Am I Really an Artist?

Am I Really an Artist?
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Am I Really an Artist?

How do I know whether I am a real artist? Am I good enough to enter a competition? Questions like these can trouble talented though developing youth artists. In 2021, Alyssa Pinder won the Grand Prize in our youth Art From The Heart competition for Fading Waters, a seascape featuring a mother and baby sea turtle in a threatened marine environment. 


Artist, Alyssa Pinder

Artist, Alyssa Pinder | Photo: Joy Sweeting


Alyssa’s visual gifts emerged at thirteen years of age when an older sister left for college, and she inherited a stash of art supplies. Alyssa began sketching the Animé characters she loved, and soon realised that she had an ability to draw. “Until then, I didn’t see myself as having a gift. I just thought I worked hard.” The homeschooled teen began a largely self-taught journey of instruction via YouTube and downloaded articles. In her spare time, Alyssa followed Korean Web Toons, captivated by their deep themes and gorgeous illustrations. 


Alyssa Pinder's Desk at Home

Alyssa's Desk at Home, Featuring a Korean Web Toon inspired illustration


But Alyssa knew she was missing important art foundations. For all her best efforts, it was difficult to grasp key principles like proportion. So she asked her mother, Catherine, to support her enrollment at UB’s Summer Art Camp. There, under the mentorship of Antonius Roberts and Keisha Oliver, she began to experience key breakthroughs. Through peer exchanges, she learned the value of constructive criticism. And by the end of her first summer workshop, she won a UB drawing and painting award for an imaginative depiction of A Forest At UB


Alyssa’s award-winning piece for the UB summer workshop

Alyssa’s award-winning piece for the UB summer workshop


Although Art Camps sharpened her technical skills, Alyssa remained unsure about how to find her way into the larger art community. “I thought maybe I wasn’t good enough. My family and I were the only ones judging my work.” 

So Alyssa began exploring online opportunities, and in 2019 discovered the first Furniture Plus Art From The Heart competition. She entered and placed third that year in her age group. By the time she entered our second competition, Alyssa had clarified her goals. 

Now exploring the possibility of a career in graphic design, illustration, or architecture, she sought the challenge of painting outside her comfort zone.  “When you work for others, you have to be able to execute what they want you to design. This competition gave me that opportunity.”

 Alyssa’s Animé-inspired drawings

Illustrations below:  Alyssa’s Animé-inspired drawings

Krystynia Lee d’Arville, our Furniture Plus Art From The Heart Coordinator, found Alyssa’s story remarkable.  “Alyssa embodies the core values of our Plus Art and Culture program, which offers opportunities for artistic recognition, development, and empowerment to Bahamian youth. Her journey demonstrates how rearing young people with a strong growth mindset pushes them to explore their potential. It also confirms that young people deserve access to art supplies, mentorship, and a supportive art community.”

Alyssa encourages other youth artists to participate in challenges like Art From The Heart. 


It is really worth going into these competitions. You can find out right then and there if your art is really worth something. When you realise that other people actually like your art, that’s a really good feeling.” 

Alyssa Pinder



After winning Art From The Heart Alyssa entered a Central Bank Art Competition. She also attended a Summer Arts Immersion program at ICE, The Incubator for Collaborative Expression. ICE is the brainchild of Bahamian icon, Antonius Roberts. It’s a vibrant studio space for emerging artists located on B.A.I.C. grounds in central Nassau. 


Photo: Joy Sweeting

Photo: Joy Sweeting

Alyssa credits community art competitions with providing her with a sense of credibility. “Being able to enter and win an art competition definitely helped improve my self-confidence as an artist. It made me feel my art is actually worth something. It has also motivated me to promote my own art in the country, and find opportunities to sell my work. I recently exhibited my work at a Soundwaves pop-up at Hillside House.”

Alyssa is currently planning to pursue an Associate’s degree in Arts at the University of The Bahamas. Inventor Thomas Edison once said, “Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration.” We believe that cultivating successful youth artists invites collaboration with other stakeholders--parents, schools, and the arts community--through programs like Art From The Heart.  

Our third competition launched on June 5, 2023 with the theme, Transforming the Nation: The Next 50 Years.  

Here are some ways to show your support:

  • Review our gallery of past winners
  • Share the details with your child’s school or after-school program
  • Discuss the idea of envisioning our national future with your family 
  • Support a young artist with fresh art supplies 
  • Invite a talented young person to enter the competition
  • If you’re working in the arts, reach out to us to collaborate on a job-shadow day exposing youth artists to exciting visual arts careers. 

For more information, email



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