contemporary artists

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The Art of Experimentation: How Emerging Contemporary Artists Are Pushing the Boundaries of Art

What is art? It’s almost unreasonable to expect a straightforward answer that properly encapsulates all that art truly entails. Art is so much, including color, form, freedom, expression, chaos, love, and beauty, all brought together in harmony to yield something fresh, unique, and deeply personal to its creator.


If art is anything else, it’s a representation of growth. The world evolves constantly. Every day, new innovations emerge, technologies change, and people innovate. When new applications like these are applied to artwork, the results can be astounding — and we have contemporary artists to thank for it.


Breaking Barriers

What’s wonderful about creativity is that there truly are no barriers. Just as life is what you make of it, so too is artwork. Every piece, whether it’s a painting, a sculpture, or a sketch, derives from something deep in the artist’s imagination. It may be loosely inspired by another work, or a color, or an experience. There’s no end to what artwork can be, and that has always been the case.


Contemporary artists embrace the concept of individual creation in a way that few others have before. That’s not because they’re more creative, per se, but because they have more opportunities and options available to them. Boundaries are easier to push because there are so many different avenues to explore. Consider the interesting ways that artists have brought their visions to life in recent years:


  •         3D Printing: Once upon a time, three-dimensional printing was nothing more than a futuristic ideal — something for fantasies, always at the cusp of being a possibility. Today, it’s not just a reality, but a very integral addition to artwork. Creators can print anything that comes to mind, be it a musical instrument or a unique figurine. This form of printing has even been useful in creating stop-motion animation!
  •         Mash-ups: There’s room for everything in the art world, which makes mash-ups all the more intriguing. These are essentially hybrids incorporating a variety of art forms, like videos, pictures, and sounds already in existence. Think of it a bit as an analog for musical artists sampling music of the past when recording new songs. Essences of previous works are baked into the contemporary art, but with a refreshed flavor that belongs to the new artist.
  •         Social Themes: Art has always been an open door for creators to express themselves and honor their belief systems in tasteful, classy, express ways. The modern world offers plenty of opportunity for continued exploration of these themes, including social inequality, economic concerns, and discrimination. Artists incorporate more activist-minded elements in their work. They explore feminism, LGBTQIA+, womanism, and varied experiences, movements, and passion projects. Sources of inspiration have grown dramatically, transforming contemporary creations as a result.
  •         Everyday Objects: There’s virtually nothing that can’t be made into art — just ask the artist whose white-on-white canvas sold for millions. In other words, the “anything goes” mentality truly applies in the modern world, where even everyday objects like loaves of bread and computer mice earn their place in artists’ creations. They may strip the objects of their most familiar features, perverting the senses just enough to challenge how the item is perceived in its newest form.
  •         Digital Artwork: Technology is by far one of the most pervasive modern-day creations to transform the art world. Digital artists break barriers daily, using newfangled tools (like digital brushes) and applying interesting effects (like graphics) to design entirely new pieces unlike anything that’s been done before. It’s still a “baby” where art is concerned, but it’s grown up fast in recent years and shows no signs of slowing.


Elements of Boundary-Pushing Artwork

The mark of artwork that truly pushes boundaries can’t be whittled down to just one detail. There are several factors that play into the end result — and, as it happens, many of these apply to artists from time immemorial. They just so happen to be particularly notable now.


  1. Imaginative

More than ever, imagination breathes new life to artwork. With so many different mediums to draw from both for inspiration and innovation, artists have a duty to themselves — to be open to both what is known to be possible and what they may not even realize could ever come to fruition. If “pushing boundaries” has any limitations, it’s simply a stagnant imagination. Opening the mind to virtually any and every possible concept may lead to unforgettable artwork.

  1. Risky

While artists don’t need to be controversial to create art, there is a certain level of risk-taking involved in pushing boundaries. After all, boundaries create safe spaces where people are happy to stay confined. Breaking down those barriers is key to approaching uncharted territories, creating entirely new pieces, and tapping into untouched areas. Contemporary artists are brave, relentless, and willing to take the next big step and see where it leads.

  1. Communicative

If art is anything, it’s a form of communication. It can bridge gaps and strengthen bonds in a way that few other elements can, and that’s down to the artist’s incredible process. Contemporary artists have a way of bringing their vision to the forefront, shining the light on whatever is dear to them, and creating artwork that conveys that message in a way that is either glaringly obvious or barely discernable at first glance. Either way, the creation is true to the artist’s heart.


Contemporary Artists Know No Bounds

Contemporary artists will continue to innovate in unpredictable ways, drawing inspiration from the past while drawing on the present day and even the future to create new and interest works that convey their spirit and passion in unique form.


Alanna Miller is an experienced art dealer whose SoHo gallery is home to gorgeous, creative, and imaginative contemporary art that’s dramatically representative of innovations in the field. Visit her online to learn more about her exhibitions and personal background.

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