For those of us born in the 1990s and late 80s, the early 00’s feel like a simpler, happier time. Pre- working a 9 to 5, drowning in ever-growing student debt, and needing to do your own laundry, being a child in the first years of the 21st Century were a sublime mixture of cartoons, juice boxes, and miniature plastic toys that came with McDonalds meals.
The adult world is – let’s face it – pretty terrible. So we’re looking for a blast from the past, and engrossing ourselves in artworks that take us back to that simpler time around the Millennium. Here are 10 of our favourite artworks by artists who incorporate the imagery of the 90s and 00s in their practice:
Sebastian Chaumeton (@seb_chaumeton)
Lucky Pink Panther – Seb Chaumeton, 2022
Seb Chaumeton creates incredible worlds of internet references and turn-of-the-century icons which are Surreal and hilarious. We’re particularly obsessed with his series of work that transforms Old School favourites like Thomas the Tank Engine, Brum, and Henry the Hoover into Transformers.
Zachary Ochoa (@evilgirl2005)
DREAM 2002 – Zachary Ochoa, 2021
American artist Zachary Ochoa paints characters that hearken back to the cartoon heroes of our childhoods. We love the muscular way that Ochoa depicts feminine heroes, in an exploration of her own transgender identity.
Kelly-Anne Davitt (@kelly_davitt)
Kermit Pez – Kelly-Anne Davitt, 2020
Artist and curator Kelly-Anne Davitt creates hyper-real paintings of toys, sweets, and advertisements which are guaranteed to take you on a walk down Memory Lane. Looking through her Instagram feed has made us particularly miss our Care Bears.
Takeshi Matsugami (@takeshi_matsugami)
CDS – Takeshi Matsugami, 2020
Japanese artist Takeshi Matsugami paints sumptuously tactile images of lone objects, glove puppets, and cultural characters that are wonderfully naive. Whatever happened to our CD player?
John Rogers (@ghoulorama)
Return to Return to Cookie Mountain – John Rogers, 2021
Half humorous, half terrifying, American artist John Roger’s paintings are uneasy representations of 90s, 00s, and meme culture. While we’re not sure whether this makes us nostalgic in a good way, there’s no doubt that these artworks make a big impact.
Jesse Morsberger (@jessemorsberger)
Bro Connect – Jesse Morsberger, 2021
Featuring the iconic video game heroes of our childhoods (but often as we’ve never seen them before and pretty often at least partially naked), Jesse Morsberger’s work has us rooting around in our attics trying to dig out our GameBoys. We love how thickly Morsberger applies his materials, adding texture to traditionally 2D figures.
Tim Gatenby (@therealtimgatenby)
McGizmo – Tim Gatenby, 2020
Tim Gatenby paints playful, nostalgia-filled artworks with the hazy beauty of a Classical masterpiece. The twists he places in his compositions are often uneasy-making, but always entertaining. His depictions of crisps have really got us craving Space Raiders.
Claudia Bitrán (@claudiabitran)
Britney Portraits – Claudia Bitrán, 2021
We are completely obsessed with Claudia Bitrán’s body of work focused on the Pop Princess. The Chilean-American artist has a deep interest in imagery that has gone viral, and the women who often find themselves in the whirlwind of media frenzies.
Bianca Fields (@beeyonkerz)
Rejected Rep – Bianca Fields, 2021
Ohioan artist Bianca Fields explores the grotesque and visceral potentials of our childhood cartoon heroes. From Sesame Street’s The Count to The Muppets’ Kermit The Frog, Fields imagines new realities for these supposedly “safe” characters which are thick with humour and edginess.
Gretchen Andrew (@gretchenandrew)
Contemporary Art Auction Record (news) – Gretchen Andrew, 2021
American artist (and former cover-girl for The Art Gorgeous) Gretchen Andrew creates astoundingly clever multimedia artworks which harness the internet, search engines, and code to win them top-spot in image rankings for all sorts of highly-searched topics, from the next American president to record-breaking auction prices. Her work often contains kitsch stickers, fake flowers, magazine cut outs, and plastic objects which remind us so much of our childhood arts and crafts supply boxes.
Author: Verity Babbs