Art News

The 3 Things To Look For In An Emerging Artist

To discover an emerging artist you love means watching their career from seedling to full-bloom. Other than their artworks bringing you joy in the immediate, buying work from an emerging artist can be a promising investment. The right mix of work ethic, talent and timeliness and today’s emerging artist can be tomorrow’s Basquiat. 

For those looking to make an investment, we’ve taken the guesswork out of discovering tomorrow’s art stars. Chief Curator Rebecca Wilson’s latest installment of Invest In Art rounds up “11 Emerging Artists You Should Be Buying Right Now.”  It’s a group both your wallet AND your heart can feel good about.

Of course there are no guarantees and all investment is a risk, but there are 3 key things you can look for in assessing whether an artist is “emerging.” Keep in mind, however, that none of these qualities trump the most important factor to consider when purchasing original art: that you absolutely love it.

1. Track Record

Doing a bit of research can go a long way. A good indicator that an emerging artist is on a promising path is if they’ve received recognition in the form of awards or residencies. There are tons of awards an artist can receive, generally all indicating skill and aptitude. As an example, Saatchi Artist Nina Fowler was shortlisted for The Young Masters Prize and the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Collectors of her works include the likes of Jude Law, Sharleen Spiteri, and Caroline Issa.

Though it’s not the most important benchmark by any means, attendance at a good school is a safe way of showing an artist has developed a creative passion early and is willing to learn the ins and outs of the craft. Many famous artists, among them Louise Bourgeois, Rodin and Cy Twombly, began making art at a young age and honed their craft while at art school. In our new Invest in Art selection of artists, Romanian artist Liviu Mihai has a PhD in Fine Arts from the University of Fine Arts, Bucharest.

2. Consistency

An important quality in an artist is a consistency in their practice, an undeniable passion for creation that’s apparent in their work. Certainly not all artists are formally taught, and even the most famous artists at one point didn’t have much to show on their CVs. An artist who exhibits a clear or challenging personal voice through their visual expression, whose aesthetic sensibility is reliable and focused, is a good measure that can trump even the most educated artist.

3. Activity

An artist that is active is one who is all of the above, plus putting their work out there often for others to experience, digest, praise, criticize, etc. Participating in solo or group exhibits shows they are engaged with a community of artists and art lovers.


Get started with an art investment today – Meet 11 emerging art stars hand-selected by Rebecca Wilson.

About the Author

Chelsea is the Marketing Associate at Saatchi Art. She likes Neoclassical art, text messaging, and that's pretty much it. Find her Tweeting @saatchiart, and Instagramming @saatchiart