The past two years have seen major upheavals, and the art market is no exception. From virtual art galleries to increased demand for creative workshops and a stronger environmental focus, here are our predictions for the art market in 2022.
Words and Photography by Urth HQ
While everyone is tired of the word ‘unprecedented’, the past couple of years through the pandemic has been a major disruptor across all industries, leading to a revival and transformation in the way we see and interact with the world.
In the art industry, that transformation has launched crypto art and virtual art gallery concepts into the pop culture stratosphere. It’s everywhere you look, and with the world watching closely, there are many changes that will continue to shake things up throughout 2022.
The year of the NFT & Crypto-art revolution
In 2021, NFT was the Collins Dictionary’s word of the year, an NFT artwork was displayed in New York’s Times Square and the entire market hit the $40 billion mark, spending almost as much on digital art as traditional art.
In essence, we were witness to the start of an artistic revolution in 2021 when NFT art became well known. But even since then, crypto-art has opened the door for more creative possibilities — what started as memes and gifs has evolved to fine art photography and beyond.
While sceptics certainly remain, experts suggest that the future looks bright.
John Crain, the co-founder of the digital art platform SuperRare, said in an interview that he believes the number of people interested in digital art is likely already much larger than most people think.
“In the next 5 years, we are going to see millions of people get involved in digital art. The space has become more accessible on the internet but still has maintained its scarcity value.”
Virtual art galleries
Attendance to and interest in traditional art galleries has been dropping for years. In 2016, Artspace Magazine spoke to a number of experts in the industry, asking about the drastic drop in traditional galleries.
Amongst many mixed responses, Doug Woodham, the former President of Christie’s Americas, had this to say:
“To attract buyers, galleries must innovate in how they communicate and engage with prospects… Galleries that provide a robust digital experience—complemented by exciting in-gallery events and shows—will likely be the long-term winners.”
That was several years before a worldwide pandemic acted as a volatile catalyst that propelled many industries into the online space.
Today, virtual art galleries are more than just online showings of various pieces of art. They are increasingly interactive and dynamic, using technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). They are convenient, always at hand, and available for a much wider audience than the time and geographically constrained gallery visitors of the past.
From art students to collectors, museums to festivals, virtual art galleries will open the doors to the world of art and creation without the need to fly across the world or be at the right place at the right time.
Art as an experience
This merging of art and the digital world has helped to further drive art as an experience. Rather than merely looking at a picture on a wall, immersive art allows viewers to truly connect with it.
This concept has driven the immensely popular Van Gogh Alive immersive art exhibit.
This multi-sensory experience allows visitors to step into some of Van Gogh’s most beloved pieces, bringing them back to life in new and exciting ways. The exhibit has travelled through 75 cities and has had more than 8.5 million visitors — so far.
Throughout 2022, people will be able to enjoy and discover innovative, immersive projects and public installations that continue to push the way we experience and interact with art.
Consumer demand for art workshops
One silver lining of the pandemic has been the drastic uptick in people learning new hobbies and rediscovering old ones at home.
From baking to photography, people stuck at home got stuck into all sorts of creative projects, but one of the most popular has been art workshops for everything from painting, drawing and clay sculpting to flower arranging.
In 2022, expect the demand for these kinds of workshops to continue to flourish. While many are in person, recent booms in distance learning have opened this world up to online courses.
For artists, this presents a wonderful opportunity to share your gifts with the world and learn new techniques.
Local over global art
2020 was the worst year in history for tourism, with international arrivals decreasing by 73%. The upswing was that more people spent time exploring their own backyards, and subsequently, discovering their love of local art.
In many cases, as people spent more time in their own regions discovering local galleries, experiences and culture, they found a new appreciation for all things local.
As such, consumers now have a greater sense of regional identity and culture. This will likely drive a bottom-up demand for more regional work, both in curated collections and from individual artists.
The “Black Renaissance”
Amidst the mayhem of the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement exploded onto the global psyche following a number of shocking and confronting videos and events in the US.
The backlash was deservedly massive, causing a major shift in the understanding and acknowledgement of the everyday difficulties and prejudices faced by those of colour in all aspects of their lives.
Enter, the “Black Renaissance”.
In an overdue surge of interest and acclaim, consumers switched their attention to black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) artists. Many galleries and museums rose to the occasion and welcomed the push for diversity in the art space, with many making commitments to do better.
In August 2020, one of the world’s most famous museums, the New York Guggenheim Museum, released a 13-page action plan to drive diversity, equity, access, and inclusion following complaints from the curatorial staff. This has led to anti-racism training for all staff, a paid internship programme, and the appointment of Naomi Beckwith as deputy director and senior curator.
Similar changes have been seen across the board in museums and galleries throughout the US in particular. As a result, the art market is set to become more diverse, more inclusive, and far, far more creative and inspiring.
Appreciation for nature and sustainability
In the face of challenging lockdowns and restrictions, many turned to the outdoors for exercise, stress relief and fresh air after much more time spent at home.
In May 2020 in the UK, 36% of respondents to Natural England’s People and Nature Survey said they were spending more time outdoors than before the pandemic, and this figure rose to 46% in July of the same year.
People spending more time in nature went hand-in-hand with people seeking ways to be more sustainable to return to a world that wasn’t the ‘old normal’, but a new one that is kinder to the environment.
In a July 2020 survey, 86% of Americans said that sustainability will be equally or more important once the pandemic subsides, and almost half of those who had already taken steps to be more sustainable had been inspired to continue to do so.
With nature in our collective consciousness, art will likely become more in tune with nature, drawing more inspiration from the environment and helping people reconnect with it.
Artists will also be looking for ways to live and create more sustainably, and inspire others to protect the environment through their work.
Art as a tool for positive change
In all, 2022 is a year for progress and positivity in many ways, and art has a real role to play in that.
As well as inspiring and uplifting people when we need it the most, art can have a real impact.
NFTb is a marketplace that allows artists to sell NFTs on their platform and donate a portion of the proceeds to any charity. Other artists are creating pieces and minting them as NFTs with the simple intention of auctioning the pieces and donating the proceeds.
And here at Urth, we plant 10 trees with every NFT sold through our digital gallery, offsetting 38x more carbon than an NFT creates. View our curated collections on Urth Art to learn more.
We believe that art can be a force for good, and a tool for positive change. We can’t wait to see how artists use their work to spark progress in 2022.