2022 President’s Medalist: Where is she now?

Audia Yvonne Dixon looks back on a productive year after graduation that included teaching college and opening a new art exhibition.


Audia Dixon poses beside her artwork as an artist-in-residence during the “Trailblazers 2023” event that took place on Feb. 24. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

Audia Yvonne Dixon graduated from Fresno State in 2022 with her master’s degree in art with an emphasis in painting. She began painting when she was a young girl. Art was always encouraged in her upbringing and her family was very supportive of her pursuing it as a career.

In 2019 during her master’s program, she participated in a study abroad program in London. Dixon said that seeing all the 15th and 16th century art encouraged her to gravitate toward landscape painting. London changed her perspective and taught her how to paint based on her response to the environment.

“When I went to London, I got to see all the art that I would study in school. Seeing all my class lectures come to life got me inspired to start painting more landscapes,” Dixon said.

Her art is centered around Black history and culture, with the purpose of highlighting Black empowerment.

Dixon experiments with the ideas of human emotion and being able to portray that with Black subjects. In one of her paintings titled “Attractive Nuisance,” she features two Black children laying atop a dreamy forest landscape. One subject appears in total bliss but the other seems concerned.

During the pandemic, being on lockdown inspired Dixon to transfer her feelings onto a canvas.

“I kind of put all those frustrations and doubts and fears into a work of art or into my paintings, with the context of using Black girls as a persona,” she said.

In her undergrad, Dixon had the opportunity to use her interpretation of “Carmen Jones,” a musical with Dorothy Dandridge as a sense of creativity in a way that explored Black sexuality and femininity.

When she graduated from her master’s program she earned the graduate dean’s medal for the College of Arts and Humanities and the president’s graduate medal for the university.

In January, Dixon was invited to speak at Cornell University at its monthly Visual Culture Colloquium (VCC). She accepted the invitation and spent a week at the university where she was able to share her work with other aspiring artists.

Dixon’s main goal in the art industry is to become a full-time teacher and continue to learn as she works. She hopes to one day have her work displayed outside of Fresno.

She currently has an exhibition titled “Eden: Pastorals of Black Juvenescence” at Corridor 2122 in Fresno. The show opened on May 4 and runs until May 28.

The show features a series of paintings which she describes as “nostalgic.” The paintings are a plunge into Dixon’s imagination and her reflections of Black youth.

“Into Eden” utilizes oil on canvas. It represents a world where past and present can coexist. (Courtesy of Audia Yvonne Dixon)

10 Things to Know About Audia Yvonne Dixon

1. Most of her work is centered around Black history and identity.

Dixon features a Black woman in her paintings as direct reflection of her persona. She paints natural spaces with this character because it reminds her of herself.

2. She is an art instructor at Clovis Community College.

She began teaching in the summer of 2021. She teaches Art Appreciation and 2D Design. She said it’s enriching to share her knowledge and pass information down along the line. She is continuously learning as an instructor and she said that is the best method for teaching.

3. She has been painting since she was a toddler.

Dixon has been painting for as long as she can remember. She knew she wanted a career with a focus on youth because her parents and grandmother all had careers in this area.

4. Dixon loves listening to classical and experimental music while she creates art.

When she listens to music without vocals, she vividly imagines the melodies as colors. She says she can clearly hear the composer’s story through the sounds.

5. She did a series of paintings inspired by My Little Pony.

She did not grow up playing with toys despite having access to them, although she enjoys the nostalgia toys invoke for her. For a period of time, the theme of Black empowerment took a toll on her mental health because it was such a hard subject. She decided to draw inspiration from toys because the youth perspective brought her a new sense of life.

6. She has a deep phobia of butterflies.

Although her paintings are mostly landscapes, she will never paint a butterfly in her art.

“Self Portrait” is oil on panel. It was on display at Yosemite International Airport and then showcased in the Phebe Conley Art Gallery at Fresno State. (Courtesy of Audia Yvonne Dixon)

7. Her favorite color is green.

She uses the color green in all her paintings because she believes green is the most natural color. The color green brings her peace and is representative of the Earth and prosperity.

8. She loves the film “Moonlight.”

She said the film is a great example of how different light sources can beautifully capture dark skin. She also loves how the film portrays adolescence..

9. She loves slice of life anime.

Dixon enjoys the feminine and girly vibes from family and school-oriented anime. She uses this as inspiration and it is reflected in one of her oil on canvas paintings titled, “Into Eden.”

Audia Dixon’s “2022” oil painting is currently on view at Corridor 2122. (Courtesy of Audia Yvonne Dixon)

10. Dixon’s ultimate goal in the arts world is to always have time to paint.

Since becoming an instructor, she finds it difficult to make time to focus on her own art. While she wants to continue to teach, eventually she’d also like to have time for her own work.

“At the end of the day I just want a steady, balanced routine where I can not only teach art, but also continue to create my own,” she said.