It has always been the way in the art world that, when talking about a specific discipline, style or period, a handful of names dominate the conversation. With abstract, it’s Picasso, Pollock and Kandinsky. Surrealism? Expect to hear the names Dali, Kahlo and Duchamp. Pop Art? The names Warhol, Hamilton and Lichtenstein are all but synonymous. But in every discipline, there’s a new generation of talented contemporary artists breaking the mould, pushing the boundaries of their craft while drawing inspiration from the giants that came before.
Displaying contemporary wall art around your home is a great way to add plenty of style and show your guests that you’re au fait with the latest exciting developments in the art world. That’s before we even mention the immense pride and satisfaction in showcasing the work of those brilliant creatives whose stars are rising. Here, we’ll take you through just a few of the standout artists whose prints we’re proud to sell at Art Republic. And while their styles and processes differ greatly from one another, their creations are perfect for adding a contemporary twist to any home. Let’s get started:
London-based artist Dan Hillier has that special gift all artists aspire to have – when you see one of his creations, you instantly know who its creator is. And that’s because Hillier’s medium is unlike other contemporary artists. Taking inspiration from the Victorian era, Dan Hillier’s work merges found images, his own mastery in ink drawing, along with 19th century steel and wood engravings to create something distinctive and futuristic with a nod to the past.
In his own words, Hillier enjoys “creating work that reflects my love of the source material I work from, the natural world, various ancient mystery traditions, and the ever-unfolding and often mystical experience of being alive in a world that is apparently material and immaterial”. Dan’s merging of classical subjects and contemporary techniques pair seamlessly to create a body of work unlike any we’ve seen before, while his ever-growing profile has led to exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery, the Louvre, Museum of Turin and even Glastonbury Festival.
Before Maria Rivans developed her unique approach to collaging, she was a student of 3D design at the University of Brighton, and it’s clear to see this influence in her work. Rivans’ collages use vintage images collected from retro magazines and antique books to piece together dreamy portraits, still life and film stills that have an otherworldly twist.
Rivans takes inspiration not just from artists such as David Hockney, Tracey Emin and Max Ernst, but also musicians like David Bowie, designers like Vivienne Westwood, and other titans of culture. Among Rivans’ best work is her Pin-ups series, which reimagines stars of the silver screen using imagery of nature, astronomy, technology, pop culture and more. Whether displayed on their own or as a collection, these collages are stunning in their use of vivid colour, intricate detail and skilfully cut fragments.
In every hand-made collage created by British artist Joe Webb, there’s one basic rule: use only two or three images. “With these”, Webb says, “I can reinvent the original scene to communicate a new idea.” And it’s this goal to make each piece thought-provoking that’s clear to see across Webb’s body of work. Among the issues he places under the microscope are war, inequality, our impact on the planet, and our very place in the universe.
While the message in some of his works are more subtle than others, we love the beauty that Webb both finds and creates with a limited number of images at his disposal. The images selected work seamlessly in such a way that would be near impossible to replicate digitally with an endless choice of images online. With his unique take on collage, Webb has exhibited his work internationally and counts Eric Cantona, Janelle Monae and Coldplay among the collectors of his fantastic work.
If you love classical art with a contemporary, surreal twist, look no further than the work of Little Fish Design, the moniker of artist and designer Toby Holmes. Fusing classical paintings with contemporary product packaging, his Product Placement Project features traditionally painted figures adorned in period clothing that depict modern sweet wrappers, crisps, biscuit packaging, and other everyday items in contemporary Britain.
Growing up in a family that worked in the advertising industry, with a background in graphic design and a love of Tunnock’s Tea Cakes, it’s easy to see those influences in Little Fish Design’s creations. We love the disarming effect of seeing a beautiful, formally painted figure appropriated with a ruffled garment made from Twix, Maltesers and Liquorice Allsorts packaging, replacing the silks and satins you would expect in the original works by Velázquez, Goya and Fragonard.
Playful, humorous, and the inspiration of many a lively discussion about the connection between art and advertising, Little Fish Design’s pieces are gaining notoriety. His work has featured in several exhibitions, and you can see his Instant Whip piece on display at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in London right now.
One thing that leaps out from every photograph captured by Cambridge-based contemporary photographer Richard Heeps is the amazing use of colour saturation. Whether it’s a light-filled café interior, striking restaurant sign, Californian palm trees or the interplay of lighting and shadows on an outside staircase, Heeps challenges the limitations of lens-based photography without any need for digital touch-ups or image manipulation.
Heavily influenced by the US and its culture while growing up in East Anglia, Heeps says, “I visited American bases, I kept magazine cuttings and I followed drag racing. The speed, lifestyle and technicolour is reflected in my imagery. 'American' colour is a major aspect in my work, it drives my equipment and material choices.” And it shows. Each of Heeps’ shots are practically bursting with colour, while his use of lighting makes every piece distinctive and memorable. Richard Heeps’ creativity has been showcased in galleries and museums around the world since the 1980s, and has been displayed more recently in galleries in Battersea, Suffolk and Brighton.
Those are just five of the contemporary artists and photographers whose work is leading them to new heights. At Art Republic, we love to shine a light on up-and-coming talent that aren’t afraid to break with tradition and create something refreshing and new. But there are plenty more artists out there making their mark on the global art scene, and we’re proud to sell prints from a huge range of gifted new artists with their own unique approach to creativity. Explore our full selection of artists and discover a new feature piece to brighten up your home.