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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.