Graffiti used to be considered just another form of public defacement left to vandals, delinquents and ne’er do wells. But, thanks to post-modern visionaries like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, street art or “graffiti art” has become an increasingly influential and controversial form of artistic expression. And what better place to explore/create street art than in an unconventional, exhibitionist place like Austin! So straight from the underground art world of our beloved city, here are 5 amazing street artists every Austinite should know.
Mike Johnston AKA Truth
Bringing light and smiles to the streets of Austin, Mike Johnston AKA Truth uses his art to spread the message of joy across the city.
His murals and art works can be seen in paintings and on walls all around Austin, and he especially loves painting on found objects and huge concrete surfaces. Johnston’s zen artistic vision is inspired by his travels across Asia and the Middle East, with his main influences coming from comic books, graphic art and street art.
Check out more about Mike Johnston and peruse his collection of prints, paintings and commissions here.
Born in Cordoba, Argentina, Lucas Aoki brings the colors and influences of Latin America to the Austin art world with his street murals, drawings, canvases and mixed media. After moving to Austin in 2004, Lucas was inspired to pursue his passion for art.
Collaborating with other local artists and contributing to various galleries and projects, Lucas loves the culture and creative vibe of Austin. His various works and media can be found at sprATX, BigCartel and Austin Art Garage, as well as on several walls and restaurants around the city.
Aoki’s work is highly conceptual, surreal and Dali-esque, almost reminiscent of children’s illustrations but with a darker twist. Check out more of Lucas Aoki’s recent art work here.
Originally from El Paso “Chuco”, TX, contemporary artist and UT alumnus Bradford Maxfield works with several groups and local creative minds to contribute to Austin’s unique street art scene. Maxfield’s art, which can be found at Estudio Bradlio as well as around the streets of Austin, reflects the complexity and beauty of the human mind.
As a self-made artist still exploring his creative depths, Bradford likes to work with various mediums and techniques. His colorful and vibrant vision is influenced by some of the greats like Salvador Dali and H.R. Geiger, as well as local artists and groups like the Blue Dozen Collective and Lucas Aoki.
One of his more recent artistic contributions to Austin is a huge mural commissioned by New Amsterdam Vodka for their “It’s Your Town” event, held at spratx. But there’s still plenty more to see around Austin, at Estudio Bradlio and on Bradford Maxfield’s page here.
Federico Archuleta AKA El Federico
Born in the border town of El Paso, TX, graffiti artist Federico Archuleta AKA “El Federico” uses inspiration from his Mexican and Chicano background to build a totally original and impressive portfolio that includes street murals, art crawls, stencils for restaurants and nightclubs and even work with Jarritos Beverages!
A completely self-taught artist, Federico combines his childhood influences, from rock n roll album covers and comic books to cartoons and Lucha Libre, with his wide array of experience as a portrait artist on the market squares of Guadalajara, Mexico, to keep the Latino spirit alive in Austin.
Quickly rising in the ranks of the graffiti art world is eminent artist Jason Eatherly. Whether it’s videos, murals, paintings or fine art, Eatherly brings a fresh take on creative expression that is heavily influenced by our generation’s urban culture and zeitgeist.
Eatherly’s work can be found at the renowned Art on 5th gallery, as well as HOPE Outdoor Gallery and on the streets of Austin. The works themselves are mesmerizing and evocative, with traces of graphic art and modern expressionism.Check out more of Jason Eatherly’s portfolio and available art here.
Take a video tour of HOPE Outdoor Gallery here.