10 Eastern European Urban Artists
For 25 years the Berlin Wall is no more. The space of Eastern Europe has always represented a diverse and rich amalgam of cultures. The emergence of urban artists in this part of the world has many a time been associated with the urge to participate in the public discourse of their societies. During the last decade of the 20th century, the artistic expressions emanating from this part of the world found its way on walls and in galleries across the planet. This is a story of breathtaking murals and urban interventions from inspiring individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Featured image: Dmitry Vrubel – Fraternal Kiss
Interesni Kazki - Prolific Collaboration
The world of urban art has an abundance of examples of fruitful and inspiring collaborations. The art duo from Ukraine called Interesni Kazki, formed by Aec and WaOne, is a paradigm of team work and long-lasting partnership. These two muralists have been working together for 15 years and during this period have created numerous murals in different countries around the globe. With a simple philosophy of giving each other enough freedom, this duo started with graffiti related artwork, and became a team of muralists whose imaginative and unusual imagery emanates from walls in Ukraine, Russia, United States and various parts of Central America and Europe.
Kislow - Surrealist Imagery
This Ukrainian street artist is the creator of mesmerizing murals with thought provoking surrealist imagery. The use of vibrant colors and a skillful execution of shapes render Kislow’s artwork a three-dimensional experience. With great care for detail and character depiction, Kislow transforms the imagery which looks like 19th century art into contemporary notions of reality, evoking intriguing sensations in the mind of the spectator.
Lonac - Photorealism
This street artist from Croatia is known for photorealistic imagery as one of the essential elements of his artwork. With a recent solo show in his hometown Zagreb, the city becoming a space for more and more murals with each passing day, Lonac spreads the social commentary through striking artwork. Whether incorporating the realistic elements of portrait painting or surreal imagery in his murals, Lonac exhibits a high level and various forms of skilful technique.
Hade - Cartoonish Artwork
With the use of brilliant contrasts and a rich palette, Hade manages to convey cartoonish elements on realistic backgrounds, in an effort to draw attention to sometimes humorous and colorful artwork. However, many times, the surface of optimistic and harmonious chromatic solutions conceals layers of meaning which are attainable only to those who understand the contextual aspect of the artist from Belarus. With the inspiration possibly drawn from comic books and designer toys, Hade creates murals which are thought provoking and fascinating.
Bozko - Fantasy World
The fantasy world of urban legendry has always been a captivating source of inspiration for street artists. This is the case with the talented Bozko from Bulgaria. With exceptional skills of drawing, this artist depicts terrifying characters which are lurking from walls in Sofia as an integral part of large scale murals. Every aspect of Bozko’s artwork creation is reflected in the superb use of interesting perspectives, a strong characteristic of this street artist. His work seems to mirror the deliberation of the reality of dystopian nature.
Pawel Ryzko - Style Rooted in Constructivism
There is a stylistic calling of attention to the tradition of constructivism in the work of this artist from Poland. Ryzko’s work has been a part of many group exhibitions and award-winning graphic competitions. With the dedication to typography, posters and murals, Ryzko’s work finds its place within urban surroundings, as well as galleries. He is the author of Frank Zappa’s album cover “Hammersmith Odeon”, a triple album released in 2010 by Zappa Family Trust.
Marko Stankovic - The Motif of System
Marko Stankovic is a Belgrade based artist. This sculptor from Serbia has participated in many group shows in his hometown. The motif that represents the basis of his work is system. He tries to reinterpret the contexts of diverse systems, sometimes perceived quite literally, such as machines, and other times relating to the discourses present in contexts of society. The level of connotation within his artwork is reflected in choosing a particular material, as well as Stankovic’s inclination to install his work in public spaces.
Sobekcis - Dualism
The street art duo from Serbia, often referred to as the Os Gemeos of the Balkans, create through the power of illustrations, vivid colors and fragmented figures. The striking letterforms of their murals reflect the beginnings of their career as graffiti artists. On the other hand, print and painting pieces are more pictorial, including elements such as birds, bones, hands and eyes combined with imaginative creatures. A dualism of meaning is almost always present in the artwork of this duo an it is conveyed in the numerous layers of an art piece.
Etam Cru - Eastern European Folklore
This art duo from Poland started collaborating in 2008, although both Sainer and Bezt continue to create as solo artists, too. The motifs and fairytale elements from Eastern European folklore emanate an aesthetics of mesmerizing imagery on the large-scale murals. As it can be seen on such works as “High Hopes”, “Madamme Chicken” or even “Monkey Business”, the duo relies on symbolic representations of animals and their significant part in Eastern European folklore tradition. Murals of Etam Cru reside in many European cities as well as those across the Atlantic.
Pavel 183 - Political Messages
The artist from Moscow hid his identity up until the moment of his death in April 2013. The public has compared him to Banksy, however he thought it was not a well founded comparison. He once said that culture was a system of prohibitions. Although he didn’t consider himself a political activist, it is through his statements and artistic expression embodied in his street art where socio-cultural commentary can be found. In the period just before his death, he was commissioned to design the set for the rock musical “Todd”, which he had felt to be one of his most significant achievements.
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