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Thursday, 26 March 2009

Top 10 Street Artists

I read a post over at Nicole Tattersall's blog about the street tours available in Melbourne, touring the underground street art. The Melbourne graffiti scene is the heart of Australian street art - mainly (I think) due to the city's iconic laneways. There really isn't anything to match them elsewhere (in Aus), providing a labyrinthine gallery for artists to showcase their work. It got me thinking. Who are the notables in the scene, worldwide, and why? Here's my Top 10...

Street art has always been a place for
creative freedom. Due to its very nature it’s also a maverick art, with the varying and diverse styles found being part of its appeal. From Shoreditch in London where works by the likes of Banksy, Invader and Sweet Toof live side-by-side - enlivening the streets with their subversive and eye catching design, to Berlin, where they’ve turned the notion of graffiti on its head by using jet sprays with stencils to clean parts of a dirty wall, producing a new piece of art. - Casper Johansson, Lost At E Minor.


The most famous. The most elusive.

The man from Bristol, UK is renowned for his humorous, anarchist and satirical stencil pieces.
He mentions in his book, 'Wall and Piece', that as he was starting to do graffiti that he was always too slow and was either caught or could never finish the art in the one sitting. So he devised a series of intricate stencils to minimise time and overlapping of the colour. (Wikipedia)

James Button wrote this article about Banksy.


The French Madame. The Punkette.

The darling of female graffiti artists. Fafi's work is whimsical, sexy, and unstereotypical. Depicting a series of girls she calls Fafinettes and a little character called Hmilo, Fafi conjures up her own fantasy. Her technique is also quite different - she freehands with light black ink, then colours over, letting traces of her intial sketch bleed through.

She's so popular her style has spawned a wave a copy-cats. Even Adidas caught on and got her to design some apparel. Fafi's website.


The Swedish Melbournite. The Emotive Provocateur.

The intrepid traveller, Sixten has stenciled laneways in Melbourne, Berlin and Copenhagen. His artwork has hung in galleries from Europe, Asia and beyond. His Kiss stencil has been credited as the inspiration for Green Day's forthcoming album cover 21st Century Breakdown.

Apprently he is in Montreal, Canada. Sixten website.

Shepard Fairey

The Political Man. The Neo-Propagandist.

He first became known for his André the Giant Has a Posse sticker campaign. His biggest moment to date - and one that many people will recognise - has been the Obama posters during the election campaign. This artist has an amazing “take it to the street” mentality. His images have a viral way of spreading across america. Most recently, his Obama Hope posters are images that have shaped the Obama campaign. - CurbsandStoops.

Miss Van

The Shy One. The Sultry One.

Originally from Toulouse, France - she now resides in Barcelona. Recognised by her slow-eyed women, she's one of the pioneer female graffiti artists. In a style similar to fellow-Frenchwoman Fafi, Miss Van's characters are edgier and sultrier;
you never know what you’ll find around the corner or at the end of that forbiddingly dark alley. Watching, waiting - les poupées– and of course, whispering: don’t be shy. (Trigger Magazine)

Check out the full article at Trigger.


The Paper Princess. The Lady of Layers.

Hailing from New York, this lady with the formal art training pastes up life size cut outs of people on street corners everywhere. Like most graffiti artworks, it's never meant to last, but with Swoon it's in an entirely different way. Wheatpaste prints and paper decay and crumble off the wall, in a subtle commentary on the transient nature of street art.

Check out CurbsandStoops' article on Swoon.

Kill Pixie

The Sydneysider. The Urban Folk Master.

Sydney Represent. Kill Pixie focuses on indoor art these days - showing artwork at Monster Children Gallery among others and releasing a book.

His strong graphic characters and patterns are delicate, unorthodox, at times absurd and humorous.
Kill Pixie presents a prophecy for an abstracted, urban version of folk art. - Joseph Allen, Curator Monster Children.

Elbow Toe

The Man of Many Mediums.

Using a variety of mediums - from charcoal and acryclic to woodcuts - Elbow Toe is renowned for his figurative work. A Brooklyn native, he has been on the scene for some time now. I'll leave it to him to describe himself and his work...
His artwork for the streets is grounded in myth, symbolism and poetry and is primarily executed in woodcut, stencil or large-scale charcoal drawings. His oeuvre is a study of human gesture as communication and he utilizes public spaces as stages for private moments. - Elbow Toe.

Check out his blog.


The Symbolist. The Shiela.

Originally from Sydney, Vexta moved to Melbourne where she was inspired by local artists Ha-Ha, Dlux, Optic and Sync. One of the few female street artists in Melbourne, Vexta has a background in screen printing - developing pieces from personal photographs. She dallies with many mediums including acrylic and enamel paint on board, aluminium, found pieces, paste-ups and stickers.
She likes to make things with paintbrushes, spraycans, acrylics and pens and can be found, biking through the city late at night listening to beautiful songs about the end of the world. -


The Multimediast. The Renegade.

The London man's art can be seen around town as posters, stickers, graffiti-style murals and stencils. He is known for his intricate paintings and cartoon-characters. D*Face has designed hats for Kangol in the form of a bomber helmet. These designs proved very popular and are now extremely rare to get hold of.

Check out Streetsy's article 40+ Streetartists You Should Know Besides Banksy. It's a comprehensive list of some of the best and more influential street artists worldwide - includes links to artworks, website and other interviews/reviews.

If you find yourself in Melbourne, check out the Street Art Tours.

J xx


rose-coloured-rain said...

Nice post! A few in there I hadnt heard of. x