FAILE is the Brooklyn-based artistic collaboration between Patrick McNeil (Canada, b. 1975) and Patrick Miller (American, b. 1976). Since its inception in 1999, FAILE has attained global recognition for their pioneering street art techniques and for their explorations of duality through a fragmented style of appropriation and collage. Spirituality, heroism, unconditional love, a greater moral purpose–and equally a lack of these–are among the central themes tying together their vast array of multimedia projects. Their prints, paintings, sculptures, and interactive installations have been exhibited at prominent institutions the world over, including The Outsiders London, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Lisbon’s Portugal Arte 10, and the Tate Modern among others.
Bristol-based artist and fashion designer Gemma Compton combines classic wildlife, popular culture and religious iconography with a strong illustrative style. Her childhood in the English countryside instilled an early love of nature that continues to inform her work. Darkly glamorous women merge with flora and fauna in her compositions, juxtaposing our modern human ideals of beauty with the natural beauty and cruelty of nature. Though she works mainly on her own studio practice, she continues to create stunning street pieces and collaborations with her husband, fellow street artist Copyright. Her work has been exhibited throughout the UK and internationally, including the Houses of Parliament in 2014.
Hayden Kays is a London-based artist whose practice encompasses painting, sculpture and printmaking with a focus on the relationship between words and images. Kays has situated himself as an involved, sometimes complicit, commentator on capitalist culture, delivering challenging messages that range from the hard-hitting to the absurd. His work is characterized by acerbic word-play, traditional craftsmanship, deadpan humor, and bold imagery drawn from popular culture and art history. Employing everyday references and pithy witticisms, his artistic practice relates to and subverts the canon of the Pop Artists of the 1950s and the Young British Artists movement of the 1990s. Kays has enjoyed international exposure from platinum-selling band The Kooks, who used his work as the cover art for their latest album, and his solo exhibitions have garnered critical and commercial success.
J. Mikal Davis, aka Hellbent, is a Brooklyn-based artist known for his unique style of abstract graffiti that integrates ornate floral patterning, discordant colors, and sharp, fragmented geometry. His studio practice evolved out of a formal arts education and an early love of street art growing up in the South. Hellbent’s aesthetic language fuses the contemporary and the traditional, reflecting both the minimalist deconstruction of Graffuturism and the handmade, folk art style of the Mission School. Signing “Hellbent” in pastel colors or swirling cursive, a playful sense of irony informs much of his work, as does his deep love of music—his street name is drawn from his favorite punk musician Richard Hell and many of his pieces reference songs he listens to while working. In addition to gallery shows throughout the US and Europe, Hellbent continues his street practice with numerous large-scale murals and public commissions.
Oscar Joyo is a Malawian born, Chicago based artist known for expressive portraiture that features his unique combination of photo realism and tribal patterning. His practice fuses both traditional and digital mediums to explore imagery and themes connected to afrofuturism and afrosurrealism.
Joyo's process begins with a photorealistic portrait painted in acrylic. Joyo then coats each of the panels with a thick, clear resin. On top of this shiny surface he paints a layer of patterning and symbols that both embellish and obscure the subject of the portrait. The work is raw at the edges and is imbued with a spiritual psychedelia.
For Joyo, the creative process is profoundly influenced by music, and his interest in visually representing the sounds he perceives. As Joyo overlays his portraiture with vibrant, dynamic lines, shapes and patterns, they are in response to musical tempo, timbre and mood. As he further explores and understands his personal relationship with sound and it’s conversion into visual imagery, Joyo hopes that this synesthesia will be a point of connectivity for the viewer.
Pure Evil is the alias of Welsh-born graffiti artist and gallery owner Charles Uzzell Edwards. Pure Evil was first exposed to street art while working as a designer in California and was heavily influenced by artists such as Twist and Reminisce, who dominated the West Coast graffiti art scene of the 1990s. Returning to England after a decade in California, Pure Evil became involved in Banksy’s pop-up gallery concept known as “Santa’s Ghetto” and began producing his trademark images of fanged bunnies. Following the success of his first solo show in London, he opened up his eponymous Pure Evil Gallery in a Dickensian shop in the East End of London in 2007. Known for his highly regarded Nightmare series of portraits of famous figures, his work has been exhibited worldwide at the Saatchi Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum in London, at the Culture Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa, and at the Baker Gallery in Cologne, among others.
Shepard Fairey is a renowned graphic artist known for the posters, stickers, and murals of his Obey Giant campaign and his iconic 2008 "Hope" portrait of Barack Obama, now in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Constantly shifting between the realms of fine art, commercial art, street art, and political art, Fairey steeps his ideology and iconography in the self-empowerment of those who refuse to be manipulated by the machine of manufactured consent. With the biting sarcasm of his Obey Giant works, he goads viewers—using the imperative OBEY—to take heed of the propagandists out to bend the world to their agendas. In addition to his guerrilla street art presence, the artist has executed more than 50 large-scale painted public murals and installations around the world. His works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and many others.