Take a leisurely walk through your nearest metropolis, and you'll find skyscrapers reaching out to the heavens, innovative housing units sprawling from one space to another, oases of vintage architecture stuffed in unassuming pockets. Urban beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, but -- despite the undeniably stunning forms -- most cityscapes are drenched in a pretty limited color palette. Gray, brown, off-white and a slew of metallic shades; downtowns are not designed with a rainbow of hues in mind.
Perhaps that's one reason we have street artists.
Equipped with spray paint, wheatpastes, stencils, stickers and more, street artists have a knack for infusing the most dull of urban centers with the most vibrant colors of the visual spectrum. Their work is far from a tag here and there -- today's masterminds adorn massive structures from towers to bridges with their signature aesthetics. From cartoonish to hyperreal to abstract to political, the world of street art is a rich and complex genre that pushes the limits of contemporary art with each explosions of red, blue and yellow.
"Street artists have been part of the conversation on the street for decades now, making powerful suggestions to architects and city planners" Jaime Rojo and Steven Harrington, the minds behind Brooklyn Street Art, write. "So maybe it's worth taking another look at what they've been up to lately."
With that directive in mind, we've compiled a list of 25 contemporary street artists who are shaking up the way we see public art. In an effort to continue our exploration of an art form dominated by big names like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, here's a list of international stars you may or may not worship already. Behold, a trek around the world in street art:
1. Jaz (Born in Argentina)
2. Os Gemeos (Based in Brazil)
3. ROA (Based in Belgium)
4. C215 (Based in France)
5. Reka (From Australia, Based in Germany)
6. Phlegm (Based in London, UK)
7. Escif (From Valencia, Spain)
8. Aakash Nihalani (Based in New York)
9. Moneyless (Based in Italy)
10. Ganzeer (Based in Egypt)
11. Tellas (From Italy)
12. Blu (Based in Italy)
13. Swoon (Based in Brooklyn, NY)
14. Hyuro (Born in Argentina, Based in Valencia, Spain)
15. Sheryo (From Singapore)
16. Pixel Pancho (Based in Italy)
17. How & Nosm (Born in Spain -- of German heritage, Based in Brooklyn, NY)
18. Vhils (Based in Portugal)
19. Know Hope (Based in Tel Aviv, Israel)
20. JR (Based in France)
21. Aryz (Based in Barcelona, Spain)
22. Gaia (Based in Baltimore, MD and Brooklyn, NY)
23. Interesni Kazki (Based in Ukraine)
24. FAILE (Based in Brooklyn, NY)
25. Maya Hayuk (Based in New York)
For more on the world of street art, check out the Brooklyn Street Art blog here.