6 Visual Trends to Watch For This Year

Time will tell, but we think these are themes you will want to be looking for in the coming months.

Cultural trends are both a reaction and a catalyst so one should always take trend predictions with a grain of salt. But as we look into the near future, there are some interesting themes to look for in the world of visual arts.

1. Art That Leads

So Close, JR, Armory Show, courtesy of Architectural Digest

We believe it’s safe to say that, as they always have, art and artists of all mediums will be key drivers in the conversations of our modern world. Be they the prophesies of the self-satisfactorily disenfranchised, or the advocates and activists fighting for a cause, these paintbrush prophets will continue speaking and leading with brushstrokes. Canvasing for cultural organicism is their trade and travail. We need artists who will dare to broach the taboo and breach the levees of social norm. This is how we understand the boundaries of our culture’s state of being.  Art creates a construct by which one can measure the progress of an evolving society. How far have we come? How far have we to go? As times become increasingly perilous for those who speak out, keep an expectant eye on the artists – for they cannot help themselves but to lean forward and push at the parameters of what is.

2. Quality Art – And More Of It

Never has there been such unfettered access to the world of art as there is now – for the creator and the consumer. The cost of art supplies is not falling, the need for

Violet III, Monique Frydman

talent, skill and unique vision has not waned, however, modern technological connectivity has presented burgeoning artists with a vast, no-cost knowledge-base, hailed with a few keystrokes. As this accessibility deepens, the threshold for quality and artistic insight rises. Why? When it comes down to it, being able to learn from modern masters on YouTube beats waiting for the next Bob Ross episode to air, as was the case in decades past. There is nothing holding a young artist back except the limitations of her desire to achieve. Add to that the plethora of galleries and art cooperatives opening up in small towns all over the world, and you have a groundswell of momentum towards the creative arts unparalleled till now. And while quantity doesn’t equal quality, the chance of finding virtuosos of sculpture and prodigies of paint increase exponentially!

3. Younger Artists

Jordan Casteel

Younger artists are finding new ways to subsist and succeed by way of their artistry. The reality is that there are opportunities to engage an audience that simply did not exist before. Some might argue that this cheapens the fine art forms. However, the argument could be made that this ease of engagement does the work of filtering out many of those artists who have nothing of value to say. If the crowds don’t like it, they will go home. We can trust that the ethos of art remains unchanged: If it moves us, it will move. If it does nothing to stir the soul, there the work will stay – on the easel, on the shelf, on the gallery wall – never to live a full life of being loved and appreciated. To the young artists we say, do it – do what is in you to be done! Don’t commit time to acquiring likes, reviews, opinions and critiques. These will not improve your art—only delay or impede its progress.

4. Tech Art

3D floating space geometry, Spidertag

As alluded to in earlier paragraphs, there is an undeniable and unstoppable trend towards the integration of technology into every aspect of modern life. The blending of technology and organic wit and lilt are the inexorable result of young people engaging in fine art. A prime example is the digital art installation at Mifuneyama Rakuen park in Japan. A Forest Where The Gods Live is an encounter of nature and technology woven together, entrancing visitors from all over the world. This is just one instance illustrating the impact evolving technologies – and art perspectives – will have on the fine art world.

5. Socially Conscious Art

A Restless, Transient Life, Al Diaz

Art has long been a haven for the social provocateur. Statements in stone, positions in paint, ideas in ink – all shared with a sense of conviction and a commitment to doing what’s right. The cultural temperature has risen sharply in the last 12 months – social causes are making headlines and sending ripples into the furthest reaches of our collective consciousness. Art, as always, will be one of many strong outlets to express new ideas and introduce our world to new ways of thinking as we charge ahead into the unknown. But there is a side of social awareness that should not be overlooked. Human dignity and heart is best embodied in the works of these same ambassadors of a brave future. The need for kindness will begin to motivate activists to become arbiters for peace through their wonderful works.

6. Public Art Installations

Intrude, Amanda Parer, for Arts Brookfield

2017 saw some amazing work by installation artists such as, Doug Aitken, who created a mirror-clad ‘mirage’ in Coachella Valley’s desert landscape  Asad Raza installed a neon orange, interactive tennis court inside a 16th century church in Milan. This trend will continue as the public’s desire for scale and spectacle grows. The forethought and preplanning that goes into these incredible feats of both engineering and ingenuity, is mind boggling. This reality – along with our seemingly insatiable appetite for the new, the never-before-seen, will give rise to increasing numbers of jaw-dropping installations around the world.

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