In a previous article, Best Up and Coming Artists In DFW, a few local artists were featured. Now, progressive artists are the focus of this article, asking the reader to look at themselves and their surroundings as artistic creations. Here’s a list of the five best up-and-coming artists in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Melissa Ybarra poses in front of one of her many works of art (Courtesy of Melissa Ybarra)

Melissa Ybarra

Inspired by an aunt who did toy and graphic design, Melissa Ybarra picked up her aunt’s flair for design and found that she enjoyed exploring the colorful process of creating. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in general studies with a focus in communications from the University of Kansas, Ybarra’s favorite thing to do was design the brochures and flyers for her job at the YMCA. So she decided to pursue her passion further and earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a focus in graphic design from the Art Institute of Dallas. Fresh out of the Art Institute, Ybarra designed packaging for home goods products for JC Penney. She then wanted to work on surface design and create her own style so she decided to go to the Surtex trade show in New York and display her portfolio. She jumped into full-time self-employment and has licensed her artwork to Windham Fabrics for the past three years as well as a line of dinnerware and stationery to other companies. You can find her dinnerware designs reach as far as the United Kingdom. She also contributed stationery and giftwrap here in the States at department stores like Target, and tea towels and aprons at Nordstrom.

Abi Ferrin (Courtesy of Abi Ferrin)

Abi Ferrin

Abi Ferrin creates a different kind of art in that it’s something to be worn. Her designs are made for women of all shapes and sizes. Her versatile and sophisticated fashions make women feel confident with fit and comfort as key components of her style. Born in Jackson Hole, WY, young Abi began sewing at the tender age of five and won a sewing competition at age 13. Ferrin doubled majored in broadcast journalism and international government, moved to Washington, DC and worked for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. A move to Hollywood, working with Paramount Pictures rekindled her childhood hobby and Ferrin started designing. Named Texas’ Next Top Designer with a placement of her fashion designs at Stanley Korshak gave her the boost she needed (along with a year of free design space). Ferrin just opened her flagship store in Dallas’ West Village at the end of March.

Lucrecia Waggoner (Courtesy of Patron Magazine)

Lucrecia Waggoner

Lucrecia Waggoner discovered ceramic arts at the tender age of seven while visiting the Museo de Antropologia museum in Mexico. Her passion for pottery art grew and she found herself enrolling in ceramics courses across Europe. While enrolled at the Parsons School of Design in New York, Waggoner met her mentor, porcelain artist Heidi Loewen, who inspired her to become a professional artist. Waggoner implements various materials in her contemporary work including 22k gold, palladium and copper. Waggoner says the inspiration for her work comes from things that she sees everyday and what she sees when she is far away. Her vertical installations truly make you look at pottery from a different angle.

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Ryder Richards (Credit, Robin D. Everson)

Ryder Richards

A world-traveler known for his artistic collaborations, Ryder Richards was born in Roswell, NM and earned his master’s of fine arts from Texas Christian University. Richards has studied art across the United States as well as in Italy, Spain and Germany. Richards opened and ran two alternative art galleries in Lubbock, while also serving as an instructor and gallery coordinator for Richland College in Dallas. As a co-founder of the Ryder Jon Piotrs Nomadic Gallery (a traveling art gallery on a 24-foot Ryder moving truck), Richards, along with Culture Laboratory (a collective of 12 American artists spread across the United States), brings social development of art and ideas to the public. A progressive artist combining painting, drawing and architectural design, Richards oftentimes makes us laugh as well as feel uncomfortable as his art is a social experience that stirs deeply hidden thoughts and feelings within those who view his pieces.

Val Curry (Courtesy of Val Curry)

Val Curry

A child of the late 70s, Val Curry grew up in rural Illinois. He has been a Dallas-area resident for over 20 years earning a bachelor of fine arts from Texas A&M University at Commerce, and is currently working on his master’s in fine arts from the University of Texas at Dallas. Curry studied under Randall Garrett while attending the Dallas County Community College. Curry’s art reminds us to embrace play; the toys of our youth along with outdated computers breathe new life in Curry’s creative hands. Curry’s art explores the future using items from the past.

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Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and
enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at