Contemporary Art

Ten Street Artists you should know other than Banksy

November 2nd, 2008 by Jeffrey Pena

Banksy has reached world wide fame for his street art. He is the subject of many books, magazine articles and his works sells in auctions and galleries world wide. However, there are many other artists that are putting out amazing work and deserve some praise. In the spirit of ackowledging those street artists I have compiled a top ten list of street artist you should know. I am using this list as a catalyst for conversation, on that note, you should feel free to propose your own top ten!

10. Imminent Disaster / 9. NeckFace
neckfaceimminentdisaster Ten Street Artists you should know other than Banksy

Imminent Disaster’s paper cut stencils are often inspired by her love for 18th and 19th century oil paintings, specifically by Caravaggio. Although not the sole body of her work, she often portrays women in her art work. Imminent Disaster started her quest in public art with culture jamming – adding and altering advertisements in popular stores.

Neckface is a bay area artist that now lives and works in New York. His work is known internationally – i have seen his tags in major cities like Tokyo and Rome. He paints creatures in tighty whities, huge crawly hands and other creatures that are both comical and disturbing.

8. Elbow Toe / 7. Jef Aerosol
elbowtoejefaerosol Ten Street Artists you should know other than Banksy

Elbow Toe is a Brooklyn based artist known for his figurative works on paper. He uses a range of medium from charcoal to acrylic paint. He creates large woodcuts, drawings and paintings which are then carefully placed in an urban setting.

Jef Aerosol is one of the first French street artists in the early 80s. His main body of work consists of witty stencils and can be seen in Paris, London, Venice and Amsterdam. Jef Aerosol works mainly in black and white and has a great graphic sensiblity.
6. Blu / 5. Seen
bluseen Ten Street Artists you should know other than Banksy

Blu is an artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is known for large scale paintings of human like creatures all over the world. Blu has some very impressive animation that you should also google. I first saw Blu’s work in Verona. There is a new book published of his works between 2004 and 2007. Go out and cop this!

Seen is an artist from the Bronx, New York (my hometown). He is known as The Godfather of Graffiti and was one of the artist featured in the documentary Style Wars (a must watch film by PBS). Originally a graffiti artist, Seen, started producing works on canvas and has shown with many of the other great street artists of the early 80s including Basquiat and Keith Haring.

4. Obey / 3. Swoon
ObeySwoon Ten Street Artists you should know other than Banksy

Shepard Fairey is an artist, graphic designer, illustrator that started the Obey Giant campaign while he was a student at RISD. This artist has an amazing “take it to the street” mentality. His images have a viral way of spreading across america. Most recently, his Obama Hope posters are images that have shaped the Obama campaign.

Swoon is originally from Florida but now lives and works in New York. She often portrays women issues in her artwork which mostly consists of paper cutouts. I first met Swoon when I was helping at the Feral show at the Luggage Store Gallery in an Francisco. Although most of her work is in the streets, she is shown in galleries world wide. Swoon has a formal art education from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

2. Barry McGee / 1. Os Gemeos
barrymcgeeosgemeos Ten Street Artists you should know other than Banksy

Barry McGee, also known as Twist, is an artist from San Francisco. He got his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and originally worked as a graffiti artist. After being included in the Venice Biennale, alot of Barry’s work was scavenged and stolen. He was married to Margaret Kilgallen (honorable mention, RIP). He is also one of the founding fathers of the low brow art movement and the mission school.

While I am not sure if they should count (because they are really two people), my top post goes to Os Gemeos (portuguese for the twins). Os Gemeos are a pair of twins from Brazil, their work consists of large scale cartoon figures with intricate patterns on their clothes often scaling entire building facades. I love these guys because they represent alot of the elements of hip hop cultures; they started out as break dancers before moving on to being graffiti artists. I also found out about these guys from “The Luggage Store” where they had their first US solo exhibition.

Honorable Mentions: Blek le Rat, Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, James de la Vega, Margaret Kilgallen, Kill Pixie , Graffiti Research Lab, Dreck, HaHa


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This entry was posted on Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 at 4:08 pm and is filed under Street Art.
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  • http://www.dynoisthename.blogspot.com DYNO


  • http://flickr.com/photos/crystalytownsend crystal townsend

    if anyone is into banksy, swoon, blek, or shepard “obey” fairey, they should definitely pick up a copy of russell howze’s STENCIL NATION book, which features all of the above and others as well.

  • http://www.curbsandstoops.com admin

    That is a good recommedation! I actually have that book and love it, although the layout does bother me a little…yikes! Another book that would be good to look into is Cedar Lewisohn’s Street Art: The Graffiti Revolution. Lewisohn’s book is more of a chronological story and is probably more academic than Stencil Nation which is really just a series of images by many talented artists.

    You have great stencils yourself! why don’t you take them to the streets?


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  • Melissa cruz

    Please the man is overly exploited especially when has painted a picture of puerto ricans , represented by a fish swimming towards welfare, in the summer he has chairs outside thats dislplays “for blacks only” he has displayed outside his window where little kids can see, art picutre of the seame gang , barney etc in sexual attributes, mind you he has a kid.. he didnt vote for obama and swore that he didnt want black person in office. He is a republican for christ sakes and voted for Mccain. He uses under handed schemes to expoilt his own fame.

    It just hurts that a puerto rican man that started with grafitti just degrades what got him started and what he represents. His own pride is what has degraded himself a bit

  • http://tr.im/3g1s jzzy

    Awesome blog!

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