13 August 2020
Our Favourite Street Artists Taking Over Streets Worldwide
Walls in public spaces of cities have always been used as a medium for mass communication, from public announcements, posters or advertising trying to engage wider audiences within an urban context.
Street art as we know it, began in the 70’s, developed through the decades, moving beyond a simple marking a place with a name to political themes and cultural commentary.
Once considered destructive, this medium of art is now recognized as a potent force, capable of reinterpreting the appearance of contemporary cities, experimenting with new creative forms and often denouncing its alienating and repetitive nature.
We share below some of our favourite street artists taking over streets worldwide for the past decades.
Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto (b. 1987) has been interacting visually with the urban environment under the name of Vhils since his days as a prolific graffiti writer in the early- to mid-2000s.
His groundbreaking bas-relief carving technique – which forms the basis of the Scratching the Surface project and was first presented to the public at the VSP group exhibition in Lisbon in 2007 and at the Cans Festival in London the following year –, has been hailed as one of the most compelling approaches to art created in the streets in the last decade.
This striking form of visual poetry, showcased around the world in both indoor and outdoor settings, has been described as brutal and complex, yet imbued with a simplicity that speaks to the core of human emotions. An ongoing reflection on identity, on life in contemporary urban societies and their saturated environments.
Over the past 20 years, the mysterious Italian street artist has created artwork across Europe and Central and South America. Blu prefers to paint his works around the urban and industrial landscape. He began to experiment with paint rollers and telescopic sticks. Not only was his graffiti art much larger, but his art conveyed a much more dramatic appearance. He quickly began to create huge human figures that were often sarcastic in appearance and resembled comic and video game art.
He cares so deeply about his craft that he destroyed a whole city’s worth of work instead of having it be sold by profiteering art dealers.
Roa is primarily known for his strong obsession for animals and rodents. He often combines life, death, and life after death in his murals, which quickly distinguishes him amongst traditional muralists. His animals are painted to include skeleton and internal organs, making the sight even more realistic. The graffiti artist states, “Organs are the vital substances of our body and they represent a lot of the symbolism which I like!” One’s love for animals could not be expressed nearly as much as our artist Roa. This mysterious Belgian muralist has created hundreds of murals through Europe. He has also traveled to other locations around the world.
The street artist’s preferred forms of methods to paint are by using spray paint or acrylic paint. In fact, most of his work is created through a mixture of black, white, and gray scale colors. At times, the muralist prefers to sketch, especially those large murals. He first began his artistic career by painting buildings and warehouses in his hometown. Nowadays, his distinctive black and white style street artwork can be found worldwide.
Arguably the most controversial street artist in the world, Banksy has developed an entire art subculture devoted to his works. Banksy’s art can impact any location at any given moment. His identity remains unknown, even after over 30 years of being involved with the graffiti scene. He has worked with many different types of street art media and street art types. His work not only includes many powerful, often controversial images, but they may also be found throughout the internet as viral images.
Born in France on February 22, 1983, JR was just another average teenager with a passion for graffiti. He lived graffiti and truly enjoyed the movement. His graffiti moniker was Face 3. However, it was not until he found a camera on the subway that his perception on street art change. This allowed him to track the individuals who communicate messages via walls and street art. He quickly began to track people in the forbidden undergrounds and roofs of Paris, France. In 2004, street artist JR photographed the riots that broke out in the banlieues and created his first major project by pasting up large prints of their faces around the city.
JR owns the biggest art gallery in the world. He exhibits freely in the streets of the world and has always allowed the public to assist with his street artwork. He prefers to catch the attention of people who are not a part of the typical museum visitors. His work mixes Art and Act, talks about commitment, freedom, identity, and limit.
Swoon believes in tackling major societal issues through creativity. The artist works with a collective of artists based in Braddock, Pennsylvania known as Transformazium which aims to re-imagine Braddock’s derelict urban spaces and resources. She created an arts center in a formerly abandoned church in a place that had lost most its jobs.
As well as engaging in humanitarian efforts, Swoon has created massive installations for galleries and museums. She has held numerous exhibitions mainly in North America but also in London, Paris, Melbourne and Tokyo, but her work truly gained recognition after a solo show at Jeffrey Deitch’s Soho gallery in 2005.
Invader is a French urban artist. He is known for his ceramic tile mosaics modeled on the pixelated art of 1970s–1980s 8-bit video games, many of which depict the titular aliens from the 1978 arcade game Space Invaders (the inspiration for his pseudonym). His creations can be seen in highly-visible locations in over 65 cities in 33 countries. To accompany his citywide installations, or “Invasions”, Invader publishes books and maps as guides to the locations of his mosaics.
Invader also makes mosaics using QR codes and stacks of Rubiks Cubdes (with the latter typically installed indoors).
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