I remember a time when street art and high art were mutually exclusive. When “tagging” and “graffiti” made you a hooligan, no matter how good the art actually was.
Boy, how the times have changed.
1. “Parking”- Banksy
Arguably one of the most famous international street artists in the world, the ultra-political UK-based Banksy (whose works have sold for upwards of $2,000,000) is no stranger to the walls of Los Angeles. This massive mural at 9th and Broadway appeared in April of 2010, in conjunction with Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop LA premiere.
2. “Love Trap”- D*face
While D*face might not be a household name here in the ‘states, the street artist has achieved celebrity levels of notoriety for his murals and installations throughout the UK and the rest of the world. After revealing his identity as Dean Stockton, D*face’s art has only become more popular… with his prints now selling for upwards of $5,000 each. This piece appeared only 2 months ago, on the side of an East Hollywood coffee shop at 5427 Santa Monica Blvd.
3. “I Was A Botox Junkie”- Tristan Eaton
If you’re like me, you probably won’t recognize the name “Tristan Eaton.” You will, however, recognize his work as the co-creator of the infamous ‘Dunny’ art toys (which have even garnered him a permanent exhibit in the NY MoMA). The LA based artist dropped this stunning mural on 744 E 3rd St sometime last year.
4. “Red PacMan Ghost”- Invader
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One of the more playful and prolific international street artists, the French “Invader” draws upon classic 8-bit game characters as the inspiration for his tile-tags. He’s visited the LA area numerous times over the past decade of his career, but this particular PacMan ghost in Silver Lake might be one of the oldest and best-preserved of his early visits. For reference, a small tiled Invader mural recently sold for almost HK $2 Million.
5. “Untitled”- Retina and El Mac
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La-born dynamic duo Retna and El Mac have been painting together for nearly a decade, and have since gone on to host their own individual “if you have to ask, it’s too expensive”- style exhibitions worldwide. Combining Retna’s penchant for elaborate typography and El Mac’s hyper-realistic portraits, the two together create a product that’s greater than the sum of its parts. This particular piece showed up early in their collaborative career, in 2007 on the corner of Western and Hollywood.
6. “Girl with Einstein Quote”- Herakut
When they’re not selling limited edition prints at €1,000-a-pop, the whimsical German street art duo that comprise Herakut are traveling the world, painting murals paired with fanciful or thought-provoking quotes everywhere they go. Touching down in Los Angeles almost two years ago, the pair painted a number of murals around the Westside, including this one on Playa Vista at the Ignition Creative.
7. “Wall in Chinatown LA”- Vhils
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You won’t find many original works for sale by Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto (aka Vhils), but if you do, you can pretty much expect that the price will be listed as “on request” only. The negative space artist chips and carves his works directly into the walls they appear on, integrating them completely into their environment. This one can be found in Chinatown, on the side of the Beauty Supply Corp.
8. “Love love love love love love love love me”- Curtis Kulig
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Though Curtis Kulig has made a name for himself with his signature “Love Me” tag, make no mistake– the North Dakota-born artist is more than just a one-trick pony. In fact, his originals are regularly featured at the StolenSpace gallery alongside European street-art titans like Banksy, D*face, and Faile. This piece, just off Beverly Boulevard, is one of his newest additions to the LA streets.
9. “We Are Still Here”- Shepard Fairey
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The mastermind behind the now-global “Obey” Andre the Giant phenomenon (and the infamous Obama “Hope” poster), South Carolina native Shepard Fairey is responsible for some of the most viral street-art campaigns in the history of the medium. Though his prints are readily attainable at the sub-$1000 price point, his original works are nigh-impossible to acquire, making this incredible mural in Echo Park of Downtown LA worth easily more than the building it’s painted on. [cover: Sean Davis]