No matter where we live, art has the power to connect all of us.
For this edition of Artists to Watch, we’re featuring the amazing artists that live outside of Austin. In fact, they create all over the world.
During our Call for ART, we asked contributors to explain why they create and whether they are advocating for a specific cause or community.
We received such an overflow of inspiring creations that we had to share them. Read ahead to discover 10 amazing artists that we’re highlighting for this edition’s Artists to Watch. Follow their pages to get updates on their work (and maybe take home an original piece yourself!)
Interdisciplinary artist Julia Brake illustrates, creates comics, sculpts and works with mixed media in Newfoundland, Canada.
“With my artwork I aim to normalize and destigmitize queer relationships, specifically lesbian relationships.
A lot of the art I make portrays the softer, and more domestic and intimate sides of queer relationships that is often lacking in most modern media. I choose to make art like this for not only my own piece of mind, but to bring others members in my community a sense of comfort.”
Claudia Riesgo is a visual artist living in Gijón, Spain, who is constantly practicing new techniques.
“I always have a clear idea of my work as a visual artist, so for these pieces, I studied engraving, stamping and took another three months of ceramics courses. I’m focused on making my style grow and develop, by working on large format and learning more techniques.
I use residues in my artworks because it helps me to form the structure and meaning of them. I want my art to inspire other people to recycle, reuse, and redefine what we understand as “trash” in our society.”
Deborah Neal is currently studying Visual Art and Psychology at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and plans on becoming an Art Therapist.
“My recent work is a part of a collection of pieces that focuses on Mythology (Norse, Greek, and French so far) that I decided to make Black–Black features, Black culture, etc.
I’ve always loved fantasy and mythology, but in the media, I noticed the lack of Black people in the execution of those fantastical worlds. I want my art to be what I couldn’t have and didn’t really have when I was younger.
I know I’m not the first to do this but I chose myths that aren’t immediately thought of when I say “fantasy.” I hope there are people who find my collection comforting and say, “Hey, that goddess looks like me!”
Australian artist Stacey Harley is a self-proclaimed “lactivist.” She’s found a unique way to advocate for breastfeeding, by creating art that shows the true beauty of breastmilk.
“Normalising breastfeeding is why I create. As far as I know, I’m the only breastmilk photographer in the world.
I draw creative inspiration from the magical properties of breastmilk, using it in my art. I paint in water and through photography I am able to capture still images of the graceful fluidity of breastmilk.
My abstract artworks are created using breast milk from women all over the world. I tell their breastfeeding journey through vibrant colours that represent their unique story.
My aim is to normalise demand breastfeeding at any age and anywhere through my photography and my own breastfeeding experiences. My IG feed is a beguiling patchwork of limited edition art, interspersed with breastfeeding facts, quotes, stories and breastfeeding inspiration.”
Printmaker Attri Chetan from Rishikesh, India, has created a series that deals with the lack of space in modern apartment buildings.
“I was born in Gorakhpur (U.P.) India. Art was always there as a part of family and my whole childhood was spent in between these canvases, paper rolls and colors.
My series Enclosures & Openings is a set of 50 works of the same size and colour schemes. My colour palette of yellow and gray represents the dull and bright side of human feeling and emotions.
My work is influenced by the compact and very small apartments which nowadays designers are creating. The interesting thing which attracted me was that even the people who live in those apartments change according to the space. I myself felt that because I was also staying in a very small apartment that my life was very much compact, framed according to the size of openings.
In other ways the size of my feelings changed according to the size of space. I try to always have a photographic stillness in my works, the contrasts inviting, the shadows gloomy in the focused buildings that stand in a line and serve as a powerful metaphor for an apparent cityscape. After all, a rising city transformed from the once lush earth leaves a paradoxical taste in it.”
Alwell Udoh is a Nigerian artist who found that from a young age, art was the only way to express herself, due to her background. She draws her inspiration from African culture and personal life experiences.
“Growing up, I would always stay indoors to prevent people from seeing my face because I wasn’t conventionally beautiful.
So I used to study a lot of books to keep myself busy. And studying made me realize that the world is full of so many opportunities but, I’ll never get those opportunities if I don’t accept myself.
It was only until I started to be myself that my life started getting better, and my dreams became a reality. I started my business against all odds and made it in an industry where people like me rarely made it.
This work celebrates women who didn’t let the toxic beauty standards stop them from being happy and crushing it in life because a woman filled with self-love and self-acceptance is a model more super than any cover girl.
“Irun ori rẹ, ogo rẹ,” which means your hair, your glory. In the Yoruba culture, a woman’s hair is her glory. It’s what makes her beautiful. In fact, people braided their hair to send messages to the gods.
Because of the spiritual importance of hair, during the period of slavery, the Europeans first shaved the slave’s hair to alter the relationship between the African and his or her hair.
This artwork celebrates all those who love and adore their kinky hair despite the insane amount of hair relaxing ads because, at the end of the day, the kinky hair is more educated than the relaxed hair. It’s obedient. Where you put it, it stays. If reincarnation exists, I want to come back black with my kinky hair.”
Sean Taras is a visual artist living and working in San Antonio, TX. His works in ink and watercolor blend images from memory, imagination, and real-world reference to create dreamy, collage-like paintings that can be read and interpreted multiple ways.
“I draw inspiration from music and the natural world and hope to promote a greater appreciation for nature in a time of unprecedented climate crisis.
I create because I have to. As an artist, creating is as important to me as breathing. I draw inspiration from the natural world. I have a great love for trees, plants, and all growing things. As the world faces an unprecedented climate crisis, I think it’s more important than ever to spread a message of love for the natural world and the gifts that it gives us all.”
Adekile Mayowa is a visual artist from Lagos, Nigeria, who creates work to express themself and grow as an artist. I’m submitting these art piece so that the voice of my works can be heard.
“As a visual artist, I work hard to develop drawings that speak to me and to others about the beauty that exists in the ruins of ancient stories.
Part of my ambitions in life is to be a public speaker who inspires others to do better and I believe I can communicate this to my viewers through my drawings. Part of my process before and after I work on a piece of art is to get necessary information concerning the things I intend to pass to my viewers.
I get motivated through reading, listening to songs and watching movies. I do not merely want to capture the image with pencils; rather with careful, colorful strokes, I want to give that society life once more.
I try with every finished work to breathe life into a long forgotten culture so that its designs, ideas, innovations and lifestyle are displayed on my drawings. My greatest motivation is through a belief that I’m called to speak through Visual Art. The thought of adding value to society motivates me. I see my drawings as deep messages to society. My motivation comes from the happenings in the society and the eagerness to address it.”
Pranjit Sarma is a printmaker based in Bangalore, India.
“My works are a metaphoric representation of the social-political chaos of Northeast Indian states realized visually. I tend to portray the superfluous power structure and its effects through the symbolic presentation on the issues related to the innocent inhabitants/ tribes of my land, who have not received judicial proclaim to their problems. Therefore, my works speak loudly about the sufferings of the people tribes from the hegemonic political discourses intending to recover their muted voices.
As an artist, on one hand I tend to follow a documentary approach and psychoanalytic on the other, not to reform the subjects, but to capture it through the printing medium.
My works dwell between the question between various perspectives of the society I belong to and my acceptance of this social perception. These issues are deeply rooted in my psyche which in a way helps me in the process of understanding myself, as the situation of my soil is undergoing through visual imagination.
As brought up by a strong mother, I am so much aware of the emotional, mental stages of childbirth, nourishment and attachment. But at the same time I am also intertwined by the patriarchy of the society we live in. The gender biasness and equality play a dominant role in few of my works to pay homage and gratitude to motherhood which has been overshadowed by patriarchy sometimes.”
Michele Benjamin creates nature-inspired jewelry, including her iconic “bee,” in New York.
“I create jewelry and accessories for fundraising to support causes that provide medicine and housing to the underserved.
My jewelry brand, Michele Benjamin Jewelry, is associated with promoting women’s empowerment, wildlife conservation, and educating youth. Each jewelry design is of heirloom quality and affordably priced. There is special meaning and symbolism associated with each piece.
My love of fine art and the natural environment inspire the concept and creation of these artistic life forms, including bees, butterflies, angelfish, hummingbirds, tortoises, dragonflies, starfish, seahorses, and more.”