How I Started My Life as a Self-Taught Artist


When I decided to focus on making collage last year, I asked myself how I can make it in this kind of art world. I knew that entering myself in the art world is tough, as I don’t have any background in art and many experiences dealing with the “art” things. Moreover, I didn’t know many “artist” friends yet here in my town. My life was completely new back in the day.

So, how can I get my art noticed then? This question had been nagging me until then I set up a goal for my first move ahead: to get people’s attention to my works. To accomplish this, I have to explore my skills to stay productive therefore people will recognize my collage.

Started with INSTAGRAM

At that time, I didn’t know what to do first. The only thing that I thought was so important to do is to create an Instagram account for my collage art and reserve the name (Kertasiun) account. I realized that it was a great start when an Indonesian collage colleague told me that there were many people who wanted to name their art page/account as “Kertasiun” but it was already taken by me. Hmm, I don’t know if it’s true but I am so happy that I made the right thing. I never thought that Kertasiun was a premium name.

Having an Instagram account, or other social media/portfolio/web page (or whatsoever it is) will encourage you more to make art and then show it. You don’t want to have an empty account right? Until today, Instagram helps me a lot to grow and explore the world of collage and also the art itself. It has impacted me as a self-taught artist.

I started following many inspiring artists, collectives/groups, galleries, etc. Then I found out about some collage collectives in Barcelona like Societat Barcelonina de Collage and CollagexCollective (I will write about these groups in the next post). Joining them and their fun activities/workshops mean a lot to maintain my enthusiasm because I finally have space to share ideas and the most important is I finally have friends. I am surprised (until today) by all nice positive feedback on my works.

Thanks to Instagram, I also found out about some initiatives and communities like The Collage Garden, Februllage, Paris Collage Collective, Edinburgh Collage Collective, World Collage Atlas, etc. They have many awesome online creative activities that give chances for artists or collage enthusiasts to join them and get featured. This is a great opportunity for me. Then, I started to enjoy and like being more productive in this collage community. It’s full of inspiration and a positive group of people.

Today it’s been almost 2 years and if you ask me if I have reached my goal yet? Well, I don’t know. Maybe I used to call it a goal, but now I more like to call it a “learning process” because in the end it’s not merely to show off my artworks and gain “followers”, it’s more about challenging myself to keep learning and exploring something new every day.

Finally, I have some points to share (also applied to me) if you’re a self-taught artist like me and you’re just starting everything up:

  1. Keep experimenting and exploring your skill to stay productive. Maybe sometimes we have a creative block during making art, but when it comes, stay calm, go out from your studio or get up from your desk, take some tea/coffee, read a book, go to a museum, listen to music, or whatever that refresh your mind and bring back the zeal.
  2. Get active on social media, not only to show off your art but also to know people and share ideas with them. Give comments and or appreciation to other’s works. Engage with your followers, etc. Be social on your social media.
  3. And the most important is to be yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. Learn from others instead.
Keep making!!


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