|Known Names||Street Art
(Top Image: “Urban Hope” by Matthew Lew)
Street art is a contemporary art form that has its modern origin in the early 1980s. While street art was once known simply as graffiti and an act of vandalism, it has evolved into a widely-recognized medium and gained status as a reputable form of art thanks to numerous famous proliferators.
Street art is a provocative art form that utilizes various mediums, from chalk to spray paint, to share an artistic message in a public space. Graffiti is by far the most recognizable form of street art, but it is far from the only one. Famous graffiti artists like the mysterious Banksy have given the art form widespread publicity and helped challenge some of the stereotypes about street art as a whole. Banksy is a British street artist who uses his pieces to communicate philosophical ideas and social commentary. Although his pieces go for significant amounts of money, he is known for anonymously selling unsigned work for very low prices as a commentary on the power of recognition when it comes to pricing modern art. One of Banksy’s most famous pieces is The West Bank, a 2005 piece on the wall dividing the Palestinian and Israeli territories. The piece started a trend of protest graffiti in the area itself as well as internationally, and it remains one of the most influential street art pieces today. Another famous example of street art is the Kenny Scharf mural on Bowery Wall in New York City, New York. The colorful piece features cartoonish images and a cluttered appearance, blurring the lines between vandalism and art. Keith Haring is another street artist whose career peaked in the 1980s. Haring used simple lines and bold primary colors to communicate his thoughts in public spaces on social issues. He began painting blank subway tunnel ads and moved on to chalk, sculptures, and various other mediums. Tuttomondo remains Haring’s most famous work and one of the most popular pieces of street art. The mural was painted on a public wall in Pisa, and it featured Haring’s characteristically colorful figures in a variety of poses. Thanks to the public work of artists like Banksy and Keith Haring, street art has been transformed from a medium commonly associated with gang territory and violence to a genuine art form capable of communicating complex social commentary and ideas. While most street artists still use chalk or spray paint and stencils, the art form extends to other mediums including live performance art and sculpture.
- Tuttomondo by Keith Haring, 1989
- The Boxer by Keith Haring, 1987
- The West Bank by Banksy, 2005
- Drive-In Show by AVANT, 1983
- Untitled (Skull) by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1984
- Jean-Michel Basquiat is actually a talented sketch artist in spite of the intentionally rudimentary drawings incorporated into his art.
- Banksy has had multiple run-ins with the police in various countries even though he is now an internationally known artist.
- Many of the most famous street artists in the world are sets of twins.