Blog Post | My Top 10 Artists Of All Time

A List Of My 10 Favourite Artists Of All Time!

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Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Painting Blue with yellow from MOMA
Mark Rothko painting at MOMA, black & grey


"... only in expressing basic human emotions—tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions ... The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point".

About: Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz was born on 25th September 1903 in what is modern day Latvia. He moved to the US in 1913. He died on 25th February 1970 after taking an overdose of barbiturates.


Movement: Abstract Expressionism.


Why I love Rothko: I remember the first time I was in a room with a Rothko at Tate Modern in London. It literally took my breath away. The sheer size of his paintings and the deep red, I felt like I was being swallowed. I think it was as close to a religious experience as I have ever come. My paintings on paper, especially Blauer Planet I & II are deeply inspired by Rothko.

Gerhard Richter

abstraktes bild 858-3 by Gerhard Richter
Abstraktes Bild 858-3 | 1999 | Oil on Alu Dibond

"Theory has nothing to do with a work of art. Pictures which are interpretable, and which contain a meaning, are bad pictures. A picture presents itself as the Unmanageable, the Illogical, the Meaningless. It demonstrates the endless multiplicity of aspects; it takes away our certainty, because it deprives a thing of its meaning and its name. It shows us the thing in all the manifold significance and infinite variety that preclude the emergence of any single meaning and view".

2 paintings by Gerhard Richter hanging in Tate Modern, London
2 paintings by Gerhard Richter hanging in Tate Modern, London

About: Gerhard Richter was born on 9th February 1932 in Dresden, Germany. 


Movement: Abstract Art, Photo Realism


Why I love Richter: Best known for his photorealist paintings, but I actually really like Richter's abstract pieces. He's an artist who's not afraid to experiment with different mediums and different surfaces, and he always comes up with something new and exciting. My paintings I Am A Camera & Richter Blur have been inspired by this series of abstract paintings by Gerhard Richter.

Sam Lock

sam lock's abstract paintings, composite (III). 16 small square paintings laid out in a grid formation
Composite (III) | 2021

About: Sam Lock was born in 1973 in London, United Kingdom. 


Movement: Abstract Art, Contemporary.


Why I love Lock: I discovered Sam Lock's paintings by chance one day and immediately fell in love. If there is one modern painter I would like to paint like, it is Sam Lock! The blues/greens, the square canvases, everything is so perfect.

Mona Hatoum

photo of mona hatoum's sculptue of a globe called Hot spot
Hot Spot | 2013 | Stainless Steel & Neon Tube

About: Mona Hatoum was born in 1952 in Beirut, Lebanon to Palestinian parents. On a trip to London in 1975, the Lebanese Civil War broke out and she was forced into exile.


Movement: Contemporary Sculpture


Why I love Hatoum: I remember seeing a piece by Hatoum at the Tate in London many years ago and being so moved by it. I decided to find out more and see as much of her work as I could, and I've never been disappointed. Her sculptures and installations are deeply moving, using themes of displacement, identity and feminism to make political points.

Piet Mondrian

Painting by Piet Mondrian with red and blue square. Tate Modern, London

"It is not important to make many pictures

but that I have one picture right".

About: Pieter Cornelis Mondrian was born on 7th March 1872 in Amersfoort, Netherlands. He died on 1st February 1944 in New York, United States.


Movement: Abstract, De Stijl


Why I love Mondrian: I first discovered Mondrian when I was studying art at school. I think it was the first time I had been exposed abstract art and I was fascinated from the very start! I was drawn to the simplicity and geometric quality of his paintings, especially the squares. It was Mondrian's paintings that were the beginning of my lifelong love of abstract art.

Bill Viola

still from video by Bill Viola called Visions of Time
Visions Of Time | 2018

"I would prefer to be forgotten, then rediscovered in a different age".

About: Bill Viola was born on 25th January 1951 in New York, United States.


Movement: Visual/Video Artist


Why I love Viola: Back in the old days, when I was at University, I used to go to the gallery district in London and walk around all the small, independent art galleries. One day, there was an exhibition of Bill Viola's happening, and it was the most interesting thing I'd seen in a long time. There was a huge screen in the middle of a black room, and a figure was coming down very, very slowly, eventually splashing into water. It was the extreme slowness of the film that captured my attention, I just couldn't look away. A few years later I saw more of Viola's films of close-ups of faces with tears running down them. The slowness and extreme close-ups, where every blink of an eye lasted for seconds, made you feel uncomfortable, but also fascinated. A genius!

Jenny Saville

jenny saville's painting called Strtegy. three large figures in realsitic style of painting looking down on the viewer
Strategy | 1994 | Oil on Canvas

"I like making work in my studio day in and day out,

but I'm not so interested in the business side". 

About: Jenny Saville was born in 1970 in Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Movement: Painter, Figurative, Young British Artist


Why I love Saville: It was 1997 and I had just started university. The famous exhibition: Sensation: Young British Artists From The Saatchi Collection, was at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and I went along to see what all the fuss was about. Now, I've seen my fair share of exhibitions, and this is one of the few that I've never forgotten. Jenny Saville's huge paintings of big, fleshy women were like nothing I'd ever seen before, and I loved them. They reminded me of Lucian Freud's paintings, but on a scale that was unimaginable. Saville's work is quite different from the other artists mentioned in this list, but like my taste in books and music, I have a varied and eclectic taste! 

Nan Golding

photo by Nan Goldin of a man sitting on a bed smoking a woman lying in the bed looking at him
Nan Goldin | The Ballad Of Sexual Dependency

“I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough.

In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost”.

About: Nan Goldin was born on 12th September 1953 in Washington D.C., United States.


Movement: Photography


Why I love Goldin: It was 2002 and I visited the Whitechapel Gallery in London to see the Nan Goldin: Devil's Playground exhibition. The photos, laid out like diary entries, showed intimate scenes of Goldin's friends and lovers. Set in New York during the 80s, many of the people featured in the photos had died from AIDS during the epidemic that swept through the gay community during that time. Like stills from films, Goldin's photos feel cinematographic and improvised at the same time - I'd never seen anything like them and they moved me to tears.

Francis Bacon

photo of a triptych by Francis Bacon called Three Studies Of Lucien Freud
Francis Bacon | Three Studies Of Lucien Freud

"I should have been, I don’t know, a con-man, a robber or a prostitute.

But it was vanity that made me choose painting, vanity and chance".

About: Francis Bacon was born on 28th October 1909 in Dublin, Ireland.


Movement: Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism


Why I love Bacon: I really don't remember when or how I discovered Francis Bacon, I just know that what I love most about his paintings are not necessarily the figures in them, but the strange boxes and lines he tends to put the figures inside. I also love his triptychs, and working in threes. His paintings are quite overbearing and frightening in real life, because they are so big and really command the spaces they're shown in. The blurred, dreamlike, sometimes nightmarish quality that many of his paintings have really make them difficult to look away from.

Antony Gormley

Anthony Gormley, Body Politic, White Cube Bermondsey, London
Antony Gormley, Body Politic, White Cube Bermondsey





"Art has to change things, and if it was immediately acceptable it would not be doing the job". 

About: Antony Gormley was born on 30th August 1950 in London, United Kingdom.


Movement: Sculpture, Installation Art


Why I love Gormley: The most well known public sculptor in the UK today, Gormley's Angel of the North is a national treasure. Back in 2007, while I still living in London, Gormley had a large-scale public exhibition called Event Horizon, where 31 life-size, anatomically correct male bodies were placed on top of prominent buildings on London's South Bank. I remember riding the bus over Waterloo bridge and seeing these figures on top of the Hayward Gallery and National Theatre. I loved them and wish they were still there.

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