Which Artists Choose Graffiti for Creative Expression ?
January 16, 202211 min read
Are you fascinated by graffiti and street arts ? Do you want to explore the creative expression behind those arts ? Do you want to know about the world-famous graffiti artists ? Well, if your answer is yes, this article will be a delight for you.
In the present time, many countries worldwide are celebrating graffiti, almost synonymous with street art, as an art form for creative expression. Using creative thinking and artistic motions, graffiti artists successfully express their creative thoughts through their arts. The best part is that the number of graffiti painters and graffiti lovers is increasing daily.
If you want to know all about graffiti art and explore the artists who chose graffiti for creative expression, let's find out right now.
I. The rise and growth of graffiti as creative expression :
The human mind is a storehouse of imagination, unique thoughts, expressions, and creativity. These get released in arts like singing, dancing, painting, and others. Among them, graffitiis a remarkable one, which can be counted as a creative expression without any doubt. Graffitiincorporates lots of colors, a free public space like walls, vehicles, and other surfaces. Graffiti artists usually convey their creative expression through these arts, using spray paints, stencils, crayons, and unique art techniques.
Graffiti and street arts found their places in the early years of the 1970s, especially in big cities like New York. Initially, it started as modest vandalism that ultimately made its place in the heart of art lovers. After that, people worldwide started using graffitias a projectile of their creative expression.
As a creative expression, graffitialways gives artists freedom to express their thoughts. Graffiti is not always meant to be funny. There are many examples of graffitiworks by famous graffiti artists who had successfully expressed their grievances against society through art pieces. Being giant and accessible for all, it works as a universal medium. When the entire generation is accustomed to seeing pictures and artworks on small screens or canvases, graffitiis something unique that is helping the tradition to survive for the upcoming future.
II. The artists who choose graffiti for creative expression :
1) Banksy - the British Street Artist :
The first name that comes to mind while discussing graffiti artists is Banksy. This British street artist named Banksy is a familiar graffiti artist to all art, especially street art lovers. But the fact that made Banksy arguably one of the most mysterious graffiti artists in the world is his artworks under the pseudonym Banksy. Yes ! Banksy is just a pseudonym, and this British graffiti artist's real name and identity are still unconfirmed to the day. But, art knows no bounds. Despite being anonymous, Banksy has created a permanent place in the heart of so many art lovers throughout the world. He is a political activist who has given characters, forms, colors, and a life to his political statements on the walls of several countries. His artworks are the image of his political and social thoughts and grudges against all discrimination. His use of graffiti art to convey his opinions about society and the prejudices is what true art means. However, his creative expression sometimes leads him towards controversy, but can it stop a true artist ? His graffiti works' dark humor, irony, and other satirical implications are genuinely praiseworthy. But, if you think Banksy sells his artworks in return for millions of dollars, you are wrong. Although Banksy used to sell the photographs of his graffiti artworks a few years back, he no longer sells them. But, the unofficial copies of his incredible graffiti works are primarily available, which is more than enough to conserve his position in the list of famous artists throughout the world.
How were the early days of Banksy ?
Inspired by the original stencil pioneer Blek Le Rat's graffiti work, Banksy started his journey in the graffiti field. It can be shown in his early graffiti artworks, where he often used to remodel the prior works of this graffiti artist. As he started growing, Banksy started plopping his unique creative expression to the artworks of his inspiration.
In his first years as a graffiti artist, he used to work with a graffiti art crew of Bristol, UK, named DryBreadZ crew. Eventually, he started working with another famous street art crew named Inkie. When he turned 18, he got almost caught by a police van while bashing walls with colors. As his whole crew ran away and hid behind a trash truck, he suddenly noticed a stencil letter. The stencil hit him, making it the main equipment for his graffiti works.
In the initial years of the 2000s, he started to gain fame. People started to show interest in his graffiti works, and he left Bristol and went to London. After a few years, he sailed his ship of success when he decided to travel to Palestine and the West Bank. He drew nine now-iconic graffiti arts, including the widely known Love in the Air. When his graffiti works got famous instantly via the internet, he received love, respect, and lots of attention from different countries.
From then, Banksy never had to turn back. His creative expressionbroke all records of the past. Along with his artworks, this graffiti artistalso wrote the story and worked as a filmmaker for his "Exit Through the Gift Shop" film in 2010.
Banksy and his artworks :
Banksy has gifted us thousands of precious and extraordinary graffiti works throughout the years. Like him, his famous graffiti workpieces contain a story, mystery, and deep inner meaning. From choosing his canvas to selecting the colors, this graffiti artistnever impresses people. He is often seen choosing already existing things in his canvas. He takes objects like street lights, fire hydrants, lamps, etc., and incorporates these into his graffiti.
So, now, let's explore some of the famous artworks, more specifically, the creative expression of this equally famous graffiti artist.
Balloon girl:Created in 2002, probably Banksy's top graffiti work. The creative expressionshows a standing little girl extending her hands towards a flying red balloon. This simple art piece is dubious among art critics. In short, the graffitidepicts the loss of innocence and the arrival of a new chapter in life.
Sneezing woman, Bristol:In Bristol, Banksy's hometown, you can see a sneezing woman on a wall of a semi-detached house on Vale Street, Totterdown. It is very subtle, candid and illustrates a middle-aged woman sneezing and dropping her bag.
Hula Hoop Girl, Nottingham:If you ever visit Ilkeston Road in Radford, you will see a cute little girl is hula hooping with a wheel of a bicycle on a brick wall. The best part is that Banksy has placed a real bicycle chained to the lamp post, just beside his graffitiart.
Stem Roller Traffic Warden, London:The Stem Roller Traffic Warden is a satirical art piece of Banksy, where he has drawn a traffic warden, getting crashed under a natural roller, surrendering himself. The roller has been parked at Kerbside in Lewisham, London, since 2009.
Kissing Coppers, Brighton :Another controversial artwork of Banksy is Kissing Coppers, where we can see two British policemen kissing. Some critics say it is simply a portrayal of homosexuality, whereas some think the graffiti artistis mocking social authorities through this art.
ONE NATION UNDER CCTV, London:It is a creative expressionof the graffiti artistBanksy, where we can see a little boy in a red hoodie is painting the phrase "ONE NATION UNDER CCTV", and a policeman is watching him doing so.
Slave Labour:In his other graffitiwork, Slave Labour, Banksy has drawn48.03 inches by59.84 inches child at a sewing machine, assembling a bunting of Union Jack patches.
Banksy is the creator of so many incredible graffiti pieces, which art lovers will never forget. Some of his other renowned artworks include Game Changer, Love in the Bin, Devolved Parliament, Bomb Hugger, Show me the Monnet, The Mild Mild West, Follow your Dreams, Well Hung Lover, Spy Booth, Valentine's Banksy, Art Buf, Umbrella Girl, Mobile Lovers, Cardinal Sins, Draw the Raised Bridge, Flying Copper, Toxic Mary, etc.
His unmatchable talent, great endeavor, carefree style, deep humor, and love for art, especially graffiti, has made a special and permanent place for him in the hearts of art lovers throughout the world. But, of course, art lovers will never forget a pure talent like Banksy.
2) Keith Haring - American Pop Artist :
Popularly known as Keith Haring, Keith Allen Haring is a world-famousgraffiti artist. The US-born graffiti artistis an expert in the pop art category. He has gifted uncountable pop art graffiti art pieces to the world. He chose the city subways and sidewalks as a canvas for his arts. He chose a pop of color for giving his graffitia different and innovative meaning. However, he never missed a chance to criticize the rules and discrimination of society and its authorities even though he used bright, joyous colors. He taught the world that expressing true feelings and anger does not need to be serious in tone and color every time. The best example of this philosophy of the famous graffiti artistis shown in his famous work Crack is Wack, where he used bright orange and yellow tones. It refers to the crack cocaine epidemic that affected New York City. If not appropriately seen, the art piece may seem funky pop art from a distance, which in reality conveys a deeper meaning and intention. In this way, his masterpieces brought fun and color to the contemporary community. From children to aged people, all loved and still live the creative expressionof this graffiti artist, his play with colors, the technique of his arts, and so on.
But, unfortunately, this famous pop artist took his last breath in 1990, at the age of 31. In his last years, he used art to spread awareness against HIV and AIDS. Being an AIDS patient himself, this graffiti artist founded the foundation named Keith Haring Foundation to gather people and tell the world about the importance of safe sex and AIDS education. But, within his 31 years of living, the pop art artist has created a high estimation of art and given art such a new turn, which the world and art critics will never forget.
Some of his famous graffiti works include :
Crack is Wack: Created in 1986, Crack Wack is probably one of the best graffiti works of this famous pop artist. He consciously put bright orange, red, and yellow tones in this art piece to express his feelings against the pessimistic effects of crack cocaine.
Radiant Baby: This famous art piece of Keith Haring is a part of his notable series named the "Icon Series". Once again, in this work, he used a pop of orange to draw a baby that represents all innocence, purity, goodness, and potential.
Andy Mouse: In his famous silkscreen prints, Haring drew Andy Mouse, a combination of Walt Disney's Micky Mouse and Andy Warhol. His presentation of America with an essence of fun, color, and creative expression.
Ignorance = Fear:After getting diagnosed with AIDS, Keith drew this excellent piece of art to make aware people of the importance of safe sex and AIDS education. The famous graffiti artistused a pop of color, his signature doodles, and a powerful message in this art piece.
Besides these graffiti arts, his other famous and memorable arts are Free South Africa, Pop Shop III, Safe Sex, Tuttomondo, Montreux, Chocolate Buddha 1, The Boxers, Tower, Fight AIDS Worldwide, Unfinished Painting, Monkey Puzzle, Brazil, Labyrinth, Flowers, Debbie Dick, Your Keith Haring, Paris Mural, Big Bad Wolf, etc.
Basquiat - American Graffiti Artist :
Jean-Michel Basquiat is a world-famous American graffiti artistwidely famous for their striking and electrifying personality. Born in the 1960s in Brooklyn, Basquiat started working as an artist early. His interest and passionate love for art fascinated him to join the Brooklyn Museum of Art as a child member. His love and devotion for art made him drop school at a young age. At 17, he was kicked out of his house by his father for the same reason. But, it didn't stop him from loving art. He started painting the walls of the neighboring towns with spray colors. Later, in 1979, he got a friend with a famous Television show, TV Party's host O'Brien and started appearing on live TV shows.
The graffitiworks of Basquiat revolve around the theme of abstraction, figuration, historical information, etc. In short, his art is hard to understand although, they are eye-catching and mysterious to some extent. He painted hundreds of graffiti under the name SAMO. He drew at his Caribbean heritage, a confluence of African Americans, African cultural histories, remarkable historical figures, pop cultures, and even figures like famous singers, athletes, and so on. His bold and over-the-top use of colors and texture all over his graffiti arts are indeed admirable to date. But, unfortunately, this tremendous graffiti artistdied with his creative expressiononly at the age of 27 due to heroin overdose.
Here are some great artworks of this famous graffiti artistare mentioned below:
Warrior : Through this abstract graffitiartwork, he tried to portray his condition and struggle, like a "warrior", as a black artist in the contemporary world.
50-cent Piece:Basquiat's real identity as one of the finest graffitiartists is seen in his famous historical workpiece50-cent piece, where he has exhibited a perfect blend of poetry and historical events.
Bird on money: Basquiat drew Bird on Money as a tribute to the famous jazz musician Charlie Parker. Once again, he used his imaginations, poetic tone, and lots of colors to give life to the graffitiwork.
Boy and a Dog in a Johnnypump:This graffitiwork of Basquiat is a mixture of acrylic, crayon, and spray paint that depicts a boy, probably himself, with a dog in front of a place called Johnnypump. It is again a masterpiece of the classy graffiti artist.
The famous graffiti artist's other great art pieces include Obnoxious Liberals, Philistines, Profit 1, The Nile, Dustheads, Ascent, etc.
Lady Pink - The "First Lady of Graffiti" :
The Ecuador-born graffiti artist Sandra Fabara, widely known as Lady Pink, is a golden name in graffiti. As a woman graffiti artist, she proved herself going against all social obstacles and has permanently created a name in the world of art. She concentrated on using artworks as acts of revolution and creative expression from an early age. She is an active participant in women's empowerment worldwide, and her arts are her weapons. The name Lady Pink is also an abstract yet refined piece of art. She intentionally used the word "pink" to represent herself as a powerful woman who can beat boys with her fine arts.
The younger self of Lady Pink always wanted to be an architect like her father. However, situations made her an incredible graffiti artist, known as the "first lady of graffiti". The starting of her graffiti was abrupt and related to a fun story. When Sandra was only 15, she went through a bad breakup with her teen boyfriend. She, then, soothed her sadness and pain by writing, cursing, and drawing her boyfriend's name on the walls of New York City. Eventually, she fell in love with graffiti and started using it as a weapon for exposing herself in front of the world. From her high school days, Lady Pink sent her art pieces to art galleries. Then, at 21, she conducted her first solo art show at Moore College of art. With time, she became famous and more famous, and her extraordinary arts became topics of discussion among art lovers.
Along with graffiti, she also played the lead role in a motion picture film named Wild Style. Additionally, she was related to Subway Art, written by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. The multitalented Lady Pink's name is also related to Fashion MODA as she collaborated with it lots of times for exhibitions. Her multitalented, electrifying, and strong personality made her a cult figure in the hip-hop subculture.
Some of the striking workpieces of Lady Pink are:
TC5 in the Yard: It is a mesmerizing graffiti art of Lady Pink, found in the Museum of Graffiti, Miami. It is a beautiful scenario that reflects a night picture with four children.
The Gentleman:In her other masterpiece graffiti, The Gentleman, Lady Pink played with colors and drawing expertise.
Graffiti Herstory:Lady Pink painted herself in her elegant graffiti artwork Graffiti Herstory. Her autobiographical workpiece reflects her life, career, and love for art.
The Black Dude:The Black Dude is another finest work of Lady Pink, where she uses spray paint technique on canvas.
Some other works that reveal the lady graffiti artist's creative expression are China, One Child Only, Brick Lady in Spray, Queen Matilda, Urban Decay, Pink, Lady Liberty, 9/11 Tribute, Welcome to Heaven, John Lennon, The Beatles, and so on.
It was, in short, all about the artists who chose graffiti for creative expression. By choosing graffiti instead of other art forms, the artists played a huge role in art. Being unique, massive, colorful, and free for all, graffiti works differently than other forms of art.
People from all cultures, economic positions, and places can witness the arts without paying. But, on the other hand, the arts will live long, implying the concurrent histories, traditions, and cultures to the next generation.