Art is a way in which persons express their creative skills and imagination through painting, sculpture or drawing. It is those expressions that produce work which is usually appreciated for its beauty and emotional power. It is known that a career in art in this day and age is very rare and artists are rarely ever noticed for their work.Trying to break the stereotype that art should just be a hobby and not a career, is 28-year-old Courtney Mathium Douglas. Courtney has not always been attracted to the arts but when he found it, they became inseparable.He is currently a cartoon animator at the Tinninben Animation Studio owned by Alex Graham.Born in Bartica and raised in New Found Out, next to Rivers View on the borders of Region 10, Courtney was named after legendary West Indian Cricketer Courtney Walsh. Staying true to his name, Courtney enjoys a good game of cricket.“One of my cherished memory as a child was representing District Seven at National Schools’ Athletic Championships in 2007 when we came second to District 10, who is a powerhouse, by just one point.”As a child around the age of six, Courtney’s interest in art began when he discovered his father’s sketches which were mostly plans and ideas for projects. He was drawn to them and would quite often copy those sketches.“By age thirteen I used to watch and draw portraits from magazines and anything I could find in my environment.”Courtney comes from an artistic family. He stated that his father is very creative and artistic and his mother’s brothers are artistic as well. His father always wanted to venture more into the field of creative arts but because of the lack of resources, that dream was curtailed.In a sense of living his father’s dream, Courtney started to take much more of an interest in art and with the support of his family, he began to soar. However, the journey was not an easy one and to date remains an uphill task. During his formative years, several teachers would have told Courtney that art is useless among other things in an effort to quell his dreams.“For me, I’m not the most talented or better than anyone, I’m just hard-working. Leo Buscaglia once said, ‘Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.’ I practice as often as I can. I’m using my God-given talent to spread positive messages, and bring awareness to social issues and hopefully spark the minds to bring about changes.”Courtney studied Visual Arts at the Bartica Secondary School and ER Burrowes School of Art from 2008 to 2011 and now has a Diploma in Fine Arts, Major in Painting, Minor in Drawing and Graphics. He graduated as the best student in drawing, painting and graphics.He was also awarded a scholarship through the Hinterland Scholarship Programme under the then Ministry of Amerindian Affairs to attend the ER Burrowes School of Arts. He graduated from that programme as one of the most consistent academic performers. Courtney had three years’ training in 2D cartoon animation using Toon Boom Harmony Software at Brainstreet/Animatix Studio owned by Lance Hinds.Courtney’s artistic style is a combination of various styles that he is inspired by.“I love the renaissance period. I would capture an image realistically then add my touch but breaking it apart like the cubist Picasso to tell a particular story. Depends on my subject matter or my message I would go for a particular technique as well be it soft, rough, impression, or using washes.”His favourite painting is the creation of Adam by Michelangelo and the works of Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso and Leonardo Da Vinci. The works of local Guyanese artists like Carl Anderson, Winslow Craig, George Simon, and Phillip Moore serves as an inspiration to him as well.“I would say all of my personality is reflected in my art. I love to think positive and analyse and be creative. I put in the hard work and it shows in the final outcome. For instance, the drawing [My First Teacher] that won first prize in this year’s art competition. I spent four months and like 3 hours a day to get it done. I love to make jokes and make people feel good about themselves, I’m an advocate for social issues so my themes would reflect the changes I wanted to see.”Courtney is in the infant stages of starting a business with his wife Aneeza Coelho Douglas. They got married in 2013 and have a 4-year-old son, Lucas. Aneeza is also a graduate of ER Burrowes School of Art with a diploma in Fine Arts. She is the winner of the Promise Award in the first Guyana Visual Arts Competition 2012.“The award is for a young artist who shows great promise and potential to be a great artist. The name of our business is Matt and Annie Arts – Bring walls to life. You can follow us on Facebook.”In developing the art industry, artists are sometimes neglected or even forgotten. There is a need for a greater space where artists can market their work to the local and wider world. Courtney encourages all artists to be creative and work hard to develop their craft, “don’t worry about circumstances but focus on creating opportunities”.