The New Vanguard: 8 Millennial & Gen Z Artists To Know Now
They’ve been dubbed the millennial Botticellis and Gen Z Picassos – but for future generations, these eight artists are set to be points of reference in their own right. Unlike their predecessors, who relied on physical gallery spaces, these leading Gen Z and millennial visual artists are building global recognition while retaining sovereignty over their work, thanks to digital exhibition spaces on Instagram and Artsy. They defy the trope of starving artist hood, selling their works for impressive sums, venturing into philanthropy and collaborating across creative disciplines. Meet the new vanguard…
Anna Weyant (she/her), 28
New York, USA
Originally from Calgary in Canada, Anna Weyant graduated with a BFA from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. Today, with works selling upwards of $1,000,000, she has been dubbed ‘The Millennial Botticelli’. Her lifelike brushwork is achieved via a meticulous process of adding oil paint in sheer layers – a technique that recalls the Renaissance greats. She accredits her flair to her time spent studying at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. The dark humour and taboo that runs through Weyant’s work has led critics to compare her to contemporary artists such as John Currin and Jesse Mockrin.
Maty Biayenda (she/her), 25
Maty Biayenda is a Paris-based painter, illustrator, and textile designer. Born in Namibia in 1998 of French-Congolese origin, she was raised in Angoulême, France. She grew a cult following on Instagram while she was still a textile design student at the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris. Biayenda depicts Black femme characters in interpersonal dynamics of power, solidarity and bureaucracy. She is inspired by her own queer identity, and icons such as Grace Jones.
Camilla Engström (she/her), 34
Los Angeles, USA
Camilla Engström is a Swedish-Chinese artist working and living in Los Angeles. She studied Womens Sportswear Design at Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design before pursuing art. Her canvases feature the recurring character Husa: a blushing, frolicking, full-figured anthropomorph whose anatomy sometimes converges with the landscape. Equal parts psychedelic and tranquilising, these gradients are reminiscent of the candy-hued works of Georgia O’Keeffe. Husa, who has her own Instagram account (@husasworld), rebels against conventional desirability and opposes the svelte figures of mainstream fashion.
Mai Ta (she/her), 26
Saigon, Vietnam c
Painting is personal expression for Vietnamese-born artist and illustrator Mai Ta. Her work can be recognised by her high-contrast gouache and liberal use of the colour blue. Through self-portraiture she depicts her own shadowy inner world – secrets, wounds, anxieties and memories. Since graduating from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2019, Ta has featured in solo and group exhibitions in Switzerland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the UK and the US. Earlier this year, she was the recipient of the Woman in Art award by L’Officiel Vietnam.
Oscar Murillo (he/him), 37
Oscar Murillo is a multidisciplinary visual artist who, while best recognised for his abstract stitched paintings, also works with sculpture, installation and performance. Reflecting on his own transcultural experience of growing up in Latin America before emigrating to the UK, Murillo’s art investigates the subjectivity of language, ideas and everyday items. He immerses himself in this itinerant practice by living and working in various locations all over the world. Following his BFA at the University of Westminster and MFA at the Royal College of Art, he launched Frequencies – a global initiative that provides school students with a raw canvas to be placed in a classroom and worked on in collaboration with one another.
Otis Hope Carey (he/him), 35
Coffs Harbour, Australia
Otis Hope Carey is a Gumbaynggirr-Bundjalung First Nations contemporary artist. Movement is palpable in his paintings and sculptures, which can be explained by his experience as a professional surfer – he is a two-time winner of Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles. The ocean, together with his native Gumbaynggirr ceremonial dance, inspires Carey’s mesmerising, cyclical brushstrokes. His work first went viral in 2019, after the Instagram post of a mural he painted for actor Chris Hemsworth’s Byron Bay home was liked over 1.5 million times.
Salman Toor (he/him), 40
New York, USA
Salman Toor is a Pakistani-born American painter. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where he completed a BFA, and later an MFA at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. His subjects bear a semi-autobiographical quality; like Toor, they are young, Brown males of a queer, diasporic identity, placed or displaced in South Asia or New York. He examines queerness and apprehension by capturing mundane moments, both private and public. His textural brushwork and command of facial expression he has led to comparisons with 17th century Dutch painter Rembrandt.
Thomas J Price (he/him), 42
Thomas J. Price is a British sculptor of Jamaican heritage, best known for his representation of young Black people. His subjects are frozen in quotidian moments: scrolling on phones or hands in pockets; expressions calm and undisturbed. Ordinary as these images might appear, Price’s finished pieces reflect an extraordinary mastery of body language and movement, which he refined through his studies at Chelsea College of Art and then at the Royal College of Art in London.
Chioma Ezeh is a writer and artist from London
Acrylic On Canvas (2023) © Maty Biayenda; As Sounds Turn to Noise (2022) © Thomas J Price, courtesy of Hauser & Wirth; Linkudden (2023) © Camilla Engström, courtesy of Carl Kostyál; Gaagal (2017) © Otis Hope Carey, courtesy of China Height; Frequencies, Artangel, London (2021) © Oscar Murillo, photographed by Tim Bowditch; The Wild Woman (2022) © Mai Ta, photographed by Trần Vĩnh Đạt; Two Citizens (2023) © Salman Toor, courtesy of Luhring Augustine; Cheerleaders (2021) © Anna Weyant, courtesy of Gagosian. All artworks courtesy of the artists