Which artists choose graffiti as creative expression ?
Are you looking to learn more about graffiti and the creative process behind? Are painting and drawing on walls something that interests you? If yes, then you’re in for a treat with this !
Banksy, Hendog and Bambi are the street artists the most filled with creative ideas. Be it politically, socially, culturally, and the economy, their artistic representation visible in public thank to graffitis places speaks of sublime meaning.
Nowadays, the essence of graffiti is that it is synonymous with street art or art that is painted outside of canvases. Although no matter how much time passes, it seems that it continues to be popular, more so now with graffiti bringing about a new wave of creative expression.
In this article, you will learn :
- What constitutes this creative expression
- How did graffiti come to rise as a platform, and why
- Who are the actors that helped pioneer and feed this rise
By the end of reading this, you’ll become well-versed with the basics, as well as clues to help you pinpoint the potential upward trajectory of graffiti as a rising trend in self-expression. Let’s all find out together!
I) The Rise of Graffiti as Creative Expression
Human expression can take in many forms, and one of its many creative forms is graffiti. What counts as a creative expression is simply being able to show the real you, your thoughts, your feelings, a variation of yourself to the world through a different lens or angle. Thus, there’s no denying that graffiti offers that sense of artistry through the usage of spray paints and different paint styles. So as an artistic platform that uses the sense of sight to convey words and images, it is to no one’s wonder that graffiti’s status has risen and has become widely popular as the choice for creative expression.
As a creative expression, graffiti’s presence and impact are seen all throughout the world – from some of the most elaborate, visually pleasing images painted on the walls of buildings and infrastructures to the magnificent air of letters and statements when written and viewed within the confines of graffiti. Whenever it colours the streets of cities, it almost always leaves a lasting impression on the city itself, and in some cases, it is even kept in an attempt to bring life to the blandness of normal walls and streets — when done right, that is. Although whether it is done right or not, the fact still remains that it is an effective medium in getting a message or emotion across, which only further adds to its influence, cementing its place as a staple form of self-expression.
In raw words, graffiti is essentially art done on a different canvas, and when viewed in this light, it becomes clear as to what form of thinking or mentality contributes to the rise of it as a platform. Whether it is accepted or denied, graffiti art invokes feelings. These could be feelings of being disturbed by a message or statement, happiness and appreciation for the aesthetic appeal of its images. It’s a fact that graffiti art has some of the most impressive creative artworks out there that are not limited only to canvas sheets and art galleries. Graffiti genuinely offers a wide, more open space as its canvas. In an era where most artworks are viewed from a small screen or movable sheets, its potential as a medium, relevance, as well as its surge in popularity is only the beginning.
II) Graffiti Artists and their Work
1) Who is graffiti artist Banksy ?
The graffiti artist known as Banksy is a pseudonym of a well-known yet equally anonymous street artist in England, UK, whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed to this day and is still very much a subject of mystery and wide-ranging subject debate. However, what is confirmed about this particular street artist is that Banksy is a political activist. This one uses graffiti art and heavy stencilling as a means for expressing his political and social commentaries, as well as satirical, dark humour that could be described as distinct, poignant and humorous, and almost always leaves an impression when observed. So much so that some of his works were celebrated and purchasable to the public. Photographs of his graffiti art and reproductions of it were sold. And although, nowadays, he no longer sells them; regardless, his artworks remain largely popular and widely available for unofficial copies, which is more than enough to cement his status as one of the world’s most widely-known street artists.
Active since the 1990s, Banksy’s street art is displayed on public surfaces such as walks on the streets, building walls and infrastructures, bridges and is even displayed on self-built physical prop pieces that Banksy himself installs. These installation pieces were also purchasable to the public and were sold regularly. A small number of them were even officially auctioned through an agency created by Banksy himself named Pest Control. Some of his works also debuted on several exhibitions all throughout the world, and Banksy has hosted exhibitions himself as well. They all held considerable influence and significance that there exists even a coined dedicated to illustrating just how successful Banksy is and how much of a vital contributor he is to the rising interest of other street artists. It is known as “the Banksy effect.”
Some of his well-received artworks are: “Love is in the Air,” which depicts the image of a masked protestor about to hurl a bouquet of flowers — one of his many works in Jerusalem and is a political statement of his support to Palestinian rights; “Girl with Balloon” which portrays a young girl with her hand reaching for a red heart-shaped balloon that’s being carried away by the wind; “Slave Labour” which depicts a photo of a young boy on his knees at a sewing machine, assembling a string of Union Jack bunting — an artwork that serves as a social commentary about the exploitation of young people; “Bomb Hugger” which depicts an image of an innocent-looking child affectionately hugging a militaristic-looking bomb — which is yet another, more vocal commentary from Banksy on the affectionate sentiment that the public has for all things warfare.
With artworks like the ones mentioned above, it becomes clear how a graffiti artists like Banksy rose and grew into a worldwide sensation. Whether they’re viewed from a place of politics or viewed purely as a visual piece of art, his works are simply phenomenal, leaving little to no room for wonder on why they become a symbol of an icon.
2) Who is graffiti artist Hendog ?
The graffiti artist is known as “Hendog,” a pseudonym of another graffiti artist that’s on the rise for his illustrative artworks that rival even that of Banksy’s and, as a matter of fact, whose works were mistaken at first to be Banksy’s due to the striking resemblance on the overall air to said artworks. Dubbed as ‘Winchester’s Banksy, and similar to Banksy, Hendog’s real name and identity are largely unknown, and not much is known about this artist other than his rather exquisite graffiti art. His rising status as a graffiti artist and the growing following and public appreciation towards his works. Additionally, it was only recently that Hendog was confirmed to be a different person from Banksy entirely, and what’s more is that his alias, “Hendog,” was only namedropped recently when he was officially distinguished to be a separate individual from Banksy.
Hendog’s first piece of art can be found on Winchester, on the wall next to The Handlebar Café on St Catherine’s hill. The illustration depicted a child holding a colourful kite on a string, with the kite itself being a real prop piece that Hendog installed. An image of the mural was posted online by Hendog himself, and it quickly gained attention, although originally, it was suspected to be the work of Banksy. Furthermore, a worker from the actual café applauded the artwork and soon followed the community of locals who expressed their appreciation for the piece, which then marked the beginning of Hendog’s rising career as a graffiti artist.
Since then, Hendog has continued in spreading his wondrous creations. Another display of his work depicted a nurse kneeling down to a child while holding onto a handful of flowers, and it could be found right outside of a hospital in Winchester Eastleigh; yet another street art of Hendog’s could be found in the city of Salisbury, on the wall of Framemakers in Butcher Row, which portrayed an illustration of a young girl smiling while holding a camera, and another on a wall which depicted a bird and fish.
From what could be discerned from his works, Hendog’s graffiti leans towards the tamer spectrum of artistic self-expression in comparison to Banksy. The latter’s works tend to be controversial and perhaps even extreme in both its topic and depiction. Whereas with Hendog, his most recent projects focus on promoting and encouraging graffiti as a medium, setting up a ‘free wall’ which Hendog has asserted to serve as a legal space for others to express themselves.
3) Who is graffiti artist Bambi ?
The graffiti known as Bambi is the pseudonym of another rising star — a street artist in England whose real name and identity remain anonymous, much like the previous two. Bambi is relatively similar to Banksy regarding using graffiti as a platform for social commentaries and highlighting social and political injustices. However, the point in which they differ is that Bambi has an overarching theme and motif that she follows, which focuses on exploring contemporary female identity and depicts how it relates to patriarchal culture, rather than with Banksy, who has none and tend to be encompassing. She is recognized as the “female version of Banksy,” aside from graffiti. She also incorporates heavy stenciling in her work and is said to leave an impression of being masculine in its appearance, which is a sharp contrast to the fact that they largely explore themes of feminism.
First appearing in 2010, Bambi’s graffiti can be found decorating the many streets and underpasses of London, and aside from this, the canvases of her works branch out to a plethora of materials as well — including canvas sheets, metal plates, and even on commercial prints. Her rise to popularity started in 2011 with a tribute piece; a stenciled mural of Amy Winehouse on a Camden doorway — which is now considered a cultural milestone. And just like Banksy’s, Bambi’s artworks are purchasable and have even been collected by well-known celebrities like Adele, Robbie Williams, Rihanna, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie — just to name a few. Unsurprisingly, some of her works have debuted on several exhibitions, and Bambi herself has also hosted exhibitions herself, which speaks volumes to how much influence her art pieces hold.
Some of Bambi’s most iconic pieces are: “Lie Lie Land,” which depicts the stencilled image of former British Prime Minister Theresa May and former American President Donald Trump in the dance pose that is referenced from one of the posters of the movie La La Land — it is among one of her many political works; “The Pope Gives Us Hope” which portrays a waterfront piece of the Pope reaching out to a polar bear in a capsizing boat — an artwork that is meant to reflect the Pope’s comments on climate change and his call to end environmental degradation; “As Naughty As You Want” which depicts an image of the late Princess Diana as Mary Poppins while she is levitating towards the sky while being watched by Prince George and Princess Charlotte — a tribute artwork for the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.