Artists We’re Eyeing for 2022

By: Emory Rakestraw 

Trends come and go, but art is one of those things that (luckily) stays neutral amid colors of the year and ever-changing aesthetics. Sure, there has been Impressionism, Surrealism, Cubism…I can go on. Yet, what makes art so timeless is that no matter the hype style, artists stay inherently true to who they are and how they create.  

The 2022 forecast is already showing signs of light and airy interiors, 1970's inspiration, curved furnishings and (I know…) patterned window treatments. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about staying ‘on trend’ when it comes to our 2022 artists. From punch needle rugs to intuitive curves; these five fit any style that shall come and go.

Joseph Conrad-Ferm 


I’m the type of person who prefers organized chaos and I get the vibe Joseph Conrad-Ferm is no different. Moving to Cape Cod in 2021 inspired his custom-made series for Den XYZ featuring neon bursts of color and splashes of chaotic beauty that still land in Rorschach familiarity.

“My intention with this series was to capture 'The ebb and flow' of my life here. Sifting through the flotsam and jetsam and sourcing only the most vibrant and relevant imagery, I've captured the privilege of living so close to the ocean,” says Joseph in his artist statement. “This body of work is directly inspired by the flora and fauna, found on this peninsula. These paintings hold my childhood summers, on the Cape and islands.”

Childlike indeed…but if the child was very skilled at color theory and possessed a precocious memory. My personal favorite, F5, lets the viewer impart their own interpretation. In my mind, I see a person taking off mid-flight, embracing the wind on their cheek and an inherent freedom that diminishes with age. There’s a rainbow, a sunset, a wayward bush and even below – some imminent darkness. Yet, that’s the beauty in chaos, right?


“Engaging all of my senses, these pictures are playful, they're free, and they're decidedly deliberate. There is a diversity in the imagery that is bound by a common thread. My hope is that these individual works will alloy with a carefully curated collection, in creating a completely unique and unforgettable experience.”

Kostas Papakostas 


Have you ever looked at a piece of art and thought – that’s sexy? If you haven’t, I invite you to drool over Kosta Papakosta’s, Let Unfold.


Now that we’ve collected ourselves, Kostas seeks to communicate something visceral, raw and deeply emotional on the canvas. While many artists will tell you they never use black, Kostas is the opposite. He enjoys the intimacy in unplanned creation, the allowance a horizontal canvas lends to one’s own psyche and the release of such. 

“My process is visceral. I move continuously around the painting creating layers with intuitive gestures until the painting breaks free from my control and starts to develop its own destiny. I never go back to make changes. Each piece is a memory of an intuitive choreography that extends beyond me,” says Kostas in his artist statement.

Free it is. The emotional outpour and spontaneous nature communicates beautifully in his work, while enticing the viewer to do the same.

Denise Fiedler 


Personally, I love when someone takes a well-known craft and makes it entirely their own. Enter: Denise Fiedler and her gallery-worthy collage creations. 

Meshing a graphic designer’s eye with a splash of color theory and dutiful skill (I can barely cut wrapping paper) her collage world bursts to life with textured designs that range from adorable pets to garden scenery.

With a creative background, Denise spent 18 years designing and manufacturing textile home and fashion accessories. After working on a collage for a dress commission, she found herself drawn to the process and Paste was born.


Today, her art takes a wondrous yet approachable stance and includes greeting cards, stationary, pet portraits, floral themes, abstracts and custom pieces for interior designers. Her style meshes elements of pop art with illustrative touches that deliver emotion from her subjects. There’s an almost fairytale like approach to her creations and the worlds they might land in. 

Elizabeth Schafer

Working with yarn and sculpture, Elizabeth embraces color and allows bright hues to mesh both on the canvas and viewed side-by-side as a cohesive whole. Her initial process includes chicken wire and plaster to build the base of the structure, it is then wrapped in yarn to bring the piece to life. In her artist statement she notes, 


“Colors evoke feelings and emotions in people when they see them. I want to give my audience a stimulating experience through the colors I employ, which are almost fluorescent. In line with inspiring a positive reaction, I am also using these colors to free the female form from negative connotations.”


In her Den XYZ exclusive series, The Butterflies, Elizabeth looked to inspiring women in history and depicted the Mirabal sisters in stunning shades that echo their struggle and bravery. Minerva, Patria and Maria Teresa Mirabal were political activist during the reign of Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo. Pioneers in the resistance, the three formed the 14th of June movement. Unfortunately, they were killed in 1960, just one year prior to the toppling of Trujillo. Yet, their activism played an integral part in abroad alliances and support.


For Elizabeth, her inspirational and intrinsically female pieces will land on a subjectivity of empowerment and change for those viewing and spending time with the work.

Lia Eisenstadt 


Out of this world is one way to describe Lia Eisenstadt’s work. Whimsical subjects range from re-imagined animals to intimate moments depicted in style. Her punch needle rug creations result in textured, three dimensional wall art that is truly one of a kind.

A lifelong infatuation with neon light has led to vivid works that take their own shape, while still communicating emotional processes and what innate hues those might evoke. On the other end of the spectrum, our dependence on technology takes a creative turn where some neon-lit works resemble a glowing phone screen (that we all spend too long staring at).


For 2022, I’m particularly loving her punch needle rugs and the texture they add to any space.


By Emory Rakestraw: Emory is a freelance writer based in coastal North Carolina. She grew up watching her mom refurbish antique furniture and an interest in interiors has grown into artwork, including a monthly art column for a regional magazine. A southerner at heart, she appreciates a good tablescape and the art that is hosting. Emory serves as the Editor in Chief of DenXYZ.