The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.


Today’s featured artist:  Jasmin Shah

“A painting is a friggin’ dream,” says Emmett, 15, who has been painting since he was 5. He says painting makes him feel.

Emmett’s paintings are displayed in every nook and against most walls in his parents’ house, and he also donates a lot of his work to charity, which he says feels good. The day I visited, Emmett’s dad, Paul, assisted him in prepping the paints, asking what method he had in mind so he could put them in the correct pan. As the Beatles played in the background, Emmett declared the color and method and began his magical process. The paintings have so many layers and methods. Emmett sometimes uses the roller without a brush on it to create lines.

He has taken art at school, but most of his technique has come through tips from an uncle who’s also a painter and incredible support from his parents. Emmett told me his painting titled “Like Me” is very magical to him. (Emmett with the B/W painting.) Paul added that one day they were at the Art Institute and saw the work of Franz Kline. Emmett said, “He paints like me.”

After working on his painting for a little while, with no hesitation, Emmett stood up and said, “All done.”

Check him out @emmettkyoshiart

More about this entire project:

Emmett is one of over 60 people I have photographed and interviewed for my documentary photography project, Reintroducing America. After the pandemic hit and the social, racial, and religious divisions in our country became apparent, I began traveling the US, meeting strangers, and recording their stories. Creating this body of work serves two purposes: first, to preserve my own mental health by maintaining human connections. Second, in the professional traditions of Studs Terkel and Robert Frank, my project combines oral history and documentary photography to create a record of ordinary Americans’ responses to these extraordinary times.

As I traverse the country from Los Angeles to Memphis, Minneapolis to Santa Fe, I’ve found themes of resilience and hope, grit and rebirth. Those themes are united under an umbrella of optimism, which is at the heart of my project.

The daily news cycle can be upsetting and distressing, which is why Reintroducing America was built on a foundation of optimism. This work serves as a reminder to Americans and the rest of the world that as a nation, our country can still stand united, instead of falling divided.

Since beginning the project in August 2020, I’ve posted the work on Instagram, and the comments and questions have shown that people are curious about one another. I’m utilizing social media to spark dialogues, and my work is helping people ask questions and find common ground. I’ve also built an interactive website with a map of my travels and a list of photos by state. I envision the project culminating with a traveling exhibit and book.


To see more of this project, click here.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.


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