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Top 10 Breakthrough Artists in 2014

The best of the best! It's that time of year again, time to look back and list the Top 10 Breakthrough Artists of the Year. What does that mean? These are the artists, designer and photographers that took the world by storm. They're the ones who decided to push their creative limit, introducing a new form of beautiful, breathtaking or funny art. We admire these ten individuals for making a creative contribution to this world. From Chino Otsuka's heartfelt project that photoshops her present-day self with her past self, to Paul Cummins' beautifully tragic installation around the Tower of London, each project made us reflect on both ourselves and the world at large. Congrats to those who made the list! (See who made the list in 2011 and 2012.)

10. Jordan Mang-osan

Philippines-based artist Jordan Mang-osan harnesses the power of the sun to create striking pyrography drawings. The artist, who is an ethnic Igorot hailing from the mountainous Cordilleras region, stays close to his roots by working with raw, indigenous materials and focusing on subject matter that celebrates the rich heritage of his people and his country. [Read more here.]

9. Andrea Minini

To capture the essence of each living thing, Andrea Minini uses the blending tool in Illustrator to merge patterns of lines together and to magically generate all kinds of adorable animal portraits. Each piece is a mesmerizing black and white vector illustration that relies on both positive and negative space to form the creative shapes. Thin and thick lines are filled with an energy that gracefully curves and bends to form the animals' shapes. [Read more here.]

8. Sacha Unisex

Tattoo artist Sasha Unisex produces beautiful paintings that happen to be on human skin. The St. Petersburg-based artist uses vibrant inks to etch portraits of animals, bouquets of flowers, and nautical scenes onto her clients' bodies. The eye-catching images use shades of purples, blues, and greens to fantastically recreate the mane of a lion or a bird sitting in a tree. Unlike many tattoo artists, Unisex doesn't outline her designs, and instead places an emphasis on shapes and shading, using contrasting colors to make her forms feel three-dimensional. [Read more here.]

7. Emily McDowell

“When I launched my card line, my intention was to make cards that speak to the relationships we actually have, not the ones we wish we had,” said Emily McDowell. “Every card we release goes back to that principle, but to me, the Awkward Cards embody it in the purest way. Relationships are messy and weird and hard to define sometimes, and I think the Awkward Cards capture that in a relatable, universal way. I love making anything that helps people feel understood — it means a lot to me when people pick one up and think, ‘So I'm NOT the only person who feels this way? What a relief!'” [Read more here.]

6. Oleg Oprisco

Oleg Oprisco's imaginative photographs–featuring mysterious young women, fantastical props, and hazy, dreamy colors–evoke a strong sense of otherworldliness, as if they depict scenes from fairytales or ethereal realms. Each scene is a story of its own, inviting the viewer to imagine what kind of narrative is unfolding before their eyes. [Read more here.]

5. Robin Wright

UK-based artist Robin Wight uses stainless steel wire to form stunning, dramatic sculptures of winged fairies dancing in the wind. The enchanting forms, which range in size from miniature to life-sized, seem to have a life of their own as they strike dynamic poses, contort their bodies, and hold onto windswept dandelions. [Read more here.]

4. Chino Otsuka

Tokyo-born, London-based photographer Chino Otsuka takes the past and present photo project to a new level of expert photo manipulation with her series titled Imagine Finding Me. Rather than simply recreating old photographs as an adult, she inserts her present-day self into photos from her childhood. The result is an incredibly believable image that features photos of Otsuka as a little girl in the 70s and 80s standing side by side with herself as a modern-day woman. [Read more here.]

3. Laura Williams

18-year-old Laura Williams joins the ranks of fellow young, extremely talented photographers such as Alex Stoddard and Kyle Thompson in creating spectacularly surreal and expressive self-portraits. The Cambridge, England native's photograph entitled Invisible recently went viral, with over 800,000 views on Flickr alone. The photo depicts Williams sitting on the grass with a piercing look in her eyes, holding a mirror that conceals her body while reflecting the empty area surrounding her. [Read more here.]

2. Jee Young Lee

Though she busted out on the scene in late December 2013, we had to include this artist in our 2014 list. Like American artist Sandy Skoglund, Jee Young Lee creates highly elaborate scenes that require an incredible amount of patience and absolutely no photo manipulation. For weeks and sometimes months, the young Korean artist works in the confines of her small 360 x 410 x 240 cm studio bringing to life worlds that defy all logic. In the middle of the sets you can always find the artist herself, as these are self-portraits but of the unconventional kind. Inspired by either her personal life or old Korean fables, they each have their own backstory, which of course, only adds to the intense drama. [Read more here.]

1. Paul Cummins

Surrounding the Tower of London are 888,246 handmade poppies, each representing a British and Commonwealth person who died during World War One. The first poppy was planted on August 5th, the first day of Britain's full participation in the war, and the last poppy was planted on Armistice Day, November 11th. The stunning installation covers 16 acres, which is roughly equivalent to 250 tennis courts or 16 soccer fields. The clay models were handmade under artist Paul Cummins and the setting was designed by Tom Piper. [Read more here.]

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