Rachel O’Donnell was born in Dallas, TX and attended a performing arts school where she studied ballet and contemporary dance. “That’s kind of where I thought my creative path was going. Then I ended up taking art classes and really enjoyed it. I had a teacher who said I should pursue this on a professional level.”
Empowering Artists for Success
NOT REAL ART Announces Its 2020 Grant Recipients: Breaking News
It’s the kind of news everyone wants to receive at least once in their life – getting the news “you won!”. Today, six visual artists are about to get such positive news as they read this piece to learn they are the recipients of the 2020 NOT REAL ART Grant.
NOT REAL ART aspires to honor artists invaluable contributions to human culture by empowering their careers in meaningful, thoughtful and relevant ways. As an organization, NOT REAL ART exists to celebrate and elevate creative culture by empowering artists, helping artists tell their stories and promote their art.
About The Grant
NOT REAL ART: The Grant is a $12,000 annual award designed to empower the practice of emerging contemporary artists. Launched in 2019, grant recipients are announced in Los Angeles at the NOT REAL ART: The Conference. If you're an emerging contemporary artist, be sure to apply to win our grant in 2020!
More Than Money
We don't just give our grant winners money and say goodbye. NOT REAL ART Grant winners get a platform and community to tell their stories and promote their work. We feature our winners on our podcast, we interview them and create feature articles about them on our blog. And, we curate an art exhibition featuring their art work!
Meet The 2019 Winners
Meet our 2019 Grant Recipients
2019 Grant Recipients
- Tayla Coviello
- Marguerite Kalhor
- Beth Abaravich
- Edmund Arevalo
- Juliana Bustillo
- Karen Fiorito
- Jessie Noguchi
- Rachel O’Donnell
- Maria Belseiro
- Eben Eldridge
- Monica Leal Cueva
- Anthony Louis-Just
It was early morning in Japan when Jessie Noguchi called in for the interview. She was visiting her family there, following the loss of her grandmother who deeply influenced her life and her art. “My grandmother had an eye for art and she knew what she liked. It always came from her soul and not because the painter was famous or anything like that. In February 2018, before my grandmother passed away, she requested that I do something to express myself to the world because she knew that I am the kind of person who is still dreaming of things I want to do. So I started posting Instagram photos and also digital paintings and paintings on canvas.”
Thony Loui was born and raised in Haiti and always knew he would be an artist. “I loved art, but I didn’t get serious until I was in high school when I made a logo for a famous local band.” This brush with fame wouldn’t be Loui’s last. In 2018, he was commissioned by Conan O’Brien to paint Conan’s portrait on the back of one of Haiti’s tap-tap buses. “He gave me 24 hours to do the painting on the tap-tap bus, which I did!”
Monica Leal Cueva was born in Mexico City and grew up in Monterrey, Mexico. After relocating to Los Angeles twelve years ago, she found it challenging to adapt and suffered bouts of anxiety and depression. Sometimes, her anxiety was such that she couldn’t do everyday tasks like go to the grocery store. Taking art classes and working at an art studio “changed everything,” shared Leal Cueva.
Marguerite Kalhor grew up in Roseville, CA, a small suburban town outside of Sacramento, complete with rural farmland, tract homes, and a mall. In high school, Kalhor was considered weird for making art. When Kalhor learned that she had won the Not Real Art grant, she was “stoked.”
Karen Fiorito is no stranger to being different and in full view. Her controversial ‘Trumpocalypse’ billboard in downtown Phoenix gained international media attention. In high school, she was bullied for standing out. “I was kind of punk rock. Kids would pick on me because I was different and looked different.”
Eben Eldridge is a painter, a musician, and a preschool teacher who says his duty to the kids is to teach them the basics, the “straight-up, social-emotional reality.”
Maria Delvs is a newcomer to L.A., but certainly not to the art scene. The daughter of an oil painter, Delvs’ first memories as an artist began in her childhood home in Miami, Florida. She says, “The best thing about being an artist is channeling myself through my hands. You can’t buy that. You can’t make that. Nobody can take that from you. No matter what you have or don’t have financially, you always have that.”
Talya Covello was born and raised in Culver City, California. While in film school, she discovered that she naturally gravitated towards production design because she “liked that whole aspect of building worlds.” But, production design didn’t fully engage her artistic expression and she had always liked photography, a talent her father recognized in her early on. “He knew I was going to be a photographer. He always told me, ‘follow my heart, do what you need to do.’”
Bustillo describes her art as abstracted cityscapes, doodles, with an anything goes motto. “Because when it’s anything goes, you can MacGyver the sh**t out of it!”
Edmund Arevalo is not a typical Filipino artist – they like to do portraits and they think art is about beauty. But to me, I look at art differently. Art doesn’t have to be beautiful to be art. “The best thing about being an artist is having the freedom to say what you want to say on the canvas.”
Beth Abaravich is a working artist focused on bridging fashion and sculpture. “The best thing about being an artist is having a voice that is completely unique.”
Apply for The 2021 Grant
NOT REAL ART: The Grant is a $12,000 annual award designed to empower
the practice of 6 contemporary artists, each of whom receive $2,000.
Click the button below to apply for the 2021 Grant. We’ll post important additional details and updates about the grant in January 2021.
We Celebrate and Elevate our Grant Winners...
On October 16, 2019, the winners of NOT REAL ART: The Grant showcased new work at Art Share LA in DTLA. Over 200 people attended the event and many art works were sold. It was a great night for our winners, many of whom it was their first professional art show.