10 Emerging Contemporary Artists

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September 30, 2014

The following list highlights a diverse group of emerging contemporary, male and female artists, of different descents and backgrounds, working in sculpture, painting, photography, video, and mixed media. Each of them had a standout last couple of years, during which they have established themselves as a tours de force of contemporary art, with surely much more to come in the future. All ten of them represent extraordinary talents of wondrous aesthetics and styles, with prospects of tremendous careers laying ahead of them. If you are an artist, art collector, curator or simply an art lover, you should definitely keep your eyes open for these ten names as they are about to shake the art world in the upcoming years.

Editors’ Tip: Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Evolving Market

It’s not easy to be an emerging artist. There is a whole competitive world of contemporary art scene, and sometimes it’s not easy to figure out what is the best path toward success for an artist. Therefore, it’s quite useful to read some books and texts about contemporary art market. Because, today, almost everything is about art market. How to sell your artwork, how to make it visible? The book Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Evolving Market offers a number of answers. A sophisticated examination of today’s contemporary art market from an art dealer’s point of view, this book focuses on recent changes in the quickly evolving market. With an emphasis on how the market responded to the global recession that began in 2008, gallery owner Edward Winkleman moves from an examination of the factors beyond the individual dealer’s command to those that the dealer can control. Take a look how emerging artist can make a breakthrough on international contemporary art platform!

Christian Rosa

Christian Rosa (1982, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is a Vienna-based artist whose career has been on the steady rise since 2013. After obtaining a degree from the Akademie der bildended Künste in 2012, Christian Rosa had several important exhibitions of his work which gained him a huge attention, including Frieze New York art fair, Venice Biennale and his 2013 Los Angeles gallery debut.

Rosa's paintings, executed in pencil, spraypaint and oil, follow the tradition of non-objective art, expressing the artist's subjective experiences. Relying on chance and 'mistakes', Rosa allows instinctive physical actions to create an abstract painterly world on large canvases. What appears to be random sketches and calligraphic scrawlings, with natural forms only suggested by simply drawn paths, result in highly meditative paintings of the intriguing composition.

Julie Oppermann

Julie Oppermann is a Berlin-based artist from New York, who started the full-time artist career after Neuroscience studies at Berkley and completion of MFA at Hunter College in New York. Oppermann's mind-melting colorful paintings appear like optical illusions and demand an effort from the viewer to establish comprehension.

Executed with calculated layering, full of pulsing waves of color and vector-like line patterns, these paintings usually hide beneath a soft-focused halo of different colors which is revealed only if observed carefully. With her captivating artwork, created in acrylic and oil, Oppermann masterfully stretches the boundaries of visual perception, cleverly playing with optical flicker and sensation of movement.

Awol Erizku

Awol Erizku is twenty-six years old, Ethiopia born, a multi-media artist from the Bronx, New York, whose art has a profound mission with just cause. Photographs, sculptures and video installations of this remarkable artist represent a critical discourse of art history and try to rectify centuries-long lack of people of color on the walls of museums and galleries.

This artistic elevation of blackness is most directly seen in his critically acclaimed series of photographic portraits, in which Awol Erizku reworked some of the most famous and iconic classic portraits of artists such as Caravaggio and Vermeer, in which Erizku replaced their subjects of white color with modern black faces.

Lucien Smith

Lucien Smith (1989, Los Angeles) is a world-renowned painter and sculptor from Tribeca, New York, graduate of the Cooper Union School of Art and a trainee of Daniel Colen. His experimental art, which is based on a combination of various different art styles, techniques and concepts, has gained him a huge following and made him one of the biggest stars in the contemporary art scene.

Smith's conceptual artwork of non-representational renderings and certain Dadaist quality, which often incorporates ready-made materials and collage references, is so desired it is already fetching mind-boggling prices at auctions held by the most renowned auction houses worldwide. This was the reason Lucien Smith was featured on the 2012 list of thirty young notable individuals published by the Forbes magazine.

Jeff Elrod

American painter Jeff Elrod (1966, Dallas) is widely known for his abstract paintings of large format which combine hand painted and digitally rendered elements. These hybrid images of flat color planes and illusory depth, executed in acrylic, spray paint and computer programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, have a pronounced retinal effect Elrod gets by putting sharp geometric shapes out of focus.

By employing this technique Jeff Elrod dissolves the images until new shapes emerge, and cleverly removes the focal point to obtain a hypnotic effect. With the lack of a visual anchor, Elrod's amorphous paintings of lost objects and indistinct blotches of color seem to resist coherence and bedazzle the audience.

Zak Prekop

Zak Prekop (1979) is an American artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He creates the so-called non-paintings of barely discernible images that generate the illusion of light and depth. By employing grid structures and subtle fluctuations of color Prekop's seemingly casual artworks, often painted on transparent surfaces, are quite challenging and demand closer inspection in order to be fully comprehended as their shapes and marks interact with patterns and structures.

Prekop’s color palette is extremely scarce, often reduced to nothing more than white, black, and blue, and he usually avoids using brushstrokes of paint and constructs his allover abstractions with the use of palette knifes and stencils.

David Ostrowski

Visual poetry of minimal and abstract, deceptively simple paintings created by the renowned and extremely talented German painter David Ostrowski (1981, Cologne), is the result of the artist's comprehensive and careful study of the true nature of painting. Ostrowski's aesthetics of telling more with less, fueled by the obvious urge to distance himself from the tradition of technically skilled art, investigates the concept of error in the process of creation.

His most famous, highly controversial and critically acclaimed F series, which consists of what some may call 'empty' and 'unpainted' works, featuring barely noticeable interventions on canvas, reveal a well thought-out and calculated artistic process and Ostrowski's intention to boil things down to unpainterly essentials.


Another emerging contemporary artist from Berlin we present today is Christian Hans Albert Hoosen. Recognized for his strong expressionist imagery, rich in metaphors and symbolism, Hoosen creates comprehensive art which requires careful studying in order to be fully grasped. Hoosen's multi-layered, wild and chaotic paintings of various sketches and wide array of associations are riddled with eccentric faces and strange, comic-like creatures.

Very often left open for discussion, and through clever use of universal metaphors and delicate color symbolism,  they provide a mixed view at both artist's intimate world and associations of shared experiences of everyday moments and recognizable human conditions.

Marcel Eichner

To wrap up this list of emerging contemporary artists we take a look at Berlin-based artist Marcel Eichner (1977, Siegburg) who has gained huge recognition for his haunting, mixed media paintings. His hard to categorize art, both enchanting and confusing at the same time, depicts a strange world where borders that separate real and surreal have been completely erased.

With his unique use of ink, acrylics and gouache, Marcel Eichner, graduate of Kunstackademie Düsseldorf, paints fragile characters, grotesque creatures and demons that find themselves in imaginative nightmarish scenes, so chaotic and intense, yet skillfully composed, perfectly balanced and controlled, very often spiced with a splash of humor.

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