Amidst an urban landscape that is increasingly dominated by commercial messages, and where local histories and viewpoints are rendered invisible, we seek to create public works that privilege the individual and collective narratives of a community.
The ongoing body of work we develop encompasses metaphoric structures, spaces, and site-specific performances that are constructed or presented within buildings and public spaces. It is our aim to explore the use of form-language in the environment as a means of communication and empowerment, amplified by current visual and literary aesthetics, realized through contemporary materials, techniques, and media technologies.
Our work results in the construction of communication infrastructures that broadcast communal histories, narratives or declarations, inward and outward from the immediate community to the city beyond. We believe that public art and design can clarify and interact with the built environment, infiltrating the languages of architecture and technology with the lost languages of invisible urban communities.
With over 20 years of experience in developing environmental design and public art programs, we have substantial experience collaborating with communities, institutions, government agencies, architects, urban planners, artists, and developers. Since 1990, we have completed 13 permanent public art programs and 7 collaborative, environmental performances, most recently, Recovering Equilibrium, the 9-11 Memorial at Los Angeles International Airport.
Our role in the public art and design process is to act as a catalyst in a collaborative production. This process begins with communities and stakeholders, to form a clear understanding of the underlying urban histories, contexts and issues that can be addressed and incorporated into the urban fabric.
Working closely with a community through outreach programs, we conduct a type of cultural archaeology, uncovering relevant historic, social and cultural themes and narratives that will guide the development of the public work, informing its concepts, forms and content. Working with other design team partners, we develop conceptual frameworks, forming the basis for related wayfinding systems (for urban navigation) and symbolic places and systems (for historical and cultural interpretation).
These public art programs result in site activations (temporal, performative urban communications) or site alterations (permanent, experiential urban communications), to broadcast common histories and narratives inward and outward to the immediate community and city beyond. We believe that public art can clarify and interact with the built environment, integrating the languages of architecture and technology with the lost languages of diverse urban communities.
Our goal is to activate the environment by recontextualizing invisible histories to enhance visible social interactions. This approach to public art development also considers the performative aspect of public space—how people experience and interact within civic space. We are particularly attuned to issues of viewer engagement—how do viewers experience, interact with and interpret the artwork upon repeated viewing?
Services and Programs:
Public Art Planning and Programming
Environmental Art and Design Programs
Architectural Inscription Programs
Public Art Installations
Community Outreach Programs
Community Publications and Graphics
Urban Graphics Design Programs
BJ Krivanek embraces the multiple roles of designer, art educator, and public artist. He was principal of BJ Krivanek Art+Design, with a clientele ranging from the Union Rescue Mission (Los Angeles) to The Irvine Company, a major developer in California. His design work has been published/ written about in numerous design publications, including a feature article about his work in Graphis 310 (Zurich/ New York).
As founding artistic director of Community Architexts, he implements public art programs which provide a voice for embattled and stigmatized urban communities. To support his work, he has been awarded a research fellowship by the Graham Foundation (Chicago), an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, five individual artist grants by the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, three individual grants from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and an individual grant by the National Endowment for the Arts/ Design Arts Program.
He joined the faculty of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995 as Associate Professor of Art, affiliated with the Visual Communication Department. He had been a member of the faculties at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts/ Valencia), the UCLA Extension Arts Program, the Otis College of Art & Design (Los Angeles), and Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles).
His work has been honored by the ID Annual Design Review, the American Center for Design (Chicago), the Art Directors Club of Los Angeles, the Society for Environmental Graphic Design
(SEGD/ Washington), The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA/ New York) and the Art Directors Club of New York, recipient of a Gold Medal in 1996. His work has also been awarded a Federal Design Acheivement Award by the NEA. His landscape installation for California State University was included in the National Design Triennial: Design Culture Now at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum/ Smithsonian Institution/ New York in 2000.
Joel Breaux is currently active in the fields of environmental graphic design, architectural design, and industrial design. His industrial design work was most recently published in Graphis Product Design 2 (New York).
He received his degree in architecture from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1991, recipient of the American Institute of Architecture Scholastic Medal. As a Cajun expatriate in Chicago and Los Angeles, he has worked with numerous artists, designers, architects, and curators to design, detail, and construct environments. As principal of BRO Designed Construction, his institutional and commercial clientele included the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles), Saddleback Valley Community Church (Saddleback, California), Hui Jin Development (Shanghai, China), California State University (Los Angeles), the Jewsih Home for the Aging (Los Angeles) and the Gibson Residence (Los Angeles).
Mr. Breaux has collaborated with BJ Krivanek Art+Design and Community Architexts on numerous public art projects including: The Wall of Fame for Jefferson High School (South Central Los Angeles), Voice of the Homeless for the Union Rescue Mission (Los Angeles), Sense of Government for the Riverside Arts Foundation (Riverside, California), Chinatown Passages for Chinatown Service Center (Los Angeles), Westlake Cultural Front for Belmont High School (Los Angeles) and In the Eye of the Storm for the Los Angeles Police Department.
Niles Maxwell is a director and writer with significant experience working for non-profit organizations. As a student at the University of Arizona (UA), where he graduated Cum Laude with a BA in English Literature, he founded the University Community Housing Project, a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing low-cost housing to students and others around the UA in Tucson.
In Chicago, he worked for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation formatting their publications and was secretary to the Stone Soup Cooperative, an organization dedicated to providing housing and community to support the work of progressive organizers, artists, and teachers. In addition, he has worked as a staff assistant to Alderman Helen Shiller in Uptown and as a high school teacher at Latino Youth Alternative High School in the Little Village neighborhood.
As a director, he founded a film production company, Balanced Productions, which focuses on Comedy for the Mind, and has recently launched his first major production. He has studied British politics at Wadham College, Oxford University in England and has continued his studies in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, in addition to his work for Krivanek+Breaux/ Art+Design, he teaches Spanish to middle school children.