Neil “Clavo” Rivas is an interdisciplinary artist whose work stems from his roles as a documentarian, educator, and activist. Using photography, collected objects, and appropriated pop culture iconography, he is invested in aesthetic politics and creating tactical interventions within social, cultural, and political contexts. Much of his work has been used for educational purposes, journalism, activist tools, and as legal evidence.

Rivas’ diverse projects have come in a range of forms, including multimedia installations, video, life size cardboard cut-outs, posters, performances, and community-based projects. He is the creator of the U.S. Department of Illegal Superheroes, and Clavo’s School for Young Superheroes (SYS) – a traveling school inspired by the institute where the X-Men are educated in the Marvel Comics universe. His documentary work has covered numerous social movements and political events, including the migrant rights movement in the U.S. (2006-2011), the 2009 military coup in Honduras, the 2009 historic presidential race in El Salvador, the South Central Farm in Los Angeles, Occupy Oakland, and La Vela de las Intrépidas in Juchitán, Oaxaca (2012).

Rivas’ work has been shown and performed at venues such as the Museum of Latin American Art; Museum of Art of El Salvador; Palacio Nacional de Guatemala; Cartoon Art Museum; UC Berkeley's Arts Research Center; Yale University; SOMArts Cultural Center; LMU Laband Art Gallery; Berkeley Art Center; San Francisco State University; San Jose State University; Southern Exposure; Root Division; MOCA Tempe; Brucennial 2012; and many other public, private, and independent spaces. He has done residencies at Intersection for the Arts, Richmond Art Center, Galería de la Raza, Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, espacioce! in Antigua, Guatemala, and Morfo in Guatemala City. In 2016, he will be a fellow at the Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, CA), and an artist-in-residence at Angel Island via California State Parks.

He has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships; and his work has been featured by The Huffington Post, NBC, CNN Español, Univision, MTV tr3s, ArtInfo, Colorlines, Upworthy, NPR, SF Weekly, Art Practical, and more, including media throughout the Americas, Europe, Australia, and China. His photography has been published by the likes of The Guardian (UK), Prensa Contrapunto (El Salvador), Press TV (Iran), Lado B (Mexico), Democracy Now!, The Huffington Post, The New York Times blog, The Washington Post, and others.

Rivas received his MFA in Fine Arts at California College of the Arts and his BFA in Art Photography from California State University, Long Beach.

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