Instagram is the perfect platform for artists. We’ve got eyes on this talented crop to watch.

T’was a time when the art world was a somewhat rarefied place. For many, stepping inside the often pin-drop quiet of a commercial gallery was akin to walking into a fine jeweller: great if you were confident in your knowledge and in your bank balance; if not? Not so much. That milieu still exists, of course, but it is fast being given a run for its money by an altogether more accessible platform: Instagram.

Thanks to Insta’s democratisation of the art world, more and more would-be buyers are now being given the chance to become collectors. Of course, some our emerging artists have representation from galleries, but the beauty lies in the fact that, these days, you can get well-acquainted with their work first by following them from the comfort of your own sofa. Here’s our choice of ones to watch, from the very newly established to those beginning to make waves.

Image Credit: Piers Alsop

@jonathanchanpainting




Jonathan Chan is a relative newcomer to painting, having taken up the easel in earnest just a couple of years ago. He is, however, no stranger to drawing. Working concurrently as an architect in London, draughtsmanship is, for Chan, the strand that unites all of his creative pursuits. That his work on canvas is the most nascent of all his talents is astonishing in itself.


One glance at his Instagram feed speaks not only of his prolific nature but of his uncanny ability to see inside and capture the essence of a person. As his work progresses, there are ever-stronger echoes of the Impressionists, as well as nods to Lucian Freud – all while he articulates his own artistic language with increasing clarity and flair. A fascinating artist to watch.


@terezabarnard




It is remarkable to learn that Oxford-based artist, Tereza Barnard, only began a career in painting two years ago. Her accomplished work, which falls firmly in the realist tradition, is striking, not only in its near-photographic nature, but also in its nuance and focus on drawing out the frame of mind of her sitter. We love that she shares each stage of her progress, thus allowing us into the many layers its takes to create her representation of a person. It’s almost like peeling an onion in reverse; Barnard’s art is an imitative study in the layers we show and those that we hide. That she trained as a psychologist before taking this side-step into art stands entirely to reason.


Her art heroes include Rembrandt and the somewhat more contemporary @davidkassan, and her work is available, both directly and through @33contemporary in Chicago. She takes commissions, and as long as you’re quick, can work on drawings and smaller painting to be ready in time for Christmas.


@piersalsop




Piers Alsop trained at both Wimbledon and Camberwell schools of art. He then promptly left painting to apply his exceptionally attuned aesthetic eye to animated film, where his Photoshop skills were some of the best in the business. And yet he felt an ever-stronger tug back to the canvas, a magnetic force that was intensified in 2018 when Grayson Perry selected one of his works to be exhibited at The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. Buoyed by that experience, he now paints full time, accruing a burgeoning crop of fans on both sides of the Atlantic.


Represented by @neon_artgallery, he works primarily in paint but still turns his eye to film and sculpture to keep his imagination fresh. Alsop’s influences ricochet from sculptor Bruce McLean to his own father, the late architect Will Alsop (as evidenced in this glorious tribute to him), and back to Magritte. We love the wit as well as the sheer beauty of his work.


@lottiecole1




One of the more seasoned of the emerging artists on this list, we are massive fans the work of the wonderful Lottie Cole. The London- and Sussex-dwelling painter transports us, with her signature lightness of touch, to bohemian idylls, notably of the Bloomsbury set at their country outposts, both at Charleston Farmhouse and Monk’s House in East Sussex.


Represented by Cricket Fine Art, we covet her decorative style of painting hard. If you count yourself among the many fans of Molly Mahon’s gorgeous block-printing, Lottie Cole will doubtless be completely up your street.


Jesse Wine




British-born, New York-based ceramicist Jesse Wine graduated from The Royal College of Art in 2010 and has been carving out a pretty stellar path for himself ever since. Working in clay, we love his wry humour, surrealism and preoccupation with the human form – often limbs – parts of which tend to end up in unlikely places in his imaginative rendering.


He is currently exhibiting at SculptureCenter in Long Island City; ‘Imperfect List’ is his first US museum solo show. They say, ‘The exhibition brings together a wide variety of works, ranging from larger-than-life, abstracted figures, to segmented, floor-bound works displaying fragments of dexterous limbs and living room furniture, to modernist buildings and a fleet of small trucks.’ A compelling and original artist to watch.


@paulferney




Paul Ferney’s Instagram feed features a lot of beaches, both photographed and painted, the lines between the two often seeming blurred.


Accomplished and beautiful, the nostalgia surrounding these images feels almost raw right now, as those halcyon carefree days of splashing in oceans and languidly lolling about on the sand feel desperately out of reach.


@archmc




London-born, New York-based Arch McLeish is an art director and image-maker. We love the dream-like and hazily romantic nature of his work, which fuses the ethereal with the decidedly worldly.


His work is typically devoid of the human form, but acts almost like an echo of human activity, its traces becoming the stars of the work. At its best, McLeish’s images are hauntingly beautiful.


By Nancy Alsop
November 2020

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