People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish... but that's only if it's done properly. ― Banksy (graffiti artist, political activist and film director)
Street Art, previously described as graffitihas delivered a new younger audience to the art market. I'm not talking about some douche-bag spray painting a penis on a wall with his name, that's tagging, a big difference. Many artists use "the street" for exposure and an outlet to express themselves. Let's give a mention to the trailblazers, the artists getting all the attention and some of my favs that I follow on Instagram.
Everybody knows Banksy who has been described as an art terrorist, his work exemplifies political and social issues combined with pop culture. I first discovered his art in the book Paris Graffiti by Huber, Joerg and Jean-Christophe Bailey a collection from street art of the late 1980's. There is no mention of the artists included but it's one of the favorites in my collection. His 2015 Dismaland dystopian playground (said inspired by Jeff Gillette and includes other artists) is my favorite of his work which I hate I couldn't see in person.
The original street artist, Keith Haring, in my opinion, legitimized the attitude of graffiti vs street art. He originally started getting attention from his work in New York subways which sometimes included getting arrested. His minimal, active and highly stylized graphic imagery brought to mind, energy, unity, and life. Like many great artists his work is still widely commercialized long after his death in 1990. I got a little emotional when compiling information for this post. Haring, and Andy Warhol to me epitomizes the AIDS epidemic and the extraordinary artists it took too soon.
Jean Michel-Basquiat: Went by the handle SAMO combined words and imagery whose work focused on hypocrisy in American culture. He was arguably one of the most famously unknown underground artists of the 80's and like many of his time struggled and finally fell victim to drug addiction.
His signature hairstyle was copied by musical artist The Weeknd until recently.
I love Mr. Brainwash because he's so blatant about "borrowing" from other artists. I was behind a car the other day that had his version of Shepard Fairley's obey. It was in the same style and said "comply". I literally burst out laughing and sure I looked like an out-patient sitting there, guffawing all by myself (but I do that with my audio books too, so there's that).
Once again, I had to shave the list down or this post would go on indefinitely. Please leave a comment below of your favorite street artists.