Australian artist Ben Frost is known for his kaleidoscopic Pop Art, mash-up paintings that take inspiration from areas as diverse as graffiti, collage, photo-realism and sign-writing. By subverting mainstream iconography from the worlds of advertising, entertainment and politics, he creates a visual framework that is bold, confronting and often controversial. He has been exhibiting throughout Australia and internationally over the last 15 years.
Blek Le Rat
Xavier Prou alias Blek Le Rat was born in France in 1951 was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris and is considered as the founder of the international stencil art movement. Blek's first stencils were black rats, seen to be running along the walls throughout the centre of Paris. The rat, also an anagram for 'art', is in Blek's mind "the only animal to survive the apocalypse". In 1983 Blek began to paint life-size stencils, which alongside his rats, have influenced generations of street artists around the world.
Conor Harrington is an Irish street art and urban art artist, born in Cork in 1980. He is known for his expressionistic oil paintings, murals, prints and lithographs. He focuses on themes of masculinity, military, urban and street culture combined with abstract elements of contemporary art. As a teenager, he began tagging walls with graffiti after hanging out at hip-hop clubs. He went on to attend the Limerick School of Art and Design, where he received a BFA in 2002.
FAILE is the Brooklyn-based artistic collaboration between Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. FAILE’s recent exhibitions demonstrate an emphasis on audience participation work and is constructed from found visual imagery, and blurs the line between “high” and “low” culturen, a critique of consumerism, and the incorporation of religious media, architecture, and site-specific/archival research. Since its inception in 1999, FAILE has been known for a wide ranging multimedia practice.
Herakut is a contemporary German artist duo comprised of Hera, a painter, and Akut, a graffiti artist, who combine traditional techniques and spray painting to depict mythological creatures and darkly comedic scenes. These images often correlate to present issues regarding political injustice and social awareness, and are described by Herakut on their website as “sensuous, savage, and dualistic.” Hera (Jasmin Siddiq) was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1981, while Akut (Falk Lehman) was born in Schmalkalden, Germany in 1977.
Jan Kaláb aka Cakes aka Point is a Czech graffiti artist, belonging to the oldest active generation of graffiti writers in the Czech Republic. Jan Kaláb was born 1978 in Czechoslovakia, at a time when the Iron Curtain still existed. In the 80s, when Jan Kaláb was growing up, Eastern World wasn’t familiar with the culture of graffiti. Only a decade later, as Czech Republic separated from Slovakia and the country began opening to different influences, many of western culture became accepted and recognized.
Jean Jullien is a French graphic artist currently living in London. He comes from Nantes and did a graphic design degree in Quimper before coming to London. He graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2008 and from the Royal College of Art in 2010. He works closely with the musician The Coward. His practice ranges from illustration to photography, video, costumes, installations, books, posters and clothing to create a coherent yet eclectic body of work.
Jenny Holzer’s truisms, such as “Abuse of power comes as no surprise” and “Protect me from what I want,” have appeared on posters, billboards, and even condoms, and as LED signs and monumental light projections. Whether questioning consumerism, describing torture, or lamenting death and disease, her use of language (sometimes mistaken for advertising when installed in public spaces) is designed to agitate and disturb. Holzer’s recent work ranges from silk-screened paintings of declassified government memos to a large-scale poetry and light installation in the lobby of 7 World Trade Center, New York. In 1990, Holzer received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale.
In his paintings, drawings, and prints, Jonas Wood merges references to art history, his memories, and visions of the people, objects, and settings that compose the fabric of his life. Working in acrylic and oil on supports including cardboard and canvas, he presents portraits of his friends and family, interior scenes, and still lifes. Through his partially abstract rendering of these subjects and use of bright colors, he emphasizes patterns and forms while flattening out the space in his compositions.
Jonathan Meese was born in 1970 in Tokyo and studied art at the Hochschule der Künste in Hamburg. Exploring such themes as revolution, the failures of ideology, and the role and power of art, Jonathan Meese’s wryly bombastic installations, paintings, sculptures, and performances emerge from the notion of the “Dictatorship of Art,” as he calls it. Having appointed himself its representative, Meese inserts his own image into most of his works, personifying characters from popular culture as well as those of his own devising, according himself cult status.
JR exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. After finding a camera in the Paris metro in 2001, he traveled Europe to meet those who express themselves on walls and facades, and pasted their portraits in the streets, undergrounds and rooftops of Paris. JR creates "Pervasive Art" that spreads uninvited on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle-East, on the broken bridges in Africa or the favelas in Brazil.
Brian Donnelly was born in 1974 and is known professionally as Kaws (stylized as KAWS). He is one of the most successful living contemporary American artists and also a designer. His work includes repeated use of a cast of figurative characters and motifs, some dating back to the beginning of his career in the 1990s, initially painted in 2D and later realised in 3D. Some of his characters are his own creations while others are reworked versions of existing icons. Kaws' sculptures range in size from a few inches to ten metres tall and are made from various materials including fibreglass, aluminium, wood, bronze and a steel pontoon inflatable raft.
Maya Hayuk’s influences are vast, including unlikely combinations such as Ukrainian Easter eggs, Mexican woven blankets, Mandalas, and Rorschach tests. In addition to her myriad inspirations, Hayuk employs almost every material imaginable, using acrylic, ink, glitter, spray paint, watercolors, tape, ballpoint pens, and wheat paste in both public and private spaces. The bright compositions radiate with life and the absolute pleasure that can be found in the collaboration between color and form. In addition to her studio and design practice, Hayuk has several massive, commissioned wall paintings, such as a wall mural in the Bowery neighborhood in New York City.
Mike Lee is a New York based artist who conveys contemporary social attitudes and anxieties through simplified silhouettes of the human form. By avoiding detail and blurring identity, his iconic figures amplify the emotive undertones of his own biographical narratives. These stylized forms are universally relatable and deeply cathartic reflections of the artists own life. Removed from detail and distilled down to their most basic shapes, his forms reflect the contemporary social dilemma. Lee was born in 1983 in Placentia, California, USA. He received his BFA in 2006 from Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California, USA. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Paco Pomet (Granada, 1970) is a Spanish street art and urban art artist whose oil paintings, lithographs, and installations portray scenes with a pronounced sense of humor and irony. He portrays transformations of photographs and rare chromatism combined with contemporary activism. He also uses influences from comics, television and cinema to create expressive works. He was born in the Andalusian city of Granada, where he also studied, currently lives and works.
Born in South London in 1971, British artist Remi Rough has been a cog in the wheel of the art world for over a quarter of a century. A key exponent of the ‘abstract graffiti’ movement in the 1990s, Remi Rough began his career in the 80s on the walls of the city, creating large scale murals which soon developed into abstract-expressionism-meets-graffiti-art. Today, having branched into canvas and paper, Remi Rough is represented by a number of galleries worldwide and has had various solo exhibitions.
Sam Friedman, born 1984 in Oneonta, New York, moves between representational and abstract depictions with seeming ease and spontaneity. He has produced paintings for the greater part of his life that explore primarily the formal concerns of paint, tools and surfaces as they relate to the scale of the human body; while occasionally touching down to get blessed, tainted - or both - by the non-linear narrative of life. Friedman’s paintings pilot a plane that takes us from the ethereal to the earthly, on a ride that is neither past or present, but rather timeless, accessible, and transformatively escapist.
Frank Shepard Fairey, born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1970, is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator and founder of OBEY Clothing who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his "Andre the Giant Has a Posse" (...OBEY...) sticker campaign in 1999 while attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), which appropriated images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News.
Slinkachu was born in Devon in United Kingdom in 1979 and has been “abandoning” his miniature people on the streets of cities around the world since 2006. His work embodies elements of street art, sculpture, installation art and photography and has been exhibited in galleries and museums globally. For him, his work involves remodelling and painting of miniature model train set characters, which he then places and leaves on the street. It is both sculpture, street art installation and photography.
Influenced by elements of popular culture such as anime, manga, Walt Disney cartoons, and punk rock, Yoshitomo Nara creates paintings, sculptures, and drawings of adorable-yet-sinister childlike characters. Painted with simple bold lines, primary colors, and set against empty backgrounds, these small children and animals often share the canvas with text, knives, plants, and cardboard boxes, among other recurring elements. As one of the fathers and central figures of the Japanese neo-Pop movement, Nara’s work expresses the struggle to find an identity fractured by war, rapid modernization, and an omnipresent visual culture.