Whether it’s a painting that evokes emotion or a sculpture that reflects an important moment in history, art can incredibly be powerful. And, if you’re passionate about art, it’s possible that you like to keep an eye out for upcoming, emerging artists, as well as celebrate the work of those gone by.
The good news is that there are plenty of talented UK-based artists who are worth watching – all materializing in their own space, with a unique form of expression.
With that said, here are nine emerging artists to look out for.
1. Graham Crowley
Graham Crowley from Suffolk has been an exhibitionist since the 1970s. Though, having recently won the highly-esteemed John Moores Painting Prize (after submitting 10 entries to the competition since 1976), his work is becoming increasingly recognised.
Graham’s latest entry to the competition was his 2022 painting, Light Industry, which was inspired by his visit to a motorcycle dealership.
The piece is a key example of the artist’s passion for luminosity – and he was praised for his use of paint, which somehow manages to make an otherwise dull, rugged scene into an extraordinary work of colour. In a statement, Graham said, “What I found enthralling about the place was the light; a diffused, dusty kind of light that emanated from a grubby, obscured light.”
Though not widely known in the mainstream art world, Graham has enjoyed a notable and lengthy career. He’s had exhibitions at the Paris and Venice Biennales, as well as at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
2. Jadé Fadojutimi
Jadé Fadojutimi is a skilled painter and one to look out for in the contemporary art world. After graduating with a BA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, in 2015, Jadé took a first trip to Kyoto, Japan, which sparked her ongoing interest in anime and Japanese landscapes.
Inspired by the unique aesthetics and rhythms of different countries, Jadé was fascinated to explore why she was so drawn in by the rhythm of Japan in particular. For this reason, she returns to Japan every year to draw – and it’s the inspiration for much of her work. She explains, “Kyoto started so much for me, that’s my whole painting language, and the country has this preciousness from the start.”
Recognition of her work has risen steeply since 2022, when, remarkably, it sold out before the popular art fair, Frieze London, even opened. It seems to be the vibrant flair of Jadé’s abstract paintings, infused with pop art, that’s catching the attention of art enthusiasts.
With much of her work currently priced in the thousands of pounds, it’s clear that Jadé’s market value is on a swift upward trajectory – making her a top emerging artist to watch out for.
3. Patrick Walls
Though slightly lesser-known than other artists on this list, Patrick Walls is highly skilled in his field.
Specialising in carved stone and cast metals, Partick creates both large public art sculptures, as well as smaller 3D minimalist sculptures. Through his work, Patrick likes to explore the two primary themes of air and water, and time and volume. In fact, his recent works ‘Volume/Time’ and ‘Air/Water’, explore the use of stone as a material and different waveforms and patterns, respectively.
Some of Patrick’s recent public art commissions include two large projects in Surrey: Brightwells Yard in Farnham, and The Regiment of Trees in Langley Vale Wood. The Regiment of Trees, commissioned by the Woodland Trust, is a collection of twelve life-sized soldiers standing in a newly planted ‘regiment’ of trees. The trees commemorate the inspection of troops that took place at Epsom Down in January 1915 by Lord Kitchner.
Patrick hosts stone carving workshops at his studio in the Peak District and around the UK.
4. Louise Giovanelli
After her debut at London’s White Cube in 2022, Louise Giovanelli’s artwork has been gaining global recognition.
Known for fusing old masterpieces with digital imagery, Louise’s work involves large-scale meditative paintings that are based around crafted textures and striking colours. Her work explores the tension between various opposites, for example, old and new or popular culture and Renaissance paintings.
Louise is an expert on how the mechanics of picture-making can influence the way we perceive art and she’s passionate about giving otherwise ephemeral moments (things you only see in a flash) a permanent home in art.
Regular components of her work include fabrics and locks of hair – which are notoriously difficult to capture in oil paint.
Above all, Louise believes, “A painting should be the beginning of something. The best paintings are those that endure your mind – because there’s this sense of mystery to them.”
5. Richard Ayodeji Ikhide
Ever since his 2022 online show at the Victoria Miro Gallery sold out in an hour, Nigerian-born, London-based artist Richard Ayodeji Ikhide has been making waves in the art world.
Richard earnt a BA in Textile Design from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London, where he specialised in Printed Textiles. After graduating, he continued his studies with a Postgraduate Diploma at The Royal Drawing School – with a particular focus on his drawing skills to push his work further towards the realms of fine art.
Through his current work, Richard uses drawing to transform intangible ideas into tangible, material form. His works make clever references to video games, Japanese manga, West African art, and the Edo religion of Nigeria to create a layered story of past and future.
In one of his latest watercolour works, Ko Ara Re (Constructing Yourself), a childlike figure can be seen moulding another figure out of claylike material in a workshop. Richard explains that the work is based on the idea of how we construct our self-identity through various experiences and influences, both conscious and unconscious.
Having had solo exhibitions in Zurich, Los Angeles, London, and the United States, Richard Ayodeji Ikhide is definitely an artist to keep your eye on.
6. Josh Gluckstein
If you’re on social media, you might have come across the work of London-based artist Josh Gluckstein. Having bypassed the traditional, slower routes to success in the art world, Gluckstein has risen to fame by creating his own art content online for the public.
You’ll find bite-sized pieces of his work all across TikTok, which has led journalists, galleries, and art collectors alike to become increasingly interested in Gluckstein’s art.
Sustainability is at the heart of his artwork, which uses recycled cardboard to create life-size animal sculptures – partly inspired by his extensive travels and volunteering experiences throughout Asia, East Africa, and South America. Josh’s mission is to use art to raise awareness for endangered species and contribute to their preservation.
He says, “The accessibility and versatility of cardboard with its many tones and textures allows me to capture unique details and raw emotion, all while creating zero waste.”
7. Dominique White
Dominique White is a sculptor and installation artist whose ocean-themed artwork won the 2022-2024 Max Mara Prize for Women.
Inspired by her family’s immigrant journey from the Caribbean to the UK, Dominique has a keen interest in the ocean and much of her work is centered around the idea of creating new worlds for ‘blackness’.
Old masts, sails, maps, and spears are common features in Dominique’s creations, which she uses to refer to topics such as black subjectivity, Afro-pessimism, and hydrarchy (the ability of individuals to gain power over land by ruling through water).
It was her proposal for a new body of work called Deadweight that impressed the judges of the Max Mara Prize. Deadweight references a term used in the maritime industry to calculate how much weight a ship can take before it sinks – and Dominique’s intention is to explore themes of Mediterranean slavery and maritime history through the piece.
As part of her project, Dominique intends to build and then sink her own boat-like structure off the west-coast of Italy, before bringing it back to the Whitechapel Gallery. A major solo exhibition will launch at the gallery before touring to Italy will take place in 2024.
8. Martyn Cross
Stare into the work of contemporary artist Martin Cross and you’ll be transported into dreamscapes of otherwise ordinary scenes. Each of Cross’ work begins in reality, with instantly recognisable landscapes and structures, which are then transformed into uncanny, spiritual scenes.
Roots or underground tunnels transform into nearly human skeletons and stormy clouds emerge with feet and heads; Martyn’s work is truly puzzling and leaves viewers to find their own ways through the unique worlds he’s created.
After spending 20 years as both an artist and book seller, Cross became a full-time artist in 2020.
With much of his work influenced by medieval art and science fiction, Cross likes to fill his studio with eclectic scenes that inspire him – including images of old English churches, medieval wall paintings, the works of people like William Blake, and science fiction books.
9. Victor Seaward
If you’re more into sculptural art than paintings and landscapes, you might be intrigued by the work of emerging artist Victor Seaward.
Seaward recently showcased his work – which frequently involves the use of a 3D printer to craft objects from durable PETG material – at Sculpture in London. Much of these pieces of 3D art resemble nests, animals, or fruit.
His recent piece, Oracle (Nocturne), explores the narratives of materials that are often discarded in everyday life. This nest-like form, which was created with 3D modelling software, hangs from the architectural beam of the exhibition space. Digitally created sculptural objects, including life-sized insects and socks, are also strategically placed throughout the work.
Throughout 2023, the growing focus on sustainable art, due to growing concerns around climate change, has been clear – and it’s a trend that Victor Seaward’s work most definitely fits into.
Victor presented his first solo exhibition at the Fabian Lang gallery in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2022.
Art is a unique experience for everyone. And whether you’re drawn to landscape paintings that transport you to other worlds or life-sized sculptures that open conversations around important issues like animal extinction, the range of talent and expertise amongst emerging artists in the UK is exciting.
For more art-related content, you might be interested in our articles; 11 of the best art galleries to visit in the UK, holiday destinations for art and architecture lovers, and 13 of the best art hotels around the world.
Which emerging UK artists have you got your eye on? Have any of the artists on our list sparked your interest? We’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.