This week, The Artling shares stories from 15 artists about how they got started in art. These emerging artists come from diverse backgrounds, forging their own paths that have led them to where they are today. They also give us insight into how they were drawn to specific art styles, and how they developed their unique visual languages. Although some of these artists come from varied industries outside of the art world, what ties them together is their love for art, and their drive to pursue their passion and build fulfilling careers as artists.
Scroll down to learn more about the journeys and paths these diverse artists got started in art:
Sander Steins is a self-taught artist and photographer from Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He is obsessed with nature, industrial subjects and technology. He is also deeply interested in the darker sides of society and mankind. Towards art media he takes a holistic approach. All the technological developments of the past decades have made it possible for him to experiment with new digital techniques.
"As a child I already loved to draw. But thanks to the introduction of the digital camera, early this century, I became interested in new techniques and mixing it with old techniques. This mix offers endless new possibilities, which allow me to keep on experimenting."
Studio DeSimoneWayland are Marcello De Simone and Bruce Wayland, an Italian and American design duo who have combined their backgrounds in studio art and art history to create bold colourful designs that are new, instilled with history, and yet with a sense of the unexpected.
"We've always been doodling since our earliest years. Also, our love of art is deep-rooted in our preteens. When we started working together in 2009, we soon realized ceramics allowed us to realize our own unique vision of beauty."
Based in Madrid, Viet Ha Tran is a Vietnamese artist and photographer who started her artistic career in 2013 with fine art photography then ventured into abstract paintings five years later. Originally from Hanoi, Viet Ha completed her Bachelor of Business Administration at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan and earned a Master of Marketing Management at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.
"During many years of working in the intense corporate world, I found out that art is the best therapy. My first university degree (which I only finished halfway before I received a scholarship to study business in Japan) was Anglo-Saxon and American Literature and Languages at Vietnam National University, which was the root for my keen interest in the arts later on. Art helps balancing my soul and cultivates my creativity. I started out as a photo model in Madrid, when a Colombian friend, who worked as a photographer, wanted to take photos while I was performing a belly dance. There we did several other photo sessions, and I discovered that I really enjoyed posing in front of the camera. Posing was very natural to me since I was a belly dancer and was used to expressing feelings with my dance. After that, I started collaborating with numerous photographers from all over Spain to build my portfolio until one day I wanted to be on the other side of the camera.
I discovered photography in 2013 and since then it has become the way I use to express my inner dreams and vision and get away from the reality. Photography has the power of immortalizing the moment and freezing the emotions and this intrigues me very much."
A product of dual heritage, Tamary Kudita was born in Zimbabwe whilst her ancestry can be traced back to Orange Free State, historical Boer state in Southern Africa. She chose to study fine art at Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. There, she graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Subsequently, she established herself in fine art photography thus beginning her artistic career. She maintains an active studio practice and has exhibited in Zimbabwe and outside the country.
"My photography journey started about 4 years ago when I was at university. Our very first project was a type of photography called pinhole photography, which involved using a pinhole tin camera. Unlike digital photography, this technique involved a good deal of manual skill. The characteristic aesthetics of the images made with this type of equipment harmonize perfectly with the old photographic processes. I decided to use this as a steppingstone to branch out into film photography. I was also interested in how the old informs the new so merging antique aesthetics with contemporary ways of making created a new visual language I could explore."
Japanese designer Nozomi Fujii graduated from Shizuoka University Faculty of Agriculture Department of Forest Resource Science in 1999. The technical methods of research she learnt in the university have influenced her current style of ceramic creation. Nozomi's craft focuses on using pottery wheels in her works, is the absolute limitation given by its concentrical movement, which only allows her to shape clays symmetrical.
"The first time I was interested in making ceramics was when I was in college. I was drawn into making my own while traveling across Japan and visited pottery areas on every long vacation. I was convinced that I needed the basic skills, so began my study at a ceramic art school. I came to realize that it suited my temperament, because the attractiveness of ceramic is its eternity, which I can pursue the creation as long as I wish to continue."
As a self-taught artist, all of g-logical's artwork is inspired by music and also from what he sees on an everyday basis, from colour and texture to shape and form. He works in various mediums from screen printing to digital collage work as well as painting and paper collage work.
"I've always been a fan of art and I used to make the artwork for the music that I made, which led me to start to create artwork for various other projects. And after being shown a few simple things in photoshop by a friend, it opened up a whole new world which eventually grew to just making art everyday."
Susan McKinney is a ceramic artist and award-winning designer from Oklahoma. Susan began exploring clay’s materiality in 2008, connecting her passion for inventive design with natural materials. Today, Susan’s work is known for its expressive forms, uniquely woven style, and boundary pushing experimentation.
"I began taking ceramic classes as a way to reconnect with myself as a designer. My first job as an industrial designer involved a lot of computer time and technical constraint and ceramics was a way to be free with form and material."
Andrew Hardy is a painter who grew up in Derbyshire and now lives and works in London. Following a long career as a creative director in the retail design industry, working for many of Europe’s leading retailers and retail branding agencies, he now devotes himself full-time to painting.
"Following a long career as a creative director in the design industry, I now devote myself full-time to painting. In 2019 I graduated from Camberwell College of Arts, London with a BA (Hons) Painting (1st Class) and I currently have a studio at Turps Art School, London where I am participating in their post-graduate painting programme. I started painting at 7 years old influenced by my father but gave it up when I started university and embarked on a 30-year long career as a creative director. Now much later in life I have given up my career to paint full-time."
Bronsin Ablon earned a Bachelors of Industrial Design with Highest Honours from Pratt Institute in 2016. Bronsin believes that handmade and thoughtful design should last generations to come. It is his goal to market products to high-end boutique interior designers and design interested individuals. This design values quality over quantity for an investment in a better aesthetic world.
"As a child I was fascinated with dissembling and reassembling everyday items. Anything I could get my hands on would come apart and go back together again. I applied this excitement towards sculpture and art which evolved into an interest in metal working. The first piece of furniture I build was a decorative welded table with a tile top. The excitement of making something that looked like art but that was also functional piqued my interest in design. The rest is history."
Jarik Jongman trained as an artist at the Art Academy in Arnhem (NL) and worked as an assistant for Anselm Kiefer in France in 1995. His work focuses on philosophical and and conceptual themes. The Amsterdam-based artist is influenced by a variety of artists such as Adrian Ghenie, Daniel Pitin, Gerhard Richter, and Peter Doig to name a few. To Jarik, it is intriguing and surprising to see the how artistic influences amalgamate and fuse into one's own practice.
"I have been drawing and painting from a young age, and I am naturally stimulated because I come from an artistic background. Before going to the art academy, I was designing sweaters with geometrical patterns for a friend's knitting factory. After the academy and working as assistant, I decided I wanted to be a professional artist. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than physically creating something, turning raw materials into something with meaning and beauty."
Dorian Etienne graduated from the Boulle School, combining craftsmanship and design with tradition and modernity. Anchored in near or distant territories, he observes cultures and histories, techniques, and materials. The richness of the world's cultural heritages inspires him throughout his work.
"Well, it took me a while to find the creation path. At the beginning, I simply followed the movement with a 1st year of medicine: why not physiotherapist? Misguided, I realized on the 2nd day that the university where I land is not preparing physiotherapy! 3 months later, I'm 19, I let go. I take my backpack for the other side of the world, for India. This step makes me take a step back. I cultivated my curiosity and my sensitivity there, which brought me to the Ecole Boulle in product design section. I was immediately seduced by the creative power of the school. This emulation strengthens me in the idea that applied art can shape the world, little by little, project by project. Creatives can help us find our place, as a human, as a society, and as an ecosystem."
Born and based in Utrecht, Netherlands, Fieke de Roij specialises in stone sculptures that retain clear and abstract forms. She creates her works intuitively by various combining shapes and materials. Her process involves the search for simplicity, tension, and balance. Her sculptures evoke an atmosphere or association and give room for individual interpretation.
"I have been busy creating things since childhood. After high school I studied to become a teacher in textile arts and handcraft. Later, I wanted to develop my own skills and studied ceramics, modelling, and sculpture. After years of working with all kind of materials, in 1994 I discovered stone sculpting. From that moment my choice was made. Stone is a great source of inspiration. I love the concentration and effort it requires to create. The material that forces you to make choices. In 2019 I celebrated my 25 years of stone sculpting and the many years of teaching."
Painting and drawing have been an integral part of Richard Ketley's life from a very early age. He has a fascination with the formal elements of painting and drawing and is inspired by the world around him. To the South African artist, his art is a search for perfection that is not often found in life. He is inspired by artists who's work embodies engagement with multiple places and painterly traditions; currently, he is most taken by the work of Michael Armitage, Julie Mehretu, and Mark Bradford.
"I have always been immersed in paint and drawing - I still have a huge role of paintings on A0 painting from my under-5 period."
Between sculpture and functional design, Atelier Bam's creations were exposed to several international Art & Design Fair and published by several specialised reviews such as Damn, Icon, and Estadao Casa. With a highly detailed minimalist aesthetic, their creations embrace high-quality materials with a wide diversity of skilled craft techniques.
"I am a woman, mother, Designer, and Executive Director of two awarded firms: Atelier BAM & Bertolucci in São Paulo, Brazil. Before launching the Atelier BAM, I graduated with Honors from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of São Paulo Brazil FAU-USP and was selected for a scholarship by "Fondation de France" to study in Paris. Early into my years, I was involved with my uncle's architect and my father's engineer into a world of creations, practicing paintings, and sculptures at home."
Hazel Wu is a Singaporean interior designer by day and a self-taught artist by night. She works with acrylic and ink on canvas, creating purely abstract works that are intuitive to the current moment when the brush is in her hands. To Hazel, inspiration comes from everywhere, and she often paints vague imagery that stem from her innermost thoughts.
"If you can remember any of your school textbooks, especially the mathematics textbooks, it's just black and white; the formulas, numbers, words are always a blur to me, and I started filling every possible empty space with random strokes with my black pen. By the end of each lesson, one page turned out to be an abstract art piece. I don't really know what I was doing, but the idea of creating without much thought fascinates me."
We have a wide selection of artists from around the world, browse more of our curated art collection here. If you need additional guidance or have specific requirements, get in touch with our expert curators on any page.
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