Street art and politics are closely intertwined, whether that be in terms of inspiration, identity or institution. In its heyday, the New York graffiti scene was subversive; an open call to arms for all those who felt marginalised, unheard and ignored.
2018 was a bumper year for the contemporary art market, showing significant growth quarter on quarter from May 2017. Most significantly, it marked the first fiscal year in which the market’s main indicators were all positive: the global auction turnover grew by around 20%, the rate of unsold art remained steady at 39%, the volume of total transactions grew by 17% and the price index of contemporary art grew by 18%
Daze, born Chris Ellis, was a pioneer of the New York graffiti scene throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. He began his prolific career as a high school student and flourished while spray painting subways and concrete walls around parts of NYC. His contemporaries include Keith Haring, Dondi and Lee Quinones. Daze is one of the few muralists who successfully made the evolution from the streets into the studio.
Hertfordshire-based artist Tristan Schoonraad aka Schoony is a multifaceted urban artist, his work consists of both life-casted prosthetics and special effects which encompass topics as diverse as war, mortality and contemporary society. Schoony’s film career has spanned over twenty-five years. Since the age of fifteen, he has worked on over a hundred films, with blockbuster titles including Harry Potter, Troy and Gladiator.
Marquis Lewis, more popularly known as Retna, is an American born street and studio artist primarily recognised for his graffiti murals. His work merges traditional street graffiti with a self-constructed geometric script which fuses ancient Incan and Egyptian hieroglyphics with Arabic, Hebrew and Asian calligraphy. Retna’s urban LA upbringing with his African-American heritage along with his mixing of colour, spirituality and sensuality is keeping us hungry for more. Retna is officially taking the contemporary art market by storm.
Richard Hambleton, also known as “the Shadowman” is a Canadian born conceptual artist predominantly known for his unnerving street art which emerged in downtown NYC in the 1980’s. “I paint the town black” he stated in an interview in 1984 to People magazine, while discussing his eerie portraits, “They could represent watchmen or danger or the shadows of a human body after a nuclear holocaust or even my own shadow.”