Rising Stars: 10 Australian Artists to Watch in 2022

The past two years might have steamrolled any expectations of what’s in store for 2022. We hear you! One thing we are sure we can count on is that the Australian art scene continues to deliver and we can’t help but feel excited by the potential of this year’s national talent.

Our Rising Stars category on Bluethumb showcases the best of fresh Australian artists who are gaining strong momentum in both popularity and sales. Stay ahead of the curve of art’s next batch of superstars with our list of 10 rising stars for 2022.

1. Dave Court: A Digital Rising Star

Dave Court bringing to life the surroundings for his digital work.

The accolades of Adelaide-based painter, art director and designer Dave Court are dazzling. Working in a variety of areas and media, you can catch Dave’s projects across the city by way of murals, indoor spaces and in collaborations with a diverse mix of Australian companies.

Loop Gesture 13 was Dave’s finalist entry to last year’s Bluethumb Art Prize and is a part of a series. Click here to watch the full loop!

Dave Court was a finalist in last year’s Bluethumb Art Prize with his NFT entry, Loop Gesture 13 in Situ. Bluethumb Digital, our new curated NFT marketplace showcasing the best of Australia’s thriving digital art scene, is launching next month and will feature more of Dave’s work. Expect to see similar pieces that challenge the way we think about art, how we experience it and how we collect it.

2. Andrew Rovenko: A Rising Star with A Cosmic Series

Photographer Andrew Rovenko quickly met recognition with his candid, curious-minded series.

Two Melbourne-based parents turned their four-year-old into a little astronaut for Andrew Rovenko‘s new series of photographs. Together, they explored the parameters of their radius during the city’s last lockdown (we hope!), creating the Rocketgirl Chronicles. Andrew took home the Photography Runner-Up award in last year’s Bluethumb Art Prize by striking “a perfect balance between endearing and disturbing” according to judge Kathrin Longhurst. Through the endurance of what was for many a very difficult time, Andrew’s work invites us to see the world through the explorative eyes of a child.

Andrew will also be releasing NFTs from this series as part of the launch of Bluethumb Digital. Watch this space for more information about our new platform and how you can start collecting NFTs over the coming weeks.

Mariner Mission by Andrew Rovenko won him the Runner-Up prize for the Photography category in the Bluethumb Art Prize last year.

3. Pete Conroy: A Rising Star in Portraiture

Grace has Fallen by Pete Conroy plays on the sentiment of falling from grace with a casual, effortless slope – as if it were intentional!

Hailing from the UK, Pete Conroy focuses mainly on portraiture and the human form within his body of work – at times meandering into political or current affairs territory. In the past year especially, we’ve seen Pete’s journey with his artistic practice receive recognition from collectors both within Australia and all over the world, whilst the practice itself taking on a caricature essence to the subjects at hand.

4. Natalie Uhrik: A Meditative Abstract Artist

Natalie Uhrik in her studio.

Focusing on an eclectic mix of bohemia and modernity, Natalie Uhrik layers various media and colours to create dynamic pieces that both settle into a space and stand out from their surroundings, making them a favourite with interior design fans and decor-savvy homeowners. Natalie was a finalist in the Bluethumb Art Prize 2021 with Berada di Sana Segera. Judge and Australian legend Ken Done included Natalie’s entry in his top 5 when scoring, commenting: “An intriguing image that involves the viewer in multiple decisions. A complicated and beautiful work.”

5. Chris Riley: A Palm Springs Specialist

Chris Riley after finishing one of his larger works!

Chris Riley first began his art journey with a surprise commission for his wife. In just 18 months, he’s taken his talent to a notable level as an artist. Whilst he may have painted a wide variety of subjects including florals, landscapes and wildlife, in 2021 he found the style he enjoyed creating the most: Palm Springs-inspired paintings. Chris offers reliable holiday feels within each of his artworks, which combined with his cool colour palette, makes them so darn popular!

Good Times by Chris Riley

6. Sara Roberts: A Collectable Rising Star

I Belong to the Stars and Sky encapsulates the mysticism of Sara’s work in an exemplary fashion.

Nostalgic and evocative, but also whimsical and ethereal in nature: you can usually spot the work of Sara Roberts by her awe-inspiring landscapes and seascapes. Growing up and spending extensive time in various countries, Sara has obtained a strong insight into feeling foreign that surpasses most. Often meditating on specific locations, her work reflects memories of places that she has been, interwoven with more idyllic and imagined elements of the environment. Sara is also a Collectable artist on Bluethumb, and you can find a number of her pieces in the Adelaide gallery if you’re local.

7. Sally Dunbar: A Rising Star in the Naïve

Sally Dunbar nestled between a variety of eccentric patterns.

Sally Dunbar has been rapidly growing in popularity since she first joined Bluethumb in 2017. With an impressive array of exhibitions already under her belt, Sally is currently living and working in Canberra and sees art as a sustaining part of her life. Employing a naïve approach to her work, Sally’s two-dimensional characters range from Australia’s native animals to classic pet friends at home. There’s a sense of candour and ease within her work.

8. Tarli Bird: A Rising Star of the Modern Map

Urban Landscape: Perry Sandhills 2 is inspired by visiting the Perry Sandhills near Wentworth, NSW.

Inspired by traditional artists and a love for travelling, Tarli Bird’s art practice involves creating artworks that communicate the vibrance of our surrounding world. Like many, she cites herself as used to being constantly connected to her iPhone and as a result considers herself “constantly lost overseas with an inability to read maps correctly”. She captures these wanderings with photos, which inform her work. Tarli considers the finished pieces we see as an emulation of our modern environment.

9. Angel Riley: A Storytelling Rising Star

‘Gutharraguda’- ‘Two Bays’ is Angel’s homage to the Indigenous people of Shark Bay, the descendants of the Malgana Tribe.

Wiradjuri artist Angel Riley navigated a creative journey as a make-up artist and established photographer before turning to painting. She has since become a full-time painter, utilising the medium as a process of storytelling and celebration for her culture and the land on which she lives. “There’s something very special about painting cultural art,” Angel says on this. “It connects you to the country and to your ancestors in a way that gives you more respect and curiosity for the history of our land. It is the way our people have passed on information for thousands of years. It preserves our culture.”

10. Jen Shewring: An Artist of Conversation

Jen in her studio

Jen Shewring in her studio.

Jen Shewring creates art with a two-fold result: creating beauty and joy in the world from an inspiration of the natural world, but also opening up the floor for a conversation on a more profound level. Her science background informs the messages she aims to convey through her work on the environment and impact of modern living. At the same time, her background in science allows her to look at nature with a microscopic perspective, which in turn informs her work further. We recently spoke with Jen on her creative practice – click here to read more.

Want to meet more of the faces making waves in the Australian art scene? Check out the full list of Rising Stars on Bluethumb here.

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  1. Lesly Stevenson says:

    A fabulous assortment of very diverse talent.
    I would like to know more about Bluethumb as I am an artist & interested in selling through this sight that was highly praised at a recent art class.

  2. Stacey says:

    Such great artists. I can’t wait to see what they get up to in 2022

  3. Digitldil says:

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