Graffiti art is not one of those straightforward careers with goals that you can convince someone you are headed somewhere in life. If you talk with your parents and you suggest to them that you want to be a graffiti artist, chances are they will look at you with disappointed faces. Just like any art, graffiti has those who dabble, those who try and those who fearlessly express their skill with lots of ingenuity.
Making a name for yourself in graffiti does not necessarily guarantee you financial security. However, in the era we are in where out is in and new is old, graffiti has transformed the economic realities of lots of artists because the art has crossed over into the mainstream in a much bigger way. Street art as it is commonly known is marketable to the tune of millions of dollars and whether you love it or hate it, graffiti art has a blinding spotlight of fame.
The following are some of the artists who have made it big in street art.
Also known as Retna, Lewis has a net worth in the millions. His original pieces of graffiti art fetched between $10, 000 and $20,000 on average at auctions. Recently, the LA based street artist was named by Forbes as having done a portrait of Marvin Gaye for Usher. His first show in the year 2010 coincided with the New York fashion week and in 2011, he tagged a $60 million canvas of the VistaJet Bombadier Global Express XRS.
In 2013, the artist teamed up with Louis Vuitton and later went ahead to create a mural at the store front of the new location of the designer in the Design District of Miami.
Also referred to as Mr. Brainwash, the worth of Guetta is about $10 million. He is one of the most enigmatic graffiti artist born in Paris and currently living in Los Angeles. He started off as photographer and filmographer and this is what led him into the arena of the graffiti heavyweights. He immersed himself in their work and life until he mastered graffiti. Sifting through his thousands of hours of footage, Gueta created a psychedelic collage of visuals mashed together and sound bites.
Whether they know it or not, almost every person has seen the work of Shepard Fairey, the artist with a net worth of $15 million. President Barrack Obama first coveted the progressive street style of this artist when he was campaigning for presidency in 2008. He did the red and blue poster which depicted Obama with the word Hope written below it. This was not only an iconic symbol of the election, but it is still being used in backdrops today. The work of this artist combines everything from Marxist Theory to pop art.
It is amazing how an artist can continue working as a faceless enigma in today’s world where privacy no longer exists. Banksy is a $20 million worth graffiti artists famous for his stencil guerilla graffiti and other bizarrely clever art installations. He has done lots of paintings including a Palestinian side of the Israel West Bank barrier and a signature aesthetic of brick-and-mortar foundations which showcased a walking diary of his observations. He has also published a number of books and directed movies.
It is interesting that you do not require a cool nickname to make it in graffiti. In 2005, Choe, the $ 200 million worth LA based artist, was approached by Facebook when it was starting up. He was commissioned to do a series of murals for the office headquarters of Facebook. As payment, he was given two options cash or stock. Seeing the whole thing as ridiculous, Choe chose stocks because he is a risk taker. In 2007, he was commissioned by Mark Zuckerberg to decorate yet another Facebook headquarter and when Facebook started trading publicly in 2012, his stocks paid off.