Hear from our Recent Graduates Curator Cassie Beadle as she reflects on the themes of cultural, social and sexual identity coming through in this year’s selection of emerging talent and get her top art collecting tips!
The Rising Stars
Turkish born Cagla Ulusoy has been greatly influenced by the history and traditions of both east and west, having lived in Paris, New York and London during her studies, and therefore believes that her large-scale works represent the clash of cultures that she now embodies. Whilst, a little closer to home, Nell Nicholas seeks to capture the chaos and complexity of London life, the internationalised, disposable, fast-paced, and consumerist nature of the city and its inhabitants.
Drawing on childhood memories from her family home, Katie Avey’s practice demonstrates the power of art in allowing you to share personal moments with a viewer, down to a specific texture, colour or noise. Similarly, James Owens uses his practice as an emotional tool for coming to terms with, and sometimes forgetting, uncomfortable memories from his childhood, trapping them in the houses depicted in his paintings. Also examining the discourse between the domestic and the gallery space, up-and-coming ceramicist Faye Hadfield’s intentionally sloppy 'Family of Vases' parody emoticons, with their own disdtinct personalities and relatable human feelings.
Exploring the ambiguity of mark making in the post-Internet world, Hannah Nugent first plays around with compositions using Microsoft Paint and then recreates the vibrant hues and luminosity of digitally-generated colour in her bold paintings (above), challenging the passivity of our everyday interaction with digital imagery. China-based artist, Tingwei Liang, looks to the future and explores the idea of artificial intelligence with her colourful paintings of monkeys.
Finding inspiration in her Nigerian heritage, Brighton graduate Sola Olulode’s work tackles the complexities associated with identity. The distinct blue colour of her canvasses are created with her own version of ‘Adire', an indigo-dyed textile traditionally made by women in Nigeria using resist-dyeing techniques. Sofia Mitsola’s tall, lean figures will instantly bring to mind the Sphinxes and Sirens of the ancient world, mythological creatures that would seduce and devour men. Meanwhile, Evie Jacob’s stunning figurative works, seemingly classical in their presentation, explore female sexuality in the digital age and the contemporary ‘nude selfie’ phenomenon.
Consider what your collection stands for
It’s important to think about a collection as a whole. Have foresight about the type of collection you are building, and make it specific. This will naturally lead you to the best work available in this field, be it ‘female painters under 25’, ‘contemporary ceramics’ or ‘light installations'. Start by buying what you like, then step back and see what common threads emerge across the collection naturally. Getting to know your own taste can be one of the most powerful tools you have as a collector. If there is a common thread running through your pieces, your collection itself will lead you to the savvy purchases. Collecting in this way will mean that you are able to detect ‘stand-out’ pieces when you come across them, because over time you’ll grow to become an expert in your field.
Have a space in mind
Much joy comes from art acquired to be on display and enjoyed, rather than stored out of sight. With this in mind it's important that you have an idea of where you want to hang a piece when you get it home; it’s also prudent to have a rough idea of measurements before visiting a fair. Consider the light, other decor in the room and whether or not there is access – the last thing you want is to fall in love with a piece and bring it home to realise you can’t get it through the door! While it’s natural to have a location in mind in your current home, be mindful that art will most likely outlive your current decor so, if you love it and if it doesn’t fit in with your Scandi or shabby chic set up, don’t feel like you have to turn it down. Maybe it’s time to redecorate!
Don't let the price tag stand in your way
Don’t be put off by the price and always ask about payment plans. Many galleries, often the ones that deal with exciting, emerging talent, will organise payment plans for collectors. This isn’t always spoken about openly but don’t be afraid to ask for information and options. Some of the world’s leading galleries offer payment plans to their biggest collectors to ensure that works 'go to the right home’.
Header image: Hannah Nugent, Desktop_Dance, Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120cm, £1,600.
Images from top to bottom: Nell Nicholas, Amazing Value Essentials 2, oil on canvas, 105 x 80cm, £650.
Sola Olulode, Back It Up For The Gram, mixed media on canvas, 150 x 180cm, £4,000.
Evie Jacobs, Opal Nude, watercolour on paper, 138 x 210cm, £150.