Portuguese Urban Artists - 10 Established and Emerging Stars

November 12, 2014

Recently we wrote about Spanish urban artists and today we revisit the Iberian Peninsula and go to Portugal in our search of exceptional urban and street art. Street art has long been a part of Portuguese culture, and after the democratic revolution of 1974, this artistic form of expression rapidly increased. If you are looking for cutting-edge street art, you will most definitely find it in the mesmerizing country of Portugal, especially in Lisbon, one of the European epicenters of the street art movement. A lot of time passed since the city council of Lisbon realized that good-quality street art can be an asset. The city's liberal regulations toward street art and its efforts in making abandoned buildings available to artists resulted in an unparalleled enthusiasm for urban and street art. Walking through the streets of Lisbon and Porto it appears like every surface displays a portrait, image of an animal or a stenciled message.

Here is the list of best local urban and graffiti artists.

Akacorleone - Tricking the Eye

Pedro Campiche (1985), also known as Akacorleone is an acclaimed illustrator, installation and graffiti artist widely known for his eye-catching artworks that combine different mediums, techniques and formats. Working mostly in sculpture, Akacorleone cleverly plays with color, dimension, depth and perspective in order to trick the eye. His pieces often demand the observer's interaction of some sort to be fully comprehended. This March Akacorleone held an acclaimed exhibition in Lisbon's renowned Underdogs gallery where he showcased a tremendous collection of his extraordinary artworks, including illustrations, installations and graffiti works, inspired by consumerism, frenetic urban lifestyle and its visual pollution. The main attraction of the show was Akacorleone's anamorphic Find Yourself in Chaos installation comprised of different objects and memorabilia, which is perceived different depending on the angle your looking from.

Daniel Eime - Telling the Story

Daniel Eime (1986) is a renowned Portoguese painter, street artist and set designer, internationally famed for his large scale murals of extraordinary beauty. Eime's stenciled works of profound realism, created with different hues and shades, depict intriguing characters that cast enigmatic gazes. With exceptional skill in creating stencils and masterful use of paint brush, Eime successfully captures the inner glow of his subjects, with every line found on their faces telling the story of their and our own lives. These dramatic portraits represent a form of expression ephemeral through which Daniel Eime also shows the world what he deeply feels.

Kruella D'Enfer - Exploring Mythical and Surreal

Angela Ferreira (1988), better known as Kruella D'Enfer, is an extremely talented mixed media visual artist, widely recognized for her captivating magical imagery she paints using brushes, pens, markers and spray paint. Kruella (the name comes from the infamous villain in '101 Dalmatians') creates her extraordinary artworks in various different platforms, always pushing herself, learning new processes and different techniques, and with every new piece she exceeds her levels and audience expectations. These colorful yet dark and complex depictions of a strange and surreal world, found on street walls and gallery canvases and inspired by star constellations, mythical creatures and legends, show Kruella's fresh graphic sensibility.

±MAISMENOS± - Criticizing Political Establishments

Miguel Januário (1981) is an urban artists from Lisbon, internationally known for his  intervention and street art project titled ±MAISMENOS± which offers a critical view on the political and economic establishments that govern modern urban societies. Active since 2005, ±MAISMENOS± quickly received recognition for his thought provoking cutting edge artworks, that can be found all over streets in Lisbon and Porto. These big stencil statements are hard to miss. They suddenly pop up from nowhere and confront the viewer with chucklesome yet worrying and often subversive messages about the world they live in. These viral, incisive and rather direct messages, reduced to a seemingly simple equation of 'mais' (plus) and 'menos' (minus), quickly established ±MAISMENOS± as one of the best known urban artists from Portugal.

Paulo Arraiano - Fusing Natural and Artificial

Paulo Arraiano, also known as YUP, is an internationally acclaimed illustrator, graphic designer and street artists, recognized for his multidimensional murals and paintings of colorful abstractions. Arraiano's coherent body of work which draws strong inspiration from an ambivalence between nature and urban culture, can be found everywhere around Portugal, in streets, galleries, on clothing, toys and skateboards. His captivating artworks of liquid compositions, flowing lines and merging shapes of color, depict a wondrous world situated in the intersection of the natural and the artificial. This unique and rather special visual style gained Arraiano huge popularity and brought him numerous commissions by some world famous brands.

Gonçalo MAR - Impacting Global Street Art Movement

Born in 1974, gonçalo MAR first took his art to the street at the age of 12 when, like many other kids of that age, he drew with chalk. Not long after he replaced chalk with spray paint and entered the realm of graffiti art. After graduating in fashion design, MAR got his firts job as a drawing artist at a local animation studio. Today he is one of the most successful Portuguese street artists, whose incredible murals have a strong impact on the global street art movement. In addition to numerous commissioned projects, MAR is constantly pushing his art further and always exploring new urban spaces, regularly participating in renowned exhibitions, street art projects and festivals worldwide.

Odeith - Creating Optical Illusions

Odeith is a renowned street artist, best known for his mind blowing anamorphic art, optical illusion graffiti featuring hovering three-dimensional letters. Born in 1976 in the suburbs of Lisbon, Odeith started writing graffiti in the mid 1990s, when he began hitting the train lines and city walls. From the early days of his career he showed a special interest in perspective and shading and his works quickly got noticed as they stood out for their stunning realism and technique. After years of hard work Odeith rose to prominence in 2005 when his groundbreaking murals gained huge international attention. Today Odeith works primarily as a painter, often producing exquisite large scale commissioned murals for leading international brands, including Samsung, Coca-Cola and Shell.

Pantonio - Painting Large Scale Animals

Antonio Correia, also known as Pantonio, is an internationally acclaimed street artists from Lisbon, widely recognized for his unique large scale murals depicting animals, mostly rabbits, and characters that appear like photographic negatives of a dream. Born in the magical islands of Azores, Pantonio obtained education in graphics and fine arts, and started his prolific street art career in the 1990s. Employing only a minimal color palette, consisting mainly of blue, white and black, Pantonio skillfully creates dynamic imagery, contrasted by soft lines. This creates visually captivating and mind-boggling artworks. The featured image above is located in one of Lisbon’s shopping malls, depicting rabbits jumping across the walls of a car parking tunnel you would love to drive through.

Smart B - Documenting the Graffiti Scene

Renowned Portoguese photographer Smart B got deeply involved in the early underground scene as a graffiti writer, painting trains around Lisbon. After picking up a camera to take photographs of his own works, Smart B discovered his extraordinary talent in the medium of photography. Ever since he has been dedicated to documenting the train graffiti scene around Europe. Completely self-taught and extremely gifted, Smart B developed his craft in taking spontaneous photographs that capture the essence of the city life and poetry of the rebellious street art movement. In November 2013 Smart B took a part in the Underdogs Gallery’s Trains & Generations group show, featuring legendary photographers Martha Cooper and Alex Fakso, during which he drew a wide international attention for his black and white photographs of beauty rarely seen in the medium.

Vhils - Carving Portraits

Alexandre Farto (1987), better known by the name Vhils, is an exceptional street artist from Lisbon. He is widely recognized for his unique oversized portraits he creates by carving them directly into walls, often using industrial methods, such as drilling and controlled TNT explosions. After obtaining an education in arts at several art schools including the University of the Arts in London, Vhils gained prominence in 2008 when he created now famous mural during the London’s Cans Festival, organized by Banksy, when he got picked up by Steve Lazarides, the legendary street art agent who still represents him. The majority of Vhils’ extraordinary murals depict anonymous people, which are wonderfully turned into dramatic, beautiful and iconic portraits.

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