Banksy - Girl with balloon mural detail

The 6 Iconic Street Art Pieces That Marked The Movement

Throughout the history of art, street artists have always been a nuisance to the authorities, constantly challenging the status quo and making people see life from a different perspective. In the end, that is what artists are supposed to do, isn’t it? And that’s where we come to these groundbreaking pieces of street art that marked the movement. These street art pieces speak for themselves. The purpose of these street art pieces is to make them accessible and visible to a large number of people, in order to communicate a deeper meaning and make people think.

Today, some street art can be worth millions of dollars and are renowned works of art. These six pieces are the essence of street art. This collection of groundbreaking street art pieces involves pioneering works that changed the way of making street art, paving the way for future artists and the way we understand street art. Here’s our pick of the six iconic street art pieces that have sprung up on streets all around the world and marked the whole movement.

Banksy Flower Bomber mural in Palestina
Banksy’s Flower Bomber mural in Bethlehem

1) Banksy – Flower Bomber — What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “street art”? If it’s probably Banksy and his art, we’re on the same page. This mysterious artist, who came in like a storm and took over the art world, made himself the true epitome of street art. This particular artwork known as Love Is In The Air, or Flower Thrower was created in 2003 as a large stencil graffiti in Bethlehem.

It shows a masked Palestinian throwing a bouquet of flowers and has a history dating back to the construction of the West Bank Wall. This street art piece shows the true power of street art and serves as a reminder for a peaceful resolution of conflicts. Today, this artwork can be found in many variations, from limited edition prints to large statues and art toys.

Nick Walker - I Love NY, 2014
Nick Walker – I Love NY, 2014

2) Nick Walker – I Love NY — Nick Walker is a living legend of street art and a man who revolutionized the canons of the stencil graffiti movement in the 1990s. Nick’s magnificent mural shows his appreciation for the city of New York through his famous character Vandal. Just a pure and brilliant homage to the city that never sleeps.

Nick Walker used the city as his canvas in the making of this astonishing mural. This particular street art piece shows how street art is a great way to embellish soulless facades and bring color to these increasingly dehumanized neighborhoods.

Shepard Fairey Hope poster 2008
Shepard Fairey’s Hope poster from 2008

3) Shepard Fairey – Hope — Undeniably the most famous street art piece by the legendary Shepard Fairey, the “Hope” poster was one revolutionary piece of art. New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl called the poster “the most efficacious American political illustration since ‘Uncle Sam Wants You.’” Shepard Fairey’s iconic portrait of Barack Obama was created as a form of grassroots activism to support Obama’s first presidential campaign.

Based on an Associated Press photograph by Mannie Garcia, Fairey’s signature high-contrast stencil technique was used to create a street poster that was widely circulated online. This is an incredible piece that shows the true pop culture phenomenon and the true power of street art.

Keith Haring - Crack is Wack, NYC 1986
Keith Haring – Crack is Wack, NYC 1986

4) Keith Haring – Crack is Wack — This epic mural is created in 1986 by the legendary American artist and social activist Keith Haring. The mural, located near the Harlem River Drive in East Harlem, serves as a warning against crack cocaine use, which was rampant in major cities across the United States during the mid to late 1980s.

Keith Haring’s Crack Is Wack mural is a powerful symbol of anti-drug activism and remains an important part of New York City’s repertoire of iconic public art. Keith Haring is considered to be one of the most important members of a group of avant-garde New York-based artists who helped to redefine the borderlines of modern art in the 1980s.

Ben Eine - Create, London 2018
Ben Eine – Create, London 2018

5) Ben Eine – Create — Talking about big street art pieces, this is one colossal work. The acclaimed street artist Ben Eine has created a huge 17,500 square-meter mural. Depicting the word “CREATE” the artwork came to life on a truly unconventional canvas: a sparse, industrial ground space in East London spanning 17,500 square meters.

A master of typography, Ben Eine is famous for the large, colorful letters and phrases he paints onto city streets across the globe. For this street art piece, he painted the word ‘CREATE’, a nod to self-expression. Street art is a great way to show the character and spirit of an area. With a giant message to ‘create’, this artwork has captured the essence of East London – home-grown creative talent using an unconventional space to make something really ambitious and important for society.

Vhils - Chinese factory worker, Hong Kong 2015
Vhils – Chinese Factory Worker, Hong Kong 2015

6) Vhils – Factory Worker — This is a stunning portrait of a young Asian lady by the world-renowned Portuguese street artist, Vhils. His signature technique of chipping away at the wall with a jackhammer has resulted in another masterpiece. Viewed from a distance the effect has a slightly sepia, nostalgic feel; up close you can see the hand-drawn sketch lines that mapped out the work, hinting at the intensity of labor it took to realize his vision.

Mostly known for his highly unorthodox mediums in art: he carves, drills and blasts to expose the layers in materials. By using all those techniques, he is removing layers in order to reveal the beauty in his art. He simply calls it “creative destruction.” Famous for his groundbreaking carving and explosive street art, Vhils has made a name for himself by revealing thoughtful narratives behind city life.


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