Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nixon Borah: Artist/Teacher

The following is from a series of profiles of notable Fullertonians (past and present) that I am compiling for the Fullerton College Centennial exhibit.  To share your story, please visit:

Nixon Borah began teaching at Fullerton College in 1962, and taught a variety of studio art classes full time for thirty seven years and then three more years as a part-time teacher, for a total of forty years. He founded the printmaking program at Fullerton college.
Borah exhibited his art work frequently in Fullerton, at the Edge Gallery, the John Thomas Gallery, the Hunt Library, the Muckenthaler Center and at the college.  He also had work at  the Newport Harbor Art Museum, the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art and the Laguna School of Art.  
There used to be a periodic "Night in Fullerton" art tour (a precursor of the present Art Walk) where he would display work at various venues.  According to Borah, "A lot of good things happened culturally (here), usually promoted by women artists."
The range of art Borah has produced and exhibited covers a wide spectrum of media, including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photography.  For most the 1980s he concentrated two and three-dimensional work in cast paper, while continuing to produce drawings and monotypes.  His work is included in numerous private collections on both coasts and has been shown in solo and group exhibits in many California museums and galleries.
The human figure has been a primary subject and a love of modern dance led him to focus on dance and theater photography, including nearly a decade as company photographer for the Rudy Perez Ensemble in Los Angeles in the late 80s and early 90s.  He then began working on digital composites that combine his photographs with his work in other media.  Since building a new studio at his Atascadera residence in 2009, he has returned to the tactile pleasures of traditional painting and printmaking techniques.
Nixon Borah with printmaking student, 1973


  1. I was lucky enough to have Nixon Borah as a teacher in 1985 at Fullerton college after I had already received a BA in Psych and Art... and yet, he stands out as one of only 2 art teachers that had a profound influence on me and my work. Despite our highly disparate artistic styles, he was adept at seeing the strength in others and gently pushing them to build upon it to create their own style and identity. L.S.

  2. I was a student in his Color Theory Class in 1999-2000. I still apply what I learned in my career as a designer in the commercial sign industry.