Posts tagged ‘Street Artist’

April 18, 2013

Barry McGee

Barry McGee (b. 1966) is a painter and graffiti artist. He is also known by monikers such as Ray Fong, Lydia Fong, Bernon Vernon, P.Kin, Ray Virgil, Twist and further variations of Twist, such as Twister, Twisty, Twisto and others. McGee graduated from El Camino High School in South San Francisco, California. He later graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991 with a concentration in painting and printmaking.

McGee rose out of the Mission School art movement (‘New Folk’ or “Urban Rustic’) and graffiti boom in the San Francisco Bay Area during the early nineties. His work draws heavily from a pessimistic view of the urban experience, which he describes as, ‘urban ills, overstimulations, frustrations, addictions & trying to maintain a level head under the constant bombardment of advertising.’

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February 7, 2013

Steve Powers


Steve Powers (b. 1968) is a New York City artist who at one time wrote graffiti in Philadelphia and New York under the name ESPO (‘Exterior Surface Painting Outreach’). Powers is from Philadelphia’s Overbrook neighborhood; he graduated from Robert E. Lamberton High School in 1987 and took classes at The Art Institute of Philadelphia and the University of the Arts. In 1994, he moved to New York with fellow writer and designer Ari Forman, in order to expand the reach of his magazine, ‘On the Go.’

ESPO’s work often blurred the lines of legality. For example, pieces like ‘Greetings from ESPOLand’ utilized the style of the Asbury Park Billboards and appeared to be a legitimate billboard. In 1997 ESPO began his most ambitious non-commissioned art. He painted on storefront grates in Fort Greene, Bedford-Stuyvesant, TriBeCa, and the South Bronx, covering the entire grate with white or silver paint and then using black to make each grate into a letter in his name.

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March 27, 2012


abc by inkie

Inkie is a London based painter and street artist, originally from Bristol. He is cited as being part of Bristol’s graffiti heritage, along with Banksy, 3D and Nick Walker. Inkie began working as part of Crime Incorporated Crew (CIC) in 1983, along with Felix and Joe Braun. He was one of many arrested in 1989 during ‘Operation Anderson,’ the UK’s largest ever graffiti bust. He arranged 1998’s ‘Walls On Fire’ event with Banksy, on the site of the future At-Bristol center.

He has subsequently worked in the video game industry, including some time as head of creative design at Sega, where his work featured in ‘Jet Set Radio.’ Inkie was one artist present to do live painting at the launch of Banksy’s book ‘Bristol: Home Sweet Home.’ Inkie has likened the time spent training as a graffiti artist to that of classical musicians.

March 22, 2012

Mear One

mear one

Mear One, real name Kalen Ockerman (b. 1971), is a Los Angeles-based artist, famously known for his often-political street graffiti art. Commonly referred to as the ‘Michelangelo’ of graffiti, Mear One is commonly associated with CBS (Can’t Be Stopped – City Bomb Squad) and WCA (West Coast Artist) crews. As a graphic designer, Mear One has designed apparel for Conart, Kaotic, as well as his own Reform brand.

Mear One has done album covers for artists like Non Phixion, Freestyle Fellowship, Alien Nation, Limp Bizkit, Busdriver and Daddy Kev. In 2004, Mear One joined artists Shepard Fairey and Robbie Conal to create a series of ‘anti-war, anti-Bush’ posters for a street art campaign called ‘Be the Revolution’ for the art collective ‘Post Gen.’ As a famed L.A. street artist and prolific graffiti writer for over 20 years his partners have included Skate One, Az Rock, Tren, Item, Anger, Yem, and Cisco.

March 22, 2012

David Choe

Obama by david choe

David Choe [chwae] (b. 1976) is a Korean American muralist, graffiti artist, and graphic novelist from Los Angeles. He achieved art world success with his ‘dirty style’ figure paintings—raw, frenetic works which combine themes of desire, degradation, and exaltation. Outside of galleries, he is closely identified with the bucktoothed whale he has been spray-painting on the streets since he was in his teens.

Choe’s work appears in a wide variety of urban culture and entertainment contexts. For example, he provided the cover art for Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s multi-platinum album ‘Collision Course,’ and created artwork to decorate the sets of ‘Juno’ and ‘The Glass House.’ During the 2008 presidential race, Choe painted a portrait of then-Senator Barack Obama for use in a grassroots street art campaign. The original was later displayed in the White House.

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February 5, 2012

King Robbo


King Robbo is an English underground graffiti artist who became more widely known following a graffiti war with Banksy. Robbo painted his first train in 1985 and the ‘Merry Christmas’ train of 1988, a joint piece created with ‘Drax WD,’ received coverage in the British media.

His feud with Banksy burnished Robbo’s profile and he entered the commercial art world with a number of gallery shows and commissions in 2010. In 1985 King Robbo painted a large full color graffiti piece called ‘Robbo Incorporated’ on a wall beside Regent’s Canal in London which was only accessible by water. Over the years it became degraded with a few small pieces of graffiti over the top.

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October 18, 2011

Cool “Disco” Dan

cool disco dan

Cool “Disco” Dan is the pseudonym of graffiti artist Dan Hogg (b. 1969). His standard mark, a particularly styled rendering of his name, has proliferated in the Washington metropolitan area, notably on surfaces along the route of the Washington Metro Red Line.

He has been spraying his tag since 1984. Part of the Go-Go scene of the 80’s in Washington; he managed to avoid being jailed or killed unlike a lot of his contemporaries by devoting himself to graffiti rather than becoming involved with drugs or gangs. The pervasiveness of his mark was reported frequently in the local press.

June 21, 2011

Mr. Brainwash


Thierry Guetta

Mr. Brainwash (‘MBW’) is a pseudonym for Thierry Guetta in the film ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ directed by Banksy. Guetta is presented in the 2010 film as a French citizen who now lives in Los Angeles, having been a proprietor of a clothing store and videographer who evolved into a street artist and gallery artist, influenced by the street artists he documented through video over the years.

According to the film, Guetta was first introduced to street art by his cousin, the French street artist, Invader. The film includes authentic documentation of Space Invader, Shepard Fairey, Banksy, and other well-known street artists at work on the streets, and is directed by Banksy with significant participation from Fairey.

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June 14, 2011

Ben Wilson

ben wilson by paul squire

Ben Wilson is a London-based artist who creates tiny works of art by painting onto chewing gum stuck to the pavement. Wilson started experimenting with occasional chewing-gum paintings in 1998, and in 2004 began working on them full time.

He has created more than 10,000 of these works on pavements all over the UK and parts of Europe. Wilson heats the gum with a small blow torch and then adds lacquer to harden it. He then uses special acrylic paints to create his designs. The paintings can take up to ten hours to produce. In 2005, he was arrested in Trafalgar Square, and in 2009 he was arrested by the City of London Police on suspicion of criminal damage, although the case was dropped a few months later.

April 3, 2011

Ron English

ron english

Ron English (b. 1959) is an American contemporary artist who explores popular brand imagery and advertising. His signature style employs a mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, including comic superhero mythology and totems of art history. He is also widely considered a seminal figure in the advancement of street art away from traditional wild-style lettering and into clever statement and masterful trompe l’oeil (the illusion of three dimensions). He has created illegal murals and billboards that blend biting political, consumerist and surrealist statements, hijacking public space worldwide for the sake of art since the 1980s.

Culture jamming is one aspect of his work, involving ‘liberating’ commercial billboards with his own messages. Frequent targets of his work include Joe Camel, McDonald’s, and Mickey Mouse.  English is as well-known for his photorealist technique and inventive use of color and comic book collage as he is for his unique cast of characters, including sexualized animals, skeletal figures, Marilyn Monroe with Mickey Mouse breasts, the corpulent fast food spokesman ‘MC Supersized,’ and one of his most significant creations, ‘Abraham Obama,’ a fusion of America’s 16th and 44th Presidents. English also takes inspiration from Andy Warhol, the band KISS, and various cartoons.

March 29, 2011

Jean-Michel Basquiat


Jean-Michel Basquiat [bah-skee-ott] (1960 – 1988) was a Neo-expressionist painter who got his start as a graffiti artist in NYC in the late 1970s. He died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. In 1976, Basquiat and friend Al Diaz began spray-painting political-poetical graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan, working under the pseudonym SAMO. In 1979, he formed the noise rock band Gray with Vincent Gallo. In 1983-84 he was a frequent collaborator with Andy Warhol. The record price for a Basquiat painting is $14.6 million, paid in 2007 for an untitled 1981 piece. In keeping with his street art roots, Basquiat often incorporated words into his paintings.

He would often draw on random objects and surfaces. A major reference source throughout his career was ‘Gray’s Anatomy,’ which his mother gave to him while in the hospital at age seven. It remained influential in his depictions of internal human anatomy, and in its mixture of image and text. Other reference sources were Henry Dreyfuss’ ‘Symbol Sourcebook,’ Da Vinci’s notebooks, and Brentjes’ ‘African Rock Art.’ Basquiat doodled often, and some of his later pieces, done mostly with colored pencils on paper, exhibit this, often with a loose, spontaneous, and dirty style much like his paintings.

March 28, 2011

Keith Haring

Radiant Baby

untitled 1985

Keith Haring [hah-ring] (1958 – 1990) was an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, at age 19 he moved to NYC, where he was inspired by graffiti art, and studied at the School of Visual Arts. Haring achieved his first public attention with chalk drawings in the subways. The exhibitions were filmed by the photographer Tseng Kwong Chi. Around this time, ‘The Radiant baby’ became his symbol. His bold lines, vivid colors, and active figures carry strong messages of life and unity. Starting in 1980, he organized exhibitions in Club 57, a performance venue.

He participated in the Times Square Exhibition and drew, for the first time, animals and human faces. In 1981 he sketched his first chalk drawings on black paper and painted plastic, metal and found objects. Haring died of AIDS-related complications. By expressing concepts of birth, death, love, sex and war, his imagery has become a widely recognized visual language of the 20th century. His work was featured in several of the Red Hot Organization’s efforts to raise money for AIDS and AIDS awareness. Specifically, its first two albums, ‘Red Hot + Blue’ and ‘Red Hot + Dance’ — the latter of which used Haring’s work on its cover.