As an artist, I am inspired by the world around me and I am blessed to live in a place where almost everywhere you look, you can find some form of art staring back at you – from iconic brands to the faded “ghost” signs. Starting as a city known for its steel production, Pittsburgh has become a hub of innovation & culture. Throughout its rich history, you will find a long list of creative minds both past and present, that inspire all artists like me to explore new artistic horizons. Here is a list of six famous artists that call Pittsburgh home.

Andy Warhol

Easily the most well-known artist to emerge from Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol was born in a working-class neighborhood in 1928 and attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology in the mid-to-late 1940s. He then began his professional career as a commercial illustrator in New York City. From there, he became a pioneer in the visual arts with a variety of acclaimed works including his paintings of Campbell’s Soup Cans and Marilyn Diptych.

Baron Batch

Once a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baron Batch retired from football in 2011 and focused on his true passion: art. He started his own company, Studio AM, in the city’s Homestead neighborhood and became known as the “Artist”. Batch’s signature colorful elephant images can be seen all over Pittsburgh, along with uplifting messages like “Don’t be scared, be light” and “You are made for amazing things.” He is also famous for creating the famous mural displayed by the SPACE Pittsburgh art gallery.

Henry Tanner

Tanner was born into one of Pittsburgh’s Underground Railroad sites in 1859, but later moved to Philadelphia and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He would eventually move to France and become not only an internationally-acclaimed artist, but also the first African American to given such an honor. His pieces include “The Banjo Lesson”, “Daniel in the Lion’s Den”, and “The Good Shepard”.

Mary Cassatt

Mary Stevenson Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania in 1844. Determined to become a professional artist, she studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia when she was only 15 years old. She would eventually end her studies and move to France where she spent most of her adult life. There, she became close friends with Edgar Degas, one of the founding fathers of Impressionism, and who inspired her to explore new approaches in art. Her painting often depict the daily lives of women and her most famous pieces including “A Woman and a Girl Driving”, “Mother and Child”, and “The Boating Party”.

Jeremy Raymer

At first, he was a biomechanical and electrical engineer, but after being inspired by pop culture and current events, Jeremy Raymer decided it was time to follow his dreams and pursue a career in art. From there, he became one of Pittsburgh’s famous mural artists, creating vivid pieces through a variety of different mediums. He hopes that his work will act as a guide for people to see something they didn’t think could exist.

Vanessa German

Vanessa German is a self-taught artist who moved to Pittsburgh in early 2000, where she made a name for herself by developing her own unique style by combining unexpected and varied objects to form assertive human figures, often appearing tribal in appearance. She often includes the symbolic use of color throughout her statues and often focuses on the themes of food, birds, violence, injustice, & poverty. She now runs the ARThouse in Homewood, a place where she helps children of all ages discover their own artistic talents and just have fun.

Though all these artists are very different, there is one thing that all they have in common. They were all willing to take risks and go against the norm to find inspiration and expand their creative horizons. Andy Warhol could have chosen to stick with the current trend of design at the time, but instead he chose to take a risk and try something completely different. Baron and Jeremy could have chosen to stay at their original jobs, but they both chose to take a risk and follow their passions for art. Henry, Mary, and Vanessa could have simply stayed within society’s expectations but chose to take a risk and go against what was expected of them. This is why I consider these creative minds to be truly innovative minds who have helped make Pittsburgh the city it is today and serve as inspirations to artists both new and old. If you are someone who has a passion for art and want to enter into its amazing world, I say go for it. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Look for inspiration wherever you can find it. Go to places like Vanessa’s ARThouse or the Andy Warhol museum, read books, or simply get to know interesting people. Your new creative horizon could be just around the corner and with a little determination you could become Pittsburgh’s next big creative mind.