Street art has taken the art world by storm in recent years. It is one of the most unique and engaging forms of art, and it's constantly evolving. While it may not be everyone's cup of tea (especially plenty of the ‘old art establishment’….), there is no denying that not only are street artists some of the most creative and innovative minds out there, the movement is here to stay.
There are now more street artists than ever before, and it can often be tough to keep track of who's who. So, in this article we introduce 5 street artists we think you should have on your radar.
Born and raised in New York, Jerkface got his start in the early 2000s when he began wheat pasting and tagging around his neighborhood. The artist has since moved on to bigger things, but his use of bold colors, clean lines, and unique subject matter has remained consistent throughout his career.
Jerkface's work is heavily influenced by pop culture and includes characters like SpongeBob SquarePants, The Simpsons, and even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His pieces often feature familiar cartoon faces with exaggerated features or contorted into strange positions.
The artist also uses bright colors for added impact and solid shapes to create a distinct style that's immediately recognizable. His work appeared on walls worldwide, including in Los Angeles and Chicago and many other locations across Europe and beyond.
Hailing from the UK, STIK is best known for his large-scale murals, which often feature simple, childlike figures with long limbs and bulbous heads stick figures. But what makes his work so unique? The beauty in STIK’S works lies largely in it’s simplicity and his ability to reduce complex issues into just a few simple shapes.
His works can move the viewer across a wide range of emotions; from happiness and excitement to sadness and contemplation. He often depicts people in everyday situations, such as holding hands or walking down the street, in doing so helping to create a sense of connection between the viewer and the subject matter.
STIK also often uses colors that are striking and eye-catching. And his bold palette adds an element of playfulness to his work, which is often reflective of the everyday lives of his subjects.
Chicago-born Hebru Brantley is a street artist whose work often deals with youth, identity, and historical themes. His vibrant, pop-influenced style has earned him a loyal following among street art fans.
Born in 1981, Brantley began his career as a graffiti artist in his native Chicago, soon developing a distinctive style that incorporated elements of comic books and pop culture. That said, he soon experimented with other mediums, such as painting and sculpture. Over the years Brantley's work has been featured in numerous museums and galleries and collaborated with big brands like Nike and Adidas.
Brantley's work questions the status quo and social constructs through powerful imagery that touches on social issues. And the freedom afforded by street art allows him to use his work as an instrument of change and social commentary.
Another street and contemporary artist you should not miss is Los Angeles-based street artist Retna.
Retna first gained notoriety for his graffiti work in the early 2000s. His unique style, which combines elements of typography, calligraphy, and geometry, has been compared to that of a "modern-day hieroglyph." His pieces often incorporate a variety of languages, including Spanish, Hebrew, and English. He often combines traditional calligraphy with more modern elements, such as geometric shapes and patterns.
Retna's work can be found on buildings, walls, and bridges. He has even collaborated with super-brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
Although he is best known for his public artworks, perhaps less known about Retna is that is he also a widely respected art curator and an accomplished painter and printmaker. His work often explores concepts of culture and religion that have been featured in many publications.
In 2005, Swoon (real name Caledonia Dance Curry) made her public debut as a street artist with a series of life-size wheatpaste portraits she installed around New York City. Since then, her art has appeared in cities worldwide, from Havana to Paris to Rio de Janeiro.
Swoon is best known for her intricate paper cutouts and detailed woodblock prints. Her work often features human subjects, which she often draws from photographs of real people she knows. Swoon has also exhibited her work in galleries and museums, and she has even collaborated with architects on public installations. Despite her success, Swoon remains committed to making art that is available to everyone. "I want my work to reach as many people as possible," she has said. "I don't want it to be exclusive." Her goal as an artist is to create visually stunning works and tell stories about the human condition.
Her art is often images of people from marginalized communities, and she has said that she hopes her work will help raise awareness about social issues.
Whether you're into street art or not, it's hard to deny the artists' creative talent and eclectic style on this list. But street art is more than just paint put onto a surface. Graffiti artists such as the above are putting their work at the forefront of some of the important causes in today's social climate.
Whether it be shedding light on specific social challenges, making street art accessible to everyone or simply pushing forward with technical prowess in their field, street artists such as the 5 above are changing the game and the fabric of the contemporary art world as we know it.