While Banksy is by far the most well-known street artist in the world, he is not the only one who deserves your attention. The history of street art is full of vibrant and complex figures who shaped this art form into what it is today. Some artists who are now considered blue-chip started as graffiti artists or dabbled in tagging at some point. Today, you will learn the names of five famous street artists that you should know about.
5 famous street artists every art lover should know
Cornbread (Darryl McCray) was at the cradle of street art in the late 1960s. He started tagging in Philadelphia and was one of the first to write his name (before that, only gang members signed the streets with the name of their gang). Cornbread is known as the first modern street artist who pioneered the movement. He would later become a member of the Anti-Graffiti Network and a youth advocate.
Daze (Chris Ellis) is known as one of the first street artists. He started drawing on subway cars in New York City in the 1970s. In the 1980s, he reached a significant level of success: his first group exhibition, “Beyond Words,” featured his work next to pieces by other famous street artists. He continues conquering the art world, having solo shows and selling artwork to major New York museums.
Donald Joseph “Dondi” White was born in Brooklyn, NY. His signature style involved bold lettering and pop culture references. He was an incredibly prolific street artist in the times when the local government was tracking down graffiti painters using their tags. Dondi was the first street artist to display his work in a European museum.
Tracy 168 created the iconic graffiti style known as “Wild Style,” which includes layered and curved lettering that we now associate with a classic graffiti look. He was a mentor and an inspiration to Haring and Basquiat (who was known at the time under the nickname “SAMO”).
There were not a lot of women who participated in the graffiti culture in the 70s, but Lady Pink (Sandra Fabara) is one of the most famous street artists of the time. Like many graffiti artists, she painted NYC subway trains at the beginning of her career. Her works are inspired by her background of growing up as a Latina woman.
Knowing the roots of the street art movement is the key to truly understanding it today. Graffiti was born in the atmosphere of social unrest, and it is still used as a form of protest.