Since 1991, the SVLaureate program has awarded more than 150 of the finest artists the South Bay has to offer with honors, recognition, and a cash prize to assist them in pursuing their craft. This year, awards were given in several different categories: Off Stage (an artist working offstage, backstage, or pre-performance), On Stage (a performing artist), On the Wall (a visual artist working in traditional or mixed media), Off the Wall (a visual artist working in sculpture), and Emerging Artist (a young artist in any medium who shows promise for continued growth and excellence). This year the program added a new award, the SVNexus Award, honoring an artist who uses technology to fuel their creative work.
These artists are chosen based on the work they have created and their commitment to their communities. Through their work as teachers, artists, and performers, each of the SVLaureates has shown a devotion to their craft that includes mentorship, service, and forging new cultural understanding.
Tasi Alabastro: Emerging Artist Recipient
“I burned a banana tree when I was a kid,” says Tasi Alabastro by way of an introduction. The winner of the Emerging Artist award grew up on the island of American Samoa, dropped out of college at San Francisco State, and wound up in Hawai’i, where he enrolled in an acting class at Leeward Community College. This class launched his career in the arts, and since his return to the Bay Area, he has found continued success, landing roles in a wide range of theatrical productions, short films, and feature films, including the indie hit Yes, We’re Open. He describes many Bay Area artists as “accidentally multi-disciplinary,” and he embodies this description, working as a photographer, visual artist, graphic designer, and content creator on the live-streaming video platform Twitch.
“I’ve always been inspired by creative problem-solving. When working in theater and film, you come across a lot of interesting problems. I think the sense of empowerment doubles when one applies their personal creative wealth toward solving problems. Growing up and not seeing myself represented in what I was watching, reading, and experiencing contributed to so many challenges in my career, and being the recipient of the Emerging Artist award means I am paying tribute to my past and my roots as an artist. It is the manifestation of all the support I’ve received from those I’ve surrounded myself with and a personal milestone in an arts track that doesn’t have easily identifiable milestones. Even with this distinct honor, I’m still finding new ways to emerge and grow. My craft becomes more defined and specific with each audition, workshop, cast, rejection, article, and role played.”
Written by Nathan Zanon
Photography & Videography by DSOTM
This article originally appeared in Issue 10.3 “Profiles”
Digital Issue and Subscriptions