10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

At the start of every year The Design Files team enjoys the very pleasant task of scanning the internet far and wide, delving deep into Instagram, and checking out local galleries to find Australia’s latest rising artists. 

And, if we do say so ourselves, this year’s hotlist of emerging and affordable local artists is a doozy! From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Bea Taylor

Still life – Eva’s room I (2022), by Leanne Xiu Williams.

Leanne in her studio. Photo – Wa Sei.

Incense with lighter, by Leanne Xiu Williams.

Eva (2022), by Leanne Xiu Williams.

Hold (2021), by Leanne Xiu Williams.

Bea Taylor
19th of January 2023

Leanne Xiu Williams

When viewing Leanne Xiu Williams’ painterly work, there’s a strong feeling of looking back on an intimate moment of time. Though still, her pieces have an undeniable sense of movement and place – there’s nostalgia at play. 

Over the last three years Leanne has explored a range of subjects within her practice including still life, figures and portraits – each just as captivating as the last.  

Price point:
Starting from $500

Where to find it:
Saint Cloche

Adam Leng in his studio. Photo courtesy of the artist.

‘Gumera 17’, by Adam Leng.

Adam Leng working on his larger pieces. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Adam Leng

Yugambeh-based Adam Leng has, incredibly, only been painting for a year, after picking up the paintbrush on Invasion Day 2022. His hypnotic, fluid paintings weave together feelings of identity, culture and connection.

‘My art is about feeling connected to my ancestors and understanding the ways the past has impact my present. I hope people engaging with my work have the chance to reflect on their own personal stories and place in the world,’ he explains. 

Price point:
$1000 – $4000

Where to find it:
HAKE House, or contact Adam directly via Instagram or email at

Untitled (24), 2022, by Emmanuelle McGlade.

Soft pastel on board, by Emmanuelle McGlade.

Untitled (26), 2022, by Emmanuelle McGlade.

Untitled (33), 2022, by Emmanuelle McGlade.

Emmanuelle McGlade

Emmanuelle McGlade’s subtle, graphic pieces could be mistaken for paintings, but they’re actually pastel drawings. The allure of her work lies in her deft simplicity, grounded colour palette, and meticulous finish.

She says, ‘I want to convey the simultaneous tensions in our environment, such as simplicity and complexity; dynamism and stillness; perfection and imperfection. Things are not always as they first appear.’

Price point:
$300 – $900

Where to find it:
Pepite and Gallery Raye, or contact Emmanuelle directly via Instagram or email at

Bare Bone Tenderness, by Loralee Jade. Photo – Sage Hammond

Artist Loralee Jade. Photo – Sage Hammond

From left: Nothing can be healed if not sensed first, Buried in the earth of me, and Stillness in remembering, by Loralee Jade. Photo – Sage Hammond

Shower Turns to Downfall, by Loralee Jade. Photo – Sage Hammond

Loralee Jade

Artist Loralee Jade gives shape to feelings of compassion, grief and love in her beautifully painterly works. 

Driven by emotion, her abstract art is language for memory and personal experience. It’s luscious and mesmerising, and deeply intuitive. 

Price point:
$200 – $3000

Where to find it:
HAKE House, Brunswick Street Gallery, Gallery Raye, Proud Bonney, or via her website.

A Mean Old Drunk, by Megafauna Studio.

Big Boi, by Megafauna Studio.

Cowboy Slang, by Megafauna Studio.

Dead Ringers, by Megafauna Studio.

Megafauna Studio

Megafauna Studio are a family of ceramic artists; Seamus Mullen, Tessa Mullen and their mum, Mandy Mullen. Together, they create playful ceramic pieces with a rebellious flair with Tessa and Mandy managing most of the throwing and hand-building, whilst Seamus paints or carves the final decorative layer. 

‘We share an irreverent sense of humour and enjoy challenging the established classical ceramic forms by decorating them with raw and vibrant imagery,’ says Seamus. ‘Our works are an expression of family life, capturing snippets of stories, memories and shared experience that connect our history to the present moment.’ 

Price point:
$150 – $2500

Where to find it:
Brunswick Street Gallery, Honey Bones Gallery and Turrin Tindal. Or, contact them through Instagram or via their website.

Waringgir, by Melissa Ladkin.

Melissa Ladkin. Photo – Amelia Fullerton.

Left: Yuna – behold. Right: Mararing (within) I & II (set of two), by Melissa Ladkin.

Melissa Ladkin

Awabakal/Wonnarua/Bundjalung woman Melissa Ladkin is a rising contemporary Aboriginal artist. Her work is grounded, slow and reciprocal, conveying to the viewer a deeper understanding of the Country they reside, encouraging connection with what is underneath their feet. 

Melissa works exclusively with ochre, her knowledge of the land, specifically with geology, rocks, minerals and soils, giving her an intimate understanding of the careful and respectful way in which to collect and process this pigment for her pieces. 

Price point:
From $1500

Where to find it:
Ninbella, The G Contemporary.

Phoebe Stone in her studio. Photo – Lawrence Furzey.

Greens, by Phoebe Stone.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, by Phoebe Stone.

Long Black Over Ice, by Phoebe Stone.

Phoebe Stone

Phoebe Stone’s paintings capture the artistry of the mundane – or what most might think is mundane. ‘My message is to not deny the beauty in the everyday, but to revel in it,’ she says. ‘Even if it is just discarded mussel shells on a plate.’ 

From three sardines lying prone on a plate, to an iced long black beside a plate of orange slices, her work celebrates everyday life, each with a welcome sense of familiarity. 

Price point:
$500 – $1500

Where to find it:
Michael Reid Northern Beaches, Purple Noon Gallery, HAKE House, Gallery Raye, The Gallerist, or directly via her Instagram.

Sally Garrett in her studio! Photo – Hilary Walker.

Fruit in a Moroccan bowl with batik cloth, by Sally Garrett.

Bananas, passion fruit and limes with cosmos flowers, by Sally Garrett.

Rockmelon and passion fruit on a tulip plate, by Sally Garrett.

Sally Garrett

You can’t help but smile when you see Sally Garrett’s charming tropical still life scenes. The artist took advantage of Melbourne’s lockdowns to create numerous pastel drawings of tableaus in her home. These developed into paintings and led to an exhibition at Brunswick Street Gallery in Fitzroy, Melbourne last year. 

‘The art work was an intimate expression of everything I was feeling at that particular moment in time,’ she explains. ‘And out of the darkness, a vivid, joyful life is reflected.’

Price point:
$430 – $1200

Where to find it:
Through her website, or directly via Instagram or email at 

Left: Artist Shannon Simm stands in front of New Found. Right: Dearest Zora, by Shannon Simm.

Julian, by Shannon Simm.

Evening Citrus, by Shannon Simm.

Shannon Simm

It pays to look twice at Shannon Simm’s latest body of work. The artist has captured ‘moments between moments’ (subsequently the title of her last show) through a double-exposure-like style.

‘I like capturing moments in time that show the beauty in the mundane, or within the intimate moments I share with loved ones, objects, space and my own body,’ she explains. 

The artist started painting with ink in a realistic style, but transitioned to oils during high school and ‘hasn’t looked back since’. 

Price point:
From $2000

Where to find it:
HAKE House, or via Instagram

Tym Yee has explored many different subjects for his work.

Nightshade, by Tym Yee.

Best Shelf, by Tym Yee.

Easier Than Easy, by Tym Yee.

Tym Yee

Tym Yee has many feathers in his cap, including copywriter, editor and digital content specialist. He also co-founded an online bespoke framing store, Framepack, and occasionally writes and records music. In fact, he didn’t pick up a paintbrush until 2016, after watching Anh Do’s ‘Brush With Fame’ on the ABC, for personal meditative interest. 

‘The same way some people do yoga or exercise,’ he explains. 

It unlocked yet another talent in the enterprising Sydney-sider, and since 2020 he’s exhibited his painterly scenes at Michael Reid Northern Beaches Gallery, participated in group shows at Gallery Raye in Brisbane and Blackroom Gallery in Victoria, and was a finalist in the 2021 Bluethumb Art Prize.

Price point:
$500 – $2500

Where to find it:
Via his website

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