Art’s black sheep no more
Street artists getting off the pavement, onto walls
ONCE considered the rebels of the art world, street artists are now part of contemporary pop culture. So, it is only fitting IKEA, the Swedish retailer known for its affordable sleek designs and modern sensibilities, would enlist graffiti artists from around the world to create 12 posters for its annual art event. “Street art has been kind of the black sheep within the art scene,” says Henrik Most, the creative leader behind the art event, which launches globally April 1. “It was connected to music, to graffiti, to subculture. It was not connected to artists coming from academic institutions as educated artists.” Times have changed. Tapping into the talents of a diverse group of street artists from 11 different countries, including Sweden, China, Spain, Brazil and the U.S., IKEA is bringing art inspired by the graffiti in subway tunnels and spraypainted on the side of abandoned buildings into the home. “Some street artists work very graphic, some black and white, some more graffiti like,” explains Most of the variety of styles in the new collection. “And then we have different techniques; from spraying and throwing paint to fine drawing, stencils and collage, while others have been working more digitally.” One San Francisco artist known simply as Elle incorporated bold colour with a strong female message in her glow-in-the-dark poster inspired by the psychedelic ’70s. “I wanted to make a piece that was full of energy, colour, animals and a strong woman centrepiece,” she says. Hua Tunan of China leaned more toward realism with an ink drawing of a large eagle. “It represents the courage that I think many street artists have,” he says of the fierce, beady-eye bird. “The eagle is free, colourful and brave. It’s also one of the traditional animals of China.” Only available while quantities last, all 12 posters in the collection are $20 each. Seven are verticals measuring 70 centimetres by 100 cm; the remaining five are 100 cm by 70 cm horizontals. “We think that art belongs in people’s homes. And with these collections, art becomes accessible for a lot of people — you don’t need to be wealthy to buy something unique,” Most says.
A San Francisco street artist, known simply as Elle, combined bold colour and a strong female message in her glow-in-the-dark poster for IKEA.
Fast-drying ink was used by Hua Tunan of China to draw this vibrant eagle.