In a world where emphasis is placed on who you know, much talent can go undiscovered. This is why it is important to look at the abilities and drive of up-and-coming artists practicing their craft. These underground artists allow you to have a new experience in music, photography, film and other artistic branches.

(credit: Matthew Janson)

Matthew Janson

If the name sounds very familiar to locals, it is because Janson was a finalist for the renowned Janet and Walter Sondheim prize with his work put on display at both the 2010 and 2012 Artscape festivals. This student of fine art shows his dedication to the craft with his use of a variety of materials: foam, steel and wood are topped with fur, plastic crystal and even hairspray (perfect for any John Waters fan). His colorful array of mixed-media sculptures evoke many human-like images, from a baby to an old woman, and even include his interpretations of a heart or kidney. When viewing his animal sculptures, specifically a cow, it is obvious how he uses his own experiences to bring these images to life.

Related:Baltimore’s Best Local Artists

(credit: Leslie Furlong)

Leslie Furlong

Photographer and video artist Leslie Furlong conducts her work in an effort to show the psychological effects of our “ever-transforming landscape.” Like the popular song, “Big Yellow Taxi” where paradise is paved, Furlong’s “Parking Lot” series gives a tone of emptiness and distance in a paved-over world. Videos are often of landscapes shown from the familiar view of moving vehicles. Her work has been displayed locally at the C. Grimaldis Gallery, Maryland Art Place, Contemporary Museum and the Rosenberg Gallery at Goucher College.

(credit: Bill Gray)

Sheldon Candis

Though this writer-director has moved to Los Angeles, he does not forget his local roots in his film “LUV” (2012), shown at the 2012 Maryland Film Festival. He previously acted in a handful of television shows and produced a few shorts, but “LUV” has introduced Candis to a wider audience. Told over the course of a day, the story about an 11-year-old and his uncle in Charm City boasts big names such as Danny Glover, Common and fellow Baltimore native, Charles S. Dutton.


Josh Slates

Slates continues to live in the small, artsy neighborhood of Hampden. His first feature-length film, “Small Pond” (2011), sold out at the 2011 Maryland Film Festival. “Small Pond” follows the aimless Kirsten through the underbelly of a Missouri college town. However, the film is most known for a controversial scene that a few have walked out on. As much as that might make one hesitate to see the movie, you’ve got to trust the guy who has worked on big films such as “Up in the Air” (2009), “The Social Network” (2010), “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (2011) and the upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012).

Related: Best Photography Galleries In Baltimore


Matt Wigler

A composer, organist and tenor who possesses a voice and soul beyond his 18 years, Wigler began playing piano at the tender age of five. Featured in the Washington City Paper, this singer of jazz and blues (with a hint of upbeat swing) has toured Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, and performed at art festivals throughout the United States and Canada. Check his schedule for upcoming, local performances from his records including “Thirteen” (2007), “Epiphony” (2009) and “Other Mammals” (2011).

Pam Smith graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in English and a passion for writing. Her adaptive nature led her to work in the scientific, energy supply, and business industries while writing on a multitude of topics for various online media. Pam currently resides in Baltimore County. Her work can be found at