Okamoto Scholarship

Chad Okamoto Memorial Scholarship


2014 Theme: "Life In Color"


Chad Okamoto application button 


 Winner 2013: Nin Filip 

2013 Theme: Dream and Vision

Artist Statement

Nin was born in Saigon, Vietnam, grew up in the Bay Area then he embarked on an adventure in the city of Angles.  During the years schooling at UCLA Nin experienced life on the Westside.  Shortly after secured with jobs as freelance assistant for fashion and celebrity photographers Nin moved first to the gutter between East and West on Wilshire Boulevard for half a year before got in a loft in downtown proper, mainly for the technical purpose of his studio practice in photography.  It was here at the almost divider line of the two worlds Nin had the idea to make the contrasting landscape picture of East and West of Los Angeles metropolitan.  Being an Angelino Nin is, of course, aware of the city of Angel delivered as many dreams as it shattered.  He himself was both an observant and participant of the phenomenon. 

Among many excitements Nin witnessed daily were demonstrations when immigration reform at the national politic level got heat up Nin took this picture with the poetic idea from John Lennon’s Imagine and his gravitation toward Internationalism.  Later, nowhere else but Paris Nin felt a sense of Internationalism in the air still exists in the 21st century because still felt like a sampler of humanity from all walks of life and all places on the globe especially the local did not appear to treat the others different in public.  A young woman sailed her dream in the Seine’s afternoon during her brief dozing off was perfect to illustrate a dream state.  For Nin these four images united by a sense of flow as a stream from the subconscious of a soul to a more physical hydraulic force of water, it seems, to a stream of traffic on earth  - a utopia as a place and the unending struggle of humanity below.

Nin had a homecoming in 2011 and is a candidate for Master of Fine Art Contemporary Photography and teaching photography on campus.  Portraiture of humanity and provocative image construction using the photography medium has been his passion.  His earlier study of painting and literature had greatly influenced the way he sees color in photographs.  www.ninstudio.com

Chad Okamoto Scholarship Past Winners:

  • 2012-13 Jacqueline DonEcho
  • 2011-12 Julie Nguyen
  • 2009-10 Nancy Sevier
  • 2008-09 Teresa Kwon
  • 2007-08 Danny Hellevig
  • 2006-07 Nalyne Lunati
  • 2005-06 Haneen Hammad
  • 2004-05 Kevin Nguyen
  • 2003-04 Eileen David
  • 2002-03 Pamela Luk Yan Lam



Chad Okamoto passionately pursued his life-long dream of becoming an artist. His skills awarded him a place in the prestigious fine art program at UCLA where he earned his degree. This eventually led him to his dream job in September of 2001. Finding such a job in the arts in the Bay Area took perseverance and a passion for his work. It was a long journey, one that required hard work and patience. When doors appeared shut Chad increased the breadth of his knowledge and experience with specialized classes at DeAnza College. He entered drawing competitions to expand his creativity. He pursued many art forms, primarily graphic design and animation. Chad will be remembered not just as a talented artist, but also as a great friend, loyal brother, and devoted son. He had a great outlook and enjoyed a well-rounded life. He enjoyed the challenges of competition and strived to be the best he could be in the pursuits he loved: the arts, as well as baseball, gymnastics, and especially ice hockey. Just a few short weeks after achieving his goal, a dream job in animation, Chad's life ended tragically due to an unexpected medical condition. This memorial scholarship was established to assist art students to fulfill their artistic dreams, so future artists will benefit from Chad Okamoto's life.



  • Artwork must be display ready.
  • All medium must be wall mountable or displayable on LCD.
  • Judging of slides or CD (animation also accepted) will be conducted by SJSU-SHC staff with Art Department support. Artwork must include: title, medium, dimensions, and artist's name.
  • Dimensions may range from 8.5”X11” to 6'x6', framing excluded or animation for LCD screen.
  • Winning piece or pieces (i.e. if work is a series of related pieces) will be displayed at the SJSU Student Health Center for a year. If the work is ongoing and the student would like to do a changing exhibition, criteria can be discussed in artist statement.

DUE DATE: Friday, May 2, 2014

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