Here is our hotlist of who’s made the biggest impact in the UK art scene in 2008, and who's poised for even greater things in 2009.
Eagerly awaited by savvy art buyers, this list is compiled from sales, customer feedback and insider knowledge of the cutting-edge art market.
No surprises that the reclusive Banksy remains the most popular urban artist in the UK again this year. Demand for his incisive, thought-provoking works continues to sky-rocket as does his coverage in the media. His works continue to fetch staggering sums even in these difficult economic times.
The duo of Miss and Bugs, Muse and Artist, have rocketed from nowhere this year, with sell-out shows and collectors clamouring for new releases. Their work is a contemporary mix of spray, stencil and screen print, using iconic superhero figures and deft touches like 3D work and giant canvasses made up of thousands of badges. They aren’t afraid to take the mickey, point fingers at the ridiculousness of the art market and to show the greatness of a man in red tights.
One of Banksy’s Bristol contemporaries, he’s a few year’s older than the mysterious stencil giant, but the art world went crazy for his work this year, with originals and limited edition prints soaring in value. If you’ve got a Nick Walker, hang on to it. His star is set to rise.
The Frenchman, Parisian Christian, literally lives for stencils. They are his passion and it shows. We love the life he puts in to an art form that is essentially about simple lines. You get faces filled with passion, expression and gesture. He is certainly one to watch.
What a charming man. The artist lives up to his name and his work is to die for. Using a rich palette of colour, his creations are still life in some respects, but not as we know it.
Blek le Rat
The Frenchman who influenced Banksy has been relatively unknown on these shores. Plus he’d been hiding out for years after a massive graffiti fine from the French police. A big solo show in London earlier this year has helped raised his profile. His works are stark, but always gorgeous. He’s always been a firm favourite of ours.
Apparently a descendant of Thomas Moore, Pure Evil’s work does err on the side of humorous and let’s face it, dark, but he’s one to watch. With work for the Tate Modern under his belt, solo shows in the UK and Europe, Pure Evil is pure genius.
Lidia de Pedro
Spanish beauty and art princess Lidia is certainly a rising star. Her spirited, ethereal works come in a multitude of colour, symmetry and with some Spanish flavour. Prints are selling out straight off the press with barely a chance for the artist to sign them!
Brighton printer Screen Prince takes his favourite figures from music history past and present and spins their lyrics into an amazing calligraphic swirl. Joni Mitchell, RunDMC, Prince, Bob Marley and Beethoven. They are a thing of beauty, printed to perfection.
The boy’s talent knows no bounds. He’s on the speed dial of every hip interior designer in town and it shows. Find his work in the homes of stars, media moguls and now, in yours too.
Also keep your eyes peeled for more sensational works by Jasper Goodall, Static and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Not forgetting our friends on the other side of the pond. Coming from America, these two art greats are understandably hugely popular in the Land of the Free, and are set to make a massive impact here. We love the work of urban artists Ron English and Saber, get them while they're still affordable.