The term “minimalism” has evolved over the last fifty years to include a vast number of different artistic media. From its birth, the philosophy of minimalism was to explore the essential elements of an art form with pared-down design elements. Even though, or maybe because, the boundaries of the form are not so clear and extreme anymore, today it appears to be more alive and intense than ever, especially in the world of street and urban art. We present to you ten minimalist artists of our time which, although they may appear different at first look, share the common idea of saying more with less.
Pejac - Subtle and mind-bending
Compared to Banksy by some, the extremely inventive and versatile work of the skilled Spanish artist Pejac, incorporates the surroundings, making them an important part of his art. Working both outdoor and indoor, using various techniques, ranging from tiniest drawings to large murals, his simple, yet effective and very clear messages result in fantastic effects. Very often using subtle interventions, rendering no more than fine lines, patterns or silhouettes, with very little or no color, mostly black and white, he transforms his works into flocks of birds or tree branches. In this way he creates simple, yet powerful and clever, mind-bending artwork.
Philippe Baudelocque - Intricate patterns with chalk or oil pastel
Using nothing more than black backgrounds and white chalk or oil pastel, the Parisian artist Philippe Baudelocque incorporates complex designs, geometrical shapes and intricate patterns to create a variety of different animals. His distinctive and unique work is among the most interesting ones created with such an impermanent medium. Each drawing is composed of cells, each with its own abstract pattern, merging into large three-dimensional animals that appear like star constellations on a dark night sky.
Kid Acne - Artist with a wide range of talents
Kid Acne is a “prolific modern day renaissance man” best known for his comic-like illustrations and larger-than-life slogans. Art of this renowned UK street artist, illustrator and hip-hop musician with a wide range of talents, can be seen both inside and outside the galleries throughout the world. Starting with graffiti when he was twelve years old, in the early 1990’s, he had since furnished products for the world’s leading brands such as Kenzo, Prada, Volkswagen and Elle. He had also illustrated products such as pizza boxes, skateboards, club interiors and ladies knitwear. His Stabby Women, enigmatic female warriors he is most known for, inhabit public spaces all over the globe.
Aakash Nihalani - Optical illusions create space within the existing one
Widely known for his street art interventions, involving geometric figures made from fluorescent tape that create three-dimensional images on two-dimensional surfaces, Nihalani’s art is meant to captivate the viewer’s attention, often producing intricate optical illusions. His graphics, consisting mostly of isometric squares and rectangles, clever use of angle placement and layout, highlight the elegant geometry of New York. The artist creates a new space within the existing one in the everyday world, giving people the opportunity to see the city in a playful manner and to disconnect from their reality. In his recent Landline project, he has been incorporating live models connected with colorful bars which pass through them. This has added a new element to his works, enriching them with visually striking effects, and emphasizing its profound commentary of society and isolation.
Phlegm - Nightmarish comics in a large scale
One of the greatest, and most admired muralists in the world, Phlegm creates dream worlds with his surreal illustrations of extraordinary nightmarish creatures from his imagination. Phlegm’s work can mostly be seen in rundown and disused urban spaces, such as abandoned factories and warehouses. Fine technique, intricate details mostly done in monochrome, and a menacing feel with narrative structure were developed entirely from his self-published comics, resulting in unique walls that look like large comic frames.
Know Hope - The human struggle for a better world
American born artist Know Hope grew up in Israel. His street art is a provocative commentary of his surroundings and himself. He insists he is not a political artist, but it is clear his work is vastly affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The majority of his pieces are made out of cardboard, and they often include wood, bricks, mixed media pieces, photographs and text incorporated in his site-specific installations, murals and assemblages which deliver strong messages of human struggle for a better world.
Cleon Peterson - Chaos is the order of things
Focusing on the most horrific aspects of human nature, paintings of Cleon Peterson depict a world full of corrupt authorities, cruelty, suffering and violence which appear to be senseless and without a reason. He describes it as “a gray world where law breakers and law enforcers are one in the same, a world where ethics have been abandoned in favor of personal entitlement”. Chaos appears to be the order of things, and it is hard to decide who is who in this hellscape. In stark contrast to the volatile graphic content, his clean graphic sensibility persists, accompanied with minimal schematic landscapes of his paintings.
Blu - EPIC SCALE MURALS WITH UNIQUE STYLE
Blu’s surreal art is a statement on contemporary political and social events. This Italian artist broke to fame at the end of the 20th century with illicit spray paint graffiti painted all over Bologna. Few years later, his characteristic style of painting with house paint, using rollers mounted on telescopic sticks, emerged. This new style allowed him to increase the painted surface area, thus creating epic scale murals of dramatic appearance that are easy to recognize. Apart from the murals, he also creates impressive stop-motion video projects that require painting numerous frames for a single piece.
Best Ever - anatomical mathematical realism
Best Ever is the artistic duo of like-minded painters from England. Combining the traditional graffiti techniques and amazing, intricate aerosol photorealism, they take on subjects such as death, disease and human weakness. They combine surrealism with photorealism in a style they describe as “anatomical mathematical realism”. By emphasizing hands and faces, the two main communication tools, their work results in hauntingly beautiful images of disturbed and distorted human bodies.
JonOne - EXPRESSING THE CHAOS
John Andrew Perello, aka JONONE, a true star on the contemporary art scene, is certainly the most colorful artist on this list. Work of this internationally renowned artist is an energetic allegory of the urban jungle that echoes with the frenzy and bright lights of large cities, and its goal, as the artist himself says, is to “expresses the chaos”. Layering precise strokes and vibrant colors, with unique calligraphy, he creates a dynamic visual experience both on canvas and large scale installations, in a style very close to the American abstract expressionism.
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