A form of art that counts on the streets as its gallery and walls as its canvas – the genre now referred to as ‘Street Art’ has ventured a difficult journey from a rebellious artistic act born out of the urban centres across 1970’s and 80’s America through to the bluechip, white walled auction houses of Philips, Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
After gathered considerable momentum in the last 20 years thanks in large part to the widespread adoption of hip hop culture and digital photo-sharing, street art and its artists are now considered to be among the best collected and most significant artistic voices of our generation. Indeed, Hollywood A-Listers and marquee museums around the world alike have added street art to their portfolios and collections, with notable examples coming from artists such as Banksy, D*Face and KAWS.
With the global explosion of public art has come a new wave of artists that have evolved the genre beyond its original spray-can and stencil origins to new conceptual and mixed media heights that integrate space and social context into their narratives. DDW takes a look at some of the best artists engaging with the world around them to create incredible public artworks:
This Portuguese-born artist has seen a meteoric rise in interest for his work over the last decade in part due to his create use of power tools (chisels, drills, scrapers) and paint for the creation of his masterworks which are dug into the side of buildings.
He has been known to also use explosives to create three dimensional reliefs in his work and was selected as one of U2’s eleven collaborative artists that featured on their album Films of Innocence in 2014. In addition Vhils aka Alexandre Farto has gained notoriety in London’s Notting Hill for carving one of his signature portraits on the side of the restaurant Gold on Portobello Road (much to the dismay of their conservative neighbours).
Taking his name from the popular 1980’s video game Space Invaders, this French artist has been prolifically adorning the streets of Paris and the rest of the globe since the late 90’s. He is said to see his works as literally “invading” public spaces with characters appearing in his signature tile format all over major cities and unusual locations alike. Although he is one of the most sought after artists out there – no one knows his true identity.
James Goldcrown is a London native that made his name in Los Angeles. His signature graphic mix media style won him international acclaim – gaining particular recognition in for his Bleeding Hearts/Lovewall murals.
Goldcrown’s first show in Miami Basel sold out in a matter of hours and was followed by successful collaborations with international brands such as L’Oreal, Rag & Bone, Sephora, Island Records, Universal, MTV, Vogue, Bandier, Rimowa Luggage, Henri Bendel, Armarni and more. JG’s work is collected around the world.
The mysterious Miami-based Mister Papercut is the second incarnation of a longtime artist disguised under the cloak of anonymity to bring a visual social statement via vibrant artworks weaved into the world around us. Utilising paper cut outs as his medium, Papercut touches on the fragility of life through ephemeral works composed of bright paper collages. Simple yet poignant these works serve to bring forward a mirror to society and shed a light on those that are ignored and underrepresented.
Ronzo ‘Vandal Extraordinaire’ is a prolific London based street artist and considered one of the original pioneers of British street art. He is known for his off-the-wall characters drawings, paintings and perhaps most famously; street sculptures. He has been exhibited alongside heavy hitters such as Banksy, D*Face, Ben Eine, Shepard Fairey, Conor Harrington and many others and is well collected worldwide.
Saype (aka Guillaume Legros) is France’s latest contribution to the rich roster of world-renowned street artists. Following in the footsteps of fellow frenchman JR, Saype makes the world his canvas – but with one major difference, he works on a colossal scale. Taking entire fields, parks (including the one in front of the Eiffel Tour), hills, and streets as his painting surface Saype uses homemade biodegradable paint to spray-paint ultra-realistic, images of local people directly on to the ground and grass itself. Each image tells a story and is designed to be thought provoking and ephemeral, only to be appreciated via drone.