Art is important because it’s a reflections of the times we live in. Sometimes it’s a literal reflection – a depiction of an event, a war, a scene from the Bible. Sometimes it’s a little more figurative, expressionistic, abstract. But sometimes it’s just really, really cool. Listed below are 13 contemporary artists whose work either looks great, speaks volumes, or both.
1. Kumi Yamashita
Kumi Yamashita makes installation art out of ordinary objects, however the twist is that when lighted from the right angles, the installation casts a shadow that are images of itself.
2. Guy Laramee
Guy Laramee carves books to make them look like landscapes. Every piece takes an incredible amount of planning and a lot of meticulous work, but the end result is absolutely gorgeous.
3. Riusuke Fukahori
Riusuke Fukahori draws and paints on various surfaces (though usually paper) to create incredibly realistic three-dimensional illustrations of fish. He uses paint, pencils, and ink to create images that you wouldn’t be able to tell apart from actual pictures of real fish.
4. Felice Varini
Felice Varini creates anamorphic illusions in three-dimensional places. Like Kumi Yamashita, the astounding difficulty of Varini’s work truly strikes you only when the conditions are just right. If you stand in the right place, it looks as if a two-dimensional image has been applied to a three-dimensional space!
5. Young-Deok Seo
Young-Deok Seo took something that was very common to him (bicycle chains) and turned them into large sculptures. His work often focuses on the human body and he manages to create life-size sculptures of people, sometimes out of a single, long bicycle chain.
6. Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama is the absolute Queen of Polka Dots. Her installations often occupy full rooms, each surface completely covered by polka dots of various colors.
7. Alexander Gutsche
Alexander Gutsche is a German painter famous for his realistic but also (somehow) unrealistic paintings. He made it big in the art world in 2002, when he was included in the book 100 Painters of Tomorrow. Since then he has been displayed in galleries across the world and his paintings have been sold to private collections.
8. Tala Madani
Tala Madani is an Iranian-American who combines the aesthetics of classical painting, abstract painting, and street art to create politically-charged pieces that critique toxic masculinity, often showing men in vulnerable situations to subvert expectations.
9. Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons is a world-renowned installation artist who is famous for creating large metal sculptures that look like inflated helium balloons.
10. Ai WeiWei
Ai WeiWei is a Chinese artist and activists. His work often critiques the oppressive actions of the Chinese government and undermines Chinese culture.
11. Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey (known to many simply as OBEY) is an American street artist most famous for his OBEY stickers and giant murals. He designed the “Hope” poster for Obama’s first presidential campaign.
Banksy is a world-famous left-leaning street artist known for his politically-charged stencil art. His works often reference pop-culture and criticize police brutality, the government’s inaction regarding poverty, as well as a general critique of capitalism and its effect on ordinary lives.