Defining the “Emerging Artist”

Since the recent opening of our gallery, we are often asked about the artists we will be featuring. Our response always includes the term, “emerging artists.” This leads to the million-dollar question: what does “emerging artist” mean? Ultimately, there is no exact or singular definition of an emerging artist, we can only define the term as it fits into the context of our gallery. 

According to Abigail Ogilvy, “the term emerging artist is interchangeable with the phrase 'new artist.' The work is not defined by the age of the creator, although we do call it 'young art' - meaning it is new to the contemporary landscape. These artists are passionate about their own body of work and have the freedom to define how they will make their mark in the art world. What is exciting about an emerging artist is that their work today may be very different in five years, ten years, but that is what makes the work emerging is that it is dynamic, constantly evolving, and always growing.” 

We asked a few of our artists to weigh in on the topic:

"Outside the Lines" by Katie Wild
Photo courtesy of 

Katie Wild, considers the act of emerging as transitional. “Emerging artists are typically classified as recent MFA graduates and resolute risk-takers (such as myself) who have snowballing potential but do not yet have a big museum on their Curriculum Vitae.” For Katie, it is the transformation from new artist to an established artist. She continues, “We are the voices of today screaming passionately to all who will listen in hopes of becoming the music of tomorrow.”

"Sway" by Holly Harrison
Photo Courtesy of

Holly Harrison proposes that all artists are emerging in various ways throughout their careers. “Making art can be such a solitary activity,” she says, “so in that sense the process of putting work out into the world is an emergence for every artist, whether they are fully established or just getting started.” 

"Untitled" by Elisa Adams Photo Courtesy of

"Untitled" by Elisa Adams
Photo Courtesy of

Elisa Adams’ view of “emerging artist” has changed overtime. “The first thought I have, when I think of “emerging artist,” is one who creates later in life…but when considered more fully, it really means a space to create art, to grow concepts and to further develop skills.  “ Elisa has been sculpting 3D forms out of stone for eleven years. She still considers herself emerging as she develops new skills each day as her sculptures present new challenges.

Since there is no true definition for the term “emerging artist,” some artists choose not to use any labels when defining themselves or others. Sara Galkin prefers to strip down the labels created by the art market, “As a label I do not consider myself subject to a definition because I am just being me.” 



Wednesday, October 28, 2016: Lacy Tell