Street art is a cornerstone of urban culture, and New York City is home to an impressive display of talent and creativity. Tourists and locals alike often stop to photograph themselves in front of well-known murals, while others are lucky enough to stumble upon gorgeous paintings in unassuming side street doorways. Even a chimney on a random rooftop can be the canvas for a poignant illustration. Turn your next leisurely walk around the city into an artistic scavenger hunt, and be on the lookout for creations by these five talented New York street artists. You may also discover your own personal favorite along the way.
TATS CRU is a Bronx-based group of cartoonists-turned-muralists, who have been an iconic name in the NYC street artist community for decades. Walk around Mott Haven in the South Bronx, and you’re likely to come across a TATS CRU masterpiece painted behind a bus stop, or on the wall of an outdoor basketball court. You can also find some TATS CRU walls throughout Manhattan, such as the corner of Allen St And Delancey.
When it comes to street art portraits, Jorit Agoch is arguably one of the best. This Dutch-Italian artist is originally from Naples, and began painting at the age of 13. When one of his murals was set up in Brooklyn, it was so incredibly lifelike that Jorit has earned the reputation of painting “hyper-realistic” street art. Venture to Brooklyn to find “A Portrait of a Boy Named Camillo” on North 10th Street, a particularly haunting portrait of a boy with blue eyes at St. Nicholas Avenue and Jefferson Street, and a portrait of twin brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo at 129 Allen Street on the Lower East Side.
In a traditionally male-dominated industry, Elle is a Brooklyn-based street artist who strives to break the social implications that certain creative positions are “just for men.” Elle’s murals are gorgeously feminine with an ethereal feel and have been on display in places like Melbourne, Denver, Miami, and Tel Aviv. Get a dose of Elle’s colorful murals at Prospect Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn, as well as Harlem – she was part of a large street art campaign called #NotACrime, in support of education equality.
Since his teenage years growing up in Chile, Dasic Fernandez has been inspired by American hip-hop culture and tagging. When people spot any of Dasic’s colorful murals – peppered throughout NYC, but mostly in Bushwick – they often notice his signature aesthetic of anti-gravity paint. That is, he shows paint “dripping” up instead of down. Check out his murals on the patio area of The Well in Brooklyn, at the iPic theater in Lower Manhattan, and at the Bushwick Collective.
Icy and Sot
Street art and graffiti have always been a way for younger generations to express themselves and share political messages. Icy and Sot, an Iranian pair of brothers, have been using their art to highlight human rights, social issues, politics, and ecological justice for over ten years. One of their most famous murals is still on display at TBA Brooklyn – a nightclub and coffeehouse – depicting a group of smiling children looking upward towards the sky. Icy and Sot were also part of the street art exhibit on the 69th floor of 4 World Trade Center.
Do you any favorite New York street artists? Tracy interviewed artist James SEXER Rodriguez, who’s based in the Bronx.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn offers tons of opportunities to see street art. And New York artist Valeri Larko finds beauty in the city’s most industrial settings.