Overview | The Emerging Artists to Follow in 2022
Over the last two years, the world has seen artists exploit their talents in deeper topics. Indeed the pandemic was central, and themes such as human feelings, sustainability, and physical or mental health were at the core of artists’ conditions. This 2022 is the year of a back-to-normality state of mind, which is still well visible in many recent works of painters, photographers, and illustrators worldwide.
So how are the 10 Emerging Artists to Follow in 2022?
Experts predict a return to figurative painting in 2022, thanks to several high-level representative exhibitions opening in museums across the world in the early months of the year and the need to take advantage of the emotional capabilities of painting post-pandemic.
Following is a selection created by Hue&Eye listing the Top 10 Emerging Artists to Follow in 2022.
Known for her ambitious, large-scale, and explosively colorful interventions in public spaces, Camille Walala uses the man-made landscape as a platform for disseminating positivity. Her work encompasses full-facade murals, immersive 3D installations, street art, interiors, and set design – characterized by a fusion of bold colors and playful geometric patterns. Since her ‘Dream Come True Building’ burst onto the Shoreditch streetscape in 2015 and thrust her into the spotlight, Camille and her creative producer, Julia Jomaa, have been engaged in an increasingly bold roster of international projects. These have included collaborations with leading global brands – such as LEGO, for whom she created the HOUSE OF DOTS; the creative direction of the groundbreaking Mauritian hotel SALT of Palmar; and a slew of major installations for events like NYC’s WantedDesign and London Design Festival – including Walala Lounge, as a complete suite of semi-permanent street furniture that transformed South Molton Street, Mayfair, into a corridor of color. Camille finds inspiration in community and collaboration, and the power of color and pattern to transform atmospheres, elevate moods, and spark positivity.
Born in 1983 in Benoni, South Africa, Mongezi Ncaphayi lives and works in Cape Town. Mongezi Ncaphayi uses various materials to explore social questions of politics, power, and rampant inequities in his abstract paintings and prints. Ncaphayi’s work has won him numerous honors, including the prestigious Absa L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award, the Africa First Art Prize, as well as residencies at the Thami Mnyele Foundation in Amsterdam, The Ampersand Foundation in New York, the Mixit Print Studio Boston, and the Nirox Foundation in Johannesburg, among others. His work is in the collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Thami Mnyele Foundation in Amsterdam, the Bibliothéque Nationale de France in Paris, France, the Ampersand Foundation in London, and the Luciano Benetton Foundation, in Treviso, Italy, among other institutions and private collections.
Currently living and working in Paris. In his paintings, Xie Lei emphasizes ambiguity and sensory details to create environments for viewers to enter and explore. Often producing monochromatic works in a dark palette of mixed colors, Xie Lei can perhaps be best described as a symbolist painter. Ancient rituals, traditional Chinese imagery, or Western mythology form the subjects of many paintings. His work is included in public and private collections, such as Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne (MAC VAL) and Burger Collection. Notable solo exhibitions were staged at Yishu 8 Beijing, Galerie Anne de Villepoix Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts Paris, Z Gallery Arts Vancouver. Besides, his works were included in group shows at MAC VAL, the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration, Langen Foundation, and White Space. He exhibits in a solo presentation at artgenève, presented by the French gallery Semiose. He is also a 2022 artist-in-residence at the Boghossian Foundation in Brussels.
Born in 1994, Nigerian multidisciplinary artist Deborah Segun is garnering attention for her large-scale figurative works that celebrate the beauty and nuances of womanhood. With an intuitive gaze, Segun deconstructs traditional representations of women, reimagining the female figure using smooth, rich curves and exaggerated silhouettes that recall the modernist vocabulary of Cubism. Segun’s intimate portraits capture moments of joy and acceptance, evoking a sense of hope by employing fresh compositions and fluid strokes of blue and earth-tone acrylic.
Lefty Out There
Known for his polymorph designs, Lefty Out There is a pioneering multidisciplinary artist and illustrator. Lefty’s goal is to ‘cover everything.’ Launching his career as a street artist in Chicago, the artist’s current practice combines the craft of graffiti with technologically advanced processes like LED boxes, computers, and laser cutters. His ambitious murals and daring canvases have caught the attention of prestigious brands across the globe, including Nike, Adidas, Facebook, and Google.
Born and raised in Evansville, Indiana, Andrew Cooper – now more widely known as Cooper – is an American visual artist. Emerging on the art scene in 2018, Cooper is a Los Angeles-based artist who paints nature-inspired canvases.
Cooper’s subject matter and vibrant style are the perfect antidotes to post-pandemic blues, with the art world taking a revived interest in figurative art. With physical art fairs and exhibitions seemingly returning to normal, there is no longer a need for art to be digital or geared towards digital consumption. Utilizing a diverse and vibrant palette, the vivid colors Cooper uses are reminiscent of 1990s post-Modernist pop, with the artist taking inspiration from David Hockney and Jonas Wood. Although only in his twenties, the artist has already exhibited in shows and art fairs across America, including Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.
Working in painting, installation, sound, and performance, Rachel Jones explores a sense of self as a visual, visceral experience. In her paintings, she grapples with the challenges of finding visual means to convey abstract, existential concepts. In depicting the psychological truths of being and the emotions these engender, abstraction becomes a way of expressing the intangible. The artist Rachel Jones has described her own work as an ‘exegesis of color’, and certainly, her work presents a vibrantly colorful palette of textured, abstract forms that collide with one another as a kaleidoscopic assemblage. Allowing form to take on a metaphorical role, her paintings use ‘motifs and color as a way to communicate ideas about the interiority of Black bodies and their lived experience’. Expressive, intricate, and pulsating with energy, the titles of her artworks – A Sliced Tooth, Red Shaped Mouths, and I’m Not So Clean – often reveal a wry connection with the corporeal.
Dorothy Sing Zhang
Dorothy Sing Zhang has always been interested in composite and constructed images. However, the emerging photographer’s photos are hard to describe; they appear suspended in enigmatic narratives that pause at tense moments. It makes sense that the evolution of Sing Zhang’s practice has involved filmmaking. She studied in Denmark, taught by Jørgen Leth, Lars Von Trier, and Thomas Vinterberg – while simultaneously developing her fine art background at the Slade in London, where she is currently based.
Inventive compositions of primary colors are the common thread throughout Hugo Yu‘s work. With a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, Yu’s quickly created a recognizable visual language. While there is a structure to his practice that Yu connects to his upbringing in Shanghai, Yu leaves a playful openness for viewers’ interpretations, inspired by his current home in New York. In 2022, Yu took on a photographic marathon of creating portraits of ten architectural studios with exciting results. A recent addition to the emerging photographer’s practice is sculpture as a natural expansion of his clever still life sets.
Bettina Pittaluga is a French-Uruguayan photographer currently based in Paris. A former sociology student with a background working as a reporter, Pittaluga’s interest in people is palpable in her portraits. She likes to think that she photographs beauty.
Her work essentially responds to the homogeneous representation of humanity that she sees in the media. She thinks it is an entirely unequal vision of the human race, the exact unequal representation that is mainly responsible for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, and the rejection of old age. It is crucial for her to do everything to continue deconstructing this hegemony and committing to invoking all these fights.