In this article, we give you 10 innovative urban artists who point their respective genre towards new directions and innovative forms. They all work in different media but they have one thing in common, they stand out in moving the boundaries of what we consider art. In our opinion, each of these ten creative individuals from this list is doing an outstanding job in shaping the contemporary art scene.
Daniel Arsham, the New York-based artist, sculptor, set designer, “Snarkitect" and recently a filmmaker, possesses a remarkable creative expression that pervades many disciplines. Arsham is coming up fast in the art world thanks to his incredible, cutting-edge architectural and sculptural designs. Using materials like fiberglass and aqua resin, he molds static forms that seem to be moving. With Arsham nothing is what it seems. Through sculpture, drawing and performance, the artist challenges our perceptions of physical space and encourages us to rethink our expectations about sculpture.
A student of archeology and calligraphy, l’ Atlas (whose real name is Jules Dedet Granel) began tagging his name in the early 90’s in Paris. Fascinated by the history of handwriting, l’Atlas designed his own typography. In his pictorial universe every letter is considered a shape and every shape a letter, leading him to calligraphic abstraction. In the meantime, his work took the path of kinetic art and geometric abstraction.
Vinz is the street artist from Spain, whose ideas are grounded in social, political and global environment. In his artworks, he addresses many issues, from questioning our beliefs in freedom to criticizing the repressive and violent police presence around the world. He is known for painting the heads of parrots, swans and other animals over the photographs of nude models, while men in suits or police uniforms appear as reptiles and frogs. These memorable collages have complex symbolism borrowed from several religions. Birds and naked people are extracted from the Book of Genesis in the Bible. Mayas, Aztecs, Sumerians and more, talk about the figure of reptile as the animal which has control over us.
Sainer and Bezt are two incredible street artists from Lodz, Poland, known as Etam Cru. They are famous for their surrealistic building-sized murals. Some of the tallest cover ten-story facades. These brightly colored murals are often accompanied by Etam Cru’s familiar motifs like a rubber duck, little sparrow, skull symbol. Each painter also works solo. Sainer’s work is reminiscent of graphic novels, while Bezt works in brighter colors and a somewhat more realistic style.
British artist Ben Eine is most notable for his alphabet lettering on shop shutters throughout Europe. Before he became involved in commercial graffiti, Eine was a very famous and highly credible writer in the underground London graffiti scene. His unusual 'throw up' was created to stand out from the usual tags and dubs seen on the streets and can still be found in some dingy areas of East London.
Sickboy emerged from Bristol’s infamous graffiti scene. Sickboy originally trained in Fine Arts. He has been painting street art since 1995, and is perhaps the first British artists to use a pictorial logo for a tag. The logo in question is a red and yellow logo named “The Temple” and can be glimpsed on walls and wheelie bins worldwide. Besides painting on the street, he also paints on canvas and exhibits conventionally in galleries.
Borondo is a Spanish artist whose work is loosely based in classical painting techniques. His large-scale paintings of human figures appear unfinished and camouflaged. As such, they are quite deceptive. The final effect is that his characters have a ghostly quality, merging with or from the walls, it is hard to tell.
Italian artist Agostino Iacurci is one of the most promising street artists today. He places his geometric forms of enormous size, at the same time taking into account the limits of a building’s surface, creating larger-than-life works outdoors. Iacurci contextualizes his characters and their actions with respect to the location of its operations, in order to understand what are the limits as well as the potential. His style is characterized by bright colors and flat shapes, often multi-layered.
French artist JR combines art with act. He has brought attention to issues of inequality, discrimination, and violence. What’s more, he believes that anonymous people should be seen. JR’s work is striking, breathtaking, often politically provocative, but most of all, it is life-affirming. He states that the street is "the largest art gallery in the world” so he flyposts large black-and-white photographic images in public locations. His subjects have larger-than-life status, turning personal identity into public art, while at the same time JR strives to blur the distinction between artist, subject, and spectator.