When hearing about graffiti what comes to mind? Teenagers tagging their name in spray paint on random walls and houses? Ugly pictures marring otherwise beautiful buildings and bridges? Graffiti seems to have developed a somewhat bad name in society’s eyes. However, in the hands of a professional it can lead to absolutely beautiful works of art. Below you’ll find short biographies on some of the world’s most mind-blowing graffiti artists.
Not much is known about this street artist from Ghent, Belgium, but all can agree that his artwork and murals are truly amazing. He is primarily known for his art works of animals, in which he depicts them in various stages of life, death, and life after death. However, his somewhat morbid painting style allows his murals to be easily recognized.
His preferred medium is both spray paint and acrylic paint. ROA’s preference of black, white, and other grey-scale colours also help to make his art very distinct. The animal he paints often depends on the area or country in which he is painting. ROA seeks to bring attention to the animals that had once inhabited the area. He enjoys bringing this to the public eye, and reminding them that things are not always as they are now.
Gaia, who styled his name after the Greek designation for “Earth Goddess,” is a New York City born and raised street artist. Recently named one of Forbes “30 Under 30” list in art and style, Gaia is most famous for organizing “Open Doors Baltimore.” His murals often feature animal faces, human hands, and various other photo-realistic paintings.
Based out of his native Madrid, spY is best known for his use of many mediums. He is known for his use of everyday items, such as a telephone, and using them in strange and unique ways, like replacing the receiver with a banana. His somewhat prank-like work has earned him the nickname of the “Spanish Banksy,” even though he is a completely self-taught artist. He leaves his witty and hilarious “messages” all over the world for unsuspecting citizens to stumble upon.
The Polish street artist Natalia Rak identifies strongly with being an activist for women. Most of her murals portray women in many ways, and her colourful style of painting creates a mood of mystery surrounding her murals. She also seeks to create metaphors by using easily recognizable couples such as Romeo and Juliet, or Adam and Eve. A passionate painter since 2002, Rak’s work has been in many exhibitions around the world.
This French street artist does things a little differently. His artwork won’t be found in the form of an amazing mural on the side of the building, but cleverly placed, witty pieces spread throughout Saint Etienne. His smaller scale figures often highlight architectural flaws, or landscaping errors. For example, in one of his works, there is a bent railing on the side of a building, and he has painted a human figure who appears to be kicking it, thus causing the railing to bend. There are many other examples of his unique street art all over, even though he is a lesser known street artist.
Vhils is a Portuguese street artist (real name Alexandre Manuel Dias Farto) who is best known actually chiselling his artworks into the sides of buildings. This creates an actual texture to his work, setting him apart from other artists. He is also a huge fan of experimentation, and so tries many different types of mediums. His many works have now been showcased all over the world.
These street artists may not have quite the recognition as some others in the street art world, but since they continue to develop their skills and gain popularity they are truly artists to be watching in the future. They are all helping towards changing the negative connotation that has been given to graffiti.