Written by: Ryan Fu @fu_beatz
Regardlesss, if you’re an L.A. native or not, you’ll see a lot of beautiful street art while driving around Los Angeles. You probably wonder just like I do, who made this great piece?
Ever since the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop came out in 2010 there has been an explosion of street art throughout world and especially in Los Angeles. Primarily known for its underground roots, these beautiful art pieces were seen in many landmarks throughout L.A. for decades. Of course many of these artists were not known due to the fact that most artists want to remain anonymous because their work involves being the grey area. Occasionally, artists might have to break a law or two to make their art. But ever since the success of Exit Through the Gift Shop, more and more artists want their identity to be known. Street art has become more socially acceptable and these artists, once unknown and struggling are now thriving in what they love to do. Here is a list in no particular order of some of the best L.A. artists. (Please note this list was not comprised by a search engine on Facebook, but were put together by actual fans of their art.)
Smear (Cristian Gheorghiu)
Cristian Gheorghiu became famous as an American street artist/graffiti artist and contemporary painter under the name of Smear in the 2000s.
David Choe is an American painter, muralist, graffiti artist and graphic novelist of Korean descent. His figure paintings, which explore themes of desire, degradation, and exaltation, are characterized by a raw, frenetic tone that he has termed “dirty style.”
ABOVE is an international street artist, who has deliberately chosen to keep his identity concealed. He was born in California in 1981 and has been creating public art since 1995.
Shepard is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer activist and illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his “Andre Giant has a Posse” (…OBEY…) sticker campaign, in which he appropriated images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News.
Retna is a contemporary artist, primarily recognized for graffiti art. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and started his career in the early 1990s. He developed a distinctive constructed script which is derived from Blackletter, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Arabic, and Hebrew calligraphy, as well as more traditional types of street-based graffiti.
Mr. Brainwash – often stylized as MBW – is the moniker of Paris-born, Los Angeles-based filmmaker and street artist Thierry Guetta. According to the Banksy-directed film Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010), Guetta began as a proprietor of a clothing store and amateur videographer who filmed street artists through the 2000s and “evolved” into an artist in his own right in a matter of weeks after an off-hand suggestion from Banksy. Guetta was first introduced to street art by his cousin, the street artist Invader.
Mear One, born 1971 as Kalen Ockerman in Santa Cruz, California, is a Los Angeles-based artist, famously known for his often-political street graffiti art. Commonly referred to as the ‘Michelangelo’ of graffiti.
Morley is a street artist originally from Iowa City, IA and based out of Los Angeles, CA. He specializes in wheatpaste prints that feature bold text and an image of the artist drawing the words with a sharpie marker.
Neck Face is an anonymous graffiti artist. He is known for his frightening drawing style and humorous writings.
Saber is an American graffiti artist, and painter working in Los Angeles. The Washington Post described him as one of “the best and most respected artists” in his field.
Skullphone is an American artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. He first gained notoriety on city streets in 1999 with a wheatpasted black-and-white skull holding a cell phone, an image described as “eerie, yet smart”.
Melanie Stimmell is an international 3D street painter and fine artist specializing in large scale chalk art and Renaissance-style inspired imagery.
Alec Monopoly is an American street artist, graffiti artist, and painter. He is known for his satirical spins using the Monopoly man, in reference to contemporary styles or situations.
PLEASE SUPPORT THESE LOCAL ARTISTS AND BUY THEIR WORK, THX!!!