By Jena Connolly | 06 November, 2015

In search of the UK’s next big thing. Art Retail Network’s Degree Show Picks

As those of you who tuned into Part 1 of our degree show review blog will already know, it was a busy three of months of planes, trains and automobiles for the Art Retail Network team visiting various  degree shows across the UK & Ireland. We were very lucky to see so many talented emerging artists and the work they have poured themselves into during their last year of arts college. We understand however not everyone is so lucky and summer plans and school holidays can often mean missing shows. So we decided to lend a helping hand and put together our version of the top 20 emerging artists exhibiting in the degree show season just past.

Picking up from Part 1’s previous ten artists, here’s the second batch of talented artists who made our top 20 for 2015!



11. Ned Armstrong, Edinburgh College of Art

Web: www.gorillasindameest.com

Working in subdued tones and pastels Ned Armstrong paints large scale works that evoke abstract maps, aerial views, or agricultural land patterns.


12. Tirion Haf Rees, Carmarthen School of Art

Web: www.tirionhafrees.com

Tirion Haf Rees displayed a series of paintings working in shades of purple, blue and black which evoke fairytales of children lost deep in the wilderness. This theme carries notions of security, nostalgia and innocence. (Image Below)

TirionHafRees (1)

13. Jessica Razbully, Sheffield Hallam University

Web: cargocollective.com/JessicaRazbully

Jessica Razbully paints abstract mixed media works with inconsequential marks that discreetly suggest the biological or geological on a macro or micro level.


14. Harriet Selka, Edinburgh College of Art

Web: www.harrietselka.com

Harriet Selka’s portraits question the conventions of the passport photo and identification, provoking questions around the regulation of identity and the history of portraiture. (Image Below)


 Illustration/Works on Paper:

15. Sara Sigurðardόttir, University of Cumbria, Carlisle

Sara Sigurðardόttir uses her minimalistic, figurative, black and white sketches to question societal concepts of the ideal being, playing with notions of sexuality and religious obedience.

"very lucky to see so many talented emerging artists and the work they have poured themselves into during their last year of arts college"

16. Demi Overton, Newcastle University


Demi Overton uses pinpricked holes in large sheets of white paper to create undulating random lines and abstract forms invoking both the biological and the geological. (Image Below)



17. Alissa Khan Whelan, Central St Martins

A mesmerizing, fragile yet powerful, multimedia work using the expressive power of hands to capture audiences.


 Multiple Disciplines:


18. Millie Duffey, University of West England, Bristol

Web: http://millieduffey-illus.wix.com/millieduffey

Using muted shades of grey, tan, and white Millie Duffey’s illustrations and sculptures play with the genres of Folk and Surreal, depicting the home, love and the journey of pregnancy.


19. Helen Young, Oxford Brookes University

Helen Young worked across film, fibre and ceramics to capture the sense of loss to a community that occurs with the demolition of historic constructions.


20. Kathryn Ashill, Glasgow School of Art

Web: www.kathrynashill.com

Kathryn Ashill’s performance, costume and props explores the theatricality of the everyday. Her mural and theatre flats depict vibrantly painted street dogs baring their teeth at the viewer.  


Make sure that you check out Part 1 of this blog for the first ten artists of our top 20 exhibiting under the disciplines of Performance, Photography, Sculpture, and Installation. Every year hundreds of degree shows outwith capital cities or  town centres are missed due to the time and expense of reaching them and the industry’s predilection for certain schools. Every year Art Retail Network attempts to push ourselves to the limit in reaching as many degree shows as time allows for, so you can access the best of the season from the ease of your laptop.

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