Street art, just like any other subversive visual arts form, has to contend with both the popularization of its practice and the changing styles and influences that shape the contours of its development both locally and globally. Teaching a special topics course on Urban, Street, and Graffiti Art this semester has provided a tremendous opportunity to further explore where the similarities exist between the aims and shared goals of the historical avant-garde (from the early to mid twentieth century) and the many groups of contemporary street artists located in major cities around the world.
Most recently, I asked the students in my class to complete a questionnaire to help me assign them a specific artist to follow and research for a larger term project in the course, and I was struck by both the incredible diversity and global reach that the final group of assigned artists represents in connection to my student’s own unique interests. I am sharing the assigned artists here with you (and they can also be located on this dedicated Pinterest Board) in the hopes that I can spark further curiosity in an art form that attracts so much undeserved derision from many art historians and even from within the more mainstream art world (Jerry Saltz, I am looking at you!). Do people simply forget the story and legacy of Jean-Michel Basquiat? Perhaps that is only a further sign that this kind of art deserves even more serious attention. That said, I invite you to explore the following artists by clicking on the images below and following them on social media to see where their next projects take you.
In order from top to bottom, left to right:
BTOY (Barcelona, Spain); ETAM KRU (Warsaw, Poland); ELLE (Brooklyn, USA); D*FACE (London, UK); WRKLESS (Vancouver, Canada); SWOON (New York, USA); LADY AIKO (Tokyo, Japan); Magda Sayeg (Houston, USA); FAITH47 (Cape Town, South Africa); Alec Monopoly (New York, USA); KEF (Aachen, Germany); INTI (Valparaíso Chile); ARTISTRASH (Barcelona, Spain); 281_ANTI-NUKE (Tokyo, Japan); Ron English (New York, USA); a1one (Tehran, Iran); SAMSAM (New Delhi, India); RETNA (Los Angeles, USA); Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (Brooklyn, USA); HANKSY (New York, USA); DALEAST (Beijing, China and Cape Town, South Africa); Shamsia Hassani (Kabul, Afghanistan); LIK ME (Bogota, Columbia); DAKU (New Delhi, India); AXEL VOID (Miami, Florida); I HEART (Vancouver, Canada)