Savanah Forte: “I’m able to experiment and create in my own little world”
Exposed meets the modern-day makers plying their trades in the Steel City. Spread out across art, music, film, theatre, clothing, photography and more – we find out what makes these local creatives tick.
I love the fact that every commission portrait I do is personal for the customer. The photos of their loved ones are immortalised in a piece of art.
Savanah Forte is a 25-year-old Fine Art graduate from Leeds Arts University. Now based in Sheffield, Savanah specialises in photorealistic images of people and pets created using a variety of mediums, mainly Copic markers and Prismacolour pencils.
As often is the case, it wasn’t a straightforward journey from higher education into dream creative job after leaving uni. “I’ve always loved to draw,” she says. “However, a lack of money and the urge to go travelling landed me in a call centre. This was meant to be short-term, but two years later I was still there. I had people constantly telling me I was wasting my talent, yet the thought of leaving a reliable steady income held me back.”
For many creatives, the myriad effects of lockdown – being furloughed from day jobs, the removal of wider life distractions, an increase in personal time and space – despite the clear challenges posed, also provided a welcome period of reflection and the space to recharge the batteries. Looking to fill the newfound spare time in a productive manner, Savanah began to do a few portraits for friends using biro and pencil, which eventually led to some commission work. Things quickly escalated and the orders began to multiply as the months passed, a period of success that left the artist with a decision to make once furlough came to an end: return to the repetitive daily grind, or build on recent accomplishments and start up her own art business?
Deciding that life is too short, Savanah chose the latter. Today, just over a year down the line, the artist has her own studio with Yorkshire Artspace and tells us she is relishing every minute. “I am lucky enough to be my own boss and create illustrations for a living; I go to the studio where I’m able to experiment and create in my own little world. I’m so grateful that at a time where life was so dark, I managed to turn it into something positive and life-changing.”
Hear from more Sheffield makers and creatives here