Reject boring! Our favorite art trends are overflowing with pizazz and loaded with color and refined forms. When starstruck by black-and-white, we love pairing it with color-washed walls or eccentrically different styles to create collections that truly last from generation to generation — and bring us infinite joy in the present moment too. Here, we explore the works of some standout artists from the Chairish Art Collective featuring some of our favorite trends. Choose fun, root out the meh, and get inspired.
More color, please and thank you! Some of our favorite artists are saturating artworks with unconventionally vibrant colors — from portraits to landscapes, still lifes, and more, while collages often feature images crowded with objects and ideas, each layered together to craft a striking whole. Even the materials artists use benefit from a dose of maximalism. Nadia Jaber, an artist based in Barcelona, expertly applies neon light to a canvas, “which highlights and gives an eclectic and contemporary look to the artwork.” Jaber also stitches together different canvases into a single work of art. “It adds a deeper character and boldness to the artwork thanks to the handcraft of the technique,” she says.
Many artists merge their love of maximalism with restraint as well. Nicole Newsted, pictured above, is attracted to kitschy, familiar objects that she transforms with color and contrast into revelatory, and cult-like, phenomena. “I work with very high contrast, and find a simple white background highlights my bold shapes and bright color more than anything else,” says Newsted. “I refrain from the use of color or pattern in my backgrounds — I want repetition, bright color, varying shapes and sizes, all in the simplest of settings. Minimalism in the back, Maximalism in the front. The most in the front, the least in the back.”
Art collections today focus less on a single artist or period, as collectors purchase works across a variety of eras, styles, and mediums. Even an outrageous, graphic artwork fails to pop when positioned alongside similarly over-the-top pieces. “It’s all about creating a beautifully curated mix, so that you never tire or bore of the artwork you choose,” declares artist Josh Yöung, whose home we recently toured on Chairish. Yöung is known for his portraits that heavily reference the style of the Old Masters with a touch of playful and abstract irreverence. In his own home, he mixes up his art collection just as dynamically as he draws from various veins in art history: “I love collecting black-and-white photography. It’s so beautiful against my abstracts,” he says.
In museums, curators are also mixing art across styles and eras to enhance the meaning of each singular piece. Artist Kate Roebuck notes the trend of museums finding unusual complements between various works, saying “This was evidenced in MOMA’s newly curated gallery spaces.”
Classic, stately paintings of presidents line the “America’s Presidents” hall of the National Portrait Gallery, with the exception of Former President Barack Obama, whose color-rich portrait by Kehinde Wiley features a background of vivid foliage. Wiley, along with established artists like Jennifer Packer, Amy Sherald, Frans Smit, and Nelson Makamo, among others, depict the body and face in electrifying color, demonstrating that contrasting abstract elements with the techniques of traditional portraiture can bring out a new and unexpected element in a subject. Although this trend has been in full swing for a while, we don’t think it will be going anywhere anytime soon, with Chairish Artist Collective painters like Sean Kratzert and Lucia Jones keeping it alive.
Influence of Social Media on How Art is Made and Sold
Social media has given artists new control over how they present their work to the world — and if they’re able to create a meaningful social presence, they can forego the traditional gallery route in presenting their work to the public. “Increased social media platforms and online marketplaces give the artist greater exposure,” says Kimberly Moore, an artist who tends to work with muted colors and geometric forms. “In the past, artists had to mostly rely on galleries to showcase their work.” With social media, savvy artists talk directly to the consumer and avoid the exclusivity and commission requirements of galleries.
Social media also allows for artists’ work to be easily copied through its wide circulation online, and its negative effects on dependent users are numerous, from low self esteem to data mining. Artists today respond to the double-edged sword of social media through works that explore its complexity. In the artist statement video posted on her website, Jaber sits in front of a collection of her colorful works and plays with her phone in increased playback speed, as text at the bottom of the screen reads, “I am an artist bc [sic] I love myself to the point of idolatry; but I also intensely dislike myself — I find myself unutterably boring.” Her dual impulses for making art reflect the motivations of millenials on social media.
Other artists channel the influence of social media by rejecting the layers of fictions that it requires. “The trend I’m excited about is authenticity,” says artist Sean Kratzert. People are beginning to appreciate authenticity more as it becomes more and more rare. That should be the goal of the artist, to be their authentic self and create authentic works of the moment.”
The New Natural
Don’t get us wrong: we love traditional landscapes and cityscapes. And even so — sprawling hillsides, cloud-ridden skies, it’s all so much more fun in technicolor. Eruptions of unusual color, abstract shapes, visible brushstrokes transform the rendition of our environments into a practice of pleasure. Like depictions of the body, the art world rarely tires of landscapes entirely, since they can symbolize our connection to the world around us, and they show us exactly how our environments are changing as our societies change. In a pandemic, landscapes can be particularly calming, implying a level of consistency — and even a certain sanctity — in times that uproot and disturb us. “There is still deep beauty and joy in the world, amidst the pain and sorrow I’m seeing and feeling for everyone,” says Roebuck, whose art tends to play with simplified forms. “Right now, I’m looking at photos of nature I have taken on hikes around my house. I live on a mountain, so it’s easy to get outside and be alone when I have the opportunity.” Color, on the hand, can provide a burst of cheer that effortlessly accessorizes a space and draws in the viewer. There’s no limit to the ways that artists interpret and refashion the world.
Superb lines and compelling silhouettes always make a statement, especially when coated in a showstopping color. With its minimalism that verges on either industrial or sculptural, this form of artwork seems to draw inspiration from other sources, including architecture. Roebuck notes the cross-disciplinary artist Constantin Brâncuși, who is most known for his modernist sculptures, as one of her influences. “His understanding of form and shape give me something to aspire to,” the artist says.
Charlie Oscar Patterson points out that this type of abstraction is often thanks to the power of light. “For my work the relationship between form and colour is light,” Patterson says. “The paintings have a relief built out of the frame that capture light making it responsive to its context. Every viewing becomes a distinct performance in time and space, conducted by the light that falls on to the piece and played uniquely in the eye of the beholder.”
Increasing Online Presence of Galleries
The Internet has expanded opportunities for both individual artists and galleries. Although certain galleries already had online initiatives capable of diversifying viewership, the global impact of coronavirus has forced galleries to find new ways to cope with an online audience. Originally scheduled to launch on March 19 in Hong Kong, Art Basel was canceled and replaced by online viewing rooms; Google partnered with more than 2500 museums around the world to allow quarantined art lovers to tour exhibitions at home. Likewise, as restrictions on public life in globalized cities force art patrons inside, Barbara Pollack and Anne Verhallen created an online show to interrogate the role of art within crisis, called How Can We Think of Art at a Time Like This? With public health in mind, museums and galleries have begun including online components to exhibitions to expand their offerings across platforms.