Young Guns 16: Sasha Arutyunova
By Brett McKenzie Posted on Nov 01, 2018
Showcasing the incredible winners of Young Guns 16
After months of decisions, discussions and debate, The One Club For Creativity is thrilled to unveil the winners of Young Guns 16! These 30 art directors, illustrators, filmmakers, photographers and designers of all types stood above all in this career-making, globe-spanning portfolio-based competition.
Ahead of the Young Guns 16 Ceremony + Party taking place on November 15, we are shining a spotlight on the various superstars who will be honored that evening.
What does winning this award mean to you?
This is my first time entering and an incredible surprise to be selected! I’m deeply grateful to my friend Joao Canziani, an artist who I’ve learned so much from over the years, for nominating me. It’s an honor to be included among such a long lineage of creative people making it happen.
It’s not easy to be a successful creative. What sorts of challenges have you encountered to get where you are today?
Although photography has been my life since I was a teenager, early on, it was a struggle to grow the confidence to share my book with editors and go after the work I wanted more aggressively. My creative community was an incredible motivator, with close friends pushing me with support and reminders that I’ve long been ready. That made a huge difference.
Frustratingly, race and gender remain to be a barriers of entry into higher level commercial work. While I benefit from the privilege of being a white person in a still unjustly white-centric art world, new organizations which push gatekeepers to consider female identifying photographers and photographers of color at the forefront are a huge help to the entire industry (and the world at large). The work around improving representation across race and gender in photography is starting to happen more consistently, it just can’t stop.
How did you decide what to enter into Young Guns? Was it a challenge to curate yourself?
It was exciting to get to share a breadth of work over six different projects; I felt that I had the room to showcase both my strengths and interests, from personal work to commercial.
Can you name any past Young Guns winners who you look up to, whose work you admire or are even inspired by?
My friends Cait Opperman (YG15) and WSDIA (YG5) exhibit an incredible combination of talent and drive that is a consistent inspiration.
What keeps you going, creatively speaking?
Looking ahead and pushing myself to always be growing. Photography has always been a language through which I could reflect on and make sense of the time I’m inhabiting and dive deeper. As I develop as a person, I’m excited for the work to follow suit.
Now that you’re a Young Guns winner, what’s next?
I’ll be working towards releasing my family work in book form, pursuing more commercial clients and hopefully starting some new projects.
The Young Guns 16 Ceremony & Party takes place on Thursday, November 15 in New York City.