How To… Support Emerging Artists with Amber Creswell Bell

Amber Creswell Bell is an art curator, author, lifestyle writer, speaker and all-round creative. With a passion for art, Amber is recognised for championing and educating emerging and unrepresented artists. She is currently the Director of Emerging Art for Michael Reid galleries, curating both the emerging art and ceramics programs. In 2021, Amber established the Morgans Financial National Emerging Art Prize (NEAP) in collaboration with Michael Reid.

What are some of the qualities you look for when discovering talent in emerging artists?
I am always looking for artists who demonstrate a strong sense of who they are and what their style is. In the arts there is always a sense of being ‘inspired’ by other artists, but what I am looking for is an artist who is doing something fresh, with confidence and, importantly, consistency.

Exhibition at the Morgans Financial National Emerging Art Prize

What is some advice you would give to artists who are still in the early stages of their career and are looking to ‘break through’?
Pace yourself and keep practicing every day. A lot of emerging artists are still experimenting with their work but are also very keen to be discovered. I think it’s important not to strive to ‘break through’ before you are really ready for it. As I always say, if you are doing something really great, you will be discovered! In the meantime, keep creating, visit lots of galleries, familiarise yourself with the landscape of other artists, styles, and prices, and know the business of being an artist and your place in that world. Also, it is a very valuable exercise to enter art prizes, I would try entering at least one every year.

If you’re a collector wanting to support emerging artists, where should you start?
What I have come to realise is that there are way more emerging artists than there are ever going to be galleries to show them! But they are out there, producing some wonderful work. Being an artist is precarious and cost prohibitive. Materials are expensive, as is the cost of living, so buying work from emerging artists is very important. They often sell directly from their websites, and most can be found on Instagram. Do a good deep dive here! Also, look out for art school graduate shows which are great sources of new and exciting work, as are art prize exhibitions. And of course, the Morgans Financial National Emerging Art Prize.

What are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in the emerging art world within Australia since establishing NEAP?
I think a lot more commercial galleries are really embracing emerging creatives and integrating them into their stables of artists. The art world has become increasingly decentralised in recent times with more small, niche, and regional galleries opening. Another positive change is the ability for artists to promote themselves online, and sell work directly to collectors. One of the main spin-offs that I have seen from NEAP is very emerging artists being discovered, and their work championed by other artists, press, galleries, and collectors.

Who are some of the artists you’re excited to see during the Sydney Biennale this year?
I think that Elyas Alavi (Hazara, Afghanistan/Australia) and Satch Hoyt (UK/Jamaica) are very exciting and thoughtful artists. Also, the beautiful woodblock prints of Sachiko Kazama (Japan).

Are there any female artists or artists from underrepresented backgrounds who you are interested in right now?
I am currently very into the work of Caroline Zilinsky! Not only is her oeuvre completely unique, her narratives and wit are razor sharp.

With thanks to Amber for her time. See more at and follow her on Instagram at @amber_creswell_bell

Top Image: Amber Creswell Bell. Photographed by Jodie Barker

April 2024