Some young artists might credit legends such as Van Gogh, Picasso, or even Warhol for their inspiration.
Abraham Onkst, on the other hand, realizes his talent and flair were probably influenced by none other than his mom and dad.
As a child, Onkst’s father would always set up painting supplies for him. His mother made sure he was stylishly attired.
Little did his parents realize that those seemingly routine exercises would result in a teenage son who is making a mark on the world of art, design, and business.
Onkst is a senior at Hollidaysburg Area High School and the young man behind Onkst Art, what he describes as a company passionate about creating fine artwork, clothing, and home decor.
“It’s a mission to create absolute beauty,” he explained.
Onkst admitted that art has been an interest of his for as long as he can remember, but he started taking it more seriously at about the age of 13.
He never had any formal lessons outside of general art classes at school.
“I just developed my talent through experimenting over time,” confessed the 18 year old.
His specialty is acrylic canvas painting, and he considers abstract impressionism his style.
Onkst enjoyed his first solo art showing at 321 Gallery in Hollidaysburg earlier this year featuring some of his recent work.
“It was incredible,” he recalled. “There were easily 200 people there over a two hour period at the opening reception.”
Pete Grab, co-owner of 321 Gallery, was impressed by Onkst’s energy and popularity.
“Even now, we have people coming in who know him or heard of his work,” Grab said.
A couple years ago, Onkst decided to branch out beyond the canvas and venture into the world of clothing. Among his offerings are a series of hoodies featuring his art.
He also began to create art on home items such as blankets and pillows.
Onkst uses his website and social media to feature and sell his creations.
Clearly, this gifted artist also has an entrepreneurial spirit.
That was evidenced recently when Onkst and his business model took top honors at the third annual Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) sponsored by the Blair County Chamber of Commerce. He’ll now represent the Chamber at the national level next month in Rochester, New York.
After graduation in a few weeks, he plans to attend Pennsylvania Highlands Community College and Penn State University. He is considering a degree in Art Education, and he thinks teaching at the college level might interest him.
Certainly, he plans to continue creating art, clothing, and home decor items.
“I think it would be the most incredible thing to provide for myself and others through my art, which I love,” he added.
Grab is among those who think Onkst’s future is bright.
“I see a lot of young, talented artists coming in here, but Abraham has a drive, and it’s very refreshing,” Grab observed. “That’s really cool to see, and he’s in the process of self-discovery. I can see him willing to explore many different avenues.”
Just as Onkst has seen many changes in his personal career and growth over the past five years, he has also seen changes in the local arts community.
“There is no better time than now if you’re an artist in this area,” he noted.
No matter what his future holds, this region will always be home.
“This is the place I want to come back to,” he insisted. “I intend on giving back to the area. I will never forget about where I came from.”