5 Things The Top Street Artists In The World Have In Common
There’s no shortage of artists and the media attention is only getting bigger but when it comes to the best out there, it’s still a small group. So what separates the biggest names in street art from the rest of the herd? As with anything else, practice is key but when it comes to street art, here are some reasons why the top artists are where they are.
They understand their tools
Adapting your art to the canvases you find is one of the most basic parts of street art. What isn’t talked about as much is that this is also the case with the tools of street art. Whether your work is in spray paint or paste ups, the techniques you’re using were originally for wildly different purposes. When it comes to the quality of graffiti specific spray cans you have artists like DAIM to thank. These artists worked with spray paint companies to improve their quality. The collaborations have changed the valve systems of the spray cans and lowered the pressure in the can to keep them consistent the whole way through.
They know how to get their art out there
Street art can be a double edged sword. You want an audience for your work. You also don’t want to undermine your roots by making work to get it seen rather than just to make it. It can be a difficult balancing act. Shepard Fairey’s pop culture ubiquity with images of Andre the Giant and Obama seem tailored to catch the eye of a mainstream audience. He’s capitalised on this with merchandise and the OBEY label based on his work. This isn’t the only way. Spanish artist Liqen is a bit more enigmatic than Fairey but. despite keeping a low profile, his constant travel puts his pieces in front of audiences all over the world. The mystique is part of the charm but the work speaks for itself.
Experiment in styles
Every artist want their own look. The dream is that people see your piece and know it’s yours at first glance. The downside to this is how often it limits artists to the style they think they’ve perfected. Colombian artist Stinkfish is a good example of how to avoid this. Working between vividly colourful, intricate designs and sparse, black and white pieces, they’re all very clearly his. The elements of his style or consistently present, even when the pieces are drastically different.
Work across mediums
Street art breeds some of the most adaptable artists around. Adaptability is second nature to those at the top. You need to become comfortable with more than the art you begin with and stylistic experimentation isn’t enough. Sticking with pieces on walls and in sketchbooks may seem like a purer form to a lot of artists. This will quickly leave you behind artists who don’t see crossing mediums as an opportunity instead of an unfortunate necessity. This doesn’t mean you have to rub elbows with the high art crowd if you don’t want to. Or cash in on merchandising with your art. What it does mean is challenging yourself and adding strings to your bow. Replete’s work like the origami fighter jet on clingfilm to look like it’s floating is a simple version of this. Others are more complicated. Invention is your friend and the best are the best because of it.
These are some of our reasons why the top Street Artists in the world are who they are. What do you think makes them stand out?