The power of hindsight lends itself to many subjects, but one subject in which it really can stand out is in art and design. Most artists and designers develop their own unique style that they remain dedicated to throughout their entire careers but sometimes, even if they are extremely talented, their efforts go unnoticed. This is because that with so many people in the world all doing such a variety of things, it can be difficult to receive the recognition one may deserve. It can also be difficult to understand others’ perceptions of the world while you are still processing your own, and this is a large component of understanding art. Take for instance a painting by the Surrealists or a chair by a member of the Bauhaus school. At the time, people did not know what to make of these objects but now we understand their importance as part of the art historical canon and society’s history as a whole. This is the power of hindsight in art.
However, despite these difficulties, there are some people who are active in the art and design world who are making a name for themselves. They are artists, fashion designers, furniture designers, and one is even a television celebrity. Regardless of anything they have faced, they have stayed true to themselves and their art, and have gained recognition and praise in their medium of choice all before the age of 30.
Here are 10 of the top talents under the age of 30 in art and design.
10 Eric Singer, 27 | Eyewear Designer, Shwood
Eric Singer is an accomplished eyewear designer. His brand, called Shwood, is a collection of sunglasses with frames that are made from wood and kept as close to their natural state as possible. Singer finds that even though human beings can manipulate objects to make them unique, the most inimitable things are found in nature. As it turns out, many people agree, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom, all of which carry his sunglasses.
9 Danielle Snyder, 28 | Jewellery Designer, Dannijo
Dannijo is the jewellery line that Danielle Snyder operates with her 31 year-old sister, Jodie Snyder. Snyder has always had a passion for jewellery, taking her physician father’s medical tools and using them to fashion accessories. What makes Snyder even more notable is that her passion extends beyond jewellery and into helping people. Along with running an organisation that raises money for African start-ups, Snyder has women in Rwanda making the packaging for her products. Fans of her work include Beyonce and Madonna.
8 Colin P. Kelly, 29 | Industrial Designer
Colin Kelley is a distinctive individual on our list because he is an industrial designer, a job that requires a mix of creativity and strong aesthetic judgment while taking into account functionality and some aspects of engineering. His job means that he can be designing anything from cars to booster seats. One of his standout designs is a chair that can “grow” with your child. Because of these innovative ideas, he works with a variety of clients including PepsiCo and Bloomberg.
7 Aimee Kestenberg, 27 | Accessories Designer, Aimee Kesternberg
Originating from Australia, Aimee Kestenberg is an alumnus of Parsons The New School for Design. While a student she interned with fashion houses such as Isaac Mizrahi and Alexander McQueen, giving her insight into the world of haute couture and its many demands. Upon graduating, she was armed with both the technical skills and the industry know-how to launch her own namesake label of purses. She is carried by national and international retailers and her work has been featured in Vogue. Always pushing herself creatively, she is also expanding into other leather accessories, such as shoes and belts.
6 Jemima Kirke, 28 | Artist
You may already know Jemima Kirke as Jessa, the troubled free-spirit on the show Girls. What you may not realise is that the London-born actress received her BFA from RISD, specialising in painting. Her influences are Édouard Manet and Lucian Freud, influences that really do come through in her work. Her portraits are very expressionistic, resulting in subjects that both infatuate and unnerve the viewer. She has had solo shows in New York and San Francisco as well as a group show in London.
5 Lucien Smith, 24 | Artist
Another visual artist who makes our list is Lucien Smith, who like Eric Singer with his eyewear, receives some of his inspiration from nature. Not wanting to limit himself and always seeking a challenge, Smith is both a sculptor and a painter with many of his pieces being heavily abstracted. He is represented by Skarstedt, a gallery that represents Francis Bacon, Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Andy Warhol to name a few. Smith also took part in Jay-Z’s video Picasso Baby at the Pace Gallery. Needless to say, Smith is always in excellent company.
4 Simon Haas and Nikolai “Niki” Haas, 29 and 29 | Furniture Designers, Haas Brothers
These twins are certainly the epitome of the cliché “dynamic duo”. With only a little formal training done by one of the twins at RISD and some time spent playing music together in LA, the Haas Brothers line has certainly made its mark on furniture design. Their work is so show-stopping that it was noticed by Versace, the veritable incarnation of the phrase “nothing succeeds like excess”. Pieces in the Haas Brothers Versace Home Collection include a black leather, gold-studded armchair and a bench that appears to be in bondage with belts.
3 Becca McCharen, 29 | Fashion Designer, Chromat
It will come as no surprise that Becca McCharen, the creative force behind the fashion label Chromat, was once a student of architecture and urban design. Her pieces are not simply sewn, but constructed like complex scaffolding or like the framing of a building. Because of this eye-catching construction, her garments are ideal for performers like Beyonce , who wore one of McCharen’s designs during her unforgettable 2013 Superbowl performance and during her Mrs. Carter world tour. Other celebrities who have worn her designs include Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian. If you’re interested in getting your hands on your very own Chromat piece, Barneys New York and Coco de Mer in London are among two retailers that carry it.
2 Oscar Murillo, 27 | Artist
Oscar Murillo has attended such prestigious art schools as the Royal College of Art in London, where he earned his MFA, but at one point worked as a cleaner. Now he is a painter who is represented by David Zwirner in New York, a gallery whose roster of artists includes Jeff Koons. It therefore comes as no surprise that his works have brought in as much as $400,000 at auction, an astounding feat for such a young artist. To put things in perspective, Damien Hirst was an artist who achieved success very young, and one of his first paintings sold for £50,000 at the age of 26.
1 Erin Kleinberg, 28 | Fashion Designer, Erin Kleinberg
If there is anyone who truly knows fashion, it’s Erin Kleinberg. One of her first fashion industry experiences was at W Magazine and following that she was responsible for the wildly popular website The Coveteur, a beautifully curated collection of photographs featuring the closets of fashion cognoscenti worldwide. However, prior to this, Erin Kleinberg was a successful designer with her garments being sold at stores like Barneys New York and Holt Renfrew. Celebrities like Karlie Kloss and Blake Lively have worn her clothes since they are known for being both eco-friendly and luxurious. Just like Erin herself, the Erin Kleinberg label is easygoing and confident, not too caught up in the trends but effortlessly chic. Now stars and unknowns alike can rejoice in the knowledge that the Erin Kleinberg label is back and better than ever.