By Samantha Wilson, artist and curator

The Global Pandemic has changed the art world a lot. Galleries, artists, and all of us had to adapt. Therefore multiple key changes happened creating new art trends. The biggest trend is definitely that virtual art spaces are taking more of a prevalent space in the art world. Besides NFT becoming a key trend we see online exhibitions, virtual installations, and artwork that looks more closely at the way we experience nature are becoming part of our everyday life.

These are five trends that we saw emerging in 2021 and will stay with us for a while:


While the world was in lockdown during 2020, museums and galleries had to make quick online alternatives to the way we viewed the artwork. It provided opportunities to artists who no longer had access to physical gallery spaces, making this an ongoing trend to stay. Major art museums have already started to make this a more prominent feature of the way they work. One cannot just pop into a museum at any time. Going online has granted them certain advantages like being able to display high-resolution art exhibitions. One example is the Matisse exhibition at the Centre Pompidou.


Another key and growing trend in 2021’s art world is the growing exploration of 3D Graphic design. An exciting art form that has encouraged artists from all over the world to try new digital techniques including re-invented online ‘cities’ with otherworldly, animated scenes. Inspiration for these worlds have been the almost apocalyptic views of our empty streets and cities the world over. Motion designer, ShaneF (@shanef3D), who took to New York street corners with joyful 3D art including floating hearts and translucent pipes that held racing packages.

Love Hearts in the streets of New York, by ShaneF


Nature has inspired artists since the dawn of time. After the Covid-19 pandemic it has taken on an even bigger meaning in history. Artists have turned to nature with fresh eyes, almost realizing its full potency once again. Under lockdown at home for weeks and months, naturally reinvigorated artists’ relationship with the outdoors unlike ever before. As we sought to reconnect with nature. New innovative pieces have been born. For example David Hockney’s $35 million landscape that was later sold at Phillips. This extends to increased awareness of the environment and climate issues.  Many artists have been moved to engage further with the climate crisis with their work. For example Olafur Eliasson, Shephard Fairey (OBEY), and Agnes Denes.


Nichols Canyon by David Hockney, Sold at Philips in 2020



African contemporary art has been on the rise for some years before 2021 but recently has begun to rise steadily within the international art market, with more collectors flocking to the movement from around the world. The flexibility of online exhibitions and sales that buyers had already become comfortable with, combined with affordable prices and high-quality pieces has strongly contributed to the rise and success of Contemporary African Artists and their work.

Barthélémy Toguo, Celebration of Love, 2014


The popularity of street art exists consistently all over the world, however, the pandemic has contributed to an increased street art activity directly inspired by our collective experience. It has been used to voice our communities’ messages of congratulations and encouragements to front-line workers, share troubles, sacrifices, losses, and triumphs in working through and overcoming this global crisis. Banksy made his artistic contribution with his work titled Game Changer in which a child is seen playing with a toy nurse in a superhero costume with superman and batman in a pile of rubbish in the background. LA-based artist Corie Mattie created a series of mural works titled Hope Dealer, that writes:‘Cancel Plans. Not Humanity’. 

Street Art by Corie Mattie in LA

Soon to be moving out of 2021

...we will have to wait and watch to see what’s next!

The post-pandemic times bring ever-shifting political tensions. So artists share a collective responsibility to respond to and agitate social activity in the hope of creating positive social impact wherever possible. While it is uncertain in all the ways the art world will continue to shape, it is clear that the virtual art world will continue to grow, possibly even edging its way in to share centre stage with more traditional creative practices and movements.

If you want to check more on the topic read the full article.