Street Art, also referred to as Independent Art, covers an extreme variety of techniques, allowing new approaches that go beyond just traditional graffiti and spray paint. The street art movement is constantly renewing and often represents a phenomenon that is transforming continuously and helps shape and reconstruct cultural discourses.
Street art plays a very important role in creating thought-provoking content ranging from topics like the society in which we live and social and political issues to humor-tinted content and many other interesting techniques and forms.
Let’s look at 5 famous street artists of India and their inspirations.
1. Ranjit Dahiya- Graphic Designer and Founder of the Bollywood Art Project, Ranjit Dahiya pays tribute to the city of Bollywood by adding more Bollywood to it- through murals of classic Hindi films. He has painted in Delhi, Chennai, US and France apart from Mumbai and hopes to map the cinematic history of India wherever there are Bollywood lovers.
2. St+art India – A brainchild of five co-founders – Arjun Bahl, Akshat Nauriyal, Giulia Ambrogi, Hanif Kureshi and Thanis Thomas – all belonging to different backgrounds, this non-profit organisation started in 2014 with the common vision to make art more democratic and take it out of the conventional spaces and incorporate it in places that people inhabit. The organisation has worked in metropolises of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore and their largest urban intervention was the creation of the country’s first art district – Lodhi Colony in Delhi – a significant movement in the history of application of street art in cities.
3. Yantra- A pseudonymous graffiti artist and designer from Delhi, Yantra introduced contemporary mural art as street art in India. Yantra is a Sanskrit word which means ‘machine’. He is known for his geometric designs that often convey a socio-political message. He worked as an art director for 10 years before he began working as a street artist, and has now painted murals in various cities including Delhi, Guwahati, Pune, Kochi, Mumbai to name a few. His style primarily is influenced by his childhood experiences in his father’s garage and his artworks are a combination of organic art forms, machines and other eclectic themes.
4. Leena Kejriwal – A Kolkata based installation artist and fine art photographer, she is best known for her project ‘MISSING’ which aims to bring awareness about the issue of women trafficking and prostitution of young girls. This street stencil art project went viral in 2015 and can be seen across the country in metro’s like Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai to name a few. The silhouette of a girl remaining constant, this project has traversed between tangible and intangible public spaces.
5. Guesswho- An anonymous graffiti artist based in Kochi, Kerala, Guesswho uses street art as a medium to express the ever-changing culture of a city by means of his wry commentary on socio-political issues. His artwork is often a blend of the West and the East– a mix of global icons and local culture, poking fun at gender stereotypes and Indian oddities.
Our cities are built in concrete and stone, mere structures built for people to inhabit and generate livelihoods from. Infusing art into these public spaces not only helps artists to express themselves but also allows these places to act as interactive cultural centres. It helps in the creation of meaningful and exciting ideas which resonate with people and help revive and energize an otherwise dull and uninspiring space.