Finding it difficult to separate herself from her art, Gentian Osman has been conceptualising her work around her love for nature from the age of three. The Trinidadian-born artist credits her move to the US as the pathway that allowed her to experiment with new media in unconventional ways, conducive to the development of her current organic-inspired contemporary aesthetic.

Now at the age of 35, Osman has garnered international acclaim for her impressive variety of artistic techniques and styles, ranging from dark conceptual portraiture to intricate contest-winning pattern work. As a full-time freelance artist living and working in Seattle, her current professional freedom seems to align well with her free-flowing creativity.

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Self portrait
Gentian Osman (2013)

Varala Maraj: How did your art career begin?

Gentian Osman: Like most artists, I’ve been into art since I was really young. It just came naturally to me and my family really fostered my talent. My aunt, Charmaine Rahaman-Sieusankar, who currently teaches Art at Naparima Girls’ High School in Trinidad, was also an artist and she introduced me to several types of art.

‘Untitled’ from ‘Self portrait series’
Gentian Osman (2006)
Gesso on photographic print

Later on, I did O’Level and A’ Level Art in high school in Trinidad and I did well in my exams so I was able to continue my education. I chose to do Printmaking at The Atlanta College of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, [now called Savannah College of Art and Design – Atlanta Campus]. After that, I did my masters degree in Fine Art at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Cranbrook, Michigan. Now I’m a full time freelance artist, living in Seattle, Washington.

L: Scotch tape dress installation created at Cranbrook Academy of Art. R: Close up of installation.
Gentian Osman (2004)
Hand-punched Scotch tape

VM: What kind of artist do you consider yourself to be?

GO: [She pauses and laughs] For a while I did a lot of installation art but after graduating from university, I shifted my focus to illustration. I suppose my work is along the lines of contemporary art, at this point. But, I don’t have a definite box or exact category… I’m a painter, illustrator and photographer.

Winning image of the “pattern-themed” 2013 ‘Copic Cover Contest’
Gentian Osman (2012)
Copic marker on Strathmore Mixed Media Paper
Image used for Copic’s ‘Figure Drawing Wallet Set’
Gentian Osman (2013)
Copic marker on Strathmore Mixed Media Paper

Read the full interview exclusively on ARC.

Wall artwork from the ‘Growths’ series.
Gentian Osman (2005)
Acrylic 3D paint
'Hummingbird'Gentian OsmanPrismacolor pencils on aquaboard(2013)
Gentian Osman (2013)
Prismacolor pencils on aquaboard

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This content was originally created for ARC Magazine. Read the full interview at ARC.