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34 Young British Artists You Should Start Paying Attention To Immediately

Changing the game one brushstroke at a time.

Originally posted on
Updated on

1. Camilla R Chinamasa, 23, Manchester

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"The most exciting project I've worked on would probably be one we did in year 9. Each black student had to make a collage that represented what being a black female means to them. I just loved learning about how rich black female identities are, especially how different and the same we are. I would say I particularly enjoy drawing black people mainly because I look at it as a way of celebrating the beauty and complexity of black culture."

You can find more of her work here.

2. Hodan Liaden, 23, London

"Somalia is often called the 'nation of poets', but when it comes to other forms of art such as animation, painting, or even music it’s something deemed [taboo] in the Somali community and often frowned upon.

"I’ve now turned my digital art into a successful business, transforming my art into logos, prints, and beautiful Snapchat Geofilters for my clients."

You can find more of her work here.

3. Mabintou Kolley, 19, London

"Being black influences my art greatly. I feel as though the art world mirrors wider society. Black artists are talented yet underrepresented, overlooked, and exploited, but we still push on and shape popular art and culture.

"Art influences the mind and with wider representation comes a wider audience, appreciation, and thus recognition. I aim to capture blackness in all its forms within my art, as I have always struggled to see myself in the art."

You can find more of her work here.

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4. Kingsley Nebechi, 26, London

"I was born and raised in Italy. Growing up in Italy meant that I wasn’t around a lot of people who looked like me. Once I moved to London, I was exposed to so many different cultures and backgrounds which I hadn’t previously experienced. That’s when I became more interested in exploring my own. As my work evolves, I enjoy exploring the beauty within cultures."

You can find more of Nebechi's work here.

5. Ashley Straker, 26, London

"I get my inspiration from various things – my culture, fashion, photography, spirituality – but my main source of inspiration is simply black women.

"I always wanted to [create] a positive light for women, especially women of colour. My art is a visual affirmation for how magical black women are to me."

You can find more of Straker's work here.

6. Merissa Hylton, 36, London

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"As well as my heritage and ancestry, my work is inspired by my own personal experiences with emotions, mental health, self-acceptance, and healing. I find that most of the time I'm motivated to create as a result of an emotion or experience, be it positive or negative."

You can find more of her work here.

7. Natalie Robinson, 18, Birmingham

"My art is important to me because it's what I'm best at. It's helped me a lot growing up to express my feelings and draw what's in my imagination, such as my characters and favourite characters from games and shows I like."

You can find more of her work here.

8. Tunrayo Ajimobi, 23, Essex

"My art is important to me because it helps me 'zone out' and every piece represents something, whether it be the mood I was in or what I have recently been inspired by.

"Another reason is that it can never be replicated – art can never be replicated. You can be inspired and recreate it but it will never look the same. I can't even recreate my own pieces. So I try to hold on to the originals for as long as I can."

You can find more of her work here.

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9. Amberlee Green, 25, London

"Representation is interesting to me, mostly as I have two massively conflicting views on it. On one hand, black people are so grossly underrepresented in the mainstream art world. By that, I mean in terms of the lack of melanin we see in the portraits or photo series featured in each cool, cult exhibitions in London.

"Everywhere I look, see black people creating art, and we have forged an ‘art world’ for ourselves. Perhaps our art world is the art world of the modern day. It is in my eyes."

You can find more of her work here.

10. J. King, 28, London

"My motivation to create comes from absolutely everywhere. I have created pieces inspired by friends, family, music, my childhood, happiness, and even tragedy.

"I think for me it is really driven by how I feel emotionally at that time. I think to myself 'How do I feel about XYZ?' and then I try and draw or paint it."

You can find more of King's work here.

11. Kirsty Latoya, 26, London

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"The important themes I explore in my art are mental health and self-love. These are incredibly important for having a healthy state of mind. The message behind a lot of my artwork surrounding mental health is that 'You are not alone.' I want people to know that whatever they are struggling with, they're not the only ones.

"Sometimes people don't talk out about their own mental health struggles because they feel they're the only ones going through it. My art is a reminder that we're all human and go through battles but you can overcome them. I turned my pain into my passion and now art is my therapy."

You can find more of her work here.

12. Anjelica Roselyn, 25, London

"My art is important to me because of its uniqueness, vibrancy, and colour.

"As a black person I like to see myself in art. Also in fashion, where there is already a less of a black presence in the industry, I’d like to create a space for myself – and others – with black fashion illustrations."

You can find more of Roselyn's work here.

13. Marcel Croll, 26, London

"The meaning behind my artwork comprises three subjects: Japanese culture, London culture, and childhood themes. The way I explore these is usually through narrative or character development, often stylizing my characters' facial expressions similarly to manga and dialogue, behaviour reminiscent of inhabitants in London."

You can find more of his work here.

14. Paris Walker-Barnes, 21, Wolverhampton

"The art industry is filled with many talented individuals but those that are black are repeatedly overlooked, which is unfortunate and sometimes discouraging as we have a lot to offer.

"My illustrations consists of drawing black people because I see the importance of seeing people that look like myself within art. There is much beauty in being black and as a black artist I feel that I have somewhat of a duty to represent us as a people in the most positive light."

You can find more of her work here.

15. Mugisha Monga, 21, Coventry

"My inspiration comes from far and wide. From the early ages of playing video games, the sci-fi elements really stuck with me, leading to me creating my own version of things I saw in video games. However, in recent years when I realised this is a career path I would love to walk on, I found Neill Blomkamp to be a heavy inspiration to me."

You can find more of his work here.

16. Simone Douglas, 25, London

"Luckily, we have social media. The power of social media has been very comforting for artists like myself pursuing a career in the creative industry, which can often feel unsettling.

"It’s allowed emerging artist to be self-sufficient by showcasing their own art on multiple platforms, support themselves and other artists, create and join groups, connect, etc. We don’t solely need to rely on galleries or institutions to support our work."

You can find more of her work here.

17. Sara Ogbonna-Godfrey, 23, Essex

"Drawing black people is something of significant importance to me, especially in today's Western world where the ideals of beauty often tend to be Eurocentric, meaning native black African-Caribbean features which are bold yet beautiful are often not appreciated [as] they should be in the mainstream media.

"Naturally I'm just drawn to drawing black people. It excites me drawing their features and hair texture. But the most exciting bit [is] colouring in the skin, layering multiple tones to create delicate hues of their skin."

You can find more of her work here.

18. Temiloluwa Adedoyin, 21, London

"I'm surrounded by so many strong black men and women that they push me to want to create characters and make content that shows how different and unique we all are."

You can find more of her work here.

19. Funny Tummy, 32, West Midlands

"Life and experiences are my influence, and in terms of how it felt to hold my first exhibition, it was surreal – especially with it being at Royal Albert Hall, which was also very reassuring."

You can find more of his work here.

20. Tia-Marie Taylor, 21, London

"My art is important to me because it is important to others. My art has allowed me to connect with people that I've never met and hear their stories.

"It's overwhelming to me that something I painted can positively impact a stranger, and knowing that I am able to uplift others in this small way is the most important thing to me."

You can find more of her work here.

21. Dorcas Magbadelo, 29, London

"The message behind my artwork is one of inclusion and celebration of the diversity of black womanhood. Often in the media black girls/women are portrayed very singularly and negatively.

"I like to show in my illustrations that there are so many different sides to us collectively and individually, and each of those sides deserves to be celebrated in a positive, fun light."

You can find more of Magbadelo's work here.

22. Rahana Aïda Dariah, 27, London

"My motivation to create is a combination of black women, music, and learning about myself. I’m on a spiritual journey, and learning about what it is to be a black woman and gaining knowledge of self really pushes me to paint our beauty.

"Also listening to music really helps it along with feelings of nostalgia, and places that music takes me kind of draws it all together with colour and pattern."

You can find more of her work here.

23. Calvin Thomas, 19, London

"I've lived in London my whole life and it's a big part of my identity. There's plenty of cartoons for, about, and made by white middle-class Americans and I feel that, rather than copying that, why not just do what's true to me and appeal to a demographic I feel is underrepresented.

"Basically I'm inspired by London because I'm a Londoner."

You can fine more of his work here.

24. Buki Kekeré, 25, London

"Being a black Muslim woman I always felt like my body was policed. Ignorant Muslim men tell me to cover up and fail to see that I am more than just a body that is to be kept 'pure'. Feminists speak on my behalf, saying I must be oppressed and I should wear less. Self-loathing black men tell me I must hate myself because I wear my weave rather than my natural hair but at the same time have no issues proclaiming their [disdain] for my deep dark skin.

"Media tells me that my black features are only socially acceptable and more beautiful on white skin. My art is therefore all about reclaiming my body and helping other women reclaim their body too, one penstroke at a time".

You can find more of her work here.

25. Sam Adefé, 27, London

"I can’t help but feel that representation within the art world is something that's deteriorating. Due to living in a fast-paced digital age, our generation is yet to have an art movement that speaks and impacts our current society. Art now is often considered good art based on social hierarchy or popularity, rather than the intent of context.

"This is not to say that I have the answers to possibly solve this, but it would be great to have art reflect the times in which we are living – in doing so stopping and provoking conversations about certain subject matters that are being ignored, in hope of changing how we choose to look at certain things."

You can find more of his work here.

26. Ry Cunningham, 19, London

"I draw the people and characters that I do mostly as a means to vent ideas and thoughts. A lot of the original characters I draw take inspiration and elements from things I like aesthetically or function [as] ways to project aspects of myself (some more so than others) on to paper."

You can find more of Cunningham's work here.

27. Dapo Adeola, 34, London

"The reason I draw black people in the manner I do is because there are so many images of black people in the world that depict struggle or oversexualise blackness, especially floating around in the artwork I find on social media. I wanted to create images of black children and people that portray normality, beauty, and joy instead of pain, strife, struggle, and stereotypes."

You can find more of his work here.

28. Renée Antoinette Forbes, 23, London

"Art is important to me because it gives me the freedom to explore the deepest parts of my mind and project my imagination on to a computer screen or canvas. It allows creativity to flow through my being and show my thoughts to the world without any limitations.

"It gives me a voice when there are no words to describe the way I feel; I can be my true self without judgment."

You can find out more here.

29. Pearl Ivy, 24, London

"Growing up in my household I had a lot of historic figures framed in my living room: Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, the list goes on. It was important to know these leaders who have come before me and have made an impact in the world. My art is inspired by my environment.

"I created an illustrative series of people I grew up learning about from books, documentaries, and family members. I recreated the figures I grow up on and created a modern, abstract version in my own signature style, which is heavily influenced by the pop art movement."

You can find more of Ivy's work here.

30. Cain McCallam, 22, London

"I think it's vital that black artists pull positive imagery from the realm of imagination into the world, especially at this time when the global consciousness is on the cusp of major change.

"I think it's important to mention that the earthly subconscious mind is programmed and speaks through images, forming our morals, beliefs, and actions."

You can find more of his work here.

31. Kay Davis, 27, London

"I illustrate black females because it’s who I am. Illustrating these characters is a way I celebrate my culture and pay homage to my upbringing.

"Without a doubt, illustrating hair care and accessories is most often my favourite part when creating these characters; it reminds me so much of my childhood memories. Personally, I find it nostalgic buts it’s also usually where my work takes shape as it allows me to play with narrative, creating my own stories."

You can find more of her work here.

32. Erina Nyonyintono, 26, Reading

"I take so much pride in knowing that my art hangs in homes around the world and this is definitely a contributing factor in terms of my artistic motivation.

"However, more so is my desire to contribute to the art scene that will live on long after I'm gone, and to help to continue to draw attention to the largely underrepresented races in the art world."

You can find more of her work here.

33. Sandra Ojuri, 30, London

"The message behind my work has many interpretations. It’s neither this or that. Art shouldn’t really need much explanation because no matter what I’d say, people would come up with their own conclusions.

"I’ve been very caught up on twisting the norm recently. It’s fun finding loopholes in the everyday. I’m still very much at the start of my art career, so who know’s what direction it’ll take."

You can find more of her work here.

34. Imbran Abdul-Aziz, 21, London

"I think it's important to draw black people because of representation that can inspire other young black artists. Also I think we as black people have this thing that makes us so unique to the point where art that features us becomes 100 times better," Abdul-Aziz said.

You can find more of Abdul-Aziz's work here.

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