best street artists in the world
ROA Ghent Belgium
. This Belgian street artist has specialized in depicting local animals in a very distinguishable way. He uses a limited color palette and commonly works with huge formats. Hes quite a globetrotter, so its probable that one of his pieces is not very far away from you right now. The image above is from a collaboration with Argentine street artist Ever.
Gaia New York City
. Born in New York City, Gaia helped the Baltimore street art scene by organizing Open Walls Baltimore. He uses his murals as a bridge to connect with the community hosting them; this particular feature has given him a lot of critical recognition. Animal faces and human hands are common in all of his murals.
spY Madrid Spain
. spYs usage of different media has helped in the dissociation between street art and graffiti. He uses common urban elements in unexpected ways, which is characteristically ironic.
Natalia Rak Poland
. Natalia is from Poland; she graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Lodz, and has made quite an impression in the world of street art over the last couple of years. Her murals explore the female figure in dreamlike colorful environments.
Oakoak Saint Etienne France
. This French artist has specialized in small urban interventions that mix common landscape accidents with pop culture symbols. His work may not be the most visually impressive out there, but its really clever and hilarious.
Vhils Lisbon Portugal
. He does portraits, but he prefers using chisels and power drills rather than brushes and paint. This Portuguese carves his work on walls and the results are fucking amazing. Talk about innovation in street art techniques!
ETAM Cru Poland
. Bezt and Sainer, better known as ETAM Cru, are a Polish duo that rose to fame because of the monumental size of their murals. Their work features folk icons from Eastern Europe and relies on heavily stylized human figures, HUGE human figures. The internet loves them and you will, too.
Swoon New London Connecticut
. The most famous wheat paster in the world of street art, Swoons work has inspired a whole generation of artists. Her life sized paper cutouts of human figures are extremely detailed and they go through different stages as they decay due to their ephemeral nature.
INTI Valparaiso Chile
. One of the big names in Latin Americas street art scene, INTI comes from Chile and his murals are now world famous. He integrates local elements into surreal characters seamlessly, creating a very personal style. Some claim that, because of the quality of his work, INTI should transcend the street artist label and be considered a modern muralist.
NEVERCREW Lugano Switzerland
. Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni form this Swiss street artist duo. If you are into dreamlike characters, vibrant colors and whales, youre gonna love these guys.
Eduardo KOBRA Sao Paulo Brazil
. This Brazilian took the street art scene by storm a few years ago. Photo realistic murals, geometrical patterns and colors
Blu Bologna Italy
. One of the heirs of the activist wing of street art, Blus work is more about meaning than anything else, but he also relies heavily on the architecture of the places he paints. Few colors and a strong anti capitalist message are his trademarks. Blu has maintained his anonymity since 1999.
Everfresh Crew Melbourne Australia
. The Australian street art scene would not be the same without these guys. Rone and Meggs are the Everfresh members with the most projection outside Australia and their work resembles a collage of the strangest comic books you have ever read.
Bordallo II Lisbon Portugal
. This street artist from Lisbon uses garbage to give volume to his murals, which normally depict natural elements such as birds and insects. The paradox created by Bordalo is as interesting as his technique.
Urben Berlin Germany
. This German artist excels in social criticism with some help from a cast of no brain characters whose only goal is reminding us about the no brainer that lurks inside all of us. Simple, funny, and effective.
Mentalgassi Berlin Germany
. This collective from Berlin specializes in large scale human photography. You may think theres nothing new with this kind of work, but Mentalgassi have managed to put originality in common places.
Dface London England
. Some consider D face the spiritual successor of Shepard Fairey in the UK. Whatever your opinion may be, the reality is that the British scene owes a lot to D*face and his irreverent, but quite stylish, way of things.
Shamsia Hassani Kabul Afghanistan
. Being a female street artist in Afghanistan is not an easy task. Shamsias graffiti has become an icon for feminist activism around the world.
Jaz Buenos Aires Argentina
. Hes been famous in Argentina for quite some time but has just recently emerged on the international street art scene. Jazs resourcefulness with materials and stunning symmetry set him apart.
. Whats new about doing an urban intervention through photography? The scale in which its done of course. A good example of JRs work is in Rio de Janeiro, where he basically made the whole Morro de Provid
C215 Paris France
. One of the most famous stencil artists nowadays, C215s art portrays the faces of those that society tends to overlook: street kids, the elderly, homeless people, and refugees. Some consider him the French Banksy
Fin DAC London England
. Looking at Fin DACs work, youll think youre looking at the characters from a Frank Miller graphic novel
Escif Valencia Spain
. Escif doesnt have a compromise with aesthetics or traditional ways in street art. His purpose is to make an impact on the worldview of whoever takes a closer look at his work. Some would say hes more easily classified as a conceptual artist, but I dont think Escif likes that kind of classifications.
Hopare Paris France
. Giant portraits, combined with abstract elements and vibrant colors
Joe Iurato New Jersey
. His wood miniatures are short lived but thats part of the beauty of Iuratos work.
Boa Mistura Madrid Spain
. Boa Mistura are the happy guys of street art. This collective from Spain focuses on leaving positive messages and imagery wherever they go. Pretty cool!
Faith47 Cape Town South Africa
. This artist from South Africa is one of the most versatile street artists out there. She adapts techniques and materials to perfectly fit the substrate shes using.
David Zinn Ann Arbor Michigan
. This guy has taken small format chalk interventions to a whole new level through the clever usage of urban accidents and a charismatic cast of characters.
Minhau Sao Paulo Brazil
. This Brazilian girl totally nailed it. Its all about cats and colors nowadays, right?
Swampy Oakland California
. An old school graffiti artist that, through his anonymity, reminds everyone about the roots of street art and its role against capitalism. His trademark horned character is quite famous among the street art community.
. Bumblebees stencils often juxtapose the charm of innocent childhood scenes against the gritty urban landscape. His installations around L.A. are interesting, where phone booths and newspaper boxes are taken over by beehives with industrious miniature bee sculptures inside.
. This man needs no introduction. Shepard Faireys Andre and Obama Hope images are some of the best known artistic images of the past decade. His recent street work has mostly focused on complex layered patterns as backdrops to propaganda style images.
. Other is from Canada, but seems to be in a different country every month; his unusual figures made of composite patterns and features find their way onto walls and freight trains around the world.
. Liqen does not seem to court attention, but his talent demands it. His detailed narrative scenes draw you into looking at them for a long time, trying to untangle all the different aspects. Originally from Spain, he now paints in Mexico.
. Stinkfish has two distinct styles: monochromatic portraits and stencils, and wildly colorful, patterned walls.
. Young and supremely talented, Aryz paints huge walls with a dark, illustrated style.
. A relative newcomer, the Argentinian Hyuro is now based in Valencia, Spain and often paints with Escif. She creates dramatic, introspective scenes of characters exploring their thoughts and emotions.
. Iemzas abstract portraits use a variety of styles, but always use color and decaying walls effectively to create a mysterious, alien feel.
Sten And Lex
. Sten and Lex collaborate to create very unusual stencils, using benday dots and lines of varying thickness.
. Often working with Vine and ReFreshInk, Seacreatives illustrated characters in abandoned buildings are reminiscent of Barry McGees figures, but they convey their own type of wonder and emotion.
. Little known, and with only a Flickr of an online presence, Mesa creates wonderful photo realist works in Spain. His ghostly faces on rural buildings and his ominous black birds are standouts.
. Ludo is best known for his Natures Revenge series, where military and industrial images are collaged to create natural forms
. Zildas hand painted classical images are unique for the sense of history he brings to street art
. Know Hopes poetic figures accompanied by lines of poetry deal with the tricky balance of life, love, and the struggle between optimism and pessimism that his name immediately conveys.
. Only painting together for the last couple of years, Best Ever is a collaboration of Neil Edward and Hadley Newman that has quickly developed a strong reputation. Their photo realistic walls are anatomically based, but go beyond the pure form to convey emotion and turmoil.
. Becca has been pasting hand painted characters for over a decade, mostly around L.A. Her pieces are typically glamorous ladies or playful kids, which become especially striking in gritty urban alleys and soulless Los Angeles streets.
. L.A. based El Mac paints photo realistic portraits, often in collaboration with Retnas calligraphy based backgrounds. The pieces become local landmarks.
. One of the Brazilian greats, Nunca paints indigenous style characters and strong political statements around the world. He has painted everything from a castle in Scotland to the exterior of the Tate Modern in London.
. Philippe Baudelocque paints huge animals around Paris that are striking from a distance, but even more interesting on closer inspection because theyre made up of intricate patterns and details.
. Specter has a huge variety of projects, from street sculptures to portraits to recreating storefronts.
. Based in Madrid, Luzinterruptus creates light based installations using small battery powered lights. The installations are beautiful, and each is accompanied by a statement explaining their commentary on society.
. More elusive than Banksy, Zoo Project creates amazing walls in Paris, and recently in southern France. Simple characters impart philosophical messages.
. Conor Harringtons military inspired murals incorporate suggestions of calm figures against turbulent, graffiti inspired backgrounds.
. Eines best known street work is his Shutter Font (bold letters on storefronts), including a complete alphabet in London. Recently he became more known when David Cameron gave Barack Obama an Eine canvas.
. Legendary graffiti writer ESPO (Exterior Surface Painting Outreach), recently better known as Steve Powers, created his Love Letter murals in Philadelphia and Syracuse, where he used traditional sign writing techniques (and a lot of local young people) to create witty proclamations of love. So sick.
. Herbert Bagliones simple human alien characters are complemented by beautiful, detailed patterns.
. Fauxreels black & white photography based work is both striking and purposeful. His projects often reflect social issues, and are rooted in the local community. His recent Face of The City series merges portraits of local residents with the character and blemishes of the walls.
. Frenchman C215 creates romantic stencilled portraits, often of his daughter Nina. His monochromatic stencils are great, which he paints on surfaces with character, like rusty doors or mail boxes.
. An incredibly skilled illustrator, Phlegm creates beautiful hand made comics as well as huge walls with detailed scenes of mythical animals and characters. Hes not based in a major city, which is why Phlegm is not as well known as others on this list, but that wont last long.
. Alexandros Vasmoulakis is known for enormous, often surreal walls that seem to embody a fashionable glamour and dream like quality.
. M City creates huge stencil based images with a heavy industrial aesthetic, with beauty in the details. Its like looking at satellite images
. One of the longer established and better known street artists, Invaders mosaic tiles can be found in cities around the world. The creation of a real world game (of hunting the invaders) from an electronic game character is a fun twist. As simple as they are, the space invaders still manage to bring personality, and often have a local flavor.
. Aakash Nihalani creates geometric shapes with brightly colored tape, from simple illusions of cubes to very complex patterns. Some of the pieces incorporate people or an aspect of the wall into the illusion.
. Ethos paints surreal scenes with monochromatic characters, often with photo realistic faces, amid a swirl of imagination.
. Ericailcane paints huge, detailed anthropomorphic animals in a style that reminds me of animations in old childrens books; theres a fantasy and wonder about them.
. EVOL, like Boxi, is a master of stencils; he creates life like buildings from electric boxes or bare walls by stenciling windows and balconies. In photos of the work, its often hard to tell that youre not looking at real buildings.
. Boxi and EVOL (previous) take stencil based street art to a new level with multiple layers and photo like detail. Boxis work typically conveys a haunting, post apocalyptic world, but there are frequently charming touches of humanity. His hazmat suited character with a shopping list is particularly wonderful.
. Amazingly under known, Interesni Kazki is a Ukrainian duo (AEC & Waone) that paints huge, incredibly complex murals that you could look at for hours and still see new elements.
. Vhils powerful portraits are created by subtraction rather than addition: he etches, tears or acid burns the surface, which adds a depth and character from the wall to the image that you dont see with paint. Most recently, hes started using explosives to etch shapes.
. Sam3 is most famous for his fluid silhouette figures, which despite lacking facial expressions, still manage to convey struggling, striving, loving. Theres a magic about his work.
. Escif holds down Valencia with poetic murals that hold attention longer than most because theres always more ways to interpret them. In his words, Im not looking for decorative paintings, I try to wake up viewers minds.
. Not the first or entirely original (see Blek le Rat), but indisputably the most impactful in elevating street art from unknown to broad public consciousness. His wit, wry political statements and ability to spot opportunities for subversion make him as exciting now as when he became famous over a decade ago. We all wish there was less hype and circus around him, but he probably feels similarly.
. The twins have an entirely unique, surreal style, and they are able to convey an incredible amount of emotion through their simple characters.
. Huge murals, strong political statements, powerful imagery and a few multi million stream animated videos; everything Blu does is ambitious, and hes talented enough to pull it off. He also stands admirably outside of the commercial art machine.