Sixto-Juan Zavala (he/they) is a designer and illustrator from Texas, USA currently based in Dundee, UK. He holds an MA in Narrative Environments from UAL: Central Saint Martins and a BFA in Communication Design from TX State University. He specialises in graphic design, exhibition design, and illustration. Zavala is especially interested in culture, marginalised groups, the environment, and how visual communication and spatial design can facilitate cultural change.
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, Sutton House & Breaker’s Yard (National Trust), and other organisations.
He 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 Big Medium, Luminaria, San Antonio Public Library, City of Austin, Mexic-Arte Museum, and other organisations.
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 Graphis Poster Annual 2019, Plant Kingdom: Design with Plant Aesthetics (2015), Communication Arts Design Annual 56 (2015), and has exhibited work at The People’s Gallery (Austin, TX), Mexic-Arte Museum (Austin, TX), Gravelmouth Gallery (San Antonio, TX), and Silkwörm Gallery (San Antonio, TX).