Inspiration

Unknown to the World: Incognito Street Artists

Social messages, two-headed animals, replicas on the rooftops, and graffiti for peace - what the artists hiding their identities create.

Creating under an alias has its benefits. First, anonymity allows to avoid administrative punishment for vandalizing public property, and secondly, it effectively decorates the artist’s image with a vail of enticing mystery. Bird In Flight selected six personalities who create art without having to look out for police or annoying fans.

Dede, Israel

Dede is a street artist from Israel who started painting graffiti on the streets of Tel Aviv in 2006. He signs his work with a drawing of a band-aid, but so far avoided giving it precise meaning. At the age of 13, Dede spray-painted a map of the Milky Way galaxy on the walls of his school. During his military service, Dede began doing graffiti which included visual messages that were implicitly anti-establishment. These included childlike soldiers making soap bubbles, as well as policemen wearing ballerina costumes. After his release from the army, Dede seeks inspiration in political and social events of the country.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dede_01.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dede 01”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dede_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dede 02”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dede_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dede 03”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dede_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dede 04”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dede_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dede 05”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dede_06.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dede 06”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dede_07.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dede 07”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dede_08.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dede 08”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dede_091.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dede 09”
}

Dolk, Norway

Graffiti artist from Norway Dolk began his career in 2003. Since then his pieces appeared in several cities around the world, and in 2006 he participated in two dozen exhibitions at various contemporary art galleries.

At first Dolk was mistaken for Banksy as the two artists have several stylistic and thematic similarities. Eventually, the Norwegian stencil artist stepped out from under the shadow of his more famous colleague. Among the most popular of Dolk’s drawings is “Spray” – a twist on the iconic picture taken by Eddie Adams during the Vietnam War, and one of Fidel Castro wearing a “Che Guevara” T-shirt.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_01.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 01”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 02”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 03”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 04”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 05”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_06.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 06”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_07.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 07”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_08.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 08”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_09.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 09”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/dolk_10.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dolk 09”
}

JR, France

Self-described “photograffeur” JR from Paris posts large black-and-white photographic images in public locations. His first “exhibition” took place in 2006 when he flyposted portraits of young people from the housing projects around upscale neighborhoods of Paris. The project was called Portraits of a Generation and received huge feedback. In 2007 he went to Israel to bring to life his next project Face2Face. This time JR put up enormous photos of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities on either side of the Separation Barrier.

JR thinks that every city on Earth can be its own gallery. His photos show up not just on the walls but also on the rooftops of multiple story buildings. The artist wants to bring art to “improbable places and create projects so huge with the community that they are forced to ask themselves questions”.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_01.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 01”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 02”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 03”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 04”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 05”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_06.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 06”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_07.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 07”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_08.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 08”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_09.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 09”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jr_art_10.jpg”,
“alt”: “JR Artist 09”
}

Keizer, Egypt

Keizer is a Egyptian street artist whose works gained popularity during the “Arab spring” in 2011. He is described as an Arab nationalist because his work targets capitalism and imperialism. Even though Keizer is often labeled as a political activist, a lot of his work is ambiguous. In of the few interviews he’s given he complains that people in Egyptian society are not used to making their own conclusions, they’re used to being told what to think. It’s the case when it comes down to politics and consumerism, – the two main subjects of critique in Kaiser’s art. Interestingly, the artist uses both English and Arabic to deliver his messages through the street paintings, which is his way to reach out to people of different cultures.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keizer_art_01.jpg”,
“alt”: “Keizer 01”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keizer_art_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “Keizer 02”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keizer_art_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “Keizer 03”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keizer_art_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “Keizer 04”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keizer_art_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “Keizer 05”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keizer_art_06.jpg”,
“alt”: “Keizer 06”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keizer_art_07.jpg”,
“alt”: “Keizer 07”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keizer_art_08.jpg”,
“alt”: “Keizer 08”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keizer_art_09.jpg”,
“alt”: “Keizer 09”
}

Claire Fontaine, France

Claire Fontaine is a pseudo name for a Paris-based collective, after a popular brand of school notebooks in France. It’s unclear how many members stand behind the collective artist. Claire Fontaine declares herself a readymade artist who is working within the context of a politically impotent contemporary society transforming regular things into art pieces. (One of good examples is Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” that looks like a common porcelain urinal. Duchamp tried to submit it for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917, but “Fountain” was rejected by the committee).

One of the goals of this art-group is to dismantle the concept of copyright and to strip down the idea of intellectual and private property. Claire Fontaine works with neon signs, video-art, texts, and installations. The collective artist calls herself an “existential terrorist”, – in her works Claire Fontaine analyses urgent social, political, and everyday issues.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_01.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 01”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 02”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 03”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 04”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 05”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_06.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 06”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_07.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 07”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_08.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 08”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_091.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 09”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_10.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 10”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fontain_art_11.jpg”,
“alt”: “Claire Fontaine 11”
}

Above, USA

After Banksy, probably the most well-known incognito graffiti artist is Above. He was born in California and has been creating public art since age 14. Above began painting graffiti by writing his graffiti signature on freight trains. At the age of 19, the artist moved to Paris, where he started painting his trademark arrow icon pointing “above” on the walls of the buildings. Since then, Above has painted artworks in the streets of over one hundred cities in sixty different countries around the world.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/above_art_01.jpg”,
“alt”: “Above Artist 01”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/above_art_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “Above Artist 02”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/above_art_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “Above Artist 03”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/above_art_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “Above Artist 04”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/above_art_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “Above Artist 05”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/above_art_06.jpg”,
“alt”: “Above Artist 06”
}

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