Photo by Kiron Ward, 2022

Sixto-Juan Zavala (he/they) is a designer from Texas, USA currently based in Dundee, UK. He holds an MA in Narrative Environments from UAL: Central Saint Martins, with distinction, and a BFA in Communication Design from Texas State University, summa cum laude. He specialises in research, graphic design, exhibition design, illustration, and story-telling. Zavala is particularly interested in culture, marginalised groups, the environment, and how visual communication and spatial design can facilitate cultural change.

Design: identity, narrative environments, interpretive display, maps, typography, editorial, art direction.
Illustration: digital collage, pattern design, illustrated type, pen & ink, brush & ink.
Research: story-mapping, queer community, queer ecology, queer botany.
Learning: talks, panels, workshops, consultation.

Zavala is the winner of the 2021 Spatial Cultural Equity award from the Spatial Practices Program Prizes and was nominated for a MullenLowe NOVA Award, the Spatial Practices Prize, and The Steve Lumby Drawing Prize. He has been published in multiple publications including Designing Gender: A Feminist Toolkit by Sarah Elsie Baker (2024), Graphis Poster Annual 2019Plant Kingdom: Design with Plant Aesthetics (2015), and Communication Arts Design Annual 56 (2015). Zavala has exhibited work in London, Germany, Chicago, Austin, San Antonio, and elsewhere.

Barbican Centre (UK), Big Medium (USA), Chelsea Physic Garden (UK), I.T. Post Magazine (HK), Kings College London (UK), LG (KOR), Little Joe Magazine (UK), McNay Art Museum (USA), Mexic-Arte museum (USA), National Trust (UK), PUIG (EU), Ritzenhoff (EU), Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (UK), The Royal Parks (UK), University College London (UK), Victoria & Albert Museum (UK), Wellcome Collection (UK)

Photo by Rosa Pascual, 2022

Zavala founded Queer Botany in 2020. Inspired by the theoretical lens of queer ecology, the project studies connections between queerness and plants through events, story-telling, and design. Queer Botany aims to share marginalised perspectives and support more diverse representations in the environment and outdoors. Zavala has designed maps, installed interpretive displays, hosted botanical drawing sessions, and guided walks sharing stories about plants. Queer Botany has worked with Chelsea Physic Garden, The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, The Victoria & Albert Museum, Wellcome Collection, Barbican Centre, The Royal Parks, and other organisations. Zavala was interviewed in September 2023 by Ella Braidwood at The Guardian about queering botany along with artist Jeffrey Gibson and writer Irene Reti. Read the article here.

Photo by Fabian Villa & Steven Casanova, 2023

Zavala is a member of Essentials Creative collective, acting as an Art Director. Essentials Creative is a collaborative group of applied artists who come together to work on art installations and special projects. They produce multi-media experiences, which often incorporate photography, fashion, graphic design, video, and projection. They create a platform for underrepresented artists to express themselves and find support within their field. Essentials Creative have worked with Chicago Botanic Garden, Big Medium, Luminaria, San Antonio Public Library, City of Austin, Mexic-Arte Museum, and other organisations. ​​​​​​​
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