Georgia-May Travers Cook in her studio, image courtesy of the artist

The Top 5 British Emerging Artists You Should Know

The contemporary art scene in Britain is buzzing, with plenty of talented artists emerging from the nation’s top art colleges, independent galleries, and underground artists’ studios alike.

But while the big names call the shots and feature in mainstream galleries, there are tons of up and coming British artists that deserve our attention.

So, whether you’re looking for new artists to follow on Instagram or want to know who the hottest British emerging artists to buy from are, you might want to keep reading… as we’ll uncover the top 5 current British artists.

Harriet Gillett

“With the day comes the dawn”, Oil and spray paint on linen, 160 x 140 cm, 2023, Harriet Gillett ©

Drenched in mauves, peaches and maroons, Harriet’s canvases drip into our field of vision, filling it with a sense of dream-like wonder. Suspended in the liquid fantasy of these reveries, we float into these colourful scenes, swimming into the fictional lives Harriet brings to life. Just like when you open your eyes underwater, all lines seem blurred and hazy, yet in this oniric world, we don’t feel alien – we’re comfortable, warm, buoyant – as if we’ve just awakened from a soft pillowy bed.

Borrowing from the dreaminess of impressionism, this contemporary British female painter takes our hand and walks us into these fluid landscapes, telling us stories of wanderers, flaneurs, dreamers, or perhaps just everyday women and men looking for meaning, just like the rest of us.

Harriet graduated from City & Guilds of London Art School with a Masters in Fine Art. Follow this up and coming British artist on her Instagram and don’t miss out on upcoming shows!

“This time it’s much safer in”,Oil and spray paint on canvas, 150 x 85 cm. 2023, Harriet Gillett ©

Georgia-May Travers Cook

“And the clock struck thirteen.” Oil on linen, 40 x 50 cm, 2023, Georgia-May Travers Cook ©

Georgia-May’s paintings allude to something that’s not happened yet. That moment in between a pose, that second of silence before the other utters a word, that momentary lapse before the whole world suddenly crashes onto us. Painting in itself is a form of capture, the dried oil on canvas a testament to that stillness. And yet, in Georgia-May’s paintings, there’s a dynamism that escapes from the frame and jumps at you with full might.

In part occult, for her works capture a moment-yet-to-come that’s at once imaginable in our minds, but at the same time elusive, for we will never know what the artist truly intended; and in part uncanny, that uncanniness that comes from seeing the everyday depictions in Georgia-May’s paintings as strange, breaching the conventions of familiarity normally associated with those objects. This contemporary British female painter sets scenes that are unequivocally suggestive, leaving us wanting more.

Georgia-May graduated with a BA in Fine Art & Art History from Goldsmiths College, and currently resides in London. To keep up with this young British artists’ work and next shows, follow her Instagram.

“Woman in lace tights.” Oil on linen 40 x 45 cm, 2023, Georgia May Travers Cook ©

Alfie Ruoy

“Ripping the Head off my Ancestral Past II”, Acrylic on canvas, 140 X 160 cm, 2023, Alfie Ruoy ©

As our eyes set on Alfie’s canvases, they’re met with a disquieting gaze. But this gaze doesn’t come from the prying eyes of its depicted creatures; it comes from the very belly of the painting. There, nestled in between the paint strokes and our body, we can now feel the pull and tug within our own guts – a primitive energy that takes hold. It draws us near, but at the same time feels far.

A helping hand gestures us to follow them through, a wild beast beckons us to take the leap. And yet in their disjointedness, we cannot help but feel reticent. The rules of physics seem not to apply to Alfie’s metaphysical world, and yet the life that emanates from the paintings says the very opposite: energy is neither created nor destroyed, we are all, chaotically and within our relatively insignificant and fragmented lives, part of the same whole.

Alfie Ruoy, a graduate of Camberwell University of the Arts, is a young British artist to watch, so keep an eye out for exhibitions near you by giving him a follow.

“Understand/Advise/Advise/Understand”, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 180 x 150 cm, 2023, Alfie Ruoy ©

Mia Middleton

“Theatrum”, Oil on linen, 81 x 65 cm, 2024, Mia Middleton ©

Mia invites us to be privy to the intimate moments she portrays. At first, we might feel like we’re overstepping some kind of threshold, but then we remember she wants us here. She invited us. We’re her guests. And although always looking through the peep-hole of the frame, we’re there because we’ve been asked to take part in this story, and perhaps, to complete it too.

Who’s hiding behind the drapings? Were they invited to the scene, or lurking? The smoke muddles the stage, making it pregnant with anticipation – what will happen next? Likewise, we ask ourselves who dropped the coin on that red carpet? Is it heads, or is it tails? Perhaps it’s all just a game, but then again, someone might have lost it by mistake. This British contemporary artist invites us in, and once we set our sight on the canvas, it’s hard to let go.

To discover more about Mia’s artworks, follow this emerging British artist on Instagram or via her website.

“Wish”, Oil on linen, 40 x 40 cm, 2022, Mia Middleton ©

Eloise Peggy Knight

“Tangled”, Oil on Canvas, 32 x 40 inches, 2023, Eloise Peggy Knight ©

Despite the fine, smooth, oil paint strokes there’s a certain rawness that emerges from Eloise’s paintings. A rawness that’s violent yet at the same time vulnerable, just like the glass-like hounds that leap from the forest-green background. The dogs, allegories of loyalty and love, betrayed by their crystalline bodies. A tension arises between what they are meant to signify, and what they actually mean.

This contemporary British artist weaves a tapestry made of opposing threads, the tension of love, care and beauty intertwined with that of ferocity, abandonment and dread. And so the soft pink hues turn vicious, reminding us of visceral flesh; and the gentle greens grow gangrenous, a nudge to our inescapable mortality.

If there is one young British female artist that should be on your radar, it ought to be Eloise. This UK based artist only recently graduated from Central Saint Martins’ Fine Art degree, and is definitely an artist to follow on Instagram.

“Dog fight”, Oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches, 2022, Eloise Peggy Knight ©

Words by #GabriellaGasparini

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