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21 Rising Artists Who Caught Our Eye in 2016

emerging artists 2016

There's nothing we love more than artists bringing a fresh, innovative perspective to the art world. Over the past year we've been wowed by the incredible creatives that have been executing their artwork at the highest levels. Whether it's painting, sculpture, photography, or installations, emerging artists have been turning our heads all year.

Some artists have quickly made a name for themselves because of their innovative techniques, while others have been recognized for the refinement of their skill. The one thing they all have in common is their ability to excite us and keep us wondering what they have up their sleeve for the future. One thing's for sure, if they continue on the path they began in 2016, we're sure to be talking about them for years to come.

Here's our list of emerging artists who made their mark in 2016.

Manabu Ikeba

Ikeba's epic pen and ink drawing Rebirth, which took 3.5 years to complete, has us hoping that we won't have to wait as long for the next piece by the talented Japanese artist. His incredibly detailed art, which highlight his compulsive nature, can be gazed upon for hours and still seem fresh.


Chie Hitotsuyama

By twisting and binding wet newspaper, the Japanese artist creates the perfect medium for her sculptures. Using her incredible prowess as manipulating paper, she is able to sculpt large-scale animals with incredible realism. “More than anything else, I’m particular about the realistic feel of the animals,” she explains. “Animals that live in nature are equal to us in the sense that we live together on this planet.” Thus, her art provokes viewers to both marvel at her technical skills and at the place animals have in the world.


Reisha Perlmutter

Masterfully combining light, color, techinque, and a sense of tranquility, Perlmutter shows herself an adept communicator with her series AQUA. She plays with childhood memories of the gentle ocean and transforms this personal experience into a warm, inviting series that explores ideas of “weightlessness, and our deep connection to our senses beyond the confines of thought or intellect.”


Sigalit Landau

The Israeli artist caused quite a stir with her Salt Bride project. It saw her submerge a black gown in the Dead Sea, which she then photographed over the next three months. The resulting documentation is a poetic ode to this transformation, which Landau described as “like snow, like sugar, like death’s embrace.”



Italian artist Biancoshock is a master at manipulating his environment for installations that are always amusing, and often socially conscious. His installation Borderlife, where he created fully-furnished rooms inside underground manholes, is a brilliant commentary on people forced into poor living conditions.


Miho Hirano

Hirano's ethereal oil paintings are fairy tales infused with her native Japanese symbolism. Her doe-eyed women are swathed with natures, mysterious and striking at the same time. The artist's pale color palette and light brushstrokes give an airy feel to the pieces, which complements the subject matter.



This Japanese artist uses coins to create incredibly architectural sculptures. Patience and dexterity are key components of his work, along with a keen sense of equilibrium. Always appearing on the edge of destruction, the tiny structures are both jaw dropping and nerve wracking to observe.


Sydney Hanson

Hanson's adorable illustrations bring out our inner child, as friendly animals scamper across the page. Mainly working with gouache, colored pencil and watercolor, the Los Angeles based artist's work transmits unmistakable joy.


Charles Clary

Clary's carvings dive below the surface of multiple layers of wallpaper, where the colorful paper seems ready to ooze out into the room. Beautiful and unsettling, they seem to exist to take over the space if left alone, leaking out slowly over time. His work invites us to explore what might be below the surface, while staying wary of what may eventually infect us.


David Moreno

Moreno's frenetic sculptures burst with energy. He describes his process as “trying to draw sculptures,” with each piece composed of steel wires that mimic the strokes of a pencil. Architectural and dynamic, each piece is a avant-garde, three-dimensional representation of a quick sketch.



The Australian street artist took a break from his hectic schedule painting massive murals to create a stunning series of pieces, Empty, in abandoned houses. Delicate decay never looked so good, as Rone's beautiful female portraits embody the haunting memories left behind in these empty spaces.


Emanuele Dasciano

There's no denying the emotional impact of Dasciano's hyperrealistic portraits. His labor intensive pencil drawings are an incredible demonstration of skill and stamina. The results are monochromatic masterpieces that could easily be mistaken for photographs.


Olga Kuraeva

Both a dancer and photographer, Kuraeva uses her experience to shoot powerful images of ballerinas in motion. Their athleticism and grace is on full display in her black-and-white images. The results are photographs that highlight her belief that dance is “neither a philosophy nor a job” but a means of expressing emotion.


Loris Cecchini

Cecchini's brilliant work Wallwave Vibrations, where gallery walls seem to pulse from within, perfectly exemplifies his ability to work across a multitude of media. The series falls under his “extruding bodies” projects, and his insatiable curiosity—he often includes technology and chemistry in his work—bodes well for more boundary pushing art in his future.


Akinori Goto

Goto's hypnotic, 3D-printed zoetrope uses light to display the fluid motions of a ballet dancer. It's a mesmerizing piece that combines art and technology. We can't wait to see what he'll come up with next using his patent pending invention.



The Australian artist's watercolors feel both intimate and grandiose, as they swirl in aquatic surroundings. His colors blend together seamlessly, creating ethereal forms. Working on a small scale, his work proves that size does not always matter when it comes to emotional impact.


Nir Arieli

Arieli's powerful series Flocks, explores the aesthetic beauty of dancers' bodies captured in moments of stillness. Framing the figures as living sculpture, his photographs draw viewers into each individual body, as well as the form of the entire mass. “Relying mostly on nonverbal language, the dancers formed intricate living sculptures. As they worked together, the minute dialogues between them enabled a larger visual narrative.”


Michelle Dickson

By merging a plaster cast of her face with pieces of driftwood, the young artist builds texture and form as a metaphor for memory and decay. She tempts the viewer to touch and feel the unusual shapes, playing with our senses. “I think about the dynamic this creates between the viewer and the object viewed,” writes Dickson, “as well as how the inability to touch has the potential to evoke the same intangibility of memory.”


Teresa Elliot

Elliot is a forensic sketch artist, turned painter, whose oil paintings of people covered in mud are shockingly realistic. The series has a playful, yet animalistic quality as her figures frolic in the murky liquid.


Thomas Darnell

Known for his monumental oil paintings of flowers and landscapes, Darnell's hyperrealistic art demonstrates his incredible level of skill. Large blossoms leap from the canvas, ready to fill the room with their fragrance. Originally from the United States, Darnell now lives in Paris and was spurred to pursue his art career after the death of his first wife.


Felix Hernandez

The Mexico-based digital artist has mastered the art of using household items to create stunning imagery. Using a $40 scale model and kitchen items, he turned out luxe photographs for the $160,000 Audi R8. Under Hernandez's creative eye, there is no limit to what can be achieved.


We can't wait to see what each of these artists have in store for 2017!

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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