EMPTY KINGDOM TOP 100 Artists of 2012

art blog - Lauren Treece - empty kingdom [Photo by: Lauren Treece]

The beginning is, in fact, finally here. After shifting through exactly 1470 posts for the entire 2012 calendar year, a dozen pots of coffee made, several holes punched in the drywall during heated deliberations, and several concussions suffered from office supplies hurled at each others’ heads, we proudly present the third annual EMPTY KINGDOM TOP 100 Artists of 2012! Following suit of the EK TOP 100 of 2011 and 2010, this year’s TOP 100 was carefully complied by three of our eternally enslaved authors, Bunnyman (BM), okmarzo (OK), and Konahrtist (KA), and let us make the declaration that this list does not in any way reflect a “real” sampling of the “best” work on this site. Period. Think of this list as a kind of “mix tape” that you would make for your significant other; a sort of collaborative compilation of some of the art that we enjoyed throughout the year. Since there actually is no truly objective way to judge such a thing (especially with the caliber of artists that we feature daily), we used a highly sophisticated formula in considering all of the artists’ work that would make Einstein blush (we think).

Our formula for judging the work was:
Personal Taste (of the author) + Technical Skill + Creativity + Subject Matter / Message + Body of Work = Selection, with the weight of each depending on the artist and category.

Because our editorial control is so strict when it comes to selecting the artists to feature on EK, it means that we undoubtedly and unabashedly love the shit out any artist and their work if they make it on our site. With that said, there were so many artists that we personally fought for to make the list, but after all the hair pulling and nail scratching and eye gouging and countless “Yo Momma” jokes, we couldn’t place any artist without unanimous consent, and to those who didn’t make the last round of cuts, our hearts go out to you.

Feel free to debate, argue, and malign the list if you want. If you really hate it, we ask that you go through 1470 posts from all of 2012 and pick your favorite 100 artists, and you’ll see why it took us an entire month to prepare such a list for such a deserving group of fans as yourselves.

And so like in years prior, we dedicate the 100th spot for you. Yes, you. You, the EK faithfuls, who made it possible for EK to even exist. Without your support over the years, none of this would have been possible, so for that, we’re eternally grateful and can not thank all of you enough. EK loves you.

We also wanted to take a short moment to recognize the other authors who put blood, sweat, and tears into their posts tirelessly sharing new artists, revisiting past favorites, bringing you exclusive interviews, and presenting gallery spotlights from across this tiny planet as they have throughout the year. We could NOT have provided nearly half of the content to all you beautiful and dedicated EK fans with out (in order of appearance):

the blind architect
my dark apron
Slim Cognito
Sir. Berus
The Dreamer

Thank you EK FAM-BAMS!

And finally before we continue on to the actual TOP 100 of 2012, the three authors responsible for this list would like to share a few words before being sent back down into the basement to continue their eternal indentured servitude.

BM: Each year this job gets harder in a good way.

OK: This list tops any other art list, period.

KA: I miss cassette tapes. Your finger hovering over the record button on your cassette radio trying time the song you wanted to record without the DJ’s voice was the original “music download”.

(Originally posted January 31, 2013)

And now, the EMPTY KINGDOM TOP 100 Artists of 2013 in alphabetical order (by first name):

art blog - Adam Martinakis - empty kingdom

1. Adam Martinakis (EK Interview: August 2012, June 2012)


art blog - Adonna Khare- empty kingdom

2. Adonna Khare (October 2012)


art blog - Alex Gross - empty kingdom

3. Alex Gross (March 2012, November 2010)


art blog - Alexander Korzer-Robinson - empty kingdom

4. Alexander Korzer-Robinson (October 2012)

BM: Let’s just judge this book by it’s cover, shall we?


art blog - Alyssa Monks - empty kingdom

5. Alyssa Monks ★10 (May 2012, EK Interview: June 2011, March 2010)


art blog - Amanda Elizabeth Joseph - empty kingdom

6. Amanda Elizabeth Joseph ★11 (EK Interview: April 2012, July 2011) + LEVELED MAG interview coverage

KA: Scrumdiddlyumptious.


art blog - Ana Alvarez-Errecalde - empty kingdom

7. Ana Alvarez-Errecalde (June 2012)

KA: I wonder what the Decency Laws are for these jumpsuit/onesies because I want one. Or two. Or three. Perferably with no bush because that’s how I roll.


art blog - Andre Ermolaev - empty kingdom

8. Andre Ermolaev (November 2012)


art blog - Andrei Molodkin - empty kingdom

9. Andrei Molodkin (March 2012)


art blog - Andrew Thomas Huang - empty kingdom

10. Andrew Thomas Huang (March 2012)

OK: Real life Miyazaki.


art blog - Aneta Bartos - empty kingdom

11. Aneta Bartos (December 2012)

KA: Knock, Knock?
OK: Who’s there?
KA: Dewey!
OK: Dewey who?
KA: Dewey have to use a condom?
KA: Too far? Shitty joke? Yea…
BM: Dewey have to use a condom who?


art blog - Angela Grossman - empty kingdom

12. Angela Grossman (May 2012)


art blog - Anthony Francisco Schepperd The Music Scene - empty kingdom

13. Anthony Francisco Schepperd & The Music Scene (January 2012)

BM: Believe it or not, Marzo n’ I had a movie concept like this way back in the day…but this was done way cool so now we don’t have to.
KA: You always know when the animation is that good when you have to question whether or not you took drugs before watching the piece.
BM: Someday when I disappear for good you’ll find my bloated dead body in a tiny hotel room on a tiny island.  And this video will be playing on the TV.


art blog - Ashley Wood - empty kingdom

14. Ashley Wood (November 2012, November 2010)

BM: This dude doesn’t exactly need the promotion, but we’re equal opportunists here at EK.


art blog - Ben Richardson Daniel Bird - empty kingdom

15. Ben Richardson & Daniel Bird (February 2012)


art blog - Beth Hoeckel - empty kingdom

16. Beth Hoeckel (March 2012, March 2011)

BM: “Dear, I do believe our heads are melting together…”


art blog - Brent Stirton - empty kingdom

17. Brent Stirton (December 2012, May 2010)

KA: Damn.
BM: Mighty Joe Young!!! NOOOO!!!!!!! Somebody call Charlize Theron.


art blog - Chen Jiagang - empty kingdom

18. Chen Jiagang (May 2012)

OK: Classy, cinematic, and polished from every angle.
BM: I wonder if her socks are matching too.


art blog - Chloe Early - empty kingdom

19. Chloe Early (July 2012, April 2010)


art blog - Choi Xoo Ang - empty kingdom

20. Choi Xoo Ang (November 2012)

OK: Choi brings modern obscurities that ravishes the inner child’s absurdity.
KA: Qué?


art blog - Christy Lee Rogers - empty kingdom

21. Christy Lee Rogers ★11 (EK Interview: July 2012, October 2011)


art blog - Claudia Rogge - empty kingdom

22. Claudia Rogge (July 2012)


art blog - Dan Voinea - empty kingdom

23. Dan Voinea (EK Interview: July 2012, May 2012)


art blog - Daniel Pitin - empty kingdom

24. Daniel Pitin (August 2012)

OK: Perfect.


art blog - Dario Puggioni - empty kingdom

25. Dario Puggioni (October 2012)

KA: I’m guessing she likes desserts?
BM: And shampoos.


art blog - Dario Mitidieri - empty kingdom

26. Dario Mitidieri (December 2012)

BM: This makes me sad. I wonder what parts of their soul the photographer gives up  and gains to bear witness and represent such things. In some ways photojournalists are martyrs of art because I’m sure their lives are changed forever when they expose themselves.
KA: Ditto. Much props to Mitidieri for being in Tiananmen Square in 1989 to capture the tragic events that unfolded.


art blog - David Oliveira - empty kingdom

27. David Oliveira (June 2012)


art blog - Derek-Gores - empty kingdom

28. Derek Gores ★10 (EK Causes: April 2012, March 2011, August 2010)


art blog - Eliot Lee Hazel - empty kingdom

29. Eliot Lee Hazel (January 2012 Part I, January 2012 Part II)

KA: Now, that’s my kind of lady.
BM: Barefoot mafia!


art blog - Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor - empty kingdom

30. Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor (January 2012)

BM: What had once started as a bad case of acne, the curious case of the flower-faced dog in the night went unsolved for a hundred years.


art blog - Ellen Rogers - empty kingdom

31. Ellen Rogers ★10 (July 2012, EK Interview: April 2011, March 2010, February 2010)



32. Éric Valli (August 2012)

KA: Man, Yogi Bear and Winnie the Pooh ain’t got shit on this guy!


art blog - Fluxel Media - empty kingdom

33. Fluxel Media (July 2012)

KA: …and all this time, I thought Dubstep was the sounds of Transformers making love. Who knew?


art blog - Fulvio Di Piazza - empty kingdom

34. Fulvio Di Piazza (July 2012)

BM: I hope he’s got an ashtray because if that doobie reaches his lips he’s in big trouble.
KA: OKay, who would win? This tree guy or any one of those Ents from Lord of the Rings?
OK: Everything is connected in Fulvio’s realm. All is one. The natural seeks to find balance with the unnatural.


art blog - Geoffrey Farmer - empty kingdom

35. Geoffrey Farmer (June 2012)


art blog - Glenn Brown - empty kingdom

36. Glenn Brown (March 2012)


art blog - Guy Laramée - empty kingdom

37. Guy Laramée (August 2012, January 2012)


art blog - hi 非 - empty kingdom

38. hi (非) (February 2012, December 2010)


art blog - Hirotoshi Itoh - empty kingdom

39. Hirotoshi Itoh (October 2012)

BM: Hello, Hey, Hi.


art blog - Hisaji-Hara - empty kingdom

40. Hisaji Hara (February 2012)


art blog - Ian Francis - empty kingdom

41. Ian Francis (April 2012, September 2010, March 2010)


art blog - Jake Dinos Chapman - empty kingdom

42. Jake & Dinos Chapman (October 2012)

KA: “Up there…that’s the Brown Star of the Chocolate Star Fish constellation.”
BM: For the astronomy aficionados out there.


art blog - Jamie Vasta - empty kingdom

43. Jamie Vasta (November 2012)

KA: They’re paintings made out out glitter, people! Mutha-fuckin’ GLITTER!
BM: Yeah, I saw one of these in person and was completely blown away.


art blog - Jason Briggs - empty kingdom

44. Jason Briggs (May 2012, August 2010)

BM: I’m sure he’s heard this before but I really have no words for this one.


art blog - Jen Stark - empty kingdom

45. Jen Stark (October 2012, March 2012)

BM: Don’t you just want to jump inside one of these and see where the rabbit hole ends?


art blog - Jenny Morgan - empty kingdom

46. Jenny Morgan (EK Interview: June 2012, March 2012, September 2010)


art blog - Jenny Saville - empty kingdom

47. Jenny Saville ★10 (August 2012, August 2010)


art blog - Joel-Peter Witkin - empty kingdom

48. Joel-Peter Witkin (March 2012)

BM: “I swear to you Giles, our love will live forever!”


art blog - Joram Roukes - empty kingdom

49. Joram Roukes (EK Interview: September 2012, July 2012, December 2010)


art blog - Juan Gatti - empty kingdom

50. Juan Gatti (November 2012)


art blog - Julia Fullerton-Batten - empty kingdom

51. Julia Fullerton-Batten ★11 (November 2012, August 2011)

BM: This is a fascinating series, and bravo to Julia.
OK: You don’t often see a rare beautiful series like this.


art blog - Kate MacDowell - empty kingdom

52. Kate MacDowell (December 2012, March 2010)


art blog - Kris Kuksi - empty kingdom

53. Kris Kuksi ★10 ★11 (July 2012, December 2011, August 2011, March 2010)

KA: Mr. Kuksi is the first artist to make it on to all three of our TOP 100 lists! That just reflects his badass-ery for his raw talent and skill!
BM: lol, some people just got it like that.
OK: We’d like to crown a legend, but how do you crown a man who can create something as epic as an entire classical myth-themed sculptural series with his own hands.
KA: I say just hand him a solid gold brick with an EK stamp on it. I doubt anyone would refuse that!


art blog - Kumi Yamashita - empty kingdom

54. Kumi Yamashita (June 2012)

KA: This is like a connect the dot project for the Rain Man.


art blog - Laura Makabresku - empty kingdom

55. Laura Makabresku (December 2012, April 2012, July 2011)

OK: Laura has an ability to gently gather light by spreading the calming kisses upon the subject’s flesh.
KA: Qué?
BM: Marzo is so poetic.


art blog - Leslie-Ann-O’Dell - empty kingdom

56. Leslie Ann O’Dell (May 2012)


art blog - Lucas Simões - empty kingdom

57. Lucas Simões (February 2012)


art blog - Luis Toledo - empty kingdom

58. Luis Toledo (LAPRISAMATA / La Prisa Mata) (February 2012, September 2010, August 2010)


art blog - Marina Bychkova - empty kingdom

59. Marina Bychkova ★10 (December 2012, June 2010)


art blog - Masami Teraoka - empty kingdom

60. Masami Teraoka (June 2012)


art blog - Maurizio Anzeri - empty kingdom

61. Maurizio Anzeri (January 2012)


art blog - Melanie Pullen - empty kingdom

62. Melanie Pullen (July 2012)

OK: Disturbing, yet very settling.


art blog - Melissa Cooke - empty kingdom

63. Melissa Cooke (May 2012, September 2010)

BM: Melissa Cooke is crazy good.


art blog - Mi-Ju - empty kingdom

64. Mi Ju ★10 (EK Interview: October 2012, September 2012, April 2010)

BM: The force is strong in this one.


art blog - Michael Page - empty kingdom

65. Michael Page (May 2012, December 2010)

KA: “Would you like lick?”
OK: Yes, please. I hope I never come back.
BM: Her blood is a hallucinogen.


art blog - Mohammad Kheirkhah - empty kingdom

66. Mohammad Kheirkhah (EK Interview: November 2012, October 2012)

KA: The little girl’s face says it all really.


art blog - Morgan Herrin - empty kingdom

67. Morgan Herrin (November 2012)


art blog - Murat Germen - empty kingdom

68. Murat Germen (July 2012, May 2012)

BM: This artist is one that deserves to be seen in person to get the full effect.


art blog - Nathan Walsh - empty kingdom

69. Nathan Walsh (June 2012)


art blog - Neil Krug - empty kingdom

70. Neil Krug (September 2012, May 2012, January 2010)

KA: “What cha’mean your homepage isn’t set to EK?!”
BM: Haha, good one.


art blog - Olivier de Sagazan - empty kingdom

71. Olivier de Sagazan (February 2012)

KA: You got something on your face…right there.
BM: Wait, no it’s a little to the left…just…no…um, don’t worry, nobody will notice.


art blog - Pascal Vilcollet - empty kingdom

72. Pascal Vilcollet (EK Interview: November 2012, September 2012)


art blog - Paul Cadden - empty kingdom

73. Paul Cadden (June 2012)


art blog - Paulina Otylie Surys - empty kingdom

74. Paulina Otylie Surys (April 2012)


art blog - Pawel Althamer - empty kingdom

75. Pawel Althamer (February 2012, September 2011)

BM: Underneath every bunnymask….is a bunnyman.


art blog - Peihang Huang 黃沛涵 - empty kingdom

76. Peihang Huang (黃沛涵) (February 2012)

KA: Now, this is a HELLO KITTY doll that I can get behind.
OK: Goodbye Kitty.


art blog - Peter Sebastian - empty kingdom

77. Peter Sebastian (August 2012)


art blog - Randall Rosenthal - empty kingdom

78. Randall Rosenthal (June 2012)

KA: What a talented bastard…and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible because I would never be ever to carve anything remotely awesome as Rosenthal. Fuck.
OK: This is not a photograph.


art blog - Ray Caesar - empty kingdom

79. Ray Caesar (July 2012, December 2010)


art blog - Rémi Paoli C2C - empty kingdom

80. Rémi Paoli & C2C (August 2012)


art blog - Riusuke Fukahori - empty kingdom

81. Riusuke Fukahori (February 2012)

OK: His work is like magic.


art blog - Roy Nachum - empty kingdom

82. Roy Nachum (June 2012)


art blog - Ryan McGinley - empty kingdom

83. Ryan McGinley ★10 (April 2012, January 2012, December 2010)

BM: And then I saw the light.


art blog - Seung Mo Park - empty kingdom

84. Seung Mo Park (April 2012)


art blog - Shawn Huckins - empty kingdom

85. Shawn Huckins (July 2012)



art blog - Shohei Otomo - empty kingdom

86. Shohei Otomo ★10 (June 2012, June 2010)


art blog - Spencer Tunick - empty kingdom

87. Spencer Tunick (August 2012)

OK: The idea of thousands of strangers coming together as one is truly beautiful.
KA: The idea of thousands of strangers coming together to be naked is priceless.


art blog - Stefano Bonazzi - empty kingdom

88. Stefano Bonazzi (February 2012)

OK: This is how i feel right now.


art blog - Suzannah Sinclair - empty kingdom

89. Suzannah Sinclair (EK Intervew: November 2012, September 2012)


art blog - Takanori Aiba - empty kingdom

90. Takanori Aiba (February 2012)

OK: They’re evolving…
KA: It looks like Mr. Miyagi got serious about his bonsai hobby. Eh? Anyone? No one remembers the original Karate Kid? *sigh*


art blog - Terence Koh - empty kingdom

91. Terence Koh (April 2012)

KA: Ooooohhhhhmmmmm…


art blog - Terry Rodgers - empty kingdom

92. Terry Rodgers ★10 (February 2012, August 2010)

BM: The only reason why Terry isn’t on our TOP 100 every year is because it takes time to produce such work. But he’s an ass-kicker in our hearts every year.
KA: I love Mr. Rodgers.


art blog - Tim Noble Sue Webster - empty kingdom

93. Tim Noble & Sue Webster (February 2012)

BM: So inventive.


art blog - Tomohide Ikeya - empty kingdom

94. Tomohide Ikeya (May 2012)


art blog - Valerie Hegarty - empty kingdom

95. Valerie Hegarty (December 2012, January 2012)

KA: Creation is absolutely nothing without destruction…especially with something as fleeting as art.


art blog - Vermibus - empty kingdom

96. Vermibus (October 2012)

KA: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder beauty.
BM: “But you said it’s what’s on the inside that makes me beautiful!”


art blog - Vik Muniz - empty kingdom

97. Vik Muniz (July 2012)


art blog - Will Kurtz - empty kingdom

98. Will Kurtz (February 2012)


art blog - Zsolt Bodoni - empty kingdom

99. Zsolt Bodoni (August 2012)


art blog - EK TOP 100 of 2012 - empty kingdom

100. This year’s 100th spot is dedicated to YOU, the EK fans, visitors, audience, members, our incredibly large international family. With out you, there is no EK. It’s been a long time coming, and we can only continue to move forward with all this “bis-nasty” with the steady support that we have been so humbled to receive from all of you. We started out as a mere blog to share art/artists that we enjoyed and inspired us, and little did we know that it would have grown so quickly into this. Thank you.


★10 = Denotes artists who previously made the EK TOP 100 of 2010
★11 = Denotes artist who previously made the EK TOP 100 of 2011

– This list is entirely subjective and in no way represents a popular opinion or objective vote.

– This list reflects strictly the personal tastes of the three authors who decided to put this list together: Bunnyman, okmarzo, Konahrtist