With the festive period at an end and much of the world resuming regional states of lockdown, we found ourselves delving into our galleries this New Year in search of something uplifting.
Thankfully, and with many incredible artists and works to hand, finding inspiration proved an easy task.
Each fun, unique and equally tongue-in-cheek, we’ve highlighted five specific pieces of art that not only give voice to some shared sentiments at this present moment, but also welcome the New Year with humour and are set to keep you motivated as we embark on 2021.
Mel Bochner, Go Away, 2016
Known for his text-based art, Mel Bochner is famed for his thesaurus paintings rendered in a kaleidoscopic palette. Bochner’s colourful words create a rich visual experience that is in perfect balance with the mordantly funny content of the text. His 2016 monoprint, Go Away, is a perfect example of Bochner’s signature style and for those lacking motivation, this artwork seems to be acutely relatable. Sometimes the key to starting the New Year right is telling negativity to ‘get lost!’
Harland Miller, Tonight We Make History, 2018
Harland Miller is renowned for his large-scale reimagining’s of vintage Penguin Book covers. Taking classic phrases and adding a subversive twist, Miller’s art is both witty and ingenious. In Tonight We Make History, the bold title phrase is swiftly followed by the text, ‘p.s (I can’t be there)’, a caveat that seems fitting in the current climate. Miller’s work also reminds us that sometimes it is okay to take a break and leave the history-making to someone else.
David Shrigley, I Endorse Everything, 2018
One can always depend upon the humorous artwork of David Shrigley to enliven spirits. The 52 year old British artist is known for his charming cartoons and caustic wit. Shrigley reportedly notes that ‘the best kind of humour is the kind of humour where you don’t quite understand what you’re laughing at ’ and that is precisely what Shrigley’s artwork evokes. Wacky, witty and downright weird, Shrigley’s art will make you laugh out loud.
Keith Haring, Andy Mouse III, 1986
Honouring the great American icons Andy Warhol and Mickey Mouse, Haring’s vibrant print can be seen as a playful homage to his greatest influences. The large screenprint depicts two of Haring’s iconic figures lifting up a dollar bill emblazoned with Andy Mouse, a hybrid Mickey Mouse and Andy Warhol cartoon character. With electric blues and vivid greens, the dynamic bold lines and bright block colours make this print vivacious enough to pull anyone out of their New Year's rut.
Invader, ALIAS LDN-01, 1999
Invader is a French street artist, best known for his ceramic tile mosaics. Taking inspiration from 1970s and 1980s video game graphics, Invader’s pixelated artworks evoke nostalgia. Many of Invader’s creatures are modelled on the distinctive characters from the Space Invaders arcade game, which rose to immediate commercial success in the late 70s. The alien creatures featured in the game, once electronic and restricted to the confines of a screen, have come to life on city walls around the globe thanks to Invader. With a tentacular reach, Invader’s art brings universal joy and provides the perfect positivity boost to start the New Year.