Ariel René Jackson & Michael J. Love Take Home 2021 Tito’s Prize

Austin artists win $15,000 award and a solo exhibition in the Big Medium Gallery

By David Clough
Tito’s Prize 2021 Winners: Ariel René Jackson & Michael J. Love
“Lesson Disruption” Mixed media, 2015. Courtesy of Ariel René Jackson.

The results are in: A curatorial panel from Big Medium, an Austin non-profit arts organization, has announced the winner of the fourth annual Tito’s Prize. Local artists Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love have been selected to receive the $15,000 award courtesy of Tito’s Handmade Vodka and a solo exhibition for their work in the Big Medium art gallery.

The Tito’s Prize is designed to help local Austin artists take the next step in their careers. Jackson and Love’s collaborative exhibit at the Big Medium Gallery opens this fall and runs October 23, 2021 through January 8, 2022.

“We are excited to begin expanding the scale of our practice with a multi-channel film/video installation and character-driven performances,” Jackson and Love said in a statement. “The Tito’s Prize enables us to realize our collaborative potential on a larger scale by having phase one of our three-part project called ‘We are the [Hackers], Baby, [Hackers] are we’ funded and produced in the Big Medium gallery space.”

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“Descendance” Still, 2020. Courtesy of Ariel René Jackson & Michael J. Love. Still by Eliot Gray Fisher.

Both Jackson and Love are artists living and working in Austin. According to Big Medium, Jackson is a film-based artist whose work explores themes of transformation and inherited culture. Love is an interdisciplinary tap dance artist who uses Black queer feminist theory to examine the Black cultural past and contemplate Black futurity.

Big Medium’s curatorial panel unanimously selected Jackson and Love for the prize. The panel included Christopher Blay, the current News Editor at Glasstire Magazine; Lise Ragbir, an independent curator and writer; and Coka Treviño, Curator and Director of Programming at Big Medium.

“The AURALVISUAL MIXTAPE Collection, Part I: GON’ HEAD AND PUT YOUR RECORDS ON!” Live Performance Still, 2019. Courtesy of Michael J. Love. Photo by Cindy Elizabeth.

“Over the last four years, we have had the absolute honor of engaging with and supporting Austin’s artists through the Tito’s Prize,” said Zack Flores, National Philanthropic Programs Manager at Tito’s Handmade Vodka. “Austin’s creative community is what makes Austin, Austin and in working with Big Medium, we are able to facilitate opportunities for Austin creatives to produce and showcase their talent to the public.”

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