We’re looking towards the future with our brand new mentorship program, ART Ahead.

Our ART Ahead Accelerator provides resources, opportunities and a stable, community-driven support system that focuses on collaboration and personal growth.

Since April, we’ve been working closely alongside six talented, emerging artists to take them to the next level of their creative careers.

Throughout the 3 month program, we’re covering technical skills, going on field trips and inviting experts in the community to cover specific topics, like gallery representation and contracts.

We’re trying to fill the gaps in knowledge that some artists miss, either because the resources were not accessible, unavailable or they simply did not know where to start.

This initial launch is in partnership with Mighty Swell for their Give-Back Program. For the duration of the ART Ahead Program, Mighty Swell is donating $1 from every sold case of their “Keep It Weird” spiked seltzer to help fund ART Ahead.

Get to know the ART Ahead creators better! Read about their journeys below.

Photo Credit: Javier Gonzales, @javi_glz

Rhea Pirani dabbles in a variety of mediums, from digital illustration to embroidery.

“I am inspired by nature and my spirituality, but mainly I draw inspiration from my own journey of growth as an artist and find empowerment in speaking about and sharing my art with others.

I try my best to create everything at the highest quality possible and especially love incorporating bold colors, balance, and mystical elements in my work.

My passion for art comes from a place of spirituality, healing, and empowerment for myself and others.

I am inspired by my hopes of making big and small waves of positive impact on my community. I am also inspired by wild women, enchanting mountains, the phasing moon, the flow of water, and my personal life experiences of being a South Asian-American Woman.”

Photo Credit: Javier Gonzales, @javi_glz
Dancing in the Street

Brittnee Lavender creates bold collages that celebrate unsung bodies and figures.

“My collages are a tribute to what once was in a more romanticized, joyous point of view. I’m tryint to uplift uncommon vintage images of people of color in an effort to make them more common to the masses.

Right now I’m focused on building out collections and building more resources of imagery too. I want vintage imagery of people of color to be more accessible than it is.

I collage most right now, but I also sketch mixed media portraits. I’m still figuring out how to integrate that side of my art too. As a creative, I want to be able to be able to smoothly showcase more than one facet of what I do.”

Photo Credit: Javier Gonzales, @javi_glz
Divine Feminine

Felipe Gomez’s massive wood sculptures are layered with intricate laser-cut imagery.

“I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but have been in the U.S. for 20 years. After quitting my job two years ago and pursuing art I have been hyper-focused on my sculptural wood-layered pieces, oil painting, and murals.

I laser-cut 1/8 inch panels of birch and layer them together to create a cohesive image. They are very unique and tell a story in and of their own.

I try to mix my painting, drawing, and wood skills to create something very unique that people don’t see very often. I use a laser cutter to cut my sheets of wood, use stain, and paint to create different effects. I try to always reuse different slabs of wood that I have and try to make smaller pieces out of scraps.”

Photo Credit: Javier Gonzales, @javi_glz

Hailey Gearo is an abstract expressionist painter that uses bright colors, lots of texture, abstract movements, and sometimes glitter.

“I am obsessed with chaotic colors and texture. My goal is to express my emotions and current reality. My paintings show me at my most vulnerable to hopefully allow people to see a part of themselves or get lost in the details.

Creation was not something I chose, it’s some thing that comes naturally from me.

Art and creative play in general are my freedom. It is a healthy way to work out emotions and to meditate.

To be a creator you have to sacrifice being understood, your time, and the classic blood, sweat, and tears. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

Photo Credit: Javier Gonzales, @javi_glz
Saguaro Blooming

Ben Stallman wants you to pay attention to woodburning and what is possible with the art form.

“My art path has been a real winding road. I have a degree in Studio Arts focused on drawing and have been illustrating for years, since I was a four year old with an easel painting diligently while my little brother ran laps around me.

Wood burning has become my primary love for years now though, picking up from a tattoo artist I went to at the time.

I have done everything from brewery and corporate signage, wedding gifts, museum items, coffee tables, and maps. I am at my happiest pushing the boundaries of wood burning to see how a new technique might play out, or a new type of wood or medium might translate.”

Photo Credit: Javier Gonzales, @javi_glz

Cryptic Enigma is a painter known for his quick brushstrokes and graffiti-inspired paintings.

“I’m originally from Texas, but moved to Austin in 2018 to pursue my creative energy through colorful, surreal, and bold natural themed styles.

I grew up with a passion for creating visual art using non-traditional and sustainable materials. I think anything can be a canvas. It’s up to you to use what’s available.

I am constantly experimenting and creating through different and new mediums but currently, I’m focused on making murals.”


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