Mia Kaplan, "Green Flash," oil on canvas, 12 x 24 in. Photos courtesy Ann Connelly Fine Art.

Up-and-coming Louisiana artists to have on your radar

The life of an artist is rarely what the movies would have us believe. Long mornings on the veranda with brush and palette in hand? A studio filled with latticed windows and neat piles of pigment? Try long days in the schoolroom or office, then long nights in a spare bedroom thrifted into a studio, littered with paint blotches and the scent of linseed oil. Even so, the results of this oft-grueling existence have produced some of the finest artists Louisiana can claim—and more are always on the way.

“Being an artist is one of the hardest jobs there is,” says Chelsea Norris, co-director at Ann Connelly Fine Art. “You have to be passionate, of course, but you still need to have an understanding of business and partnerships and timelines. And even the most successful and talented artists usually have a day job that supports them.”

Which is why, when Norris states that artists in Louisiana match up to the highest caliber of creatives at national and international art shows, we should all start paying more attention. To dig a little deeper into new and evolving artists in the regional art scene, we spoke with Norris about three in particular whose work showcases the talent and variety on our own swampy shores.

“Oyster and Citrine, the Manifestation of Joy and Overcoming,” 2020, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 in.


With mystical imagery on the borderland between light and dark, fantasy and reality, Buccere, who also works as an art teacher in Zachary, was discovered by Ann Connelly Fine Art back in 2015 during Art Melt, where her esoteric works in oil, acrylic and pastel were awarded the Ann Connelly Fine Art Award.

“Megan’s work was progressive—honestly more progressive than what we could include in our gallery at the time, but she has this beautiful style with botanicals and stayed in touch with us,” says Norris. “She came in to have her work framed one day and we reconnected. When we featured her work last Christmas, it sold out immediately. She also makes this ‘Obsidian Oracle Deck’ of cards which is really beautiful—the paintings used to make the cards are what we sell. They’re gouache paintings–delicate and gorgeous.”


“all the hope i had,” 2020, acrylic on hexagonal panel, 20 x 17 x 2.75 in.


In quirky and colorful style, Chambers—who was also discovered via Art Melt—creates paintings in acrylic, gouache, pen, ink and monotype that embody a storybook quality both cute and mature, crafting scenes set in the natural world that beg for deeper analysis.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but consultancy is a fairly large part of what we do here at the gallery, helping to select art for corporate environments in hospitality or healthcare, for example. We’ve involved Chambers in that before and he really knocked it out of the park,” says Norris. “He’s a young teaching artist in Shreveport with an MFA from here in the state and his wife has a degree in theatre, so the language you see in his work serves a narrative purpose. Everything is symbolism for him, from aspen trees as a symbol of wisdom to water as a source of new ideas.”


“Tennesse’s Violets,” 2016, wall assemblage, 29 x 26 x 5 in.


A painter and sculptor with a degree in drawing and printmaking from the Memphis College of Art, as well as a master’s degree in progress in architecture from Loyola University, Mia Kaplan has been a presence in the art world for a number of years, but in such different forms that it wouldn’t be surprising to mistake each era of her work as belonging to a different artist altogether. From mashland landscapes to abstracted floral sculptures and figurative experimentations, Kaplan’s work continues to draw admirers from several different fields.

“She’s a more established artist, but she is so multifaceted and constantly evolving,” says Norris. “She started her career in sculpture—you may recognize her ‘swamp flowers’ in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s Poydras Corridor. Then she moved onto painting, and then her master’s. That’s why I continue to call her an emerging artist, because she’s constantly on the precipice of doing her next big thing.”

Are there any local artists that you’re keeping an eye on? Share their names in the comments below.