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30 Under 30: The Best Of Art And Style

Jan 6 2014, 7:26am CST | by

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30 Under 30: The Best Of Art And Style
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30 Under 30: The Best Of Art And Style

2014 30 under 30: Art & Style

When my colleague Hannah Elliott and I started researching Forbes’ third annual 30 Under 30 list of up-and-coming superstars in the category of Art & Style, we knew we had a lot of ground to cover, from fashion to furniture to fine art. We’re excited by all of our new finds.

To help us vet our picks and to bring our attention to new names, we worked with three discerning judges: Art advisor Jeffrey Deitch, the former director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and a longtime curator, dealer and advisor who previously founded Citibank’s art advisory and finance service, is on our panel for the third year. He’s joined by Peter Brant, a contemporary art collector who leads Brant Publications, publisher of Art in America, and by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, who has designed for Target and Liz Claiborne and recently launched a new Isaac Mizrahi New York collection.

In fashion, we came across a number of celebrity connections. One of the wildest designers, Becca McCharen, 29, makes sexy pieces using straps and braces that look more like scaffolding than clothes. Beyonce, Madonna, Nicki Minaj and Madonna have all worn them and unlike many young labels, McCharen’s is already profitable. Beyonce and Madonna also like the colorful jewelry collections made by Danielle Snyder, 28, as do Oprah, Rihanna and Natalie Portman. Another success story is Wes Gordon, 27, whose sparkly houndstooth jackets and floor-length skirts with bold patterns have attracted Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kerry Washington and Emily Blunt. Heidi Klum likes the shoes designed by Sarah Flint, 25, who is inspired by origami and by classic silhouettes of the 1940s.

Beyond celebrity connections, we found other entrepreneurial talents. Shauna Miller, 27, is a Los Angeles fashion blogger who writes Penny Chic, aimed at teens and tweens who want a high-fashion look but can’t afford anything more expensive than Forever 21. Miller has also designed her own line of $20 little black dresses for Walmart, which sold out online in one month. Handbag designer Aimee Kestenberg, 27, just launched her line in 2012 and revenues, which were $10 million last year, are set to double in 2013.

We also found some fashion designers who are breaking new ground, like Ahmed Abdelrahman, 29. His signature piece, the kandora, is a traditional, ankle-length garment for men that he’s fashioned for both sexes. Eric Singer, 27, of Shwood in Portland, Oregon, makes eyeglasses out of treated wood.

This year we came across a wealth of furniture designers. Striking to us: Four of them—Ian Collings, 28, of Fort Standard, Asher Dunn, 27, of Studio Dunn, the pair Crystal Ellis and Stephanie Beamer, both 29, of Egg Collective, and Aaron Poritz, 29, who handcrafts wooden pieces from recovered old growth wood he found in Nicaragua–are inspired by mid-20th-century modernism’s clean lines and beautiful craftsmanship. Bucking that trend are the Haas brothers, twins Nikolai and Simon, 29, whose opulent pieces include a couch covered in Icelandic reindeer fur with golden hoofs for feet and a black leather-belted “bondage” bench they made for Versace.

One of our biggest challenges is finding fine artists who have made a mark before they hit 30. This year we’ve picked out five. One surprise was Jemima Kirke, 28, best known as the actress who plays the sexually adventurous party girl Jessa on the HBO series “Girls.” In real life she paints serious, expressive oil portraits. We’ve also included a couple of relative unknowns, flagged by our judges, digital artist Travess Smalley, 27, and Torey Thornton, 23, who makes figurative, colorful, crude still lifes that mix painting and glued collage. From last year we’ve brought back Lucien Smith, 24, whose work is surprisingly diverse, from a lush sunset over a purple and gold seascape to layered oil paint on canvas with detritus like newspaper and aluminum pie plates. Then there is Oscar Murillo, 27, who met with stunning commercial success this year. One of his paintings fetched more than $400,000 at auction. He shows with major gallery David Zwirner. His work spans performance, installation, painting and sculpture and some of his pieces, which include graffiti-like scribbles, have prompted some to call him the next Basquiat.

Each year we pull out one person as our featured pick. This year we chose Carter Cleveland, who was on our list last year but whose business is thriving and, we think, is part of a shift to art viewing, art education and art buying online, as people realize they don’t have to be in the same room with a painting to appreciate or acquire it.

Cleveland, 27, is founder and CEO of Artsy, a company with an audacious ambition: to put all of the world’s art online. Cleveland is making headway. His website, which debuted in October of 2012, already displays 85,000 pieces of art from 400 foundation and museums (including the National Gallery of Art and the Getty) and 1,400 galleries. He got the idea for Artsy back in 2008 when he was a computer science student at Princeton and he was searching online for something to hang in his dorm room. Though his first impulse was simply to create a comprehensive repository of images, he quickly realized he could make a lot of money from commissions (60% of the art on the site is for sale). Investors including Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Google’s Eric Schmidt and mega-art dealer Larry Gagosian have pumped $14.5 million into Artsy. Cleveland says Jeff Bezos is his inspiration: “We’re going to become Amazon for the art world.”

We’ll see. In the meantime check out the slide show above for our complete list of picks.

Source: Forbes


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