2021 will be an exciting year for the art world, with the potential return of physical exhibitions, the reopening of galleries and the ability for artists to showcase their works in person. The return of international travel is also on the horizon, promising a fresh set of opportunities for the industry. We wanted to take a closer look at six exciting talents that you should be keeping an eye on this year. From the colourful creativity of Lakwena to Joshua Vides' monochrome world - there's something for everyone.
Lakwena Maciver's work is undeniable, a bombastic collision of eye catching typography, bold blocks of colour and geometric patterns. Born in London in 1986, Lakwena's work holds international appeal - with art shown in major cities including Los Angeles, New York, London, Miami and Vienna. Her creativity is in high demand, having created visually arresting large scale works in public view, from London's Boxpark in Shoreditch to basketball courts in Arkansas. Positive messages take center stage, "Push me down and still I rise" is painted onto the court, whilst "Lift you higher" adorns the Bowery brewery mural wall. The positivity that permeates Lakwena's work is infectious and stems from interest in public speech and discourse. As she described to G-IRL, "It's much deeper than just positive thinking. I guess that's where the spiritual element comes in. My work is rooted in the messianic ideology, which is this idea that there is a saviour. It's a lot deeper than just saying, things are good or are going to get better." Whether on the street, in private, or at an exhibition at the Tate Britain or Somerset House, Lakwena's voice connects - transcending the societal boundaries that separate us.
2. Joshua Vides
Joshua Vides is a Los Angeles based artist who has worked with the likes of Nike, Fendi, Converse and Ballentine's Whisky. His hand drawn style is simple but effective, combining cartoon-esque pen work that feels at home on paper with alternative canvases such as trainers, bottles or clothing. When you see Vides' linework, you immediately recognise his unique style, an aesthetic that knits together all of his work despite the ever-changing medium. Speaking to Dazed, on the eve of his collaboration with Ballantine's, Vides noted: "Every object that I paint is different. It's not just painting a canvas. When you're painting an object, it's like you've never painted this angle, this corner, this edge. I think every object that I paint is like a blind date. You just go in hoping it'll work out." Recently, Vides had the opportunity to put on a solo exhibition titled 'When Time Stood Still' in Los Angeles. A reflection on the circumstances of 2020, he created 12 original works - one for each month. "Each piece represents a month from this year as well as a different walk of life. There was a moment in 2020 where regardless of class, race, religion, or sex. time stood still," Vides told Hypebeast. Individual in-person viewings sold out quickly, as did all of the original pieces.
3. Genieve Figgis
Dublin-born Genieve Figgis explores ideas of class, luxury, grandiosity and aristocratic leisure. Dream-like snapshots of idyllic, lavish scenes are inverted with ghoulish facial expressions. Draped in heavy paint brush textures, and adorned with beguiling colour choices - Figgis' work communicates a manic duality. The resplendent surface is a magnificent curtain behind which lies strange blank stares, twisted characters and bizarre creatures. This macabre juxtaposition is communicated in a witty, almost humorous way - playing on the viewer's familiarity with bourgeois imagery. She rose to prominence after American artist Richard Prince noticed her work being shared on Twitter. Figgis has become something of a darling of the international art world whilst creating from the comfort of the Irish countryside.
4. Adam Handler
2020 was a big year for New York's Adam Handler whose wondrous, child-like canvas works began to catch international attention. Born in Queens - NY, he creates dynamic works that express naive chaos through themes of loneliness, imagination, solitude and connection. His bright, almost psychedelic pieces hold broad appeal - taking the viewer back to a place of comforting, blissful naivety. Three separate Spotlight collections of Handler's work sold out on our store, showing a clear appetite for his vibrant style with Handler garnering the appreciation of collectors from London to New York, Hong Kong and Seoul. Describing the process of creating his Spotlight pieces, Handler said "when these styles of works that you see were conceived I specifically turned off my mind and allowed only emotion, actions and spirit to guide the works." There's no doubt that the emotion comes through, resulting in art that feels like a reflection of one individual's particular creative vision.
5. Felix Treadwell
Born in 1992 in Maidstone, UK-based Felix Treadwell is leading the charge for an exciting collection of British contemporary artists. Having attended the Royal College of Art, Treadwell's art has been shown all over the world - from London to Palma, Japan and Los Angeles. His work lays bare the human condition, with fictional wide eyed figures completing every day tasks. Movement is packed onto the canvas, alongside spectacular colours and intriguing body poses. Speaking to im labor in 2020, ahead of his show in Japan, Treadwell noted: "Mixing handheld brush with airbrush techniques has been very exciting, a new technique I'm working with currently. Airbrush allows me to soften the characters and bring out subtle textures in their expression of faces." This combination of techniques results in works that flow, as if the motionless characters are in fact present - existing alongside the viewer.
6. Sidney Teodoruk
Sidney Teodoruk is a Sydney based artist who creates vibrant works that weave familiar objects, nostalgia, blocks of colour and a carefree sense of expression. His art is excitingly playful whilst also touching on subjects such as religion, society and reform. This juxtaposition is what makes Teodoruk one of the most exciting contemporary artists around. Speaking to guyhepner.com, the Australia based artist said: "In life, you'll find most things come in twos; Life/Death, Day/Night. Salt/Pepper.. It's the ancient Chinese philosophy, Yin & Yang. I've spent my entire life trying to find out who I am and to be honest it was a waste of time. Just create who you want to be. Create the art you want to see. Create the art you want to question and make others question too.The idiosyncratic way in which I work to explore the use of juxtaposition is the central theme for my work. It doesn't necessarily have to be stark or rigid and that's the beauty of art. It's free form and the art will tell me what to do so long as I'm in tune with it."
The D'Stassi Art team.