Art of the Walls: Discovering the Tale of Graffiti Artists

  • Posted by: Rupashree Ravi

The emergence of graffiti as an art form has transformed the walls of urban cities into thought-provoking canvases for socio-political messages. Initially perceived as delinquent behavior, graffiti has come a long way since its inception in the 1970s, with street artists challenging the norms and conveying powerful messages to the public. As a pioneer in making art widely available to all, graffiti has evolved into a respected form of expression. Blek le Rat, often referred to as the 'father of stencil graffiti,' introduced a novel technique to the Paris graffiti scene with his signature rat, which became a symbol of the marginalized communities and the homeless in France.

Image Source: Blek le Rat

As time passed, graffiti in England began to be seen as more illegal compared to other parts of the world, as critics perceived it as a form of vandalism. This led to the rise of an underground scene where anonymous artists, including Banksy, conveyed revolutionary messages through their art. Banksy, who appropriated Blek le Rat's iconic rats, adopted a unique approach to portray the issues of consumerism and capitalism prevalent in our society. Banksy's influence has been significant in shaping contemporary guerrilla art movements. While Banksy's upbringing and the issues he represents are vastly different from Blek le Rat's, their use of iconography and symbolism remains similar. Additionally, Banksy is known for using monkeys as underdogs in his original canvases.

Image Source: Banksy 

Mr. Brainwash, a street artist who gained fame after being featured in Banksy's 2010 documentary, is well-known for incorporating elements of pop art into his street art. He aims to create art that is accessible to anyone, anywhere. Mr. Brainwash achieved worldwide recognition through his debut exhibition, "Life is Beautiful," which led to a major auction where his works were sold for no less than five figures.

Image Source: Mr. Brainwash

While traditional graffiti artists are typically not featured in museums or galleries, contemporary artists like Lady Pink and Barry McGee have showcased their work in commercial spaces. The worldwide graffiti scene is a unique success story, characterized by its impromptu, timeless, and free nature. The Arabian Gallery features its own artists who have captured the graffiti scene around the world. Their stellar works can be viewed on the gallery's website.
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Feature Image: Donell Gumiran