Although a child of the Internet, Minted is now more than 12 years old. (Only a year younger than Twitter, and three years older than Pinterest!) An early pioneer of the crowdsourcing model, founder Mariam Naficy’s original concept was to find hidden creative talent around the world and launch a digital marketplace that supplied exactly what aesthetically minded customers wanted by allowing the public to vote for their favorite artworks. In the more than a decade since, Minted has shipped art prints, stationery, and even artful lampshades to over 40 million homes, and it represents independent artists and designers hailing from more than 100 countries (who can use the Minted platform as their online store in addition to entering monthly challenges). Amid the now thousands of products, it’s easy to get lost in the mix and lose sight of the fact that each piece is the handicraft of an everyday maker. Getting to know the creatives behind those dazzling colors and lively lines, however, will make your decision much easier. Meet six of the platform’s emerging artists.
The Palette Seeker
The backstory: Having made the leap to full-time artist and textile designer in 2013, Cait Courneya develops liquid abstractions in earthy hues from her studio in Minneapolis (a city she lauds for its collaborative community of female entrepreneurs). The impetus for her work is discovering an enthralling color scheme “out in the world” and translating this palette into minimalist compositions with a fine balance between pigment and negative space.
The feeling: “I want my artwork to evoke calm and reflection for the viewer. When balance is achieved, the viewer will feel joy, calm, and comfort,” says Courneya.
The Botanical Expressionist
The backstory: Based in Oakland, California, Fernanda Martinez draws on her Mexican heritage for her vibrant, floral works, noting her early exposure to regional embroidery and printed textiles as a touchstone of her energetic style. Martinez keeps a “spontaneous sketchbook” on hand as ideas emerge, later translating the best compositions and shapes to larger canvases in a methodical, color-focused manner.
The feeling: “Through my work I aim to inspire people to believe in beauty, to be curious about exploring new narratives, and to pay attention to the details,” explains Martinez.
The backstory: An art director at Variety, Brooklyn-based designer Elliot Stokes has won a bevy of Minted competitions thanks to his charming illustrations and paper collages. He describes his process as repetitively scribbling ideas until the lines work, then piecing together multiple iterations to develop the most striking (yet simple) composition possible.
The feeling: Says Stokes: “So much inspires me—the thrilling parts of life and the boring parts. I love making images that delight me and other people.”
The Pattern Spotter
The backstory: Brazilian pattern designer Bethania Lima worked for nearly 20 years as an economist before acquiring additional degrees in graphic design and surface pattern design that resonated with her creative side. Now based in Santiago, Chile, Lima looks to nature and urban architecture as starting points, driven by an underlying impulse to continually ask, What happens if? Her resulting creations are textured, graphic, and full of traces of the artist’s hand.
The feeling: “Patterns to make you feel at home. Welcome,” says Lima.
The Landscape Dreamer
The backstory: Ventura, California–based photographer Kamala Nahas started filling up rolls of her mother’s Kodak 110 film camera with shots of clouds at age 7. However, she didn’t make the leap to taking photos as a full-time pursuit until a family road trip to Arizona’s Antelope Canyon, where with a brand-new camera in hand, she was spurred to master the technical knowledge necessary to launch her own portrait and event photography business. After learning about Minted via a friend’s holiday card, Nahas gathered up the courage to submit her works to a design challenge in 2014, and has been sharing her abstracted natural landscapes ever since.
The feeling: “I really love the idea of my work bringing a feeling of peace and calm to family spaces,” says Nahas.
The Film Roll Explorer
The backstory: Photographer Arash Fattahi Acosta finds inspiration in everything from national socio-politics to football jerseys to the red-brick favelas of his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela. Working in photography and cinematography across TV, music videos, fashion, and film, Acosta found his signature style by inspecting the ends of film negative strips found in the trash bins of darkrooms. Drawn to the unintentionally striking qualities of these discarded remnants, he began to re-create the effects on unexposed film, which struck a chord with the voters of several Minted abstract art challenges.
The feeling: “Art is about sharing points of view, thoughts, feelings, and memories. I hope my art interacts with other objects in your homes in a way that connects my worldview with yours,” states Acosta.
If these six talents are any indication, art remains the most human way to connect people across continents and cultures—on the Internet and beyond.
More art ideas to cure blank-wall blues:
Amazon Low-Key Has a Great Art Collection—Here’s Our Edit
Are Posters the New Wall Art? According to MoMA, They Might Be
12 Colorful Abstract Prints That Will Saturate Your Space