Every artist who decides to pursue a career of craft and creation embarks on a journey that is unique to each one of them. During that journey, these artists hone their craft and spend years developing their visual language that speaks of their passions, fascinations, and imagination. Although it may be a fulfilling path, artists often encounter challenges, struggles, and obstacles along the way. For some of these artists, their challenges often arise from the pursuit of mastering of their medium of choice. For others, their internal struggles of self-motivation or self-doubt pose significant obstacles in their journeys. Despite the challenges, these 15 artists have found ways and means to overcome them with their passion and perseverance. Scroll down to learn more about how 15 artists conquered their biggest challenges as artists!
Justin N. Kim is a Korean born painter who currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Justin paints gridded environments that acknowledge everyday human encounters and elements from visual culture. Concepts and designs derived from architectonics, cartography, technology, and machinery depend on underlying systems of order and structure; each function within a dedicated set of rules to establish a sense of logic and order. In his paintings, Justin re-contextualises the visual elements drawn from these subjects and from quotidian human encounters, and he reconstructs and reorganises them.
"I struggled when I moved to LA to pursue my master's degree, because I didn't know anybody and didn't have any money to take it easy. I knew I had to move, find ways to support myself financially and push through without a student loan. I had three part time jobs at one time and was enrolled in 12 to 15 units for three years.
I finished grad school and have different set of challenges/struggles - trying to figure out how to sell my paintings without gallery representation and getting more exposure."
Inspired by great masters such as Vrubel and Monet, Van Lanigh creates figurative and landscape pieces. Her unique style is a reaction to abstraction in an attempt to capture surrealism with a casual reality.
"The biggest challenge for me is to go to the public and to talk with people. I have social anxiety disorder and it makes my exhibitions especially difficult. To get out of this box last year I started to exhibit in any places that would accept me. So now I'm still on the way to conquer it."
Yin Chua is a Singaporean artist who is mostly inspired by the spiritual practice of meditation and her personal experiences and views on society. She hopes to be known as the artist that paints peace and strives to spread the message of self-love through her art.
"As an introvert, the biggest challenge is to get myself out there. Although I try to not to indulge in social media, I do post my work on Instagram and Facebook."
Indiana-based artist Thomas Harris makes wheel thrown, altered ceramic vessels, often cylinders that are cut and reshaped. He completed his BFA in Ceramics from Northern Arizona University then continued on to a Master’s degree at the University of Arizona.
"Working with clay poses particular issues in scale. I have had to explore processes that can help resolve issues that arise when working with certain forms at certain sizes. I might be experimenting with materials such as paper clay to create large pieces, or it might be changing the thickness cylinders used to create forms that don't slump in firing."
"Lacking inspiration is the biggest challenge I face. My solution is to wait and live my normal life, until it comes to find me."
Formaminima is an emerging Italian brand dedicated to lighting and design in its broadest sense. Each creation starts from the tradition, from the artisan mastery and making full of charm, care, and perseverance; crafted in those same places where the know-how is kept for generations, exclusively in our territory.
"The biggest challenge has been without doubts realizing our ideas and finding our scope and value as a brand, as a small group of Design passionate and curious people. At the beginning of our journey, we had to find our value proposition, something that would differentiate our intents, reaching something innovative, without sacrificing our nature and authenticity. We conquered the entirety needed as a brand, by building reputation and trust among the Art and Design audience just as all the things are conquered, with passion and perseverance."
Jakarta-based artist Nicholas Lokasasmita is an art director, graphic designer, and UI/UX designer by day, and a visual artist, illustrator, pattern and texture maker by night. His works are filled with patterns, shapes, and abstracted forms.
"The recognition from others. Sometimes I wonder, why I can't be like another artist that can collaborate with brands or make a living purely from their art. But in the end, when I get older, I don't care about it anymore and just keep doing and don't expect what people want. Even maestros like Van Gogh need to be dead first until his works get appreciation from people, right?"
Prince and Fox Studio is a Santa Monica studio made up of Cecilia and Taylor. They aim to design pieces that enchant their audiences with meditative tactility and an immediate connection with nature. Inspired by natural circumstance and an intuitive mentality, their brand introduces a link between organic concepts and functional fine art. The outcome exists in the space between sculpture and furniture.
"Marketing myself. When this business first started, I thought people would only be interested in the work, but I was surprised to see a lot would like to know about my day to day or what life as an artist looks like. Being vulnerable and sharing my life with strangers while difficult for me (someone diagnosed with panic disorder) has been a surprisingly useful marketing strategy."
Toronto-based Sarah Rutledge is a self-taught abstract artist originally from Ontario. Although Sarah always dabbled in the creative arts, it was not until 2018 that she invested all her energy and passion into abstract painting. An intuitive and contemplative thinker, Sarah always discerned her immense capacity to express herself through painting and that intuitive nature is expressed through her free-flowing works.
"The biggest challenge I face as an artist is finding good opportunities to share my work more broadly. That's why I'm so grateful for The Artling, who make it possible to connect with collectors and art lovers all over the world."
William Draw is a Chilean artist and graphic designer. He began his career in 2012, after working as an illustrator for a retail company for 9 years. Through his figurative work, he aims to portray people and their lifestyles with a touch of old Hollywood glamour and gender-fluid characters.
"My biggest challenge is to keep going with my artwork, to improve, and to be authentic. The way I work on that is to listen to my inner voice to do what I want no matter what."
Maryia Virshych is a multidisciplinary artist, designer, architect, observer, and maker based in Barcelona. She primarily works with clay as she finds it serene and calming. Her work is a reflection of her values and aspirations, ethicality is guiding her every choice, from the source materials and processes to packaging.
"The biggest challenge for me still is having to "kill my darlings". There is no rigorous objective system that would help me decide which objects stay in the body of work, and which are send into oblivion of tests and prototypes. The solution that I've come up with is rather ambiguous and intuitive. When the work is done, I force myself to look at it from the outside and as emotionless as I can, and for it to pass the test, upon this critical examination I have to be absolutely in love with the object. If any little thing - in the shape, in color, texture, etc.; feels off or doesn't convince me 100% I let the work go and never regret it. "
Melinda Matyas was born as an ethnic Hungarian in Romania before moving to London. In her creative process colour and texture are equally important, as well as the deconstruction of forms which allows her to find an equilibrium between figuration and abstraction.
"One of the biggest challenges I faced was to believe in myself as an artist and to seek and work on my individuality. In our culture and society, the internal world of the individual is to a high degree dependent on the social environment, thus self-knowledge, intentions, reasoning and moral value is mostly determined by factors outside of the person. To work on self-discovery - on one's individuality - means to cross the borders of the norm society raised. That’s essential in becoming a human being."
Lau King graduated from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong in 2012. Being an adventurous soul and idealist, photography, graphic and painting are the media for her expression of the beauty and personal philosophy of the world.
"I need to overcome a lot of fear, self-doubt and material limitation. Fear of walking to the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of trusting inner guidance. Self-doubt for own ability, own knowledge, self-esteem, self-identity, and acceptance of others. Limitation of money, manpower, self-empowerment and other's help. To conquer the challenge, you need to be courage and think of the box. Be brave and resilient to chase your dream. Never give up even when the whole world is against you sometimes, no one is supporting you. Listen to your inner guidance to go through the process. You will finally reach the light at the end of tunnel."
Péchane is a French artist who graduated from the audio-visual school of Nevers in 1996. Most of his life has been focused on images, starting with cinema and photography. In 2002, he discovered Sumi-e, a Japanese technique originating in China. It took the Neves-based artist 10 years to learn the traditional technique and create his own Sumi-e ink artworks.
"Sumi-e is a horizontal painting technique of black ink on paper. I paint sometimes on canvas, so vertically. The technique is changing totally and the moves too. The ink is flowing if I put too much paint in the brush. But sometimes flowing can be really beautiful. This way of painting Sumi-e gets the technique more complicated"
Zhou HanShun is a Singaporean photographer and art director. After graduating from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore and RMIT University, he went on to make a living as an art director and continues to pursue his passion as a visual storyteller and photographer. He uses photography as a way to explore, investigate, and document the culture and people in the cities he lived in.
"As an artist, self-doubt is one of the biggest challenges to face. Often, I wonder if the work is good enough or will be accepted. To overcome this, I would just keep photographing and just do what I had initially set out to do. In time, the photographs/work will "reveal" whether it's worth the effort or otherwise."
We hope you enjoyed learning about these 15 artists and how they conquered their biggest challenges as artists! Here on The Artling, we have a wide variety of artists from around the world, and you can browse their artworks here. You can also have a look at our specially curated artwork collections here. If you need additional guidance or have specific requirements, you can have a look at our art consultancy services, or chat with our expert curators on any page.
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