The Creative Download: Trends in Art

Looking back on 2023 and looking forward to the breakthrough Arts trends in 2024.

The Creative Download: Trends in Art

When I joined Kickstarter as the Head of Arts last April, I inherited a category encompassing various art forms – Visual Art, Dance, Photography, Theater, and Performance, amongst others. As a lover and patron of the arts, it's been a privilege to work with painters, sculptors, graphic designers, and other art creators who trust Kickstarter to bring their work to life.

Spending the past ten months working with a diverse array of emerging and established artists, I've gotten a good handle on what’s shaping our Arts category. 

Let’s dive into what trends I saw in the category in 2023 and what trends I think we’ll spot this year.

2023 By The Numbers

Last year, the highest-funded projects showcased stunning illustrations, captivating comic-style artwork, enchanting tarot cards, and sci-fi characters, which have historically held a strong presence on the platform. However, among these familiar themes, there were also unexpected entries. For instance, Pitata, a brand merging magic, and technology to create tools for performance art, made waves with two successfully funded projects, securing spots in the top ten. There’s so much range and diversity in the Arts category.

The Endless Appeal of Photography Books and Art Books

Photography books have become a popular choice for decor and a pathway for visual artists to reach a wider audience. As a result, we’re seeing more and more photography and art books on Kickstarter. Every day, we see new and exciting photo book projects created by talented creators hoping to make a lasting impression in the industry. Artists can monetize their creations by self-publishing books, making their work accessible to a broader audience. By expanding the reach of their art, they can extend beyond just who can come to their shows or exhibits to attract patrons from all corners of the world. Art books and photo books also offer a turnkey way for an artist to reward backers; instead of building rewards around an IRL experience, books are a tangible reward with, at times, low production costs.

See the Trend in Action: KYANOS - a photobook by Joe Howard || One of These Black Boys by Tariku Shiferaw

Residency Campaigns on the Rise 

In 2023, we saw more residency campaigns – projects seeking funding for residency programs that enable artists to live and work in new environments different from their studios or traditional workspaces. I love to see projects like this because they underscore the power of community – not only are they brought to life with support from community-driven funding, but they are also designed for the betterment of the community.

See the Trend in Action: Art and Ecology Residency, the second season of building by Draga Šušanj Studio || The Black Painters Academy

A Look Into 2024:

The past year has laid a foundation of creativity and resilience for art creators, setting the stage for innovative trends in the art world. Let's dive into what's on the horizon for 2024, exploring the emerging movements and ideas poised to redefine artistic expression. These ideas will inspire you and help you boost your next campaign idea here on Kickstarter.

Cultural Institutions Explore Crowdfunding.

Drawing on the macro trends shaping our world, we anticipate that more cultural institutions such as museums, non-profits, and organizations will explore crowdfunding. Why? Crowdfunding allows cultural institutions to break free from traditional funding constraints and explore innovative ideas and projects – from supporting new exhibitions to expanding their programming. Moreover, crowdfunding provides cultural institutions a platform for market validation and promotional efforts. A successful crowdfunding campaign secures funding, generates publicity, raises awareness about the institution's work, and strengthens connections with its audience and community. Over the years, we’ve had a series of projects from the Smithsonian Institution, which used Kickstarter to conserve and digitize Neil Armstrong’s space suit, bring to life an anthology of hip-hop and rap, conserve and display Dorothy’s slippers and the Scarecrow’s costume from The Wizard of Oz.

Political Art

Art has always served as a powerful conduit for political expression. As we navigate the complexities of a world in flux and with the 2024 U.S. presidential election looming, artists are poised to harness their creativity to illuminate the pressing issues of our time. From the global stage to local communities, art will be a catalyst for dialogue, reflection, and action, offering poignant insights into the political landscape and the world at large. We’ll be seeing a lot of intersection between art and politics this year – political billboards, voting-focused artwork, and art both supporting and opposing specific candidates.

Art Revitalizes the Fashion World

The fashion industry has always been known for its out-of-the-box approach and pushing the boundaries, which results in genuinely artistic and innovative works. Recently, we have seen a lot of fashion designers teaming up with contemporary artists to create unique and unforgettable collections. Big brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Gucci have all joined hands with artists to produce limited-edition collections that have become popular. With fashion designers also including elements of performance art into their runway shows, we know we’ll see a lot more intersection between art and fashion this year.

Closing Thoughts

The Arts projects of 2023 are a testament to the endless possibilities of artistic expression. I’m thrilled to continue supporting artists as they bring their visions to life. Let's celebrate, foment, embrace, and spread the transformative power of art and its endless possibilities for our world.

With tens of thousands of creative projects launched on Kickstarter every year, this platform is a thermometer for the trends bubbling up across the creative community. Kickstarter's Creative Download is an editorial series where our category experts share the trends they saw from the previous year and give us a peek at what they think is on the horizon.