As one of the world’s leading art scenes, the United Kingdom is ideal for any up and coming artist to showcase their work and make a name for themselves. Plenty of artists in the country blur the lines between amateur and professional on their way to the top. Below are just a couple of artists that are well on their way to becoming a household name, so it’s better you start to remember them now:
UK artist Derek Hood is making his way through the British art scene with flying colours, if you will. His focus is visual artistry which he studied at the University of Birmingham. He is most interested in drawing and painting specifically. He also enjoys illuminated manuscripts and mosaics, and favours the styles of Dadaism, surrealism, cubism, and more.
His art has been featured in up to ten art exhibits and street galleries, including but not limited to The Black Rat Projects, the Lawrence Alkin Gallery, and Lazarides, all of which were deemed some of London’s best street galleries by Time Out Magazine.
Derek’s use of colour is jarring but intriguing as it is very bright and deliberately applied. He uses a large amount of primary colours, which speaks very much to his stylised tone as an individual and artist. Derek’s inspirations vary between culture and time period, as they include but are not limited to Kapwani Kiwanga, Katinka Bock, and Urs Fischer.
Mowgli is a British tattoo artist located at the Through My Third Eye tattoo parlour in London. He has gained serious attention since his portfolio listed on his Instagram, which displays his extremely elaborate, sketch-like style that he achieves through tattoo artistry. His tattoos are meticulously detailed, often featuring portraits of people in abstract forms.
Tattoo artistry is a growing medium of art since tattoos have become more popular and diverse due to advancements in technology. This has allowed tattoos to be accomplished with various thickness and colour.
Sickboy is another street artist who has been tagging since the mid-1990’s, this time located in Bristol. He contributed to reinventing the way people perceive graffiti by making his signature a red and yellow “temple”-like logo as opposed to the standard stylistic letting that was popular at the time.
When he did use words, his slogan “Save the Youth” became popular as well as another one of his trademarks of sorts. He has also cited a Spanish graffiti artist as an inspiration to him named La Mano.
Sickboy has been exhibited in art galleries, including the Tate Modern in 2008. Some of his recent solo shows have been featured in London, Paris, and San Francisco.
The art of Mikéla Henry-Lowe actively celebrates Black women in all of their beauty, in spite of a society that does not treat Black women with the respect they deserve.
She is based in London and utilises the fracturing of colour to paint portraits of Black women to express their individual characteristics and personality traits while portraying their beauty as a whole.
She started her journey in 2016 and has already been featured in exhibitions and interviews alike. Some of Mikéla’s featured exhibitions include her Radical Love Exhibition in 2017, Black Blossoms: Highlighting the Voices of Black Women in 2016, and her FLOCK 2016 Graduate Exhibition.
British artist Joe Webb focuses primarily on collages and paintings. His art demonstrates his takes on political and social aspects of the world, particularly war, climate change, and much more. Some of his reoccurring visuals include, space, televisions, landscapes, and idealistic 1950’s art depicting people.
Joe Webb has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including For Arts Sake Gallery, The Original Print Fair, and Jealous Gallery for the London Art Fair to name a few, all of which happening in 2018 alone. He has worked with several larger artists such as the Madden Brothers, Janelle Monae, and Coldplay.
As art has become more accessible, it has become even more political, and Chris Alton has honed into this market significantly. Chris Alton is based in Croydon and utilises a series of mediums in order to achieve his artistic visions. He is well known for turning to music and film when it comes to activism and protesting against political injustice, and using humour and happiness radically so as to better achieve his aim of societal equity.
He founded the EDL, or English Disco Lovers, in 2012 so as to manoeuvre the EDL acronym into something positive as opposed to a reference to a nationalist and xenophobic movement, the English Defence League. This is just one example of Chris’ that exhibits his penchant for reclaiming and redesigning fascist happenings in his own community to something accepting and beneficial; as disco was formed in a context of political resistance.
Historically, English culture has been extremely discouraging of making outright statements about the monarchy through art. It was not until the mid-twentieth century that the Queen was even allowed to be portrayed on a stage for the first time in English history. Dale Adcock, however, makes art primarily with history in mind. Much of it is British, but it also expands throughout many cultures, and is turned on its head for a newer, fresher look at the way we perceive history and humanity, especially with a modern lens.
His work has been exhibited in many galleries in recent years, such as The Future Can Wait at Victoria House, Perfectionism at Griffin Gallery, and The Fine Line in Identity Gallery, all from just 2013 and without naming all of his features.
The United Kingdom has been an artistic hub for generations and will be for generations to come. The cultural appreciation for art in all its forms encourages its growth and motivates young artists to continue the pursuit of their craft. Whether tattoo artists like Mowgli, or street artists like myself, UK artist Derek Hood, or artists of any other medium, creatives of all kinds can find a home in the United Kingdom.