Once neglected to the margins of (society and) the art world, Street Art is far from being a peripheral form of art expression in current times. This revolution started in the 80s and, since then, lots have changed: nowadays, some of the most important (and wealthy) exponents of the art world come from the streets. Have you ever heard of Banksy, Retna, Obey, or Basquiat? We bet so!
Important contemporary artists rise from the streets while, at the same time, some new prestigious galleries are representing – even exclusively – street artists. One of the biggest examples is Vroom & Varossieau, the super-hip art gallery from Amsterdam.
To highlight the work of emerging artists who have acquired notoriety from their active presence on the streets, we have created a list of 5 of these artists who are following the same path, and you should keep an eye on.
Differently than most of the artists on this list, Marcio Ribeiro a.k.a. Piá didn’t come straight from painting street walls. The Brazilian artist started his career working as a TV & movie set designer before he felt the need to express his artistic drive in public spaces.
Piá, who is one of the founding members of the respected graffiti collective FlashBack Crew, caught the attention of the art world with his series FRAGMENTOS and has been recently painting two different series: CISTERNA, who speaks of man as a reservoir that accumulates feelings, memories, experiences, like a cistern accumulating water; and another called TRANSBORDA, which speaks of the moment when this accumulation of things overflows the reservoir,
EI Seed is a French-born Tunisian artist renowned for his combination of fine calligraphy and graffiti techniques, which he often uses to create impressive large scale works in the public space, addressing issues of perception and prejudice.
The artist makes use of Arabic calligraphy and of a distinctive style to spread messages of peace, unity and to underline the commonalities of human existence. His artworks can be found all over the world and consistently aim at unifying communities and redressing stereotypes, especially the routinesque prejudice against Muslim and Arabs.
Jaune is a stencil artist and urban interventionist from Brussels, Belgium. His work is based on the paradox between the visible and the invisible, in which he presents sanitation workers as the main protagonists in his humorous installations and paintings.
His works often emulate micro environments by mixing and resignifying elements from the streets and his own his characters, playing with the viewers’ perception of scale. The idea of using sanitation works as subjects comes from the artist’s own experience working in the profession.
“Pixação is a Brazilian political and artistic movement that serves as the voice of the voiceless. By painting black, stylized words on the most inaccessible spots, pixadores risk their own life to represent the unseen and to persevere in the (re)appropriation of the city on behalf of the marginalized”.
Seen as a vandal by most of the middle-class, Cripta Jan – one of the most important exponents of the “Pixo” movement – has decided to follow his own artistic path by taking what’s considered “dirty” and “ugly”, in its original context, to an environment where it can be perceived as masterpieces: the world of high art. It’s a different way of expressing himself, in which he brings the Pixação tradition, its typical aesthetic of repeating motifs, to a new stage. It is resignified.
The artist had a successful solo show in Amsterdam’s Kallenbach Gallery called “Caligrafia Marginal” and, since then, is catching the eyes of art connoisseurs.