A Guide to Contemporary Art

Looking for artwork to add style and character to your home? A piece of contemporary art will make a fantastic choice and you will certainly have many sub-genres to choose from, some of which we will go on to explain below.


About contemporary artwork

Contemporary art is the name given to any piece of artwork that is produced in ‘this lifetime.’ It includes and stems from postmodern art, covering a wide range of genres and techniques, with something to suit all tastes. Many people get a little confused between ‘modern art’ and ‘contemporary art,’ but as a general rule contemporary art is classed as any art form that has been created between the nineteen sixties / nineteen seventies and the present day.


Some of the most famous contemporary artists from the UK include Damien Hirst, Jenny Saville and Antony Gormley. Damien Hirst and Jenny Saville are both contemporary artists and prominent members of the Young British Artists group. Much of Damien Hirsts’ artwork revolves around the theme of death, whereas Jenny Saville is known for painting large scale depictions of naked women, showing the vast differences in styles and subject matters from one contemporary artist to the next.


Antony Gormley is a British sculpture (with sculptures being another popular form of contemporary art). He is best known for creating the Angel of the North, a public sculpture that is located in Gateshead in the North of England.




Popular styles of contemporary art

Contemporary art comes in a wide range of styles including both realist and abstract, with many artists choosing to make use of modern technologies and mixed media including photography and computer graphics. Below we have outlined some of the popular styles used by contemporary artists.

  • Realism – Many artists use realism (one of the oldest forms of art) to depict subjects in a realistic and authentic way within their contemporary pieces.
  • Pop art – Pop art was particularly popular during the 1960s and is still very influential in the world of contemporary art today. Pop art often features characters and objects of popular contemporary culture that have been presented in a ‘comic book’ style.
  • Abstract – Abstract is the opposite of realism. Instead of presenting objects in a realistic form, contemporary artists choose to portray them in unrecognisable forms, focusing instead on their colour and shape to represent ideas, concepts and emotion.
  • Photography – Today many artists create contemporary art using high quality digital photographs. This technology was not available to both traditional and modern artists, making it unique to the contemporary genre.


Contemporary art subjects

Unlike seascapes and portraits, contemporary art does not have to feature any specific subjects. The artist has the freedom to choose what they want to paint and how they want to paint it. Contemporary artists are even known for rejecting typical ‘mainstream art styles’ instead using innovative techniques to create their own unique artistic styles.


Popular contemporary art subjects include people, landscapes, cityscapes, animals, seascapes, plants, flowers and vehicles.



Why choose contemporary art?

If you are looking for a piece of artwork that will add a unique and stylish touch to your home, then contemporary art will make a fantastic choice. It is particularly well suited to modern interiors that make use of crisp lines, simple colours and have a ‘minimalist’ feel to them. If you are looking for contemporary art as a focal point for a room, we highly recommend choosing a piece with strong geometric shapes and bold colours (like the work of Eraclis Artistidou) however if you are looking for something more minimalist, stick to pieces with simple line work and neutral colours.