Street art is evolving into new and exciting areas of creativity. Find out just what the world's leading street artists have come up with lately...
Across the globe, street art has never been more popular or more relevant. Although the term is often associated with graffiti, it comes in all shapes and forms: from sculptures to 'yarn bombing'.
In this article, we've gathered together the work of our favourite inspirational street artists, featuring some well-known faces, as well as some you may not have heard of - but will want to hear more about. Some just want to brighten up their neighbourhoods, while others have political points to make. But whatever their motivation, we think what they've produced is simply incredible...
French photographer and artist JR's political street art began during the Paris riots of 2005. Angered by the way the areas involved were being presented in the media, he took photos of the residents pulling funny faces and flyposted them around the city.
His passion-filled, often didactic artwork has since appeared in deprived areas aross the world, from the suburbs of Paris to the shantytowns of Rio. He's also been arrested in China, and in 2011 was awarded the TED prize, worth $100,000. You can see more of his incredible work on his website.
Another street artist hailing from Paris, C215, aka Christian Guémy, uses stencils to produce beautiful street art depicting vulnerable and marginalized groups of society including refugees, street children and the elderly.
Since creating his first work over 20 years ago he's developed a huge following. His street art can be spotted in galleries, auctions and on streets all over the world, in cities including Barcelona and London. There's some great examples of it on his Flickr account.
03. Interesni Kazki
Ukrainian duo AEC and Waone, aka Interesni Kazki, create bright and vibrant street art that references a variety of cultures and art forms including sci-fi, Mexican folk tales, religion and classical art.
For the most part their surreal ideas are created with acrylic paint using rollers, although on some very small pieces of work they use spray cans. You can see more of their work on their blog.
Argentinian street artist Jaz has been creating incredible street art in Buenos Aires since 1998. Having trained in fine art, he's intrigued by the idea of bringing old and new approach to painting together.
Discontent with his family, acts of strength and scenes of conflict are common themes, making his art compelling viewing for the art world and passers-by alike.
New York-born street artist Gaia's incredible skills, combined with his strange and dark portrayals of humans with animal limbs, make for a creator of street art who's revered around the world.
Gaia is also keen to help others explore the medium, setting up festivals and group sessions, which fill places like his town of Baltimore with new and exciting murals. You can see more of his work here.
Belgian street artist ROA's huge black and white animal murals have appeared throughout the world. The artist started showcasing his creations on abandoned buildings and warehouses in the isolated areas of his hometown. His artwork can now be seen across buildings and shop shutters in New York, London, Warsaw, and Paris.
What we find most impressive about his monochrome creations are the intricate details, as well as the sheer scale. Check out more of ROA's work on his Tumblr blog.
07. Julian Beever
There's nothing quite like walking along your local high street and coming across a whole new, 3D world - completely made of chalk. Many other chalk artists could have featured in this list, but above all it's Julian Beever's playful approach to the medium that has us in awe.
The British born artist started out as a busker, before attracting commerical commissions in the mid 2000s. He even made a 10-part TV series and released a book, 'Pavement Chalk Artist', in 2011. You can see more of Julian's amazing creations on his website.
08. See No Evil
For two consecutive summers, Bristol - home of Banksy and centre of a vigorous street art scene - has played host to one of the biggest celebrations of street art Europe has ever seen.
Organised by legendary street artist Inkie and Team Love, it was See No Evil's mission to transform one of city's most deprived stretch of road into a work of art. Nelson Street, located in Bristol's city centre was a dreary, grey walkway; artists from around the world including New York's Tats Cru and L.A. finest's El Mac descended upon the city to bring it to life. To see more, check out our report on last year's event.
Using characters from model train sets, Slinkachu's 'Little People Project' is a mixture of street art and photography. If you've had the pleasure of stumbling upon one of his odd little creations, you'll appreciate his humour and child-like imagination.
Whilst some scenes are created to play with the notion of surprise, Slinkachu says that the titles he gives to each scene, 'aims to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lost and overwhelmed'. However, he is quick to add that 'underneath this, there is always some humour'.
As you'll already have gathered, not all street art involves the use of spray paint. This video from Joshua Allen Harris shows just what can be created with a few household items.
In world of waste and worry, Harris took a few disregarded bin bags and plastic shopping bags and turned them into creatures for all the enjoy. Placing the bags carefully on subway grates in New York, each animal or monster stays deflated before springing to life as each train gives the bags the gust of life they need.
Some of Harris's work has a more environmental approach, such as his plastic polar bear. Watching the animal deflate to its death offers a strong message about global warming and the effects it continues to have on the world we live in.
Using other people's garbage as a means for art is what street art is all about. You can see more videos of Joshua's amazing creations on his website.
The best known street artist across the world, Banksy's challenging, contrary and thought-provoking, stencil-based art has made a huge impact on both high and low culture.
Hailing from Bristol, UK, the artist keeps his identity a secret, which has led to numerous rumours about who he is and how he works. Some claim he has a team of people working on each creation while others believe he still works alone. Whatever the case, his art remains as impactful as ever.
The piece above was sprayed upon the side of a 'Poundland' shop, which was selling cheap Jubilee and Olympics merchandise. Banksy saw this as his opportunity to showcase the issue of child labour in the Third World.
Banksy's prints and paintings are reaching increasingly eyewatering prices at auctions. Find out what all the fuss is about at his website.
12. Pavel Puhov
Known as the 'Russian Banksy', street artist Pavel Puhov a.k.a. Pavel 183 or P-183, has been cooking up a political storm in his native country for around a decade. Like Banksy, the artist's identity is unknown, adding to the mystique surrounding him.
The Moscow-based graffiti artist's creations often have a strong political stance. Some have included paintings of riot police, civilian protesters and even a reimagined painting of National Geographic's infamous Afghan girl photo. Placing his art in specific places, such as subway doors, makes certain that it's not ignored.
You can see more of Pavel's art and videos on the 183art website.
13. Jan Vormann
A German native, Jan Vormann spent three years travelling the world, 'repairing' crumbling and disregarded buildings with his brightly coloured version of Polyfilla. The venture had humble beginnings, starting out in a small art fair in Rome before moving onto bigger ventures. He has even filled the holes of buildings in Berlin that had been damaged by guns during the second World War.
This inventive street artist has been putting a smile on people's faces from Italy to Israel. To see more of Jan's work visit his website.
Street artist EVOL's project 'Buildings' made people do a double-take at their street furniture as he transformed them into high-rise blocks complete with graffiti and er, monsters.
The German artist has been exihibiting his work in warehouses as well as local streets for all to enjoy. The intricate detail of each painting is incredibly realistic, and it's great to see something boring and functional turned into something that will put a smile on people's faces. To see more of EVOL's work visit his website.
15. Guerrilla Crochet
It's official - crochet is not just for grannies! 'Guerilla crochet' has been causing a storm in recent years, with renegade street artists enveloping everyday street furniture in brightly coloured crochet loveliness.
Trees, bikes, telephone boxes and lamposts have all had the crochet treatment. Also known as 'yarn bombing', we're loving this new craze. To see more, check out 25 amazing yarn bombs on Buzzfeed.
16. Issac Cordal
Like Slinkachu, Spanish artist Issac Cordal likes to work with little people. Unlike the former however, Issac tends to approach his art with a more melancholoy approach. Most of his 'little people' represent the everyday businessman and the struggles to deal with the mundanity of every day life.
Looking through his portfolio, it's clear that Issac is sending a message. What that message is, we're not quite sure. Whether it's a reminder to live life to the full or to not let the little things get you down, these creations are certainly evocative. See what you make of his other artistic offerings at the Issac Cordal website.
Melbourne artist Drab, who has recently moved to London, adds his quirky character faces to the likes of bear bodies, bikini-clad females or even babies. This video was filmed by Kiah Roache-Turner and showcases Drab attempting his biggest 'paste-up' yet, using litres and litres of glue. Some have claimed it's the biggest paste-up in the world.
To see more of Drab's work visit the Drab art website.
Independent artist Ronzo describes himself as 'Vandal Extraordinaire'. On his site he claims that he exists because "this fragile Earth deserves a voice". We're not quite sure what he means by that, but we like it.
Ronzo's bird sculptures have been sprouting up in London's Brick Lane as well as council estates. He's also created a graffiti murial of the 'Olympic Bird' as well as a 'Credit Crunch Monster' placed on a building overlooking The Old Truman Brewery. These spritely looking sculptures add a real creative element to mundane surroundings. You can see more of Ronzo's work on his website.
19. Vj Suave
Vj Suave is a collaboration between artists Ygor Marotta, hailing from Brazil, and Cecilia Soloaga, from Argentinia. The duo strive to create live visual performances using a mixture of character illustration, animation and projection.
The video shows a series of intricate designs and colourful characters coming to life and walking the streets. A truly unique street art event.
20. Guerrilla Gardeners
We've already featured Guerrilla Crochet, so it would be shame not to include these sneaky gardeners who make their mission to make our streets a greener place. It's always sad to see dying plants or empty tree plots and that's where these guys come in.
Okay, so you might argue plants don't neccessarily constitute 'art' - but we think that anyone pouring their creativity and colour onto the streets can and should be included on this list.
The team behind Guerrilla Gardening have become a global hub with planting taking place in cities such as London and Beirut. The collective carry out their work during the night, with the morning resulting in a fresh bed of tulips or a collection of new shrubbery.
To see more of their work or to get involved, visit the Guerrilla Gardening website.
21. Kelly Goeller
In the past, Kelly Goeller was part of New York-based animation studio KNeeon, which produces original content for advertising, television, music videos and film. Pixel art has come a long way in the past few years and Kelly took this as her opportunity to create this awesome piece entitled 'Pixel Pour 2.0'.
The piece is located on Mercer Street in New York with many members of the public faced with the awesome piece of art work as they walk to work. Kelly's last 'pour' was seen in 2008 and can be seen on the Gothamist website.
To see more of Kelly's work, visit her website.
Frenchman Invader has been invading cities across the world with his perfect pixelated artwork for years now. He always completes his artwork behind a mask, so as to not give away his identity. This project, entitled 'Space Invaders', aims to invade cities all over the world with characters inspired by first-generation arcade games.
The characters are made out of tiles, which means Invader can cement them to walls (although some pieces continue to be stolen). He has even set up a scoring system for himself, with each character rating between 10 and 50, depending on its size.
You can see more of Invader's work, as well as the Space Invader's score map, on his website.
Peter Gibson, a.k.a. Roadsworth, began painting the streets of Montreal almost 12 years ago. He was initially motivated by a desire for more cycle paths in the city and a questioning of the world's 'car culture' in general. Peter then developed his stencil artwork to more urban landscapes and continued to create bigger projects.
In 2004, Roadsworth was arrested and charged with 53 counts of mischief. Despite the heavy fines, Roadsworth continued his street art quest and has since received a number of commissions. He continues to be active in both the art and music world. To see more of his work, visit the Roadsworth website.
24. Miina Akkijyrkka
Finnish sculptor Miina Akkijyrkka has a thing for cows. She scours her native country for used vehicles and turns them into these huge animal sculptures. The artist has been working her magic for an impressive 50 years; to see more of her work, visit the Miina Akkijyrkka website.
Alexandre Farto, a.k.a. Vhils, is a street artist hailing from Portugal. He has become renowned for his murals, which he traditionally creates using stencils, chisels and drills - cutting either directly into walls or removing layers of advertising posters.
To make the murals, Vhils marks the drawing on the wall and then carves the surface layer, which is usually plaster. He tried to have a fixed element (the stencil which is applied to the poster, metal, the wall which is chiselled away), but also includes variable elements such as the nature of the materials which change and dictate the final form of the piece. To see more of Vhils work, visit his website.
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Words: Sammy Maine and Alex Williamson
And that's it for now! If you've seen any awesome street art, please share it with us in the comments box below!