Sofia Pfanner Receives 2023 LCAD Trustee Choice Award

Laguna College of Art and Design Trustee Choice Award Logo

Laguna College of Art + Design announced Sofia Pfanner received the 2023 Trustee Choice Award.

Sofia Pfanner statement

In this painting, I am visualizing my shadow self. A shadow self represents the parts of oneself that one finds difficult to accept. For me, this is my struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. As crows often symbolize the shadow-self, I’m using the two crows around me to characterize the anxious side of myself that I have difficulty controlling. One crow soars over my head, acting as the anxiety that always looms over me. The other flies in front of me, chasing away the light and allowing my shadow-self to take over.

I also use the facial expression in my self-portrait to capture the difference between me and my shadow-self. The side of my face in the light is neutral and isn’t yet affected by the shadow. The other side is emoting the anxiety and worry of my shadow-self. Ultimately, my goal was for the viewer to be able to isolate each half of my face and see the two different versions of myself. The colors I use in this painting also separate these two versions of myself. The warm, red-toned world shines through on my face, but is quickly diminishing as the green, colder world takes over. While the warm light represents the real world and my real surroundings, I view the dark, cold world as the one my shadow-self resides in and the one I enter during my panic attacks. I then have the branches closing in on my portrait to parallel the trapped and helpless feeling I often get when stuck in the body of my shadow-self.

“The LCAD Illustration program incorporates a mix of illustration, fine art, and design, using both traditional and digital methods. Illustrators are by nature cross-over artists that work in all areas of applied arts, design, entertainment, retail advertising, editorial, books, etc. Sofia Pfanner is a perfect example of what today’s well-rounded illustrator looks like, and the type of graduates our illustration program is designed to edify and produce.

Much of the work Sofia chooses to create is graphic design related: packaging, retail, posters, etc., but she has committed herself to not only learn and become proficient in these areas, but in traditional mediums including oil painting as well. Winning first place in a traditional medium competition, such as the LCAD Trustee Choice Award, is a testament to her abilities and commitment to master all mediums. One thing that makes her so successful as an artist and designer is her ability to communicate meaning in her work which transcends all creative methods.”

Michael Savas, Chair of Illustration Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Sofia Pfanner Bio

Sofia Pfanner is a Laguna College of Art + Design alumna who graduated in May of 2023. At LCAD, she majored in Illustration and minored in Graphic Design. She likes to combine her illustration and graphic design backgrounds to create unique graphic illustrations. For her medium of choice, she especially loves working with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and painting with oils.

When Sofia isn’t drawing, she loves traveling around the world and exploring new places. But no matter where she goes, nothing beats spending time with her friends, family, and her fluffy Australian shepherd.

Trustee Choice Award Honorable Mentions

Hannah Tjia, who recently graduated from LCAD with a BFA in Fine Arts, and Sumire Kudo, recent graduate from LCAD’s MFA in Painting program, received honorable mentions for their pieces “Where Water Glows,” and “Toys,” respectively.

LCAD's Trustee Choice Award Previous Winners

2022: April Solomon “Sulfur Dragon” BFA
2021: Jody Gerber “Illusion” MFA
2020: Pegah Samaie “To Love and Obey” BFA + MFA

These paintings are now exhibited in the lobby of the LCAD Administration Building.

About LCAD's Trustee Choice Award

The award was initiated in 2020 by LCAD Trustee and alumnus Suzanne Chonette. Graduating students in the Fine Art BFA, MFA, as well as Illustration programs are eligible. The criteria for the Trustee Choice Award is that the artwork should exemplify the best representational foundations of LCAD, and the artist should possess the qualities that are critical to a successful career in Fine Arts. Work is selected by LCAD Chairs Hope Railey, Betty Shelton, Peter Zokosky, and Michael Savas. LCAD trustees then vote to select three finalists and one winner.

The Award

LCAD Board of Trustees purchased her painting titled “Shadow Self” to include in the college’s permanent collection. Pfanner received her LCAD BFA in Illustration in the May, 2023 Commencement ceremony under the guidance of Michael Savas, Chair of Illustration.