It's our life mission at Creative Boom to bring you the best new art and design work and explain some of the thinking behind it. But what are you, the audience, interested in the most? On one level, that question's easy to answer because our website analytics can tell us exactly which articles had the most traffic.
So as part of The Review, our annual look back over the last 12 months, we're going to do just that. Having gone back over our stats, we've gathered together 10 of the most-read articles in 2021 on art and design. Among our eight million visitors this year, this is the work that really got everyone's attention.
If you missed one or two of these articles the first time around, here's your chance to catch up. And even if you read them before, it's an interesting exercise to look at this work again, with fresh eyes. Does it still excite you a second time around? Maybe, with the benefit of hindsight, you'll see something in it you didn't notice before.
1. Hyperrealistic paintings by Kate Waters look like photographs of modern city life
Kate Waters' playful take on hyperrealism is like nothing we've seen before. Is it a photo? Is it a painting? Or is it something altogether different from the two? However you perceive her work, these imagined scenes plucked from our everyday lives are utterly entrancing.
2. Paintings by Ariel Dannielle offer an alternative perspective on black womanhood
When marginalised voices get a chance to tell their story, anger or sadness can be a justified theme. But African-American artist Ariel Dannielle's exuberant paintings instead focus on joy and turn it into an act of resistance towards racism. A visual journal of her everyday experiences, these pieces are staggeringly evocative and truly original.
3. Bob Dylan's lockdown paintings on show to mark his 80th birthday
To mark Bob Dylan's 80th birthday, London gallery Halcyon showcased many of the great man's paintings this year, including a selection of never-seen-before figurative works. Whatever you think of his music, this art is well worth checking out.
4. Why L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped is the most important artistic statement of the 2020s
When French artist Christo wrapped the L'Arc de Triomphe in fabric, we called it the most important artistic statement of the 2020s, a statement we stand by today. Read our article to follow our reasoning, and decide whether or not you agree.
5. Hundreds of life-size seagull sculptures by Patrick Murphy take over a French city hall
Anyone looking up at City Hall in Le Havre this September might have mistaken an art installation for the real thing. We explore why British artist and designer Patrick Murphy created 200 life-size sculptures and lined them up along the rooftops of the famed Normandy building.
The pandemic has led many of us to ponder the meaning of life, and if you're among them, you should read this. Jarvis Brookfield's psychedelic, acid-trip artworks probe what it means to be human, and this exclusive interview with the artist is full of fascinating insights.
7. Colourful new artworks by Dave Towers take a closer look at the pandemic experience
Dave Towers creates eye-catching, hand-painted typographic works that reflect our times in more ways than one. Titled Free, his latest series is playful, ironic and in some cases full of humour, as the artist explores his own lockdown experience.
8. Morag Myerscough's 'endless ribbon' brings light and colour to Coventry's high street
This summer saw a new public artwork by Morag Myerscough transform Coventry's main shopping street, with its bold simplicity of light and colour. In our exclusive interview, the artist explains the thinking behind the piece and discusses how a community is at the heart of every project she embarks on.
9. Retro-inspired digital collages by Joe Simpson that imagine a more cheerful future
Let's face it, 2021 has been a pretty depressing year. But there's been plenty of light in the darkness, and for upbeat positivity, you can't beat Joe Simpson's digital collages. Giving a fresh new twist to retro pulp sci-fi, they imagine a more cheerful future, and we can all raise a glass to that.
10 . Arlo Parks on her new album, the significance of its artwork and the vulnerability of writing
Mercury Prize-winner musician, songwriter, and poet Arlo Parks is one of the planet's biggest creative forces right now. Here she chats to us exclusively about her life during the pandemic, the vulnerability of her songwriting, and the significance of her album artwork.