Street life

Can you put a price on a graffitied wall? Well, you can if you’re Banksy. The world famous street artist is the king of stencilling the back streets of Britain and beyond. 

And while Banksy’s work has survived longer than most street art, there are some (less famous) street artists that are considered to be the founding fathers of this discipline.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Chimp, 1983. Acrylic and stick oil on canvas, 182 x 144 cm
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Chimp, 1983. Acrylic and stick oil on canvas, 182 x 144 cm

American artist Basquiat, whose artistry connects the world of pop and street art, and Blek le Rat, regarded as the pioneer of stencil art, have been using the walls of cities as their canvas for years.

In celebration of this street art institution, the Opera Gallery is hosting an exhibition, The Street Art Show launching the 17 June, which brings together the founders (named above), established street artists such as Seen, Nick Walker and Sweet Toof and the next generation including British stencil artist Rich Simmons.

BLEK LE RAT, Death Of Macho. Stencil and spray on canvas, 195 x 130 cm 76.8 x 51.2 In.
Blek Le Rat, Death Of Macho. Stencil and spray on canvas, 195 x 130 cm 76.8 x 51.2 In.

Banksy may have brought street art to the public’s attention and given it the respectability it truly deserves, but now it’s time to broaden our horizons and look at its history.

The Street Art Show, 17-30 June at the Opera Gallery, 134 New Bond Street London W1S

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