Street art: 45 incredible examples
Street art is rife across the globe. Although the term is often associated with urban spray paint art, it comes in all shapes and forms, from sculptures to ‘yarn bombing’, and it has inspired everything from graffiti font families to window displays and beyond.
In this article, we’ve gathered together the work of our favourite inspirational street artists, featuring some well-known faces, as well as some you may not have heard of – but will want to hear more about. Some just want to brighten up their neighbourhoods, while others have political points to make. But whatever their motivation, we think what they’ve produced is simply incredible!
London-based Dface’s work draws on things he was inspired by in childhood – skate graphics, album art and cartoons – and some of his work is clearly indebted to pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Dface’s most recent work is a stunning Lichtenstein-inspired piece on an epic scale; ‘Behind Closed Doors’ is painted on the side of the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, and cleverly uses the shape of the building to give it an added sense of depth.
02. Reskate Studio
The Harreman Project, by Barcelona-based Reskate Studio, uses reminiscence, the etymology of language and a touch of irony, plus plenty of photosluminescent paint, to create artwork that changes depending on the light and allows for multiple readings of the same work. This piece, Asombrar, was created for Fisart Romania in 2015.
…until you turn on a UV light
Antonio Segura Donat, or Dulk, grew up copying illustrations of exotic animals from his parents’ old encyclopaedias, and used to take his sketchbook everywhere with him. Having studied illustration then graphic design, today he works as an all-purpose artist tackling drawing, painting, sculpture and advertising, but it’s his large-scale street art, featuring surreal creatures in imaginary landscapes, that really grabs the attention.
Mobstr is a multi-talented street artist with a strong line in fake billboards, but it’s his Progressions that we really love. Documented across a series of photos, he plays fantastic mind games with the poor souls whose job it is to clean graffiti off the streets, using little more than stencilled letters.
Glasgow based street artist Smug specialises in photo-realistic graffiti, with the Scottish city his infinite canvas thanks to a council funded mural initiative.
After picking up a spray painting can over a decade ago, the artist has developed a unique and mesmorising style – rendered entirely freehand. His meticulously detailed work can be seen transforming walls all over the UK and Europe, and even as far away as Australia.
06. Mario Celedon
Culture capital of Chile, Valparaiso is the home of many a talented artist, including Mario Celedon. Best known for his incredible street art, Celedon’s colourful and detailed paintings can be seen in various places around the city, but our favourite artwork has got to be the intricate illustrations on these steps.
07. Ernest Zacharevic
Lithuanian-born artist, Ernest Zacharevic, brings fine art technique to the great outdoors. Using a multitude of disciplines from installations and sculptures to oil painting, stencils and spray paint, Zacharevic’s experimentations remove the restriction of artistic boundaries.
Based out of Penang, Malaysia, the artist first grabbed global attention in 2012 after creating a series of murals for Georgetown Festival, resulting in the BBC dubbing him Malaysia’s answer to Banksy. Since then, his Georgetown murals have become cultural landmarks and his work can be seen from Singapore to LA.
Italian street artist, Peeta, is known for his 3D graffiti. Using gradients of colour, his 2D street art gives off the impression of multiple dimensions, creating the illusion it is sculpture, rather than paint. On top of this, the artist creates actual graffiti-inspired street art sculptures.
Beginning back in 1993, the artist has travelled the globe, spending a lot of time in both Canada and the US. After gaining plenty of experience as a graffiti artist in Europe and America, Peeta started painting canvases and now runs his own business selling canvases and sculptures.
His name, taken from Green medicine, was believed to be responsible for an apathetic and unemotional temperament but his art evokes anything but. Sheffield-based UK artist, Phlegm, started out in self-published comics, bringing this detailed illustration style to the streets.
Creating surreal, storybook imagery, the artist works soley in monochrome and each piece forms part of a grand narrative that extends worldwide, from Canada to Australia.
10. Mr Dheo
Rejecting any formal training, Mr Dheo believes this helped him to develop his own techniques, which enabled him to evolve without direct influences.
The Portuguese artist’s bold, graphic style lends itself to graffiti art, the bigger the better and his art has featured in over 30 international cities, collaborating with major brands, and companies, he views the street as the best place to create.
11. Matt W Moore
Boston based artist Matt W Moore has been painting on walls for over half his life and this is just some of his incredible work. “It’s a magical experience to actualise an idea extra-large in the public space,” he beams. “Lots to see in this section. Everything from my early years of graffiti and street-level art, to my more recent abstract murals. Indoor & outdoor, I’ve got you covered.”
12. Mademoiselle Maurice
As part of the 2013 ARTAQ Festival in Angers, France, French artist Mademoiselle Maurice, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, folded 30,000 pieces of origami to create these two awe-inspiring street art installations.
Mademoiselle Maurice’s work is renowned for its creative, colourful approach and that’s certainly the case with this installation. The playfulness of this project is what makes it unique.
13. Herbert Baglione
For his latest project, Brazilian street artist Herbert Baglione has been painting on the walls, floors, and ceilings of empty rooms and outside deserted homes in São Paulo and Paris, and now ‘1000 Shadows’ sees him tackle an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Parma, Italy.
Creating eerie shadows across the floors, walls and doors, this is a project that would certainly make your hair stand on end. Adding old, dusty wheelchairs and teamed with the crumbling walls, ‘1000 Shadows’ certainly makes an impact.
14. Fallen soldiers
To mark International Peace Day, British artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Mossaccompanied by 60 volunteers and 500 local residents, took to the beaches of Normandy and etched 9,000 fallen soldier silhouettes into the sand using rakes and stencils. The piece lasted only a few hours before being washed away by the tide but that doesn’t make it any less inspiring.
Born in China, artist DALeast has spread his distinctive 3D technique of street art across public spaces all over the world. One of the most exciting talents to come out of the emerging Chinese urban art scene, DALeast’s artwork depicts twisted metal animals interacting in a human world.
Filled with shading and movement, his vibrant, detailed pieces burst with energy. And his latest piece, depicting two deer bound together is no exception. The mural, called “One” in Chinese, represents the bond between two animals. Other DALeast artwork feature whales, lions, dragons and horses.
Street artist Pez (Spanish for fish) started painting in 1999 on the outskirts of Barcelona. Wanting to find a way to communicate and spread good vibes to the people of the city, Pez decided that his signature mark would be a fish character with a huge smile.
Since then, the artist has gone on to gain international recognition, exhibiting his work all around the globe. The last few years has also seen him create several new characters, including demons, angels and Martians. All have one thing in common – a huge and infectious smile.
17. David de la Mano
Spanish artist David de la Mano creates murals and street art with silhouettes, trees and other monochromatic imagery, much like this beautiful blue whale piece.
Much of his artwork is the result of a collaboration with fellow artist Pablo S. Herrero. The duo’s striking pieces can be found spread across Norway, Peru, Uruguay and Spain.
And now for something a little different. The artwork of Polish artist NeSpoon is not the kind you’d immediately associate with street art. But that’s one of the reasons we love it. Decorating Warsaw with so called ‘jewellery of the public space’, she creates beautifully intricate designs in multiple forms; paint, yarn and cement.
NeSpoon’s most recurring and favourite patterns is Polish traditional lace. Breaking it’s old fashioned stereotype, she cleverly uses it to beautify gritty urban spaces.
Another street artist hailing from Paris, C215, aka Christian Guémy, uses stencils to produce beautiful street art depicting vulnerable and marginalized groups of society including refugees, street children and the elderly.
Since creating his first work over 20 years ago he’s developed a huge following. His street art can be spotted in galleries, auctions and on streets all over the world, in cities including Barcelona and London.
20. Interesni Kazki
Ukrainian duo AEC and Waone, aka Interesni Kazki, create bright and vibrant street art that references a variety of cultures and art forms including sci-fi, Mexican folk tales, religion and classical art.
For the most part their surreal ideas are created with acrylic paint using rollers, although on some very small pieces of work they use spray cans. You can see more of their work on their blog.
Argentinian street artist Jaz has been creating incredible street art in Buenos Aires since 1998. Having trained in fine art, he’s intrigued by the idea of bringing old and new approach to painting together.
Discontent with his family, acts of strength and scenes of conflict are common themes, making his art compelling viewing for the art world and passers-by alike.
New York-born street artist Gaia’s incredible skills, combined with his strange and dark portrayals of humans with animal limbs, make for a creator of street art who’s revered around the world.
Gaia is also keen to help others explore the medium, setting up festivals and group sessions, which fill places like his town of Baltimore with new and exciting murals.
Belgian street artist ROA’s huge black and white animal murals have appeared throughout the world. The artist started showcasing his creations on abandoned buildings and warehouses in the isolated areas of his hometown. His artwork can now be seen across buildings and shop shutters in New York, London, Warsaw, and Paris.
What we find most impressive about his monochrome creations are the intricate details, as well as the sheer scale.
24. Julian Beever
There’s nothing quite like walking along your local high street and coming across a whole new, 3D world – completely made of chalk. Many other chalk artists could have featured in this list, but above all it’s Julian Beever’s playful approach to the medium that has us in awe.
The British born artist started out as a busker, before attracting commerical commissions in the mid 2000s. He even made a 10-part TV series and released a book, ‘Pavement Chalk Artist’, in 2011.
25. See No Evil
For two consecutive summers, Bristol – home of Banksy and centre of a vigorous street art scene – has played host to one of the biggest celebrations of street art Europe has ever seen.
Organised by legendary street artist Inkie and Team Love, it was See No Evil’s mission to transform one of city’s most deprived stretch of road into a work of art. Nelson Street, located in Bristol’s city centre was a dreary, grey walkway; artists from around the world including New York’s Tats Cru and LA finest’s El Mac descended upon the city to bring it to life. To see more, check out our report on last year’s event.
Using characters from model train sets, Slinkachu’s ‘Little People Project’ is a mixture of street art and photography. If you’ve had the pleasure of stumbling upon one of his odd little creations, you’ll appreciate his humour and child-like imagination.
Whilst some scenes are created to play with the notion of surprise, Slinkachu says that the titles he gives to each scene, ‘aims to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lost and overwhelmed’. However, he is quick to add that ‘underneath this, there is always some humour’.
27. Joshua Allen Harris
As you’ll already have gathered, not all street art involves the use of spray paint. This video from Joshua Allen Harris shows just what can be created with a few household items.
In world of waste and worry, Harris took a few disregarded bin bags and plastic shopping bags and turned them into creatures for all the enjoy. Placing the bags carefully on subway grates in New York, each animal or monster stays deflated before springing to life as each train gives the bags the gust of life they need.
Some of Harris’s work has a more environmental approach, such as his plastic polar bear. Watching the animal deflate to its death offers a strong message about global warming and the effects it continues to have on the world we live in. Using other people’s garbage as a means for art is what street art is all about.
The best known street artist across the world, Banksy’s challenging, contrary and thought-provoking, stencil-based art has made a huge impact on both high and low culture.
Hailing from Bristol, UK, the artist keeps his identity a secret, which has led to numerous rumours about who he is and how he works. Some claim he has a team of people working on each creation while others believe he still works alone. Whatever the case, his art remains as impactful as ever.
The piece above was sprayed upon the side of a ‘Poundland’ shop, which was selling cheap Jubilee and Olympics merchandise. Banksy saw this as his opportunity to showcase the issue of child labour in the Third World. Banksy’s prints and paintings are reaching increasingly eyewatering prices at auctions.
29. Pavel Puhov
Known as the ‘Russian Banksy’, street artist Pavel Puhov a.k.a. Pavel 183 or P-183, has been cooking up a political storm in his native country for around a decade. Like Banksy, the artist’s identity is unknown, adding to the mystique surrounding him.
The Moscow-based graffiti artist’s creations often have a strong political stance. Some have included paintings of riot police, civilian protesters and even a reimagined painting of National Geographic’s infamous Afghan girl photo. Placing his art in specific places, such as subway doors, makes certain that it’s not ignored.
30. Jan Vormann
A German native, Jan Vormann spent three years travelling the world, ‘repairing’ crumbling and disregarded buildings with his brightly coloured version of Polyfilla. The venture had humble beginnings, starting out in a small art fair in Rome before moving onto bigger ventures. He has even filled the holes of buildings in Berlin that had been damaged by guns during the second World War.
This inventive street artist has been putting a smile on people’s faces from Italy to Israel.
Street artist EVOL’s project ‘Buildings’ made people do a double-take at their street furniture as he transformed them into high-rise blocks complete with graffiti and er, monsters.
The German artist has been exihibiting his work in warehouses as well as local streets for all to enjoy. The intricate detail of each painting is incredibly realistic, and it’s great to see something boring and functional turned into something that will put a smile on people’s faces.
32. Guerrilla Crochet
It’s official – crochet is not just for grannies! ‘Guerilla crochet’ has been causing a storm in recent years, with renegade street artists enveloping everyday street furniture in brightly coloured crochet loveliness. One of the most prolific crochet street artists is Olek, who has covered everything from the Wall Street bull to London taxis.
Trees, bikes, telephone boxes and lamposts have all had the crochet treatment. Also known as ‘yarn bombing’, we’re loving this new craze. To see more, check out 25 amazing yarn bombs on Buzzfeed.
33. Issac Cordal
Like Slinkachu, Spanish artist Issac Cordal likes to work with little people. Unlike the former however, Issac tends to approach his art with a more melancholoy approach. Most of his ‘little people’ represent the everyday businessman and the struggles to deal with the mundanity of every day life.
Looking through his portfolio, it’s clear that Issac is sending a message. What that message is, we’re not quite sure. Whether it’s a reminder to live life to the full or to not let the little things get you down, these creations are certainly evocative.
Melbourne artist Drab, who has recently moved to London, adds his quirky character faces to the likes of bear bodies, bikini-clad females or even babies. This video was filmed by Kiah Roache-Turner and showcases Drab attempting his biggest ‘paste-up’ yet, using litres and litres of glue. Some have claimed it’s the biggest paste-up in the world.
Independent artist Ronzo describes himself as ‘Vandal Extraordinaire’. On his site he claims that he exists because “this fragile Earth deserves a voice”. We’re not quite sure what he means by that, but we like it.
Ronzo’s bird sculptures have been sprouting up in London’s Brick Lane as well as council estates. He’s also created a graffiti murial of the ‘Olympic Bird’ as well as a ‘Credit Crunch Monster’ placed on a building overlooking The Old Truman Brewery. These spritely looking sculptures add a real creative element to mundane surroundings.
36. Vj Suave
Vj Suave is a collaboration between artists Ygor Marotta, hailing from Brazil, and Cecilia Soloaga, from Argentinia. The duo strive to create live visual performances using a mixture of character illustration, animation and projection.
The video shows a series of intricate designs and colourful characters coming to life and walking the streets. A truly unique street art event.
37. Guerrilla Gardeners
We’ve already featured Guerrilla Crochet, so it would be shame not to include these sneaky gardeners who make their mission to make our streets a greener place. It’s always sad to see dying plants or empty tree plots and that’s where these guys come in.
Okay, so you might argue plants don’t neccessarily constitute ‘art’ – but we think that anyone pouring their creativity and colour onto the streets can and should be included on this list.
The team behind Guerrilla Gardening have become a global hub with planting taking place in cities such as London and Beirut. The collective carry out their work during the night, with the morning resulting in a fresh bed of tulips or a collection of new shrubbery.
38. Kelly Goeller
In the past, Kelly Goeller was part of New York-based animation studio KNeeon, which produces original content for advertising, television, music videos and film. Pixel art has come a long way in the past few years and Kelly took this as her opportunity to create this awesome piece entitled ‘Pixel Pour 2.0’.
The piece is located on Mercer Street in New York with many members of the public faced with the awesome piece of art work as they walk to work. Kelly’s last ‘pour’ was seen in 2008 and can be seen on the Gothamist website.
Frenchman Invader has been invading cities across the world with his perfect pixelated artwork for years now. He always completes his artwork behind a mask, so as to not give away his identity. This project, entitled ‘Space Invaders’, aims to invade cities all over the world with characters inspired by first-generation arcade games.
The characters are made out of tiles, which means Invader can cement them to walls (although some pieces continue to be stolen). He has even set up a scoring system for himself, with each character rating between 10 and 50, depending on its size.
Peter Gibson, a.k.a. Roadsworth, began painting the streets of Montreal almost 12 years ago. He was initially motivated by a desire for more cycle paths in the city and a questioning of the world’s ‘car culture’ in general. Peter then developed his stencil artwork to more urban landscapes and continued to create bigger projects.
In 2004, Roadsworth was arrested and charged with 53 counts of mischief. Despite the heavy fines, Roadsworth continued his street art quest and has since received a number of commissions. He continues to be active in both the art and music world.
41. Miina Akkijyrkka
Finnish sculptor Miina Akkijyrkka has a thing for cows. She scours her native country for used vehicles and turns them into these huge animal sculptures. The artist has been working her magic for an impressive 50 years.
Alexandre Farto, a.k.a. Vhils, is a street artist hailing from Portugal. He has become renowned for his murals, which he traditionally creates using stencils, chisels and drills – cutting either directly into walls or removing layers of advertising posters.
To make the murals, Vhils marks the drawing on the wall and then carves the surface layer, which is usually plaster. He tried to have a fixed element (the stencil which is applied to the poster, metal, the wall which is chiselled away), but also includes variable elements such as the nature of the materials which change and dictate the final form of the piece.
43. The Glue Society
It’s so hot on Tamarara beach in Australia, that this ice cream truck melted! Ok, you got us, it’s actually a brilliant street art sculpture, created by artists at The Glue Society.
The installlation, titled Hot With The Chance of Late Storm, was displayed on the beach during the opening of the 10th annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition back in 2006.
French photographer and artist JR’s political street art began during the Paris riots of 2005. Angered by the way the areas involved were being presented in the media, he took photos of the residents pulling funny faces and flyposted them around the city.
His passion-filled, often didactic artwork has since appeared in deprived areas aross the world, from the suburbs of Paris to the shantytowns of Rio. He’s also been arrested in China, and in 2011 was awarded the TED prize, worth $100,000.
Hang Fire is a creative team of graffiti artists, working in the UK to produce quality art commissions at any size, any style, any where. This latest project, entitled ‘Icarus_13‘, sees two of their leading members putting their stamp on a Boeing 737. Sat One and Roids battled sleep deprivation, weather and the enormous size and scale of the plane to face the fundamental task of working out the best way to paint a curved aluminium surface. Both artists worked day and night to complete the piece that truly showcases the pair’s talents.
This film was shot and edited by Aardman designer Gavin Strange who manages to capture the colossal task at hand in beautiful fashion.