British street artist Phlegm’s works don’t use bold fluorescent colors that we usually associate with street art but reference the ancient art of woodblock prints and engravings. With mythical imagery of dragons, elongated fishermen, and unearthly beasts, Phlegm’s detailed black and white drawings use the contemporary medium of street art to take us back to mysterious centuries from long long ago.
When you think of graffiti geometric abstraction isn’t the style that comes to mind but E1000 has managed to mix graffiti and the long and rich history of geometric abstraction on city streets. Filled with rich warm hues that gradate from dark to light E1000 is bringing minimalism and geometry into the most unexpected places.
Vhils doesn’t just apply his street art on top of walls but actually carves into them creating a permanent site specific image that is ingrained onto the surface of the buildings. Becoming one with the pre-existing architecture Vhils chips, scratches, and cuts away at the walls revealing images that were there all along but that no one could see.
In 2002 Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada moved to Barcelona where he began his ‘Identity Series’. Gerada was drawn to the beauty of old surfaces and wanted to blend photo realistic images of anonymous locals to question the controls imposed in public space, and the use and abuse of iconic faces to sell us products and ideas. He decided to apply the same approaches used by advertising, such as strategic positioning and size, but with the intention of creating a poetic counter commentary that fades away with beauty. The Identity Series is about initiating a dialogue with a local community through art. These portraits transformed local, anonymous residents into social icons, giving relevance to an individual’s contribution to the community and touching upon the legacy that each life has to offer.
Gerada chose charcoal for its transparency and ephemeral quality. He involves the visual narrative of the textured wall instead of covering it. These time-based portraits gradually deteriorate. They become a metaphor of the fading of life, of fame and of the things we first thought were so important. The creation of the “Identity Series” is also an act that is environmentally sound and at the mercy of the natural world. The pieces fade away like the warmth after an embrace. The photo realistic drawing is only an aspect of the piece. The importance of the piece is the whole process of creation, destruction and memory. Watch a video of Gerada in action after the jump.
Spanish street artist Escif paints short vignettes of bizarre happenings, surreal situations, and humorous moments. Drawn in a flat graphic style that would lend itself well to story book illustrations, Escif’s narratives embrace the unpredictable, free, dark, wild, and nebulous passerby’s on the street and transplants their stories on city walls.
Carlos Donjuan’s paintings combine his years of painting graffiti with the knowledge that he has gained in academia. By interweaving art history references with graffiti art’s history, Carlos creates a hybrid way of thinking made from art jargon and slang from the streets. His paintings work as narratives that are greatly influenced by everyone from Michelangelo to Alice Neel to Twist to Revok. There are elements in these works that deal with personal influences such as Catholicism, Mexico, Oak Cliff, illegal immigration, politics and family. The portraits not only tell stories, but also document several cultures and movements that these individuals are a part of. Movements and cultures such as skateboarding, fixies, turntablelism, street wear, sneaker heads, graffiti and Hip Hop.
Swiss born graffiti artist TIKA’s website states that he is based in Zürich, Berlin and Rio de Janeiro, raised in Cairo, Bruxelles, and Cologne, with longer stays in Cape Town, Vienna, New York and Mexico D.F. . With a full passport like that It’s no surprise that his work employs a wide mix of cultural and international references. Like an globalized set of hieroglyphics TIKA’s graphic imagery opens a discourse of today’s global society and the nearly forgotten traditions and sagas of the past right on your cities streets and walls.