8 LA-Based Emerging Artists to Keep on Your Radar

The West Coast has always been a hotbed for talent.

Artist Martine Syms. Photo courtesy the Broad Museum.

Los Angeles has been a hub of creativity and talent for the visual arts since the 1960s, when the city’s art scene became a sprawling conglomeration of creative individuals seeking space, and inspiration.

Aside from the obvious lifestyle benefits afforded by year-round sunshine and large studios, young artists continue to seek out the West Coast metropolis for its schools, artistic community, the density and quality of its institutions, and its signature Californian optimism and creative spirit.

In recent years there’s been lots of talk of an LA revival, and although the city’s art community privately scoffs at the suggestion that LA was even absent in the first place, its undeniable that new artistic momentum has reached a critical mass in the last two years, driven by large international and domestic galleries taking root, new museums such as the Broad, and an increasing number of artists settling in the city.

Here we have selected only a small number of talented emerging LA-based artists to keep on your radar.

Installation view, Calvin Marcus, "Were Good Men," at Clearing, 2016. Courtesy Clearing.

Installation view, Calvin Marcus, “Were Good Men,” at Clearing, 2016. Courtesy Clearing.

1. Calvin Marcus (b. 1988)
Working in innovative mediums such as oil crayon on canvas, the highly rated young artist has enjoyed critically acclaimed exhibitions in Los Angeles, Brussels, and most recently at Brooklyn’s CLEARING gallery, where he lined the walls with nine-foot canvases depicting the agony of deceased soldiers in his show “Were Good Men.”

Claire Tabouret. Photo: Joshua Blanchard/Patrick McMullan.

Claire Tabouret. Photo: Joshua Blanchard/Patrick McMullan.

2. Claire Tabouret (b. 1981)
The French figurative painter has gained increasing market traction after it emerged that luxury goods magnate and collector François Pinault had bought several of her canvases. Exhibitions in New York at Lyles & King, and in Los Angeles at Night Gallery, soon followed.

Katy Cowan. Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for New York Magazine.

Katy Cowan. Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for New York Magazine.

3. Katy Cowan (b. 1982)
Working across the mediums of painting, sculpture, and installation, the artist’s diverse body of work emphasizes the juxtaposition between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art. She contrasts construction materials with photography and painting, and creates plywood sculptures that combine high art sensibilities with accessible materials.

Artist Martine Syms, new Rhizome board member. Photo courtesy the Broad Museum.

Artist Martine Syms, new Rhizome board member. Photo courtesy the Broad Museum.

4. Martine Syms (b. 1988)
One of the youngest participants of the Hammer Museum’s “Made in LA” biennial, Syms’ appropriation-based work (which spans the mediums of publishing, performance, video, and photography) explores the representations of race and gender in contemporary television, film, and other mass media.

Max Hooper Schneider The Extinction of Neon 2 (2015). Photo: courtesy High Art, Paris.

Max Hooper Schneider The Extinction of Neon 2 (2015). Photo: courtesy High Art, Paris.

5. Max Hooper Schneider (b. 1982)
Having initially studied landscape architecture, the artist’s work is derived from his interest in biological constructs and the natural world. Known for his neon-lit plexiglass encased microcosms of plant life, his unique, non-hierarchical use of materials sets him apart from his peers.

Daniel R. Small installation view of Excavation II (2016) at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Daniel R. Small installation view of Excavation II (2016) at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

6. Daniel R. Small (b. 1984)
Investigating the fine line between fact and fiction, and how context differentiates reality from fantasy, the themes in Small’s work are exemplified in Excavation II, which made an appearance at the Hammer Museum’s “Made in LA” biennial.

It features remnants excavated from the film set of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 film “The Ten Commandments.” The city may be fake—the filmmaker destroyed the set after filming concluded—but the ruins are real.

Alex Becerra. Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan.

Alex Becerra. Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan.

7. Alex Beccera (b. 1989)
Influenced by German painters such as Jörg Immendorf, Albert Oehlen, and especially Martin Kippenberger, Becerra’s work blends the uninhibited sensibilities of his German influences with overtly American themes and imagery taken from his southern Californian upbringing, which he stylizes in thick layers of oil paint.

Joshua Nathanson, Interlude (No Known Home) (2014). Photo: courtesy of Various Small Fires, Los Angeles.

Joshua Nathanson, Interlude (No Known Home) (2014). Photo: courtesy of Various Small Fires, Los Angeles.

8. Joshua Nathanson (b. 1976)
Blending plein-air sketches and digital processes such as iPad-based drawing apps, Photoshop, and inkjet printing as a basis for his airbrush, oilstick and acrylic-on-canvas works. Nathanson uses a multitude of materials and processes to put together his playful, frenetic, and color saturated pictures.


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