Countdown: The Top 30 Street Artists of All Time, Pt II

Winding down from Armory Week, and the success Hamburg Kennedy had at Scope New York, we continue our countdown of the Top 30 Street Artists of All Time...

 Blek Le Rat    
  
 
  
    
  
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     19. Th  is legendary Parisian graffiti artist is considered by many street art aficionados to be the father of the type of stencil-based graffiti that has been used by some of the most well known in the world, including Banksy. Born Xavier Prou,  Blek  is another successful street artist who has enjoyed a good relationship with the gallery and museum worlds. He has also published books featuring his  artwork . His pseudonym comes from the rat images that he painted all around Paris early in his career. Despite his success, Prou is still active in the graffiti scene and his recent street works can be seen in London, Paris, Berlin and New York City.

Blek Le Rat

19. This legendary Parisian graffiti artist is considered by many street art aficionados to be the father of the type of stencil-based graffiti that has been used by some of the most well known in the world, including Banksy. Born Xavier Prou, Blek is another successful street artist who has enjoyed a good relationship with the gallery and museum worlds. He has also published books featuring his artwork. His pseudonym comes from the rat images that he painted all around Paris early in his career. Despite his success, Prou is still active in the graffiti scene and his recent street works can be seen in London, Paris, Berlin and New York City.

 Retna at Hamburg Kennedy Photographs

Retna at Hamburg Kennedy Photographs

18. Retna is a Los Angeles-based graffiti artist and muralist who has created an impressive collection of murals characterized by exotic lettering that brings to mind hieroglyphics, Asian calligraphy and other types of classical scripts. He often puts his trademark lettering and color patterns around lifelike portraits to create distinctive murals. His work can be seen throughout Los Angeles and in cities from New York to Miami to Barcelona.

Lady Pink, Los Angeles, CA

17. Lady Pink was born in Ecuador, but raised in NYC. In 1979 she started writing graffiti and soon was well known as the only female capable of competing with the boys in the graffiti subculture. Pink painted subway trains from the years 1979-1985. She is considered a cult figure in the hip-hop subculture since the release of the motion picture "Wild Style" in 1982, in which she had a starring role. While still in high school she was already exhibiting paintings in art galleries, and at the age of 21 had her first solo show at the Moore College of Art. As a leading participant in the rise of graffiti-based art, Lady Pink's canvases have entered important art collections such as those of the Whitney Museum, the MET in New York City, the Brooklyn Museum and the Groningen Museum of Holland. 

 

 

david choe

16. David Choe is an American painter, muralist, graffiti artist and graphic novelist of Korean descent.  He achieved art world success with his "dirty style" figure paintings and 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.

15. Jean-Michel Basquiat  first achieved notoriety as part of SAMO, an informal graffiti group who wrote enigmatic epigrams in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City during the late 1970s where the hip hop, post-punk and street art movements had coalesced. By the 1980s he was exhibiting his Neo-expressionist and Primitivist paintings in galleries and museums internationally. 

 Jean-Michael Basquiat, Bird on Money 1981, acrylic and crayon on canvas

Jean-Michael Basquiat, Bird on Money 1981, acrylic and crayon on canvas

Basquiat's art focused on "suggestive dichotomies," such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience.[He appropriated poetry, drawing and painting, and married text and image, abstraction and figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.

 

 ROA, Zaragoza Art to Mural Festival, 2014

ROA, Zaragoza Art to Mural Festival, 2014

14. Roa only came onto the international street art scene in 2008 or 2009, but his talent was already clear. His arrival on the global stage seems to have marked the start of the trend towards street art festivals, large-scale murals, and the version of the globetrotting street artist. His artwork depicts the life and decomposition process of various animals, often on a massive scale, using predominantly black, white, and red.

 

 

13. Sam3 is a master of placement. Typically using nothing more than black paint, Sam3's conceptually driven works are massive in scale. He adds interest to his pieces by playing with the negative space on the buildings he paints. Street artists today who paint simple black silhouettes are almost inevitably compared to Sam3, but those who play with space are equally indebted to him.

beneine

12. Ben Eine paints letters. Lots and lots of letters. He is known in particular for painting shop shutters in London's Shore ditch neighborhood, London's street art hub, and helping to spark the mentality of shop owners in the area who encourage street artists to paint their property. Eine found commercial success while being represented by Banksy's Pictures On Walls print company, and his popularity peaked when David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, gave President Barack Obama a painting by Eine entitled Twenty First Century City.

11. Interesni Kazki (IK) is Aleksei Bordusov and Vladimir Manzhos, a duo from the Ukraine who also goes by their respective aliases AEC and WAONE. They began working together in 1999. They were the precursors of the graffiti movement in the East European countries and since then, these guys have created many murals in the Ukraine and Russia and in countries all over the world, in their distinctive narrative and symbolist style. Aleksei and Vladimir are inspired by themes such as science, religion, cosmology and social subjects, though they usually make work with free meanings that everyone can interpret on their own.