Originally devised in the 1960s and greatly popularized in the 1970s, street art has been on a consistent rise in popularity and appreciation. From there, we have seen street art break sharply away from the typical graffiti and take a more artistic expression approach.
Many people may still believe that street is just vandalism, but street art has risen to approach the popularity of traditional paintings in appreciation and even in value. The top street artists in the world command not only respect, but original works can command a hefty price tag too.
It would be impossible to discuss street artist without the mention of Banksy. The most well-known street artist to date, and yet, his real identity is still shrouded in mystery. There are many theories and guesses to his real identity, although none have proved to be true this far. All we know for sure about Banksy is that his art has had an influence second to none.
The political and social commentary within his work have outshone the art itself to give true meaning to his paintings. While Banksy is most commonly known for his street art in the form of painting, he has also done art installations and even the film “Exit Through The Gift Shop” which was nominated for an Academy Award. Some people may still not like his work, or the social commentary displayed by his work, but there is no denying that Banksy has had an incredible hand in changing the way we see street art.
Darryl McCray, or better known as Cornbread, is a graffiti and street artist stemming all the way back to the late 1960s, He is commonly referred to as one of the original street artists who had a helping hand in starting the street art movements. In the early days, even if artistic, murals were simply referred to as tagging, as though done by gang members.
This led to Cornbreads most famous piece where he was wrongly reported to have died, to which cornbread tagged “Cornbread Lives” on the side of an elephant in the Philadelphia Zoo. Street art in the 1970s was seen directly as a gang tagging, so it is understandable that Cornbread found himself on the wrong side of the law on more than one occasion.
The run-ins with the law seemed to be a trend until 1984 when Cornbread was recruited by then Mayor Wilson Goode as part of an anti-graffiti campaign which later evolved into the Mural Arts Program.
Roa is one of the most widely known street artists in the world, having painted in Europe, America, Australia, and Africa. He’s as popular as real money casino games in Malaysia and is well known for painting animals in a signature high contrast black and white, telling a story of connection to the animals and nature.
Another signifying feature of Roa’s work is the scale. He never paints small, and all his work stands proudly tall on the side of buildings. Roa remains anonymous, but unlike Banksy, there doesn’t seem to be a push to reveal his identity.