Nothing sparks debate and divides opinion quite like art, but whatever your personal preference, there are some individuals that we can agree are artists to watch. I am far from an art expert; I have little or no understating of styles and techniques, but there are times when art catches my eye, captures my imagination and evokes a feeling. And, for those reasons, in my complete novice opinion (!) here are captivating artists to watch.
1 Niki Pilkington
My absolute favourite, and topping the list of contemporary artists to watch is this young illustrator from North Wales. Now living in New York, Niki maintains her Welsh roots in many of her illustrations by incorporating traditional Welsh sayings and Welsh rhymes into her work (as well as well-known English sayings). Her illustrations are breathtaking. The juxtaposition of elegant sketches, neon patterns and 3D components make her drawings unique, and perfect to adorn the walls of any contemporary home or university dorm – and even the eco-friendly canvas tote! Make sure you check out her Instagram account for sneak peeks! @nikipilkington
2 Elfyn Lewis
Next on my list is another Welsh artist whose unusual paintings have won him acclaim. When awarded the “Welsh Artist of the Year” award, he took his adorable son on stage with him before revealing that his boy was in fact the one who chose the winning painting to be submitted. Despite being abstract, the paintings are named after sentimental locations and interesting nicknames of local people, and in a strange way, the painting reflect their names. His paintings aim to capture your imagination and guide you to your own interpretation. My personal favourites are his latest creations where the paint flows off the canvas which adds a magical and mythical element to the paintings. Despite the amazing colour combinations seen in his work, the most surprising fact about this artist, is that he is in fact colour blind.
3 Sarah Gayle Key
Currently teaching teenagers and with a masters in fine art, this Canadian artist is one to watch. Her intricate and elegant paintings of orchids (which happen to be my favourite flower) on somewhat cosmic backgrounds are simply stunning, as is this piece, from her Rococo series. Now living in the UK, Sarah shares her creative flair with the secondary school pupils she teaches. Be sure to check out her creations on her website: sgkey.com
4 Craig Davison
Craig’s paintings are ones I want to adorn the walls of my future children as well as any bare wall in my home. They are unique and embody every childhood fantasy and games we all played growing up. The centres of the pictures are images of children playing as their shadows reflect what they imagine to be. Craig’s work is just genius and relatable to each of us, as we all remember these fantasies of our youth.
5 Jean-Baptiste Bernadet
This Parisian-born artist is now located in Brussels, where he is building quite a reputation in Europe as an interesting talent. Abstract in nature, the paintings are evocative in colour and slightly hypnotic in their patterns. With exhibitions to be seen in Paris, Miami, New York, it won’t be long before this name is much better known.
6 Victor Figol
Figol’s use of colour and light is breathtaking. His paintings are ones that make me stop and look again. Despite being somewhat of an impressionistic painter, his paintings combine the depth and perspective of light and reflections, making these quite magical and mythical paintings seem more realistic. I love how this Ukrainian artist takes what could be drab, dreary and dull, such as someone walking in the rain, into a beautiful scene – this may be a valuable message for us all?
7 Nigel Tomm
Nigel Tomm is fascinating. His distorted photographs are experimental and thought provoking. He titles his work in a unique way too, detailed and thought provoking, they are also nonsensical, such as “Minded triangle meets the Confidence of nostalgia lands”. More provoking still are the descriptions of his pieces. Rather than giving a concise explanation, he used the method free association (stream of consciousness) to provide psychoanalysis. Are you as confused as I am yet? Yes? Good! Ready for more? Go have a look…nigeltomm.org
Like I said, when it comes to art, I am a complete novice, but I appreciate art, and talent. I love how people can have completely different interpretations and opinions on a single piece of art. I’m sure there are some on this list that you love, and some that you really don’t. Who are your artists to watch? And who are your favourites from my selection?