Modern Graffiti Artists Taking The Renaissance To The Streets
To the layman or graffiti fans who aren’t investing too much time into the medium, Street art can seem like it’s something completely removed from classical art. In a lot of ways, graffiti is built on turning traditional art on it head. They’re not two completely different things, however. Graffiti might get people interested by breaking tradition but it’s place in the art world is as linked to what came before as anything else. There are a few artists who specifically acknowledge this connection. Here are some of the best modern graffiti artists working with old styles of art.
Julien De Casabianca
Julien De Casabianca is one of the most vocal artists out there about the place of classic art in street art. In 2015 he called on street artists and fans to bring traditional art to the street. He asked them to take pictures of pieces in galleries and museums to paste up around cities. Bringing art back to the people is the reason graffiti took off but classic art largely remained untouched by that. De Casabianca’s movement sets out to remedy that.
Taking art that’s been rarely seen outside of galleries for well over a century means people are appreciating a lot of otherwise forgotten pieces.
Based out of France, Zilda creates graffiti incorporating traditional art styles turned on their head. Human figures in the style of roman sculptures, renaissance paintings or old photography. Rather than just aping the looks, Zilda takes traditional forms and slams them up against modern ideas. Pieces depicting sculptures tagging walls, peasant boys climbing out of their frames.
With a background in photography, portraiture has become the foundation of Btoy’s work. She takes huge influence from classically represented portraits and old film starlets. The composition of her work is heavily traditional but updated with more modern colouring and layering. She’s comfortable working across a variety of styles which makes for some interesting choices when they’re largely anchored through the portraits she mainly deals in.
Pejac often makes classical art the punchline in his pieces. He takes famous paintings and competently matches their intricacy only to juxtapose it next to his own minimalist elements. Recreating Monet’s Impression, Sunrise on the hull of a boat or making Edvard Munch’s The Scream out of the wheel marks of a toy car. He doesn’t stop with paintings. Seeing the art in architecture, he recreates Turkish style windows and building elements.
Harrington started out in street art and has since moved into gallery art. This isn’t surprising when you see how much his murals take from traditional styles of art. He’s another artist who works largely in depictions of people. His pieces look more like German Renaissance work, however, capturing movement and form in dark, moody and huge murals. As much in common with modern graffiti artists as historical artists, Harrington represents some of the best of both worlds.