Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Shepard Fairey gained international recognition by challenging the borders of fine art and pop art. His 1989 “Obey Giant” campaign put him in the spotlight. He describes this piece as an experiment in how a message deprived of clear motivations can spark meaning. Shepard has, since then, prompted his audience to question power dynamics, with a thoughtful choice of contrasting colors and iconic characters. In 2008, his President Obama “Hope” poster, adopted as the official campaign emblem, ensured Fairey lasting posterity and a place among the cultural giants.
Based in Southern California, Cryptik draws from diverse eastern traditions, ancient wisdom and what he calls mantradalas, to create trance-inducing pieces of art. While his broad approach to creation gives place to a palette of comforting wonders, he manages to tell the story of spiritual universality by making the known and the unknown coexist in peace. Cryptik’s mysterious ways found homes throughout the urban landscapes of North America, Europe and Asia.
PichiAvo is a duo of Spanish artists hell-bent on provoking a cultural categorization crisis: their work manifests itself through the reactive fusion of opposite forces, classical Greek sculptures dueling with graffiti and urban expression. The exciting fusion of art forms – classical heritage with present practices – unites the delicate and the raw expression, giving birth to their urban poetry. Their work can be seen all over Europe and in the United States, where they were commissioned in 2016 to create a mural for the Miami Dolphins’ new stadium.
The gracious work of Poni is an invitation to wonder about our immediate surroundings and the relationships we most closely share. Raised in Mexico City, the multidisciplinary artist expresses her talent through illustration works, paintings, ceramic sculptures and street art murals. Female characters are omnipresent in her art, radiating airy and natural feelings. Her more abstract work is no different. Beyond the fragility of her touch lies a great strength. Her work adorns walls in Canada and Mexico, as well as the pages of magazines around the globe.
Growing up surrounded with urban art in the streets of Mexico City, Smithe picked up his first spray can at 12 years old. Mexican culture, poignant colors and science-fiction are recurring themes. He believes his strongest inspiration comes from his father, and his encyclopedia of cars with exploding diagrams. This way of blowing things up to understand inner workings is certainly the most striking feature of his work. Smithe has made a name for himself as a graffiti writer and has participated in some of the most recognized art shows in Germany, Belgium, Spain and England.
Noted as street art’s hottest UK talent by Global Street Art, Nomad Clan is the collaborative project of Cbloxx and AYLO, two Manchester-based female artists. Their work is strongly influenced by local heritage and imagery, often portraying playful scenes and characters from tales heard at nearby public places. Proudly celebrating local history, while underlining present social issues, Nomad Clan has notably been featured in Sweden, Marseilles, Belfast and London.
It’s in good humor that Jaune, a Belgian stencil artist and urban interventionist, draws from his past as a sanitation worker to make visible what is seldom seen existing in the background. Flipping the narrative, his characters, all dressed in high-visibility vests and portrayed in absurdly eye-catching scenarios, seem completely unaware that they are being watched, revealing their secret life. Jaune’s characters were seen in fluorescent clothing at “POW! WOW! Long Beach”, but his work can always be found in galleries and festivals across the United States, Belgium, Canada and Norway.
When he started painting streets, Roadsworth was primarily concerned about the lack of bike paths. Today, the Canadian artist and activist focuses his efforts on urban beautification. Better known for his large surrealist street paintings, Roadsworth is also a muralist, a painter, an installation artist and a music composer. His work interacts with the urban canvas, and cities and festivals around the world have commissioned him. Years after getting arrested for doing what he does best, he is now held in the highest regard in Montreal, as well as Taiwan, Barcelona, Moscow and Santiago, Chile.
After studying azulejo, a form of tin-glazed ceramic tilework traditional to Portugal – his home country – Add Fuel decided to experiment with the possibilities offered by pattern symmetry and tessellation, introducing it to non-traditional urban settings. His large pieces often produce complex illusions as he challenges his traditional heritage to embrace contemporary vibrancy. His work has been exhibited in France, Switzerland, Norway, the UK and in Tunisia, where he collaborated in 2014 on the Djerbahood project with 150 other artists from 30 countries.
Born in Québec city, Laurence Vallières is famous for her large-scale cardboard sculptures. Often displayed overhanging buildings, her work took a turn after an artist residency in Russia where she appropriated the street art influence. Today, the Canadian artist is recognized internationally for her life-like animal sculptures expressing, with the most disposable material, the impermanence and fragility of nature. Her work is featured around the world, most notably in Berlin, London, Madrid, Hawaii, Miami, Montreal and South Korea.