When waiting for friends or commuting on the train, my smartphone is my constant companion. I guess the same goes for you. Well, I’m extremely tired to hear others talking about this phenomenon as the most annoying vice of modern times. To me, surfing the internet is much more than a waste of time. It’s my source of inspiration. It takes me to distant places, to the streets of Iran, Brazil, Australia, the Czech Republic, China, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, South Africa – and of course the United States! Once I get the travel bug (and that’s quite often), I open Instagram and scroll the feeds of these artists who are steadily killing it on the walls of the world.
Karen Rashad, better known as A1one or the Iranian Bansky, from Tehran is a pioneer in the Middle East street art scene, currently living in Germany. His stickers come in many different styles having one thing in common: Arabic calligraphy and super clean lines. Being the first one to paint on the walls of his hometown, he contributed a lot to the rise of street art in Iran. But this is also why he has been arrested several times and even risked his life for art and the freedom of expression. Reason enough to follow his creative journey, isn’t it?
Welling Court Mural Project: @wellingcourtmuralproject
I can’t stop marveling at the beauty of this public art project. To be honest: The Welling Court Mural Project isn’t the work of a single person but initiated by Ad Hoc Art. Every year this art gallery invites more than 80 graffiti crews and street artists from all over the world to paint diverse murals on the walls of Welling Court in Astoria, Queens. Already running their 8th annual showcase, the project has put up more than 140 motives by now. A nice way to glam up a neighborhood, don’t you think? I wish my surroundings had this fresh look. Maybe it’s time to start a similar project on my own.
Buff Monster: @buffmonster
American painter Buff Monster has already contributed to this project and belongs to the most famous artists on my list. For over 15 years his art is influenced by heavy metal music, ice cream, pop art, and Japanese culture. With his bright colors, bold lines and funny characters he manages to make our cities and streets way sweeter. Under the name Stay Melty he releases many limited editions, including prints, shirts, stickers, and trading cards. Buff Monster already worked for brands such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Converse, Disney, and Hello Kitty. And guess what? He was also featured in Banksy’s movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop”.
The name says it all: Os Gêmeos is Portuguese for The Twins and the pseudonym of the Brazilian brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo. OSGEMEOS started painting graffitis in 1987 and left their marks in Brazil’s street art style. Whenever the duo shakes spray cans it is inspired by traditional hip hop style and its cultural background. This is what I like so much about their work: The two guys brilliantly combine their individual signature with folklore elements from their home country wherever they go.
Jenna Morello: @jennamorello
Hey, at least one lady making a noise on the streets had to be featured on my list. But that isn’t the only thing why I added Jenna Morello to my personal Instagram picks. Born in New Jersey, she believes her love of the outdoors made her fall into graffiti. Morello is very modest (that’s a girl thing, isn’t it?) and doesn’t like to call herself an artist. Anyway, she has a stunning superpower: The Brooklyn resident is able to draw with both hands simultaneously! Her skills include vibrant murals and large canvas that she completes in not more than 2 or 3 days because her work process is really instinctive and spontaneous. This fits her passion for the short-term nature of her art. Loving dogs not less than creativity, I would like to see this spray painting live and hope it will last until I have the chance to visit New York.
Damien Mitchell: @damien__mitchell
We all know: Size (of an account) doesn’t matter! So drum rolls for Damien Mitchell, please. Growing up in rural Australia he learned about graffiti and street art on the internet. The first thing he painted on was his family’s coffee table at the age of 8. Nowadays, he gets his creative inspiration from strolling around the streets of New York City, although his favorite city is Prague. As many others from the scene, Mitchell has no formal art education. But let’s face it: He doesn’t need to at all! His art is bursting with creativity and I love him for always adding a fresh and cheeky note to it.
This list wouldn’t be complete if I hadn’t mention DALeast from China. The street artist who keeps his real name a secret is a true allrounder: DALeast is also a painter, sculptor and digital artist. With his technique he carries off a 3D effect. This is why his pieces literally seem to leap off the wall. In 2004 he started doing graffitis in his home country but now he calls Cape Town his home. Although he got into trouble and was targeted by the Chinese police due to his stickers, he rejects putting any political statements into his art. Instead DALeast always catches me with his fractured, sombre imagery often depicting animals or humans.
Street Art Spirit to Go
Well, all these creative minds are very distinct but I think they are the perfect proof that the best art you’ll find in a city isn’t necessarily in one of their museums but on their walls. And Instagram is an excellent platform for them to spread their art and love for cans not only on the streets but also online.
Do you know other inspiring artists you can’t get around when you’re totally into street art and traveling? Please tag them in the comment section. I’m always looking for creations making our world more colorful. Or do you even have proven yourself with the graffiti can? Then don’t hesitate to link your Instagram account.