The Block

Art & Culture — 2 years ago

Artists To Watch 2020 & 2021: Where Are They Now?

Revisiting just some of our previous Artists To Watch.


For a few years now, we’ve seen January as a chance to get excited about the year ahead with our Artists To Watch collection. Featuring artists from all over the world, each iteration has been a lineup of some of the names we’re most excited to watch over the coming months. 


But our ethos has never been about just spotlighting the ‘hot’ new thing each year. We’re not just interested when it’s January; rather we’re excited to watch and support any of our artists as they adapt and grow. 


That’s why this year while we look forward we’re also looking back. To coincide with 2022’s Artists To Watch launch, we’ve revisited just some of the cohort of years gone by, to find out what they’ve been up to since the campaign, and how their practice is evolving.

Everpress Team
Courtesy of Nam Huynh


Reading-born self-confessed ‘Alphabet Aficionado’ Anna Mills has fast-established herself as a star on the rise. With a signature type-based style that embraces mediums old and new, her work spans video, gifs, digital design and even embroidery. Since appearing on our Artists to Watch list in 2021, she has created artwork for Google and appeared in an exhibition with Terracotta Prints, as well as our very own Type In Focus collection. She recently spoke to It’s Nice That about her process too, revealing her belief that each letter has its own “personality” – ”this really lends [my work] to being animated – I want to see them jump off the page!”


With an idiosyncratic eye and work that spans design, sculpture and art direction for brands like ASICS and Conde Nast, Amsterdam-based Barbara Frankie Ryan is one of the most exciting emerging talents. Since 2020, she has also been working as a creative consultant with the Diversity Standards Collective, and, in 2021, fresh from our Artists To Watch lineup, she curated a never-before-seen digital archive with It’s Nice That x Dropbox. Digging into the archive of the (now defunct) Ulm School, an industry-defining institution whose aim was to educate a class of socially-conscious designers, two artists were briefed to create a new artwork inspired by the Ulm’s digital ‘Inspiration Archive.

Courtesy of Barbara Frankie Ryan


South Korea-based Yechan Jung has amassed a considerable following with his offbeat and tongue-in-cheek designs, which interrogate queerness, toxic masculinity and mental health. Jung makes everything from stickers to tattoos, publications and prints – with so many strings to his bow it’s little wonder his tee for 2021’s Artists To Watch campaign was themed around burnout. Of all his work, his T-shirts in particular are definitely ones to watch – AI influencer lilmiquela has even been spotted in a Yehcan Jung original.

Courtesy of Yechan Jung


It’s safe to say Stuttgart-based designer Nam Huynh has been busy since we spotlighted him last year. Working across creative strategy, 3D design, experimental typography and animation, Huynh recently hosted a workshop in poster design at the INTL. Assembly and helped students design a virtual sneaker at the Captcha Design Festival too. His work has been exhibited at graphic design biennials in Moscow, Antwerp, Chaumont and Bolivia, and he also found time to co-found N&MS a creative consultancy alongside fellow designer Mark Bohle.

Courtesy of Nam Huynh


Currently based in London, but hailing from Norway, Oda Iselin first caught our eye with her strikingly weird folklore-influenced watercolours. The naked body, magic and rituals, and nature all loom large in her work. “I have a very deep connection with the forest, and in particular the forest in Norway, because I moved around a lot, but I would always be close to the forest,” she says in this interview. “Later it became a place I would go to when there were things in life that you just had to accept you couldn’t control.” Since last January, her practice has expanded to include sculpture and writing fiction – we can’t wait to see it.

Courtesy of Oda Iselin

Read More: 14 Visual Artists To Watch in 2021