a queer maker, I never knew how important discovering my identity was until I started to make art about it. I have CCAD to thank for giving me such a platform to discover this for myself.

What was your favorite or most life-changing experience while at CCAD?

Danielle Julian Norton’s studio class and Julie Abijanac’s honors capstone my sophomore year. Both courses challenged me to think outside the Gaga box I made for myself coming into CCAD. If Julie never handed me that reading on queer theory by Foucault, who knows where I’d be. I made some of my favorite works in those classes. Once I took Mary Skrenta’s jewelry course my senior year and worked more closely with Kelly Malec-Kosak, I knew I had made it. I got to work with four of the best woman and artists CCAD has to offer, and I have them to thank for how my life here has changed — and with their recommendations, I’ll be attending The School of Visual Arts in New York in August.

Is there anything about CCAD you’ll miss most? What are your plans after graduation?

I’m going to miss the faculty and their devotion to the students here. I’m going to miss strutting up the quad like it’s a runway. I’m going to miss my studio in AMF and my Fine Arts sisters. By this time next year, I will be in my second semester at The School of Visual Arts. Hopefully living in Brooklyn … hopefully able to afford my MetroCard fares ... listening to ”Dreams“ by The Cranberries.