Updated: Feb 24, 2021
The art world in 2021 is very different to the one we knew this time last year. As with any line of work, this has evolved to work with the pandemic. There has been an exponential growth in the popularity of lesser known art forms and the emergence of virtual and online mediums to showcase them. Traditional art forms have seen an evolutionary change in consumption and engagement from collectors and art enthusiasts. There has been a quiet return to reminiscing the times when I used to sit back for countless hours staring at simple still life work or standards from the past. In a world of instant gratification where shock value matters time slows down at the art work of these masters. Here is the list of some from the past and some living.
Raja Ravi Varma: One of the greatest artists of all times coming from my home state of Kerala. He is always on the top of my list as his oil paintings are timeless. Yes, I have a keen interest in studying oil notwithstanding the fact that I am an acrylic and charcoal artist. I attribute 100% of that interest to Ravi Varma. Coming from a royal lineage of scholars and poets his artwork has so much weightage like a good book or a well written movie script. With a strong emphasis on South Indian women subjects the portrayal goes beyond rich costumes and colors. Every single detail is captured with such opulence with a strong woman as a centerpiece. My personal favorite is the ‘Galaxy of Musicians’ depicting a group of female musicians. I am not sure if this is the official site but you can view his work at www.ravivarma.org if you are further interested in learning more about him.
Dana Zaltzman: A contemporary artist based out of Israel whose work has been featured in private galleries around the world. What strikes me about her work is that it is interesting that some of the mundane objects come to live in her simple yet deep compositions. The lighting and the muted colors are full of sumptuous undertones. Be it her depiction of a bowl of light feathers or a heavy metal object hung on a wall there is nothing glamorous or exotic about it and maybe that's why it is so appealing. If you are an up and coming oil painter or a collector you will benefit from watching her pieces and upcoming projects at https://www.danazaltzman.com/
Oliver Sin: My personal favorite local contemporary artist primarily specializes in charcoal figurative portraits. Exceptionally realistic works of complicated compositions and evocative expressions. The facial expressions stand out with a lot of mystery behind it. A native of Hong Kong and an Academy of Art University alumni, his work has influences from various renowned artists and his mentors Zhao Ming Wu and Henry Yan. There is a genuity in every wrinkle and every grey hair on those faces. Some of his live works have simple poses working so well for the subjects, be it the lighting or the emotions he is trying to convey through them. Check out his work on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/oliversin/
Sarah Sedwick: One of the contemporary artists that I admire for the style, simplistic approach of composition and perceptual effects. Her genre being portraits and still life, her influences according to her are from Sargent and Édouard Manet. Inspired by color mixing and the pacific northwest landscapes her overall approach seems to be bold. As much as an avid learner she is not shy to share her learnings in an artistic format. So you will see a lot of tutorials and workshops hosted by her which many beginners and seasoned artists can benefit from. Check out her artwork at https://www.sarahsedwick.com/
I will leave you with this short but impressive list of artists who have shaped our communities through their work in many ways. But as with any creator there is a strong bias in my choices due to the natural style and impact on me. It is however, by no means meant to hinder your knowledge or decision making. It is purely to augment and persuade you to indulge more into the magical world of colors or black and white for that matter. Cheers!