There are some who want to make the world a better place
And then there are some who want to make the world a better-looking place.
Urban Street Art has never been more popular. Existing for years as nothing more than a mere nuisance to Governments around the world, graffiti has strayed away from its close association to vandalism and evolved in recent times along with modern street art to become more political, controversial and opinionated than ever before. There is a new-found appreciation for this art which has no dearth of techniques or forms.
With roots tracing back to ancient times, graffiti has gained immense popularity over the years in various parts across the world; the most significant influences being the hip-hop culture and the NY Subway scene. Social, cultural and political connotations began to be associated with graffiti, right from the infamous ‘Kilroy was here’ to the 70’s legend ‘Dick Nixon Before He Dicks You’. Eventually graffiti also became associated with rock and roll and the Punk Rock Movement.
Today, almost all major parts of the world such as Berlin, Bristol, Melbourne, London, NY, LA and parts of the Middle-East are all host to graffiti and urban art. Most art reflects the various ideologies or influences of the area it’s born in. Here are some of the most controversial urban street artists who couldn’t give a damn about sticking a middle finger up society’s ass. Do click on each image to see an enlarged version.
This indisputable king of the British street-art has revolutionized public perception with his wit and originality. Banksy’s distinctive style is instantly recognizable. Though his signature is well-known, the man himself has successfully remained anonymous since his artwork began to make public appearances.
Spray paint, stencils, stickers and tiling – nothing was good enough for Marc Jenkins who finally settled on figures made out of clear tape sticking out of the oddest places in all sorts of positions. We’re talking ducks in puddles, people on traffic lights, a pair of legs sticking out of a fountain and the likes. Another thing Jenkins introduced is secretly filming the reactions of people on the streets who saw his work.
His most recent work, the ‘Hope’ poster campaign for Obama is recognized around the world. Starting with his ‘André the Giant has a Posse’ sticker, Fairey’s work can be found stencilled on walls just about everywhere. This notorious artist is said to be an inspiration for Banksy.
Founded by McNeil and Miller, this NY-based pair’s stencil art grabs eyeballs without fail. They often collaborate with Aiko Nakagawa from Japan, whose distinctive art of the female form gels perfectly with Faile’s views on pop culture. The most famous and controversial posters include Audrey Hepburn’s Tiffany being attacked by a maniacal cat and a saucy image of a topless Manga girl being caressed by miniature Buddhas.
Other equally famous (or infamous) artists include Jef Aerosol, Ces53, D*Face, Blu, Invader and Mr.Brainwash among many others. As Banksy said, “Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you can’t cure world poverty, you can at least make someone smile while they’re having a piss.” Could you agree with him more?
Modern street artists have not only garnered an admiration and cult following but they have gone on to obtain commercial and monetary success. It doesn’t look like this art is dying anytime soon and well, all for good reason.