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Contemporary Art Trends for 2022

  • 13 min read

What to expect in art this year

We have created a guide to the Contemporary Art Trends for 2022 to help enrich your understanding of the influences at play in the creative world for the year ahead. Explore art inspired by the ever increasing digital world, virtual environments and in contrast, the natural world that many of us crave.


Rule-breaking and game-changing, 2022 is set to deliver 12 months of transformation. An artistic society (alongside an entire generation) has witnessed the most globally challenging situation we may ever face. Navigating a post-pandemic reality, the world is recalibrating to find not just a way forward but to try and seize the opportunities of our shared experiences, in an effort to find some good from an otherwise challenging event. As innovating as ever, the art world is taking advantage of new technologies, recognising the importance of the natural environment, and making time for humour and nostalgia in equal measure. Use our guide to the Contemporary Art Trends for 2022 to help enrich your understanding of the influences at play in the creative world for the year ahead.


VIRTUAL EVENTS


Born of necessity in 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic, the art world was forced to rapidly adapt to the confinement lockdown enforced. Compelling the creative industry to generate innovative solutions, the online experience of viewing art needed new ways to communicate the tactile experience that visiting a gallery in-person offered. Jumping the progression of buying online art ahead by a decade, more sophisticated methods of virtual presentation were the response of galleries and artists alike.

2022 looks set to witness the embracing of the Virtual Art Exhibition and Event as an incredible opportunity as opposed to an enforced situation. Providing an immersive experience for audiences all over the world, this democratic way to experience and collect art enables artists to reach new collectors that may have never encountered their creative output. With attendances soaring to over 5000 collectors for both of Kerry Darlington’s Virtual Exhibitions ‘The Rose Garden’ (2020) and ‘The Otherworld’ (2021), Wyecliffe Galleries was overwhelmed with the collectors that were able to join the annual showcase for the first time. Joining the online event from the four corners of the globe, both evenings demonstrated that art transcends place and language, and can and should be enjoyed by all.

Born of necessity in 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic, the art world was forced to rapidly adapt to the confinement lockdown enforced. Compelling the creative industry to generate innovative solutions, the online experience of viewing art needed new ways to communicate the tactile experience that visiting a gallery in-person offered. Jumping the progression of buying online art ahead by a decade, more sophisticated methods of virtual presentation were the response of galleries and artists alike.

2022 looks set to witness the embracing of the Virtual Art Exhibition and Event as an incredible opportunity as opposed to an enforced situation. Providing an immersive experience for audiences all over the world, this democratic way to experience and collect art enables artists to reach new collectors that may have never encountered their creative output. With attendances soaring to over 5000 collectors for both of Kerry Darlington’s Virtual Exhibitions ‘The Rose Garden’ (2020) and ‘The Otherworld’ (2021), Wyecliffe Galleries was overwhelmed with the collectors that were able to join the annual showcase for the first time. Joining the online event from the four corners of the globe, both evenings demonstrated that art transcends place and language, and can and should be enjoyed by all.

Providing an immersive experience for audiences all over the world, Virtual Exhibitions offer a democratic way to experience and collect art...

DIGITAL ART


With digital art and graphic collectables making headlines globally and a single work recording a record-breaking $70m in 2021, this forward-facing genre is captivating an audience of collectors seeking innovation and renown and looks set to ignite 2022. Fully embracing the virtual world, digital art incorporates a myriad of creative material approaches. It also offers new ways for collectors to view and buy art by utilising technologies such as NFTs and blockchain. Inspiring art-makers both in subject matter and technique, ‘digital’ is no longer the dirty word of the art world; instead it's a practice without boundaries offering compelling ways to communicate a creative vision.

Spearheading the movement at Wyecliffe Galleries, Gareth Tristan Evans fashions his acclaimed Urban Geisha series via masterful digital craftsmanship. Harnessing imagery sourced online, as well as capturing original photography for use in his works, Evans selects the perfect components to refine his 21st Century vision of the traditional Japanese geiko. Possessing the keen eye and approach of a painter, many countless hours are spent digitally adjusting the juxtaposition of portrait, design, and colour in the search of perfect visual harmony. The technique offers the artist the chance to re-imagine each concept, transforming compositions with re-designs and new printed formats. One of the most compelling and dynamic artists to emerge in recent years, Gareth Tristan Evans encapsulates the zeitgeist and mindset of digital art – the past needn’t set the rules for the future.

With digital art and graphic collectables making headlines globally and a single work recording a record-breaking $70m in 2021, this forward-facing genre is captivating an audience of collectors seeking innovation and renown and looks set to ignite 2022. Fully embracing the virtual world, digital art incorporates a myriad of creative material approaches. It also offers new ways for collectors to view and buy art by utilising technologies such as NFTs and blockchain. Inspiring art-makers both in subject matter and technique, ‘digital’ is no longer the dirty word of the art world; instead it's a practice without boundaries offering compelling ways to communicate a creative vision.

Spearheading the movement at Wyecliffe Galleries, Gareth Tristan Evans fashions his acclaimed Urban Geisha series via masterful digital craftsmanship. Harnessing imagery sourced online, as well as capturing original photography for use in his works, Evans selects the perfect components to refine his 21st Century vision of the traditional Japanese geiko. Possessing the keen eye and approach of a painter, many countless hours are spent digitally adjusting the juxtaposition of portrait, design, and colour in the search of perfect visual harmony. The technique offers the artist the chance to re-imagine each concept, transforming compositions with re-designs and new printed formats. One of the most compelling and dynamic artists to emerge in recent years, Gareth Tristan Evans encapsulates the zeitgeist and mindset of digital art – the past needn’t set the rules for the future.

Inspiring art-makers both in subject matter and technique, ‘digital’ is no longer the dirty word of the art world...

URBAN ART


A catch-all term for street and graffiti art, the rise of urban art from underpasses and city streets into the gallery space has placed it at the forefront of contemporary art in the late 2010s. Showing no signs of stopping, urban art is a force to be reckoned with. Offering an immediacy of reaction, the genre is a fast placed visual commentary on the current political, economic and social times. Often seen as a reflection of the people's voice, 2022 will no doubt create a melting pot of viewpoints and events for art-makers to work with as source material.

Fuelled with humour and bite, Chris Chapman’s Pranksy series epitomises the often tongue-in-cheek nature of the Urban genre. In edition ‘Double Shredder’, Chapman places the gallery space itself up for discussion as his perplexed characters gaze towards Banksy’s infamous ‘Girl with the Balloon’. The subject of art sensation when it was shredded in front of a staggered Sotheby’s audience the piece was re-titled ‘Love in the Bin’. Following the £18.5 million hammer price, Chapman has used the spectacle of this event to challenge the art world’s sense of value with endless wit. Their newest work ‘The Art Critic’ pokes fun at Banksy’s ‘Dog Peeing’, and the inspiration looks set to be a mainstay of Chapman’s work in 2022. Other innovators Mr Malcontent and Robin Coleman are also trailblazing faces to watch for the year ahead.

A catch-all term for street and graffiti art, the rise of urban art from underpasses and city streets into the gallery space has placed it at the forefront of contemporary art in the late 2010s. Showing no signs of stopping, urban art is a force to be reckoned with. Offering an immediacy of reaction, the genre is a fast placed visual commentary on the current political, economic and social times. Often seen as a reflection of the people's voice, 2022 will no doubt create a melting pot of viewpoints and events for art-makers to work with as source material.

Fuelled with humour and bite, Chris Chapman’s Pranksy series epitomises the often tongue-in-cheek nature of the Urban genre. In edition ‘Double Shredder’, Chapman places the gallery space itself up for discussion as his perplexed characters gaze towards Banksy’s infamous ‘Girl with the Balloon’. The subject of art sensation when it was shredded in front of a staggered Sotheby’s audience the piece was re-titled ‘Love in the Bin’. Following the £18.5 million hammer price, Chapman has used the spectacle of this event to challenge the art world’s sense of value with endless wit. Their newest work ‘The Art Critic’ pokes fun at Banksy’s ‘Dog Peeing’, and the inspiration looks set to be a mainstay of Chapman’s work in 2022. Other innovators Mr Malcontent and Robin Coleman are also trailblazing faces to watch for the year ahead.

NATURE INSPIRED


Where there is a trend, there will always be a counter-trend. With a huge emphasis on the technological developments in art (showcased with three of Wyecliffe’s art trends for 2022 resonating with the digital or virtual), the growing wave of art taking inspiration from the natural world will continue to gain momentum in the coming months. A reaction perhaps to the spells of lockdown, the need for the outdoors is becoming overwhelming for many creatives. Reconnecting with the space outside our four walls nature-inspired art offers a glorious window to different scenery, along with much sought after escapism. Increasing climate change and the global environmental crisis is now a key motivator for artists to visualise the very best the natural world has to offer; while also providing a commentary of the things that threaten it.

Compelling creative, Michael Olsen, is set to develop his uniquely formed feather butterflies into more daring formations; recent works have highlighted the complex relationship between man and nature with figurative compositions emerging from thousands of coloured wings. Founded on a philosophy of rebirth Cat Tesla’s ‘Chrysalis’ series delves deep into the painted movement of water and long grass, whereas Lea De Witts striking blown glass wall sculpture mimics leaves blowing in the wind. Just three of the artists to watch for 2022, nature-inspired art is the purest homage to the beauty of the natural world.

Where there is a trend, there will always be a counter-trend. With a huge emphasis on the technological developments in art (showcased with three of Wyecliffe’s art trends for 2022 resonating with the digital or virtual), the growing wave of art taking inspiration from the natural world will continue to gain momentum in the coming months. A reaction perhaps to the spells of lockdown, the need for the outdoors is becoming overwhelming for many creatives. Reconnecting with the space outside our four walls nature-inspired art offers a glorious window to different scenery, along with much sought after escapism. Increasing climate change and the global environmental crisis is now a key motivator for artists to visualise the very best the natural world has to offer; while also providing a commentary of the things that threaten it.

Compelling creative, Michael Olsen, is set to develop his uniquely formed feather butterflies into more daring formations; recent works have highlighted the complex relationship between man and nature with figurative compositions emerging from thousands of coloured wings. Founded on a philosophy of rebirth Cat Tesla’s ‘Chrysalis’ series delves deep into the painted movement of water and long grass, whereas Lea De Witts striking blown glass wall sculpture mimics leaves blowing in the wind. Just three of the artists to watch for 2022, nature-inspired art is the purest homage to the beauty of the natural world.

ART & SCIENCE


Perhaps loosely associated with the emerging Nature-Inspired Trend, an increasing body of artists are embracing what has previously been considered cultural opposites – Art and Science. Gazing towards other worlds, art-makers are imagining what it might be like to step inside a spacesuit and travel through time and countless galaxies. Previously only accessible through years of dedicated training on space programmes, astronaut art has the true power to transport the collector to view the stars and planets up close.

Pioneering artist Becky Smith has quickly forged a committed following for her immersive original works that advocate the purest form of imagination. Becky invites collectors to join a new space odyssey years in the making, joining the artist in concerns about the deep truths of space exploration and the natural phenomenons of the universe. It is easy to imagine the works soundtracked to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, though the compositions are firmly rooted in 2022. Boasting almost 20 million views across her social channels at the time of writing, Smith has commanded recognition online with her infectious encouragement to wonder and marvel at the brilliance of the skies above. Becky inspires her viewers to take note of their inner artist that can be found within the vast expanse of what surrounds us.

Perhaps loosely associated with the emerging Nature-Inspired Trend, an increasing body of artists are embracing what has previously been considered cultural opposites – Art and Science. Gazing towards other worlds, art-makers are imagining what it might be like to step inside a spacesuit and travel through time and countless galaxies. Previously only accessible through years of dedicated training on space programmes, astronaut art has the true power to transport the collector to view the stars and planets up close.

Pioneering artist Becky Smith has quickly forged a committed following for her immersive original works that advocate the purest form of imagination. Becky invites collectors to join a new space odyssey years in the making, joining the artist in concerns about the deep truths of space exploration and the natural phenomenons of the universe. It is easy to imagine the works soundtracked to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, though the compositions are firmly rooted in 2022. Boasting almost 20 million views across her social channels at the time of writing, Smith has commanded recognition online with her infectious encouragement to wonder and marvel at the brilliance of the skies above. Becky inspires her viewers to take note of their inner artist that can be found within the vast expanse of what surrounds us.

...art-makers are imagining what it might be like to step inside a spacesuit and travel through time and countless galaxies.

LITERATURE INSPIRED


Perhaps fuelled by a generation of artists taking advantage of more time to reflect during the lockdowns, literature has increasingly found its place as an important source material. Both a result of having had more time on our hands, as well as understanding just how valuable time with family really is, the fairytales of our childhoods are emerging via the paintbrushes of many art-makers. The stories we were told by our parents, the ones we read out loud to our children, and the ones we read ourselves to unlock our imagination, have been more vital to forge happy memories and offer much-needed escapism. With artists already planning follow-up compositions for 2022, the coming months will invite collectors on a journey of nostalgia.

One of the painters at the very heart of the movement is Rozanne Bell, an artist of extraordinary talents. Stepping into the pages of Beatrix Potter's ‘Peter Rabbit and Friends’, A. A. Milne's ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’, as well as Kenneth Grahame’s ‘Wind in the Willows’, Bell has transformed each storybook into a fine art painting. Elevating the narratives to a medium that may be hung and enjoyed on our walls, Bell joins Kerry Darlington and David Renshaw as a triad of artists whose international influence will surely only grow in the year ahead.

Perhaps fuelled by a generation of artists taking advantage of more time to reflect during the lockdowns, literature has increasingly found its place as an important source material. Both a result of having had more time on our hands, as well as understanding just how valuable time with family really is, the fairytales of our childhoods are emerging via the paintbrushes of many art-makers. The stories we were told by our parents, the ones we read out loud to our children, and the ones we read ourselves to unlock our imagination, have been more vital to forge happy memories and offer much-needed escapism. With artists already planning follow-up compositions for 2022, the coming months will invite collectors on a journey of nostalgia.

One of the painters at the very heart of the movement is Rozanne Bell, an artist of extraordinary talents. Stepping into the pages of Beatrix Potter's ‘Peter Rabbit and Friends’, A. A. Milne's ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’, as well as Kenneth Grahame’s ‘Wind in the Willows’, Bell has transformed each storybook into a fine art painting. Elevating the narratives to a medium that may be hung and enjoyed on our walls, Bell joins Kerry Darlington and David Renshaw as a triad of artists whose international influence will surely only grow in the year ahead.

'VERY PERI' - COLOUR OF THE YEAR


Newly created by the renowned house of colour, Pantone, the Colour of the Year 2022, ‘Very Peri’, reflects the transforming ways of living for the year ahead as well as the digital revolution. While we learn to live with the twofold experience of emerging from a period of isolation, while also adjusting to the new altered reality of ‘normal’ life taking place, this colour recognises that society is establishing new rules that will alter the course of our future.

The first new colour to be announced in Pantone’s history, this unique shade of blue with violet-red undertones is set to define the direction of interior styling and artistic practice for the year ahead. Supporting a portfolio of artists ahead of the curve, this tone features in abundance in works created by some of Wyecliffe Galleries most distinguished artists. Used as both the main shade of a composition as well as an accent colour, Beatriz Elorza, Laura Beck, and Brenda Herd utilise ‘Very Peri’ with eloquence in their sensational compositions.

Newly created by the renowned house of colour, Pantone, the Colour of the Year 2022, ‘Very Peri’, reflects the transforming ways of living for the year ahead as well as the digital revolution. While we learn to live with the twofold experience of emerging from a period of isolation, while also adjusting to the new altered reality of ‘normal’ life taking place, this colour recognises that society is establishing new rules that will alter the course of our future.

The first new colour to be announced in Pantone’s history, this unique shade of blue with violet-red undertones is set to define the direction of interior styling and artistic practice for the year ahead. Supporting a portfolio of artists ahead of the curve, this tone features in abundance in works created by some of Wyecliffe Galleries most distinguished artists. Used as both the main shade of a composition as well as an accent colour, Beatriz Elorza, Laura Beck, and Brenda Herd utilise ‘Very Peri’ with eloquence in their sensational compositions.

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