This question is often asked but never really answered as I cannot name a single favourite artist. I can’t say I have a favourite artist although I do have a favourite period in art history that is hugely inspirational for me.
English and Dutch 17th century art is currently (you never know what the future might hold) my main source of inspiration.
I love the seeming integrity of the portraits of the early century, the gorgeous mix of realism and painterliness and the richly decorated clothes. The increasing realism in 17th century paintings gives it all an honest feel but yet we are made aware by its staged character and make believe.
Despite its distance in time, 17th century art speaks to me especially because I can see it through my modern nostalgic escapist eyes.
I can interpret the past in any way I like. I can simply enjoy and get lost in its beauty and its humanity.
If you really must know some favourite names, it would be Van Dyck and Rubens for the humanity in their portraits, William Larkin for the sheer brilliance in costume, Johannes Verspronck for its delicate depiction of character and Rembrandt for his painterliness. And I am only talking portraiture here!
You ask for modern contemporary artists? I can only say that many of my (online and offline) artists friends are my inspiration, my support team, my social club, my help desk and my knowledge base. Some inspire through their amazing work, others through their words or actions.
Some faces from over 400 years ago, still full of life and stories: