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Where's the frame

Gianina Ivodie

September 26, 2020 11:32 AM


There are many, *many*, different reasons to look out for young artists and the art of our time. We’re not necessarily talking about contemporary art, as that can be anything made from 1989, but we’re talking art being made right now. And we’ll give you 5 reasons why you should keep tabs on early-career artists.

1. Discover the most boundary-pushing and provocative ideas

Works of early career artists are refreshing - as they tend to be boundary pushing with their provocative ideas. They challenge the notion of what we think art should be. It is by all means different from the work of Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst or any other art icons. It is about living in the moment and seeing works that inspire and move you especially with poignant events that we as a generation are currently facing. It is about the artists that you can actually talk to or even do a studio visit.

2. Force of change 

The current generation of emerging artists are underseen visionaries. Many of them participated in fundraisers and rallies during and after the black live matters movement last June. In the UK alone, the Earth Issues Freedom Fundraiser raised £213,200 - crucial support to 26 different international organisations and individual causes within the movement. Photographers, artists, and graphic designers generously donated their work. Another fundraiser was held by British and UK-based photographers who sold their work as an aid to the second largest food bank in the UK, Trussell Trust - accumulated £621,785 in May. This shows that the current generation of emerging artists positively responds to societal, political and financial upheavals and how art is utilised for good. 

Jahnavi Inniss, ‘Black British History Quilt’ at London Grads Now exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, London, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

3. A new sense of agency within the art world  

The rise of social media also catered to many careers of emerging artists on top of the conventional art establishment. Instagram is one of them. The social media platform has successfully opened up a new market for the long ignored or underrepresented artists especially women and minorities. They have the full agency to show their work through multiple platforms and do not necessarily need the help of brick-mortar galleries to showcase their work. On top of that, they are able to connect with other artistic communities outside the established art world.  As an art lover, we could no longer undermine the power of this and the positive impact that the emerging artists could get as a result. 

4. Importance of community 

There are a lot of emerging artists coming from underrepresented sectors in the arts. The BME (black and minority ethnic) communities in the UK are significantly limited within any artistic field, only 16% of the nation’s working age population filled in jobs in major museums, galleries and even the Art Council England. Though progress has been made, there is still more to do. The sector is indeed moving forward especially with the incredible effort of the emerging artist to address diversity and inclusivity. More emerging artists critically address tough histories such as colonialism and slavery,  turning into positive action - leaving the political and cultural rhetoric that any society has been fed until now. 

Claudio Pestana, ‘Fag Attacks the Country’, at London Grads Now exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, London, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

5. The temporal pleasure of witnessing their career as it progresses with the world

As emerging artists are one of the integral parts to building a sustainable future for the arts, their education and training remain highly relevant. Sometimes their education and rigorous training may be an indicator of a well-developing career. Hence, it is exciting to follow works of those emerging artists whose works keep on challenging the status quo - especially when their visual language shows a continuous development over time. You never know that the emerging artist you see in galleries could be a future star. 

Cover image: Yulia Iosilzon, ‘Red Shorts’ and ‘High Heel’ at Artist Room, Roman Road Gallery, Columbia Hotel, London, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

All photos courtesy of the artists.

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