5 of the Most Exciting Artists to See at START Art Fair 2020

With START launching at London’s Saatchi Gallery this week in a bid to help revitalise the art world, we pick out five of the most exciting artists on show this year…

Lead image: Naomi Wallens: The Hot Ass Collection

The seventh edition of START, one of the art world’s most anticipated collections of must-see 21st century contemporary art, is going ahead as planned at London’s iconic Saatchi Gallery this year.

One of the few art fairs to take place in the capital this autumn, START 2020 offers art lovers the chance to enjoy the benefits of cultural immersion in person in a Covid-secure environment.

Kicking off with VIP Private Views on 21 and 22 October, before opening to the public from 23 to 25 October, START 2020 will be hosted live at Saatchi Gallery, online via STARTnet – the art fair’s new social commerce art platform – and on a variety of social media platforms.

‘We must adapt and innovate, we must come together united for the greater good of all our fellow artists and galleries’

START founders David and Serenella Ciclitira recognise the difficulties faced by the art world during these tumultuous times, and as such as keen to press ahead with the event. But in an effort to reach as many people as possible – many who may not yet be ready to return to galleries – the Ciclitiras are aiming to make START a leader in the ‘phygital’ world, which marries both the online and offline environments.

‘Serenella and I are committed to playing our part in supporting artists and galleries and in getting the art-world as a whole back open for business,’ said David.

‘2020 has been a challenging year globally. It is a time when we must adapt and innovate, we must come together united for the greater good of all our fellow artists and galleries.

‘Much of the work presented at the fair this year will have been made during lockdown, we are looking forward to seeing these new works and to purchasing pieces to add to our personal collection.

‘As Picasso said after WWII, “I didn’t paint the war but the war is most certainly in my paintings”.’


Founded in 2014 to spotlight emerging galleries and lesser-known artists, START is a great place for collectors and first-time buyers alike to discover tomorrow’s stars. But with 70 exhibitors from all over the world, where do you start?

Here, we highlight five of the best artists to look out for at START 2020…


Naomi Wallens is a British-born street artist creating disruptive, unorthodox products of contemporary Object D’Art with a female empowerment theme running throughout her work. Wallen’s thought-provoking collection, The Social Podium, exhibited at START 2020, will reveal her riotous resistance to female conformity. Each piece pays homage to her inner rebel while reflecting her most recent studies on ‘Society Conformity’. Wallen directly makes use of the female form using her own body in many of her pieces including photography and sculptures to illustrate the stories she sets to tell.

Naomi Wallens will be showing at START 2020 in London

Naomi Wallens creates disruptive, unorthodox products of contemporary Object D’Art (pictured: The Hot Ass Collection)


Another landmark START project this year is David Bowie 20/20 Vision, a collection of photographs by Tony McGee, award-winning British photographer and friend of Bowie. This unique collection of never-before-seen images were hand selected ‘on set’ by Bowie himself as a reflection of his own inner image, and are both as powerful as they are poignant, beautifully capturing the essence of the shape-shifting, beguiling, enigmatic superstar.


lluminati Neon creates beautiful, desirable art from his Shepherds Bush studios. Rooted in the birthplace of Punk, Illuminati Neon draws on the cultural vibes of west London to create artwork that enlightens the whole world. Using vintage flags and distressed wood, the neon flickers gently to give the most wonderful imagery. Punk messages underwrite the neon to create statements that make you smile, laugh and think.

Artists to see at START 2020: Illuminati Neon is a London based contemporary artist

lluminati Neon creates beautiful, desirable art from his Shepherds Bush studios (pictured: Rainbow Queen)


Underlining the significance of START for both emerging and established artists, this year’s edition sees the return of several exhibitors including South African painter Jennifer Morrison, who will showcase her large vibrant pieces. An abstract painter primarily concerned with the private and ineffable, Morrison is interested in the literalness of painting, of comprehending a work in a literal and experiential sense. For her, the visual impact and experience are paramount, and painting is an extension of her interior world.

The best artists to see at START 2020: Jennifer Morrison

Jennifer Morrison creates large, vibrant pieces primarily concerned with the private and ineffable (pictured: Longing, 2020)


Also returning is BAFTA’s artist in residence, Lincoln Townley, whose latest body of work, Universe, comprising 22 paintings, was inspired by the billionaire space projects led by controversial businessman Elon Musk, and his dream of colonising Mars. Having sold recently for £20 million, it signifies a major boost for the global art market.

START 2020 takes place at Saatchi Gallery from 23-25 October. See startnet.com