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Top art and design trends for 2022

The art community has taken a giant leap towards the digitization of their creations over the past two years. More people have begun to realize the benefit of art as not just an element of adornment for interior and exterior spaces but also as a viable form of investment and to highlight important issues the world is dealing with. Trends in art and design are more consumer-driven in contrast to art movements that are influenced by ideologies and political narratives.

While there are innumerable types of art and designs produced all over the world, art collectors, curators and consumers predominantly dictate popular trends and reigning styles. Owing to the economic uncertainty induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, people are starting to view art, especially digital art, as a value-preserving asset meant to diversify their investment portfolios and mitigate unpredictable times.

In 2022, art and design trends such as virtual art exhibitions, VR and immersive art experiences, NFTs, crypto art, street art, contemporary African art and the revival of Memphis art will continue to grow exponentially.

Here are six of the top art and design trends for 2022

Virtual art exhibitions and events

Image credit: Darya San Nikova / Pexels

Creative communities have adapted to immersive virtual events and exhibitions, enabling artists to reach global audiences from the comfort of their homes. Galleries, museums, fashion houses and even massive art festivals, like ‘Burning Man’, are making use of various platforms in the metaverse to capture the spirit, culture and qualities of a real-life event and emulate them in an interactive virtual reality ( VR) space.

Additionally, with the absence of geographical boundaries, they aim to cultivate conversation, connection and a feeling of a community within the global art world through the internet.

Crypto and NFT artworks

NFTs digital art
Image credit: Yura Miron / @ YuraMironArt / Twitter

Crypto art and NFTs have become invaluable assets. Mainstream artists have begun to adopt this medium, boasting record-breaking sales and announcements of new and exciting digital projects. An artwork called The Mergecreated by the renowned artist who goes by the pseudonym Pak, was sold on NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway in 2021 for a record sum of USD 91.8 million – the most expensive NFT ever sold as an artwork.

The same year, artist Beeple sold a piece Everydays – The First 5000 Days for a whopping USD 69.3 million, while REPLICATOR created by Canadian artist Mad Dog Jones, a piece that replicates itself and produces a new NFT every 28 days, was sold for USD 4.1 million.

Additionally, artists from all over the world are using NFTs for humanitarian purposes such as to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion. Several online charity auctions such as Vandalz for Ukraine, ArtWaRks Ukraine, UkraineDAO, Holy Water and RtistiQ, organized by the NFT community, are leveraging their unique digital resources to provide relief to the country’s war-stricken people and their defense and healthcare systems. Artists like Alexis Olin, Yura Miron, Artem Humilevskiy, Mykola Dosenko and Chernaya Rechka have been making waves in the NFT space because of their purpose-driven digital art.

With the rise in the number of people using digital currencies as a means of investment or a fundraising method to support themselves or generate donations, the popularity of cryptocurrency and NFTs is not going to subside anytime soon.

Contemporary African Art

Contemporary African Art
Image credit: El Anatsui / @ elanatsui_art / Instagram

Focusing on specific regions in the world, art trends are often influenced by the ever-changing socio-political climate. The contemporary art scene of Africa is characterized by talented creators who capture and artistically express socio-economic challenges, political realities, rich traditions and diverse beauty that the region has to offer.

Moreover, with art and tech coming together to build a future for artists on virtual platforms, up-and-coming contemporary African artists now have access to global audiences. Inspired by their unique cultural narratives, they are able to showcase the innovation and talents comprising African art.

Creations by these artists are regularly showcased at major galleries and museums all around the world.

The Memphis Revival

Memphis revival
Image credit: Baldiwala Edge / @ baldiwala_edge / Instagram

Brands are reviving the vibrant colors, geometric shapes, bold outlines and patterns that epitomise the Memphis Design trend of the 1980s in the realms of art, interiors, fashion and graphic design. This trend can be identified in the graphic design space and the gaming world with Memphis design patterns, simple emojis, primitive internet frames, bright color blocks and funky retro interfaces.

An influential postmodern style that was spearheaded by the legendary Italian designer Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007), Memphis Design returned as a source of inspiration for multi-disciplinary designers in the 2010s, including fashion houses such as Christian Dior and Missoni. The bold and unapologetically eclectic style is now being used by new generations of interior designers, type and graphic designers, filmmakers, as well as set and costume designers.

Street art

street art: top art and design trends for 2022
Image credit: Banksy / @ banksy / Instagram

Street art has retained its popularity throughout the past decade, with many famous street artists like Banksy, Eduardo Kobra and Alec Monopoly becoming household names in the art community.

Of these, anonymous graffiti artist Banksy has created artworks that have been sold at auctions for millions of dollars. Weighing in on everything, from the Israel-Palestine conflict to Black Lives Matter and Brexit, Banksy’s talents know no bounds. Some of his famous artworks by him include Napalm (2004), Love is in the Air (Flower Thrower) (2003) and Girl with Balloon (2002).

Additionally, street artists were also able to capture the social and economic state of the world during the pandemic. Here too, Banksy’s Game Changer (2020), a tribute to healthcare workers and frontline heroes, was hailed by artists and art enthusiasts alike.

With recent political conflicts as well as social unrest in the world, street art has garnered more attention and will continue to do so this year as well.

Sculptural furniture and curvy forms

sculptural furniture: top art and design trends for 2022
Image: Courtesy of Marquis.com

Easy on the eyes, playful and unique curved edges, sculptural shapes, and organic lines have gained popularity in the interior design space and are definitely here to stay. The rounded silhouettes and forms of these ’60s and’ 70s retro-inspired pieces take away any harsh and pointy elements in a space and promote comfort and a soothing ambience.

This playful and unconventional design aesthetic, featuring fluid forms and sensorial textures, aims to invoke deeper connections between people and their surroundings and help them unwind. The relaxed lines and sinuous shapes, inspired by the Mid-century Modern Design (MCM) movement, have surely anchored their spot in the trending lists for the next few years at least.

(Main and featured image credit: Banksy / @ banksy / Instagram)

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