This January, Artsy is launching a series of three features to spotlight the trends we’re watching in 2021. Using our internal data, each of these features reflects a theme we saw emerge during the end of 2020 that we expect to take hold across the contemporary art world in the year ahead. This week, we share the third installment, “Colored Pencil Revival
One of the less obvious effects of COVID-19 has been the disruption
of many artists’ typical practices. With social distancing measures in place, many have been unable to safely access studio buildings or communal workspaces. Some artists have even found themselves stranded in foreign countries due to travel restrictions. In order to stay creative
, many artists have been making due with what they have on hand. The ever-versatile, accessible, and easily transportable colored pencil, it seems, has become a go-to medium.
While colored wax crayons have been around since as early as 500 B.C.E., colored pencils as we know them weren’t invented until the 19th century, when they were used for the utilitarian purposes of marking and checking written copy. Decades later, the material was adopted for artistic use, with companies like Faber-Castell producing artist-grade 60-color sets. Though it’s a fairly traditional medium, the colored pencil has remained squarely within the arsenal of many artists working today due to its vast graphic possibilities and practicality.
The 10 contemporary artists featured here are creating works that are reviving the medium of colored pencil.