Twenty | My Favourite Artists

Thursday, 21 May 2015

I have always been a creative person, when I feel like something is bothering me I will go and create something, be it a piece of not very good artwork, a song or a poem. Most of the people that influence me in life are artists and I look up to the people that try and break the barriers of what is deemed acceptable in the art world, I basically love abit of rebellion and look up to the people that feel brave enough to make change. I didn't take art in GCSE but chose it as an A Level and hated it, I'm not sure why even to this day but I didn't enjoy it at all, I think it was because I used to have such high expectations of my work and now I just like creating things for me, not for an examiner to scowl at. 

Over the years I found various old and new artists through research and just a full interest in the subject, this list contains a little look into my favourite people from the art world, old and new and why I enjoy their work:

Dante Gabriel Rossetti and The Pre-Raphaelite Movement

 Venus Verticordia - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

It's maybe because all the models have red hair or that they were the biggest art revolution since Michelangelo, but I just love the Pre-Raphaelite so much, I one day aspire to buy one their paintings (or maybe just a copy seems as they're millions of pounds) My favourite artist from the movement is Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he spurned the movement and caused it lots of controversy when he would break into exhibitions and replace the paintings with his own (abit like pulling a Banksy nowadays). He also married one of the Pre-Raphaelite's most famous model Lizzie Siddal (in the painting above) she became his ultimate muse and he would paint her 24 hours a day, she posed for him to create one of the most magnificent paintings; well, ever in my opinion 'Ophelia' with fellow artist John Everett Millais, the rumour goes that Siddal posed for so long in a bath of freezing cold water that she actually caught pneumonia and was close to death for days. Now that's dedication!

Ophelia - John Everett Millais 

I think I love the Pre-Raphaelite Movement so much because of the colours and the way they are painted, you can see the rebellion in the paintings, that this group of aspiring artists were sick of creating the same portraits and wanted to create something more deep and beautiful. I was introduced the The Pre-Raphaelites very early on by my Mum because she always believed I was Lizzie in a past life! I love them so much that I based my whole first unit photography project on them. 

My own Unit 1 Photography Project - Inspired by The Pre-Raphaelites 

There's something so romantically tragic about the story that these paintings tell. And I really do think they should be marked up there with the best painters of all time. Their revolution marked the start of romanticism in art and created the bohemian rebellion that all artists feel in their hearts to this day. Bravo Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and you were't to bad looking either!

The Lady of Shallot - John William Waterhouse 

If you want to view some Pre-Raph paintings some are kept in The Tate in London 
And if you want to watch a great factual TV series about Rossetti and his crew (played by Aiden Turner I might add) I'll leave the link to the TV show 'Desperate Romantics' It's great!

Jenny Saville 

Rosetta - Jenny Saville

From beautiful to brutal. I can thank my A level Art for something, introducing me to this woman. Saville has been on the art scene for quite a while now and she has really gained a name for herself, her huge oil paintings are deemed as offensive and violent and hit you as soon as you enter the room (I've been in the presence of a Saville painting) they are normally of women in very intimidating poses very close to the canvas, sometimes parts are chopped off and the colours that are mostly used are blue and red. Saville's work has been praised for 'showing the true power and vulnerability of women at the same time' others believe that she exposes the woman form. Make your own mind up but all I know is that her paintings evoke something and that's what art is supposed to do. 

40 Pins - Jenny Saville

In the run up to her paintings, Saville took the time to observe many plastic surgery procedures and she even says herself that she is obsessed with the way the body can distort itself and change. I like Saville's work because I believe it shows women in a different light, a more animalistic and alien state, some would say ugly but I believe her paintings are raw enough to show flaws but still shows the beauty in the female figure. 

008 - Jenny Saville 

Jenny Saville's paintings are exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery in London 

Grayson Perry 

The Walthamstow Tapestry - Grayson Perry
Ahh this man, this amazingly talented, brilliant man. I have a huge personality crush on Grayson Perry,I first heard of him when my Mum watched a documentary about him when I was around 12 and I have been obsessed with him and his work ever since. The pieces he creates are just so beautiful and intricate and you can really tell that he puts his whole self into his works. He is also an exceptional character and favours cross dressing for big events in amazingly vivid clothes, some people would call his off the wall. I'de call him a genius. 

Triumph of Innocence - Grayson Perry

His works are mostly either tapestries or vases, however he has done the occasional painting. He also has done many programs with channel 4 and quite recently he has just created a house in Essex which I have now found out is going to be a holiday home, I would totally go and stay there! I love Grayson's work because he combines modern issue with old skills such as tapestry making and vase creating. I just love looking at his works and noticing something different every time I look at it, his art is so full of meaning but have the right amount of humour in as well, which I think is important. 

'Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close' - Grayson Perry

If you want more Grayson, you can watch his TV Series on 4od now. 

David Bailey 

Jean Shrimpton - David Bailey

Many would argue that Bailey isn't an artist, he's a photographer, but come on really ?! Isn't that the same thing? In my opinion photography is art and he is one of the greats. Bailey was the face behind many famous fashion photographs from the beginning of the 60's, all the way into the end of the 90's, if there was a celebrity he hadn't photographed they weren't famous enough. His work is all black and white and always in portrait style, this makes his work iconic and he's the kind of artist who's photo you would recognise and instantly know it was his. 

Twiggy - David Bailey
I love Bailey's work because it is iconic in the development of photography and how powerful a photo can really be, I love seeing these celebrities in a different light with the unconventional poses Bailey makes them do and I just love the classic black and white look.

You can see Bailey's portraits in The National Portrait Gallery London 

Marina Abramovic 

Relation in Time - Marina Abramovic

I have just recently been getting more and more into Marina's work, I remember Lady Gaga going to see her and created that amazingly weird video of her shouting on top of a crystal and I thought, even for me that's a little too out there. However after watching her documentary 'The Artist is Present' on Netflix I have fallen in love with her work and the whole concept of performance art. Marina is a Russian performance artist who creates incredibly surreal pieces with real people. Her most recent work 'The Artist is Present' was made up of a white room, two chairs and a table where Marina would sit on one side and a member of the public would come and sit on the chair opposite, she would then raise her head and look at them. It sounds strange and pretentious but honeslty it's actually really moving and meaningful, trust me.

Rhythm 0 - Marina Abramovic

I like Marina's work because I like work with meaning and I just love the physical side, I believe that performance art isn't about looking at the person who is performing, but looking at yourself instead. I'm starting to sound pretentious but it's true and it's so beautiful. 

The Artist is Present - Marina Abramovic

Because Marina's pieces are performed in the present there are no exhibitions at this moment in time however you could check out the documentary about her and her work on Netflix.

Alexander McQueen 

Kate Moss's Hologram Dress - McQueen

Again, a fashion designer, but in my eyes an artist. I have always loved this man and this man's amazing clothes, they are art in themselves. Alexander Lee McQueen was a fashion designer who worked for many labels such as Gucci and Dior but rebelled so badly in the fashion world they kicked him out and created his own label. He is famous for his 'bumster' trousers and his melancholic interest in death and all things macabre. He is also famous for his catwalk shows, which have been described as 'a production in themselves'. Unfortunatlely, McQueen did leave this earth in 2010 but his reign of rebellious fashion king still lives on to this day. 

The Armadillo Shoe - McQueen

I love Alexander McQueen's work so much because he literally changed the face of fashion. He came in with this not-giving-a-fuck-attitude and just flipped the whole concept of what fashion is upside down and avoided all the pretentiousness that he could have been caught up in and I applaud him for that! My favorite collections of his are 'Highland Rape', 'Widows of Culloden', No 13 and VOSS (I could go on forever) 

VOSS - McQueen

I love Alexander McQueen so much that I'm off to London in July to see his exhibition at the V&A and I cannot contain my excitement! 

I could go on forever talking about art and who I love and what not, but my fingers are literally starting to hurt typing because I'm so passionate about everyone I've mentioned! There are many, many more influential people in the art world that I look up to and aspire to be like but I will literally be here for a whole week. I may do a second one of these posts, possibly. I hope you have enjoyed looking into who I love in the art world and I encourage you to go and view some art if you can it's a beautiful part of this world.

Who are your favourite artists? I would love to know.  



  1. Jenny Saville influenced some of my A-Level art, I love the bold statement her pieces make and the style of painting. Mark Ryden is always the artist who springs to mind when I think of my favourites, there is a creepy/mysterious feeling behind his work xx

    Catherine /

    1. I think she has been an influence for many an A level student in a creative block. And oo yes just looked at his work, very melancholic and mysterious!