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Three artists reveal the best and worst things about being a creative

Get inspired by those making it in the arts industry

By Ally Faughnan

Starting out as a creative can sometimes feel like you’re jumping into a large pool of water when you haven’t yet learnt to swim. It can seem intimidating and scary but ultimately, if you are determined and believe in yourself, you can slowly start to find your feet. This journey to finding confidence and creative fulfilment is something that many artists relate to, including the visual artists Von Allin, Kseniya Oudenot, and Diana Chelaru.

These three contemporary artists may all have different creative styles but they each express their individual interests through their work. Von Allin is a minimalist, who works with her feelings, thoughts and situations to create playful pieces of art. Kseniya Oudenot is intrigued by the juxtaposition of time, life cycles and man-made, altered nature, while Diana Chelaru delves into the fragments of femininity and self re-imagination to create her expressionist works.

What brings all these artists together is their mother agency, SOTA. We previously spoke with Roxana Sava, the Founder and CEO, who specialises in guiding artists and is dedicated to female representation in the art world. Today, we dive into the lives of these artists to find out about the best and worst things about being a creative today.

What was the hardest thing about starting out as a creative?

Von Allin: Believing in myself no matter what. There are so many people out there who will try to stop you in one way or another, or to change you. Sticking to my beliefs, not trying to please everyone and simply getting going was especially important in the beginning. I believe that you have to find your own voice and not an echo of someone else’s in order to be happy and successful.

Kseniya Oudenot: Deep inside I wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember, but I was afraid of the fair amount of uncertainty that comes with it. Even though I studied classical painting and drawing for many years, when it came to choosing the profession, I decided to be a designer. Only after receiving success in that field, I finally became creatively confident enough to make the leap into the art world.

Diana Chelaru: I started being creative at an early age in my life, around 10 years old. At that age nothing seemed hard. My art teacher discovered that I have a talent for fine arts, particularly for colours. Since then she always encouraged me and offered me the support I needed to follow this path. My parents though had something else in mind for me. Not having their support in the beginning was the hardest thing in pursuing a creative career. Even though they recognised my talent, it was a tough battle convincing them to let me apply to an art college. With the help of my art teacher though, I was able to convince them that an artistic career was the best thing for me.

“I believe that you have to find your own voice and not an echo of someone else’s in order to be happy and successful” – Von Allin

What motivates you to create?

Von Allin: I’m in a sort of competition with myself. I’m a very competitive person. I always try to give my best. When I look at my work, I ask myself, is that the best way to express it? What could I change? What other ways are there? The process is almost addictive.

Kseniya Oudenot: For me it is the best way of communication. I am a visual person and often struggle at finding ways of expressing myself by means of conversation or even writing, my thoughts have visual and emotional nature, that I find difficult translating into words, it is much easier for me to communicate my thoughts and ideas visually just the way I see them in my head.

Diana Chelaru: I don’t need a motivation to create – it’s a state of mind, it’s part of my life, part of who I am. Looking back, at any point in my life, I remember myself painting, drawing or sketching.

What do you feel is your best achievement so far?

Von Allin: I’m much more confident about what I’m doing then in the beginning. I found my own voice and it is exciting to follow that path

Kseniya Oudenot: Believing that I can do it.

Diana Chelaru: My best achievement so far is to be a 'New York artist'. Having art shows in New York City is something I had never dreamed of when I decided to follow this path.

“Nobody will believe in your talent, in what you do, if you don’t believe in yourself” – Diana Chelaru

What is your favourite thing to do outside of the art world?

Von Allin: I love to be in nature, either a long walk in the woods, skiing in winter or spending the summer at the sea. Every outdoor activity with my family and my dog recharges me.

Kseniya Oudenot: Being with my family, working on new designs and always discovering something new. Climate activism is becoming a big part of me as well.

Diana Chelaru: I love to travel and discover new places, know the history and meet new people.

What advice do you have for other creatives starting out in the industry?

Von Allin: Give your best and don’t listen to the naysayers. Alex Katz said once something like: Do it for six years and see what happens….

Kseniya Oudenot: Nowadays it is very easy to become a victim of the information overload and scattered attention span. So, it is important to know yourself, to find your own niche, understand clearly what it is that you are trying to achieve and to focus on it. I also value artists who are original and don’t follow the mainstream, who embrace their uniqueness and bring a new perspective.

Diana Chelaru: The best advice I could give to someone starting out in this industry, and also something that I try to keep in mind for myself at all times, is to always believe in yourself. Nobody will believe in your talent, in what you do, if you don’t believe in yourself.

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