The Top 30 Most Exciting Street Artists Right Now: Part I

See who is changing the game.

Banksy, Dismaland (2015). Courtesy of YouTube.

In this three-part series, artnet News aims to find the best and brightest street artists working today, from known entities to emerging artists flying under the radar. See Part II here and Part III here.

1. Banksy
One of the rare artists to cross over to mainstream fame, Banksy gets a boost from his tantalizing anonymity, but work like Dismaland continues to push the envelope and stay on the forefront of the political conversation.

French street artist JR on set in Times Square for Justin Bettman's #SetintheStreets. Photo: Marc Azoulay, via Instagram.

French street artist JR on set in Times Square for Justin Bettman’s #SetintheStreets. Courtesy of Marc Azoulay/JR.

2. Justin Bettman
This New York-based street artist and photographer isn’t concerned about the ephemeral nature of his work—it’s more of an inspiration; Bettman is known for building temporary rooms from furniture left on the curb, staging dreamy photo shoots in his colorful sets.

Blu, <em>Ordes</em> (2012) in Madrid. Courtesy of r2hox, via Wikimedia Commons.

Blu, Ordes (2012) in Madrid. Courtesy of r2hox, via Wikimedia Commons.

3. BLU
Over the past 20 years, the mysterious Italian street artist has created artwork across Europe and Central and South America. He cares so deeply about his craft that he destroyed a whole city’s worth of work instead of having it be sold by profiteering art dealers.

Henry Chalfant, <em>Dust in the 6 Line Yard</em>. Courtesy of Henry Chalfant.

Henry Chalfant, Dust in the 6 Line Yard. Courtesy of Henry Chalfant.

4. Henry Chalfant
A vitally-important part of street art is the documentation of it. Since the 1970s, Henry Chalfant has captured hundreds of ephemeral graffiti works in New York on film that would have otherwise been lost to the passage of time.

Peter Daverington, <em>Learn From the Classics—But Please Don’t Destroy Them</em> (2015). Courtesy of Peter Daverington.

Peter Daverington, Learn From the Classics—But Please Don’t Destroy Them (2015). Courtesy of Peter Daverington.

5. Peter Daverington
An Australian-born artist now based in Beacon, New York, Peter Daverington took up street art at the tender age of 11. As an adult, he’s developed a style all his own, juxtaposing stylized graffiti lettering with superbly-modeled figures that appear to have stepped out of a Renaissance-era canvas.

Ella & Pitr, Lillith and Olaf, for the Nuart Festival. Photo: Ella & Pitr.

Ella & Pitr, Lillith and Olaf, for the Nuart Festival. Courtesy of Ella & Pitr.

6. Ella and Pitr
This French duo puts architecture to work for their murals of delightfully-gangly monochromatic figures, creating unique compositions that cut across walls and floors.

FAILE, "Wishing on You." Photo: Times Square Alliance.

FAILE, “Wishing on You.” Courtesy of Times Square Alliance.

7. FAILE
Brooklyn-based duo Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller have pushed the boundaries of what street art can be with multimedia work that incorporates imagery from all manner of sources.

Street art by Shepard Fairey and other works in Hosier Lane, Melbourne, Australia. Courtesy of TigTab via Wikimedia Commons.

Street art by Shepard Fairey and other works in Hosier Lane, Melbourne, Australia. Courtesy of TigTab via Wikimedia Commons.

8. Shepard Fairey
One of the biggest names in the business, Shepard Fairey‘s success came back to bite him when Detroit prosecuted him for illegal tagging in 2015—but at least it gave him back a bit of street cred.

Work by Tatyana Fazlalizdah commissioned for the Black Girlhood Conference and Exhibition at Columbia University (2016). Courtesy of Tatyana Fazlalizdah.

Work by Tatyana Fazlalizdah commissioned for the Black Girlhood Conference and Exhibition at Columbia University (2016). Courtesy of Tatyana Fazlalizdah.

9. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh 
Oklahoma-born, Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, best known for her “Stop Telling Women to Smile” wheat-paste photograph series, is not afraid to tackle political and social issues in her work. Her in-your-face feminism is at once relatable and visually compelling.

Dasic Fernández, <em>Hand of Protest</em>, Brooklyn, New York (2014). Courtest of Dasic Fernández.

Dasic Fernández, Hand of Protest, Brooklyn, New York (2014). Courtesy of Dasic Fernández.

10. Dasic Fernández 
With a rainbow, otherworldly palette, Chilean artist Dasic Fernández has a bold sense of color that leads to eye-popping works, whether they are spotted on the streets of New York, or on canvases at a gallery.


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