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14 Visual Artists to Watch in 2021

The artists to look out for in 2021. 

 

Even without a pandemic, January is never the easiest month. What’s getting us through though, is thinking about what we’ve got to look forward to, and get excited about, in the year ahead. Having compiled a list of the artists on our radar for last year, we’re revisiting  who we’re watching for 2021. 

 

Without doubt one of the highlights of what we do at Everpress is getting to keep up with all the best emerging artists from all over the globe. From graduates fresh out of university, to self-taught sensations, to those that have been around for a little while but seem newly set to come into their own, it feels like there’s somebody new to get excited about every day at HQ.

 

Our definition of ‘artist’ is pretty fluid. Really we mean all visual creatives; from illustrators to graphic designers to people who’ll use anything as their canvas. Read on for a list that spans the illustrator and type designer Shivani Parasnis, the painter Thebe Phetogo, the tufting artist Alice Kelly, the graphic designer Anna Mills and many many more.

 

Check out the Artists to Watch ’21 T-shirt collection here

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Courtesy fo Everpress, designed by Josh Magee

Nia Danielle Lovemore Rutledge

Born in Oklahoma and now based in Kansas City, where she studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, multi-hyphenate Nia Danielle Lovemore Rutledge’s practice includes graphic design, oil painting, animation, coding and experimental film. While disparate in the mediums she uses, her work is unified by theme; existing, by her own description, in the realm of Afrosurrealism. “Through my work, I morph painful memories into beautiful landscapes,” says Nia. “I create portals into the future so that I may find myself teleported into an alternate dimension where I may come in contact with my true self.”

Shop Nia’s Blackheart T-shirt here

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Courtesy of Nia Danielle Lovemore Rutledge

Anna Mills

Just a year out of the University of the West of England’s graphic design course, Anna Mills is quickly establishing herself as a designer to watch. Though she works predominantly in type (on Instagram she describes herself as an ‘alphabet aficionado’), one of the most exciting things about her work is the way she embraces unconventional mediums old and new. As well as prints and catalogues, she makes videos, gifs, and even embroiders her type design onto a whole range of things. Standouts include her hand embroidered totes, and the rugs she’s created for Royal Ragz and Flaneur

Shop Anna’s Hot Off The Press T-shirt here

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Courtesy of Anna Mills

Sasha Staicu

Sasha Staicu, or @famousfemaleartist, was born in Moscow, raised in Bucharest and is now based in Glasgow, where she studied Communication Design at the School of Art. Both visually and thematically the disparate influences of each of these places can be read in her work, which isn’t afraid to engage with political and controversial, whether it’s commentary on Brexit, a cartoon strip of a notorious Hungarian female serial killer or obscure queer icons.

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Courtesy of Sasha Staicu

Barbara Frankie Ryan

Currently based in Amsterdam, Kingston University alumni Barbara Frankie Ryan is quickly making a name for herself for her idiosyncratic work, which spans mediums and disciplines. Take Freshly Cut Flowers, her sculpture series which explored her own attempts to immortalise bouquets, or her stints as an art director for campaigns for the likes of ASICS and Conde Nast. With such a versatile back catalogue, we can’t wait to see what the freelance artist and art director turns her hand to next. 

Shop Barbara’s Spring Green’s T-shirt here

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Courtesy of Barbara Frankie Ryan

Thebe Phetogo

2020 saw Thebe Phetogo’s second solo exhibition, Blackbody Composites, in Lagos’ kó gallery. Opening in November, the ten paintings on show were created during the Botswana artist’s residency at Arthouse Foundation, and drew on the work of earlier artists including the photographer Santu Mofokeng and the painter Gerard Sekoto. Represented by Guns & Rain, he’s also part of the Botswana Pavilion collective, which endeavours to raise the profile of the country’s visual arts scene. 

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Courtesy of Thebe Phetogo

Anthony Sudol

Another of our Holiday Collection artists, Anthony Sudol’s Brighter Skies T-shirt was emblematic of the simultaneously chaotic, zany and optimistic style he’s spent the past few years honing. The illustrator and designer is drawn to strong shapes and quirky imagery, and his work has appeared as everything from album art, to posters, prints, comics and even a Zoom play. “ I want folks to be able to see my work in the spaces they inhabit every day,” he says, of his multifaceted canvases. “To live and love with them!”

Shop Anthony’s Just Singing! T-shirt here

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Courtesy of Anthony Sudol

Shivani Parasnis

Shivani Parasnis kicked off the year with an illustration in the New York Times, adding to a stellar portfolio that spans illustrations for Wired Magazine and WePresent, and a roster of branding and typography projects, all alongside her gig as a designer for Spotify. Shivani, who specialises in typography, type design, print design and branding, recently completed her MFA in graphic design at the Maryland Institute College of Art. We’re especially compelled by her ability to explore and riff on a multitude of cultures in her work. 

Shop Shivani’s Friends T-shirt here

Brindha Kumar

Not long out of her London College of Communication BA Brindha Kumar is already carving a niche for herself as an illustrator and designer. We recently caught up with the 28 year old, who grew up in Malaysia but has been based in London since her uni days, on how 2020 had changed her practice. “I had a pile of ideas that had been written and sketched into my notebook that I’d never got around to doing, including the recent T-shirt design,” she said. “This was the perfect time for me to explore these ideas with a clear perspective.” We’re hoping 2021 will bring even more ideas.

Shop Brindha’s Snake II T-shirt here

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Courtesy of Brindha Kumar

Sophie Gori

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota but now based in Austin, Texas, artist Sophie Gori is fluid in what counts as a canvas for her work. As well as the more conventional (think huge, wall spanning murals, mini paintings and everything in between) she paints bowls, planters and more. She’s been vocal too about the relationship between her practice and her mental health. “Working through my depression and anxiety sometimes means rechanneling my focus,” she wrote on Instagram. “Painting has always been my coping mechanism, my way of stepping out of my emotions or sometimes pushing through them.”

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Courtesy of Sophie Gori

Alice Kelly

Despite being just a few years out of Chelsea College of Arts, Alice Kelly has already amassed a sizable following for her textile creations. Breathing new life into the practice of tufting, she creates pieces as fit for the wall as they are for the floor. In part it’s her playful, abstract designs and bold approach to colour, but mostly it’s her expansive view of what rugs can be, like the mirrors that she frames with her one-off rugs. 

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Courtesy of Alice Kelly

Yechan Jung

Based in the South Korean city of Jinju, Yechan Jung makes art about being queer, toxic masculinity and their own childhood memories. From stickers and prints, to publications, to recently opening up tattoo commissions too, they’re unafraid to start frank conversations about  mental health and the full spectrum of emotions. Their stickers, prints and the pages of Oblivion Book and their subsequent Lemon Zine are adorned with relatable quotes like ‘Another day, another identity crisis’ and ‘Maybe in 2021 I’ll be able to do sth about my unresolved emotions.’ 

Shop Yechan’s Burnout T-shirt here

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Courtesy of Yechan Jung

Nassim Azarzar

Based in Rabat, Morocco, the emerging artist and art director Nassim Azarzar is as exciting for his knack for fostering collectives and community as he is for his work itself. In 2014 he co founded the experimental graphic design studio Atelier Superplus, followed by the shared workshop Atelier Kissaria in 2017, as well as being a member of the multidisciplinary artists and researchers collective QANAT. Often political in his work, he’s particularly interested in continuing the work of 1960s Moroccan artists and intellectuals in disentangling colonial history from modern Moroccan art.

Shop Nassim’s Bonne Route T-shirt here

Alyx Harch

The brains behind fashion label HARCH, Alyx Harch is a multidisciplinary artist who’s reinventing garments in multiple ways. First there’s the way she crafts her clothes, using her sewing machine “as a drawing tool” for a practice that’s closer to a painter using their canvas than strictly to fashion. Then there’s her sustainability ethos; she uses repurposed materials to create her one-off garments. Having already been selected by Virgil Abloh as the Visual Arts Mentor for the NikeLab Re-Creation Center and shown her work at The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, we think this year is set to be big for the Chicago-based artist. 

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Courtesy of Alyx Harch

Abi Beckram

Leeds Arts University alumni Abi Beckram has been on our radar for a little while, launching her Grow Togetha tee as part of our Holiday Campaign this past December. The graphic designer is especially interested in play and community, as she put it: “I love to explore playfulness within my work; looking at how design can function as a form of community and a platform to bring fun into the mundane. I take a lot of inspiration from this ethos, with the vast majority of my design focusing on spreading positivity through witty visuals.” She also runs MoodGlyph, a collaborative space exploring typographic responses to emotion.

Shop Abi’s Move On Up T-shirt here

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Courtesy of Abi Beckram

Read More: Our 20 Favourite T-shirt Designs of 2020

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