We’re back with our annual collection of Artists To Watch, a spotlight list of talented, emerging visual artists and photographers who have made an impact on inspiring and contributing to the UK cultural landscape. Alongside our Ones To Watch - Music Edition, which recognises upcoming music artists and producers, this series is dedicated to highlighting creatives with a promising 2024. Ranging from portrait painters to photographers, this list is filled with creatives we are certain will leave a lasting impression this year.
Listed in no particular order, this is our One’s To Watch list.
1. Lindsey Daniella
Lindsey Daniella or ‘The Art Babe’ is a self taught painter from London. In ode to her Ghanaian heritage, she dedicates her art to the representation of Black women whilst bringing awareness to ancestral heritage, African mythology and deities. Within her art, Lindsey creates a space to center Black womanhood and challenge the “aggressive, strong and intimidating” stereotypes often conflated with Blackness. Her art intertwines feminine joy and serenity with the celebration of Black joy.
2. Chinaza Agbor
Chinaza Agbor is an American-Nigerian artist based in London. As a painter and sculptor, she uses her work to navigate the constraints of Black female identity through the prisms of a capitalist regime. She describes her motivation as "the death of self-esteem" into the process of learning to love oneself anew as a Black woman. Her piece ‘Kindness and Hospitality from a Foreigner’ debuted last November at the Cob gallery, which displayed Agbor’s distinctive use of abstract paint patterns and luminous skin tones. Agbor intertwines these efforts to create a canvas that depicts the complexities of Black female sexuality.
3. Tolu Ayoka
Tolu Ayoka is a self-taught Visual Artist from Nigeria, who resides in Canada and the UK. Their art interpolates black alternative identities by intricately drawn pieces inspired by the beauty of black features, focused against the background of a supernatural multiverse. Their work centres representation for Black femme identities, also offering a premium 3D customisable avatars service in this art style. As part of the Pinterest #Represent series, Tolu Ayoka featured their art piece titled 'Safe Space' which users could also download as a phone wallpaper, as an emblem of representation and black beauty in their pockets. This piece featured Tolu’s distinct drawing style, combining Afro Surrealism and femininity in a visual of Black Femmes supporting each other through identity adversity.
4. Greg Breda
California native, Greg Breda, is a self-taught contemporary visual artist who resides in Los Angeles. Incorporating elements of spirituality, Greg cultivates realism against minimal and abstract backgrounds, keeping his focus distinct. He employs this vision when creating his abstract pieces which embody the warmth and connections of the drawn Black figures against rural backdrops. With only canvas, acrylic paint, mylar, and a range of other materials, he uses his art to represent the strength and allure of the human spirit. He lures his audience into captivating abstract imagery that appears as magically as the intricate illusion of imagination.
5. Stefania Tejada
Stefania Tejada is a Latin American artist whose work narrates the resilience and power of the modern woman. Encompassing her Colombian heritage, she draws inspiration from natural elements often setting her pieces on a background of a tropical wilderness adorned by vegetation. This signature element is a geographical and cultural reference point with female models of colours as a muse to present the rawness of humankind, contrasted with a subversion of feminine ideals. Her female figures are ‘unleashed’, ‘undomesticated’ and ‘untamed’.
6. Emmanuel Unaji
Emmanuel Unaji, is a Nigerian multimedia artist who resides in London. He cultivated an academic journey that led him through fashion design, attaining a Fine Art degree from Kingston School of Art. Unaji blends his mastery of fashion design with painting, drawing, and collage. His distinctive style subverts the norms of high art by reconstructing iconic images in collage style, painting and sculpting over these legendary images. Acknowledged by British GQ as a “visionary Nigerian Artist reinventing the realm of fashion illustration,” Unaji navigates multidisciplinary practices across fine and commercial art as well as modelling for luxury brands.
7. Charmaine Chaudry
Charmaine Chaudry is an artist based in Liverpool who uncovers themes of imagination and home, her style contrasts a vibrant colour palette with the brushstroke of an impressionist to create an indistinct dreamlike setting of the mundane. Her creations take the audience on a journey of relatability and familiarity with the reimagined narratives in her paintings.
8. Henry Jay Kamara
Henry J. Kamara is a Sierra Leonean artist, and educator currently living in London. As a visual artist he engages in the art of capturing both still and moving images. Driven by a profound passion for documenting significant events and personalities, he weaves an intricate tapestry of current social affairs with a special interest in music, sport, politics, and conflict. Kamara has also supported the 'Story of Me' project, to decolonise literacy curriculums across the UK.
9. Christian Cassiel
Christian Cassiel, is Jamaican-British visual artist, who employs photography as his main medium to establish connections with individuals and their stories. His skill lies within presenting the cultural and historical context of his subjects, crafting imagery that is visually captivating yet rings true to the emotion at hand. Nature not only inspires his work but also shapes the way he lives as, for him, this means acknowledging the interconnectedness with the world and its inhabitants.
10. Christina Ebenezer
Christina Ebenezer, is a photographer based in London known for her captivating portraiture and distinctive colour palette. Initially drawn to photography she blossomed into post-production work from behind the lens, focusing on community, and challenging media and culture. Her accolades include the recognition as one of The British Fashion Council’s New Wave Creatives in 2021, additionally, she earned a spot in Forbes 30 Under 30: Arts and Culture Leaders in 2022.
11. Malik Gist
Malik, also known as Squidlik, is a photographer from South Carolina. He aims to embody positivity and creativity into his work, with an eye for vibrant realism. Specialising in both digital and film photography, his portfolio is diversified between conceptual shoots, headshots and commercial photography, all of which reflect his distinct eye for authenticity and displaying the emotion of his subject.
12. Aisyah Octavia
Aisyah Octavia, pronounced 'eye-sha', is a London based photographer, visual artist, director, and DJ. As a multidisciplinary creative her art is intricately interwoven with influences from her rich surroundings, reflecting this in her work and clients, working with a range of UK cultural icons such as Jorja Smith, Wretch32, Stormzy and notable brands like Nike. Catering to both commercial brands and music artists, Aisyah's versatile skill-set spans art direction, videography, and graphic design. Her credits include lead industry names, such as, Converse, Bossy LDN, RedBull, and many others.
We’re looking forward to discovering the depths of these artists and their talent throughout this year. Let us know if there are any other 'Artists To Watch' that you've got your eye on!