South American urban artists, truly exceptional and extremely gifted, have been emerging in dozens in the recent years, taking the world by the storm with their unique and eye-catching art. It is no wonder that the South American street art scene has been flourishing in the last two decades. The cities like São Paulo and Buenos Aires are slowly becoming centers of the world's contemporary urban and street art movement. The sheer scale and diversity of extraordinary talents displayed on the streets of South American cities must be more carefully examined and what follows is our pick of some of the most prominent and extremely talented street artists that this continent has to offer, from Argentina to Brazil.
Editors’ Tip: Nuevo Mundo: Latin American Street Art
Latin American and South American art are intristically connected. One someone mentions Cuban or Mexican art, it's usually perceiced as art coming from the same context. Although the past of these two regions are very connected, there are differences. There is why we recommend you this book. The work of Os Gemeos, Nunca, Vhils, Basco-Vazko and Vitche is highly respected in the international art scene and has been exhibited at renowned museums including the Tate Modern and Fondation Cartier. Nuevo Mundo is the first book to provide a comprehensive documentation of current street art in Latin America by exploring the full spectrum of regional scenes in their impressive diversity. The book is structured into chapters that introduce work from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.
Franco Fasoli, widely known as JAZ, is an extraordinary street artist from Buenos Aires, and one of Argentina's best known and most talented artists, recognized for his astonishing murals of unique visual style and enormous scale. JAZ started his career in the late 1990s as member of a new generation of young Argentine street artists whose artistic development was greatly influenced by 'fileteado porteño', as they merged this popular Argentine decorative style with letter-based graffiti. Over the years JAZ has been been experimenting with new techniques and unconventional materials and his murals became increasingly ambitious in scale, complexity, and subject matter, as seen on his recent abstract paintings, that deal with football hooliganism and feature 'lucha libre' wrestlers wearing animal masks.
Claudio Ethos is a renowned Brazilian street artist from São Paulo, widely known for his impressive large scale murals, highly distinctive for their great detail and captivating surrealist imagery. Ethos first picked up a spray can when he was fifteen and he gradually perfected his unique style by translating his black book drawings and canvas artworks onto walls for everyone to see and enjoy. Over the years Claudio Ethos produced quite an impressive number of epic murals all around his city. These murals represent artist's visual celebration of the inner-city pressure cooker of São Paulo, told through its anxious and struggling characters found in Ethos' surreal wall pieces.
Martin Ron is one of the most prominent street artists from Argentina, internationally acclaimed for his large scale, hyper realistic murals of surrealist imagery and great visual impact. Their overwhelming grand scale, as well as artist's masterful hyper-realistic technique merged with elements and situations from the fantastic world of his imagination, all make Ron's powerful artworks stand out and evoke curiosity. Several of his astonishing pieces can be seen on large walls around his home town of Buenos Aires, but also worldwide, like this breathtaking mural above, which Martin Rod painted for the Street Art London project.
Stinkfish is an extremely talented street artist from Bogotá, Colombia, internationally famed for his mind-boggling murals of extraordinary beauty. Stinkfish's murals are recreations of both found and his own photographs of random people, he turns into stencils and paints on walls using a vibrant color palette with the addition of captivating psychedelic elements. At the age of 16, Stinkfish started following his friends and tagged the name Stink everywhere and anywhere around his town. In the early 2000's he started making stencils, and after several years of constant style development, Stinkfish drew a lot of attention with his highly intricate 2003 mural showing John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting to his dead father. Since then Stinkfish established himself as one of the most prominent South American urban artists.
São Paulo based street artist Alex Senna beautifies cities worldwide with his warm and endearing black and white murals. This Brazilian artist, illustrator and advertising art director, whose life is all about drawing, art and graffiti, is a huge contemporary name on the Brazilian urban art scene. Alex Senna is widely known for his expressive murals of lanky characters that usually revolve around love, romance and friendship that bring the overwhelming softness to their grey urban surroundings. Senna's atmospheric and seemingly child-like murals, often feature universal romantic symbols like musical notes, birds and hearts, and appear like vivid comic book frames that tell the wonderful stories of the relationships we have.
INTI (Inti Castro) is a Chilean urban artist from Santiago de Chile, internationally recognized for his artworks that combine traditional iconographic elements with graffiti aesthetics. INTI's brightly colored murals, inspired by the indigenous culture of pre-Spanish Latin America, can be seen spanning over skyspcrapers and tall buildings in city centers from Lebanon to Paris. They often feature beautifully crafted images of clowns, religious idols and political slants, and show INTI's profound artistic commentary of the ongoing struggle of poverty within his home country and around the world. There is no doubt INTI is one of the biggest contemporary names of the world's graffiti and urban art scene, who creates art that has to be seen and enjoyed.
Bicicleta Sem Freio (or Bicycle Without Brakes) is a Brazilian art collective formed by three extremely talented illustrators, Renato Reno, Douglas De Castro and Victor Rocha. They are widely known for their explosive and colorful street art creations they describe as a combination of 'illustration, rock'n'roll and party'. Bicicleta Sem Freio create their mind melting, pop art influenced paintings by taking inspiration from old comics, cartoons, posters and music as well as from Brazil's Goiás region they live in. These psychedelic and visually captivating artworks, that are hard to miss and even harder to take eyes of, usually feature a hectic mix of colors, hidden symbols of freedom, splashes of cynicism and almost always a measure of chaos.
Luis Sven Martins, better known as L7M, is a São Paulo based Brazilian street artist of exceptional talent. He started spraypainting graffiti as a young teenager and over the years developed new techniques and styles by experimenting with different materials such as acrylic, pastel, latex and china ink. L7M is widely recognized for his skillfully colored paintings that blend realism and fantasy. Such is his renowned series of Graffiti Birds, realistically spray painted birds that morph into more a frenetic use of spray paint. This results in mesmerizing stylized paintings and murals of puzzling and chaotic explosion of colors and shapes. It is a real treat, keep your eyes open to not miss the chance to see L7M's art which is covering numerous walls all around the world.
Nicolás Romero, better known by his moniker Ever, is a Argentinian street artist from Buenos Aires. He started his artistic career in 1990s by writing letter-based graffiti across his hometown, but gradually moved to painting portraits. Ever's exceptional painterly style of his works, inspired by great painters like Francis Bacon, Vincent van Gogh and Gustav Klimt, is of quality rarely found in streets and successfully breaks the division between fine art and street art. Using aerosol and brush-based techniques Ever paints beautiful, vibrantly colored portraits of both ordinary, everyday people he sees on the streets and icons from all areas of life, usually based on photographs he finds on the Internet.
Os Gêmeos (The Twins) is a Brazilian street art duo from São Paulo, consisting of identical twin brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo. The duo started painting graffiti in the late 1980s, and today are considered to be the most prominent and highly influential artists in the local street art scene, whose works, ranging from tags to murals, are influenced by both traditional Brazilian and graffiti culture. Os Gêmeos are famed for their large scale murals depicting different subjects ranging from Brazilian folklore to family portraits and politically and socially engaged works, which very often feature their signature yellow skin characters. In the recent years Os Gêmeos have been very popular and highly prolific, and they have been creating various commissioned large scale public works on buildings across the globe.