Discover 10 unknown artists set to be the next big thing.
By Sophie Heatley | 12 May 2022
The art market is polarising – a small handful of artists become brand names, enjoy massive fame, and their work becomes a near-inaccessible commodity. Many artists among the 99.9% proportion of “unknown” artists have everything the household names have – in terms of their ideas and how they communicate them in their work – but haven’t yet had the luck required to blow up in the mainstream. Here are ten unknown artists who fit the bill to be the next big thing.
10 unknown artists you should know about
Georgina Clapham creates detailed figurative works that have an element of surrealism about them. The artist invites viewers to experience contemporary mythologies inspired by archetypal narratives in Greek Mythology, Folklore, and Early Modern European compositions. Her brilliant layering of antiquated imagery and modern cultural references ignites entirely original and compelling visual experiences.
Becca May Collins
Becca May Collins explores the meaning of home, often walking the line between object and place. Her work carefully studies our sentimentality towards sites and what instils these locations with spirit. Her thoughtful paintings open up a narrative that reveals more about the landscape than first meets the eye – welcomed in an era where globalisation and somewhat ironic disconnection blur our sense of home and belonging.
Enter into the visual cosmos of Aviv Benn. Allegorical archetypes drift between decorative fields of paint, dreamily embellished with patterns and motifs that seep into and out of translucent distemper and opaque oils. Kaleidoscopic characters, mouths, hands, teeth, and tongues reappear again and again in her canvases, informing a narrative that stretches beyond the physical boundaries of a singular artwork. Aviv and her mythical beings extend a vivid and unsettling vision that gets into the subconscious and stays with you long after viewing.
Rosanna Dean creates geometric paintings inspired by Eastern philosophy and Tantric traditions. Her works, with the same hypnotic pull of mystic chanting and immersive spiritual practices, explore divergent representations of the divine. Often bringing together elements from Western philosophy, too, Rosanne creates a modern painterly vernacular where East meets West meets divinity.
Taking inspiration from Art Provera, Informalism, and Japanese Kintsugi – where broken ceramics are repaired with urushi (Japanese lacquer) to highlight rather than disguise an artefact’s ‘flaws’ and unique history, Johan Soderstrom produces highly conceptual paintings using construction filler in oak frames. His minimalist paintings have a stilling rawness to them and demand to be explored by hand.
Elham Etemadi creates abstract expressionist paintings with a dreamlike chromaticism. Her pictorial puzzles probe the collective rules and elements that make up the universe. Wandering lines, hopscotch marks, and decorative toy motifs form links between canvases, paving an imaginary journey across her works.
Harland Viney is interested in the abject, the uncontainable, and human psychology. The artist uses intricate portraits and abstract expressionist landscapes to explore the shifting, ambiguous states of consciousness, nature, and the unknown. Pregnant with mystery, her works awaken the imagination.
More and more contemporary artists are choosing to engage with climate change and conservation. Katrin Roth is no exception. This artist pours her love for Nordic landscapes into her paintings with billowing gestures and passionate layering – often providing subtle nods towards our impact on the environment. Expansive fields of colour and smooth, sweeping shapes cover her canvases.
Barbara Kuebel paints figurative portraits onto hand-crafted life-sized woodcuts. She shapes her visuals with spontaneous emotion, aggression, affection, isolation, and social density, giving form to the oft’ inexpressible. Less concerned with details and more drawn to gestures, Barbara uses figures and explicit, graphic themes to explore the power of the group psyche and tell stories of emotions without words.
Harriett Gillett sets out to break down opposites and bring together contrasts in an increasingly polarised world. With influences varying from the literary to the art historical and animals, her paintings often take unexpected leaps between subject matter and find harmony between opposing patterns and palettes. This artist is paving the way for more fluid approaches to art where the in-between and the unnamed are celebrated.