Peep These 7 Underrated Street Artists Not Named Banksy
Banksy is to street art as Pablo Picasso was to modern art. Like the mustachioed maverick, Banksy is world-renowned, mercilessly copied, and serves as the go-to name for fans who might not actually know about the art scene. The problem is, where there are concrete walls, there is street art. Other street artists deserve our attention, and, unlike Banksy, who remains (barely) anonymous, many of them are available for interviews. Picking a mere handful is a daunting task—sites like Unurth have spent years archiving their favorite pieces. But worry not, after the occasional traffic jam, Milk revved up this list of 7 street artists worth following.
All of NYC is Jim Joe’s Advice Column
Like Basquiat, Jim Joe‘s scratchy handwriting is instantly recognizable. Most famously, Jim’s slanted chicken scratch presents the album art for Drake’s mixtape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Similarly, the artist’s personal work often appears as simple adages followed by a signature. The shared canvas takes the nonsensical observations of fridge poetry out of the kitchen and onto the streets.
Invader’s 8-Bit Aesthetics Take Over the Globe
French street artist Invader gets his inspiration from the classic 1978 video game, Space Invaders. As one might expect, a lot of his work recontextualizes the pixel art of the aliens, placing digitized art in real-world locales. Invader’s work, then, shows pixel art as it slowly gets memorialized and placed in the pantheon of visual aesthetics.
Kashink’s Googly Eyes Interrogate Gender
Parisian street artist Kashink‘s street art is duplicitous in nature. Many of her subjects are men—cartoony men with thin mustaches and two sets of eyes that reveal a range of emotions. Are these men street-hardened, as their grimaces and tattoos might convey? Or are they softies at heart, with innocent smiles and big, dumb eyes? Kashink acts out her art as well, appearing in public with a mustache, either painted or drawn on. In an art sector dominated by masculine voices, Kashink’s work stands out both stylistically and culturally.
Miss Van Explores Feminine Sexuality Through Dolled Up Graffiti
The early graffiti art from Vanessa Alice Bensimon, aka Miss Van, featured dolled-up, hyper-sexualized women with darkly slanted eyes. These pieces were the focus of feminist critique in their portrayal of women in a uniformly sexual, objectified way. However, her later work has complicated that narrative by layering on gothic elements and visual abstraction. They present themselves as absinthe-fueled delusions, as hyperbolic as Jessica Rabbit. The sexuality is as unreal as the lines that create them.
Etam Cru Brings Us Into Wonderland
Etam Cru is a street art duo, featuring the work of Polish men Bezt and Sainer. Their public murals combine refined line work with a squash of human and animal subjects. The effect is altogether Lewis Carroll-esque, as grand as the walls they inhabit.
Luz Interruptus Casts Political Messages in a New Light
Spanish art group Luz Interruptus portrays political messages through light fixtures. Bodybags, litter, and discarded books are all affixed with lightbulbs in order to draw attention to them. It’s easy to ignore the amount of trash that collects in our peripheral vision, but it’s a lot harder to ignore when it has an iridescent glow.
Stinkfish Turns Photographs into Colorful Flourishes
Colombian street artist Stinkfish begins his work by finding a suitable photograph. Oftentimes, these portraits depict unassuming subjects, from rural Russia to the fields of Cambodia. He creates stencils from the photos—lifelike line work. From there on, though, all bets are off. His work is colorific, as splendid as a phoenix, with bursts of pastel yellow and shocks of red imbuing his work with its own sense of immortality. Stinkfish manages to catch the eye, to get passersby to stop and stare at those they might normally pass over during their hurried rush to work.
Images courtesy of Unurth, StreetArtNYC, Etam Cru, Instagram.
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