We chart the path of the most famous street artists, from the cruel streets of the Bronx to the greatest museums in the world. Art lovers from all over the world have come to appreciate the wonders of world-class street art. While street art was once looked down upon, when it was commonly referred to as graffiti and viewed as a nuisance, it has now become a desirable art form. In New York and elsewhere, street art has become an attraction, as many cities offer their own developed street art routes for visitors to explore.
More and more cities encourage famous street artists to visit and leave their mark as a way to breathe new life into forgotten neighborhoods. And of course, some of the biggest names in the art world (with equal auction prices) now come from the world of street art. But that doesn't mean that the best works of these masters can only be found in museums and private collections, since countless incredible works remain on display in their natural environments, in the public domain. Unlike other forms of art, street art is often the result of unpredictable conditions and improvised workspaces, making it all the more impressive.
This partly explains why some of the most appreciated museums and institutions on the planet have hosted career retrospectives by some of the biggest names in the world of street art. However, given the fleeting nature of street art, it's hard to be certain that these works will stand the test of time and last forever. So get out there, get inspired and pay your respects to these famous street artists. Who knows, after letting yourself be captivated by such amazing work, you might want to try creating your own label or decorating that empty wall with a cheeky mural.
Coming from the Brooklyn neighborhood of eastern New York, Donald Joseph “Dondi White” began labeling in the mid-1970s, developing an elaborate lettering style mixed with images from pop culture. He was the first graffiti artist to exhibit in Europe, where his work is part of the collection of several museums. Although he died of AIDS in 1998, his work continues to inspire today's street artists. When most people imagine classic graffiti, the form known as Wild Style usually comes to mind.
The technique consists of dense layers of letters stretched and twisted at angles or curves that are often adorned with arrows or other elements. The result has a baroque and pointed appearance, and is one of the most used types of graffiti today. Who was the artist that created it? Tracy 168, named Michael Tracy. Tracy 168 became one of the most influential street artists of all time, as variations of Wild Style's writing spread around the world.
The first hip-hop film, 1983's Wild Style, took its title from the creation of Tracy, although, strangely enough, the artist himself did not appear in it. However, he appeared in the 2001 documentary Just to Get a Rep. Mentoring many other street artists, including Keith Haring and SAMO, Tracy has exhibited his work at the Brooklyn Museum, among other important institutions. Os Gemeos, which in Portuguese means “the twins”, is the name of the brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo who are, yes, identical twins.
The Pandolfos, who hail from São Paulo, Brazil, started with break dancing on the São Paulo hip-hop scene before leaning towards street art in the late 1980s. His murals feature daring, cartoonish figures with yellowish faces (apparently inspired by the yellow tint that colors the dreams of both brothers). Os Gemeos also has an important studio in which they create paintings, sculptures and installations specific to gallery exhibitions, although they make no distinction between street and gallery art. From prehistory and the Renaissance to the modernism of the 20th century and the present, we have ranked the best sculptures of all time.
Darryl McCray signed his play “Cornbread”. He has been active in Philadelphia since the 1960s, when he began painting graffiti with his friends, a movement that spread to New York and, across the Atlantic, to Europe. He even won the heart of a childhood sweetheart by expressing his interest in the form of labels all over Philadelphia. From subway cars in the 1970s to art galleries around the world, this American artist has come a long way.
He is one of the pioneers of street art, together with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Andrew Pisacane was born in 1988 in New York City and has a degree in Fine Arts from the School of Art of the Institute of Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland. He is a notable artist with a specific style and themes that describe political, environmental and social problems, including the human path to destruction. By the early 1980s, his paintings were already in international galleries.
He was the youngest artist to exhibit at the Whitney Biennale in New York and has inspired contemporary artists from all over the world ever since. In his short life, he reached countless people with his prolific work, before dying at just 27 years old. It is difficult to present just one work by the French artist Miss. His poetic and ingenious wall templates are particularly visible along the walls of the 13th arrondissement of Paris.
A feminist artist, her works represent women accompanied by true but caustic legends. The artist Keith Harring, who died too soon in 1990, left his mark on the world of pop art and street art. One of the first to create murals, his work is easily recognizable thanks to his cheerful but faceless characters. Created in Philadelphia in 1987, We the Youth is still the only Harring mural still intact in its original site.
In recent years, graffiti artists have used their skills to create art that stops people on their path, and some of these artists have made a name for themselves in the most “prestigious” art scenes. Since then, Fairey has created a kind of street art empire, with a fashion line and major orders for murals in the United States and abroad. We trace the path of the most famous street artists, from the cruel streets of the Bronx to the greatest museums in the world. This ingenious street artist took his talent from criminal to crime-fighting talent and worked with the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network to help clean up the city's streets while encouraging artistic expression in the form of murals.
Jef Aérosol, whose real name is Jean-François Perroy, is one of the pioneers of French street art. This iconic piece of street art is located in Paris, near the Pompidou Center, not far from the Saint-Merri church. Mixing labeling, graffiti, realism and graphic design, Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra is world famous for his bold colors and incredible works of street art. Unlike most graffiti artists, Haring went to art school and moved to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts (SVA).