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  • a living artist

Most Popular Artists in the Year 2016

December 23, 2016
A philosophy graduate interested in theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

Each month, we make a list of most popular artists you liked the most. As we approach the end of 2016, it is time to take a look back and see which artists have marked this turbulent year behind us. From contemporary painters, sculptors and installation artists to acclaimed urban creatives, these artists have contributed to the versatility of the art world, but our daily lives as well. If you have been following our monthly lists regularly, the yearly one won’t come as a surprise. The majority of these names never leave our list anyway and their popularity is only growing. Yet, each of these artists is here for a reason. Scroll down and discover the most popular names from our ever-growing database that have marked the year 2016. See if your favorite made it to the list!

Featured images: Spencer Tunick Installation, via pinterest.com; Guy Denning – Gaza family (nowhere to go), via ephemeralink.com; David Hamilton Photography; Alexis Diaz Mural, via goblinmagazine.com. All images used for illustrative purposes only.

  • use

Guy Denning - The Dark Urban Artist

A self-taught English contemporary artist and painter based in France, Guy Denning is regarded as one of the most important painters on the Urban Art scene at the moment. Appreciated in artistic circles, his art is often described as very dark. Developing a distinctive style that builds images from drawing and stenciled text, he creates raw and gritty artworks and portraits that evoke melancholy. Mixing several media and techniques together, he uses stencils, spray cans, brushwork, dripping paint or crayons. His distinctive aesthetics has made a significant mark on the contemporary art scene.

Featured images: Guy Denning

  • in terms of japanese culture his series is unique

Hush - Blending Old and New Techniques

Finding inspiration in graphic novels, graffiti art and Japanese animation and tradition, Hush mixes up several techniques such as collage, graffiti, stencil, painting, and drawing. Successfully blending old and new practices, he screen prints and hand-paints backgrounds, subsequently adding graffiti elements by hand through a method he calls pure expressionism. Finding his inspiration in geishas, he portrays these Japanese traditional female entertainers through their feminine beauty and sensuality. With identity often hidden or covered by colorful patterns, his mysterious female figures are embellished with gold leaf finishing touches. His pieces cover street walls all around the globe, but have also invaded the gallery space in the form of screen prints. Featured images: Hush – Lay Dreaming, via metrogallery.com.au

  • he is known for the use of celebrity culture

Jeff Koons - The King of Postmodernism

A regular on our list, Jeff Koons is regarded as one of the most influential and controversial artists of the post-war era. Situating his practice somewhere between high and low culture, he often toys with kitsch, pioneering new approaches to the readymade. Transforming the role of the artists into the cult of celebrity, he works with popular culture subjects, often reproducing banal object and elevating their status to high art. His piece Ballon Dogs has broken the record for the most expensive sculpture by a living artist ever sold. Featured image: Jeff Koons

David Choe - The Creative Rebel

A recurring name on our list, David Choe is an American painter, muralist, and urban graffiti artist. He portrays explicit sexual scenes as a way of demasking the true nature of the human soul. Self-proclaiming his style as dirty, his pieces are blatant, raw and bold. Presenting himself as a creative rebel, he first rose to fame with a mural painted on Facebook headquarters in 2005. Featured image: David Choes, via thedailybeast.com

  • the life and work of living creatices all around the world

Alexis Diaz - Creating Chimerical Creatures

A Puerto Rican painter and urban muralist, Alexis Diaz is known for his chimerical and dreamlike depictions of animals in a state of metamorphosis. His captivating murals are characterized by a very detailed technique and line-by-line precision. Using tiny black brushstrokes on white to render his creatures, his pieces look like highly-detailed pen-and-ink drawings. Having a preference for wild animals, he often portrays those from the Savannah, blending them with other fantastical creatures.

Featured image: Alexis Diaz, via artpeoplegallery.com

  • the artist has spent his life in new york creating variety of series for the public and museum

Spencer Tunick - Having a Unique Approach to Nudity

The New York-based photographer Spencer Tunick has a truly unique approach to nudity. He has been creating complex and breathtaking mass nude photo shoots in public places for over twenty years. Gathering a large group of volunteers, from hundreds to thousands of them, he creates controversial human installations worldwide. These stunning architectural masterpieces made of human skin are perfectly blended with various surroundings. These mass scenes are meant to personify the battle of nature against human culture.

Featured image: Spencer Tunick, via vice.com

  • he is known for the use of canvases

Jwan Yosef - Painting Backwards

The artist Jwan Yosef was born in Syria, raised in Sweden and has studied art in London. He has always aspired to develop a new approach, a new way of composing, organizing and communicating. Fueled by the concept of telling as much as possible by presenting as little as possible, he creates eclectic and intriguing pieces in the form of stripped-down canvases with unpainted sides and unfinished parts. He often uses materials such as Perspex, painting on its surface and adding layers backward to present the mirrored unpainted surface.

Featured image: Jwan Yosef

  • in terms of practice his series is very precise

Leng Jun - The Meticulous Painter

Recognized for his Fine Art paintings of still lifes and detailed and realistic portraits of women, Leng Jun endows his works with vitality, reliability, and richness of color. His work is the result of careful observation and his meticulous practice. Getting really close to his subjects, he portrays the tiniest movements and gestures with an artistic technique that is truly masterful. Showing the mentality of simplicity, his works are at the same time imbued with tranquility and powerful emotional drive.

Featured image: Leng Jun

Banksy - Always Ranking High

Always ranking high on our list, Banksy is always the topic of conversation, controversy, even politics. He seems to be omnipresent and everything he does is immediately in the spotlight. The subject of his identity has been largely debated and speculated, with hypotheses ranging from the strangely plausible to completely outrageous. This month, a video from 1995 has resurfaced supposedly showing the anonymous street artist at work. In this blurred footage, he discusses his activities under the cover of the night. Featured image: Banksy, via dailymail.co.uk

David Hamilton - The Controversial Photographer

Concerning the controversies that surrounded the life and death of David Hamilton, it is no wonder he is the first artist on our list. The controversial photographer was best known for his photographs of early-teen girls, often nude, placing him in the center of child pornography accusations. Last month, Hamilton was found dead at the age of 83 in his apartment in Paris in an alleged suicide. His death came just a few days after a French radio hostess accused him of raping her during a photoshoot at the age of thirteen, leaving these allegations wide open for good.

David Hamilton - Lisa, via pictify.com
David Hamilton – Lisa, via pictify.com

List of the Most Popular Artists in 2016

Below, be sure to check out the full list of the most popular artists of the year as seen through the eyes of our global public. Is your favorite there?

ARTISTPOSITION
DAVID HAMILTON1
BANKSY2
LENG JUN3
JWAN YOSEF4
SPENCER TUNICK5
ALEXIS DIAZ6
DAVID CHOE7
JEFF KOONS8
HUSH9
GUY DENNING10
HELMUT NEWTON11
JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT12
PABLO PICASSO13
SANDRA SENN14
HERAKUT15
ANDY WARHOL16
SHEPARD FAIREY17
ANISH KAPOOR18
TOM OF FINLAND19
TAKASHI MURAKAMI20
FUTURA21
MISS VAN22
DAMIEN HIRST23
PAUL JENKINS24
JACKSON POLLOCK25
PEJAC26
TRACEY EMIN27
ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE28
XOOANG CHOI29
EDUARDO KOBRA30
RETNA31
BETTINA RHEIMS32
ALEXANDRA LEVASSEUR33
HENRIETTA HARRIS34
JR35
NOBUYOSHI ARAKI36
KEITH HARING37
ANAIS MARTANE38
SALVADOR DALI39
101040
PAUL CEZANNE41
OKUDA42
BLEK LE RAT43
DFACE44
KAWS45
KRIS KUKSI46
YAYOI KUSAMA47
ALEX FACE48
ADRIAN GHENIE49
BORONDO50
NICK WALKER51
DANIEL ARSHAM52
RIUSUKE FUKAHORI53
CASE MACLAIM54
GERDA WEGENER55
ROY LICHTENSTEIN56
ARMANDO MARINO57
SEBASTIAO SALGADO58
JAN SAUDEK59
FARID RUEDA60
MR BRAINWASH61
PHASE 262
ISAAC CORDAL63
CONOR HARRINGTON64
JOCK STURGES65
ZEPHYR66
MARTHA COOPER67
JEAN FAUCHEUR68
ANDREAS GURSKY69
TWO ONE70
MILO MOIRE71
FANG XIANG72
DAVID WALKER73
ALEXANDER CALDER74
MAX ERNST75
LUCIEN SMITH76
VINCENT VAN GOGH77
GERHARD RICHTER78
GUIDO VAN HELTEN79
JASON SEIFE80
CACAO ROCKS81
MARINA ABRAMOVIC82
BATES83
VHILS84
MONA KUHN85
FRANCIS BACON86
IHEART87
JUN INOUE88
SALLY MANN89
FRANCO GRIGNANI90
MIQUEL BARCELO91
JAMES JEAN92
SHOHEI OTOMO93
ANTHONY LISTER94
LEE QUINONES95
ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG96
YVES KLEIN97
SANDRA CHEVRIER98
PIXEL PANCHO99
JOHN CURRIN100