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Russia’s graffiti and street art scene started to develop during the late 90s in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Many local artists became involved with the culture, visiting hip-hop music concerts and participating in graffiti and breakdance battles. Here are the top seven must-know Russian urban artists.
Moscow-born artist Iney (meaning ‘frost’ in English) is considered to be one of the most amazing, extremely talented female street artists in the Russian Federation. Being passionate about creating female cartoon characters on the streets of Moscow, later she moved forward and organised her own personal exhibition in Moscow and got involved in several different Russian contemporary art festivals. Currently Iney works in her own studio with her sister and husband and creates works including different canvases and coloured compositions made of wood.
Based between Saint Petersburg and Hong Kong, Wais has created outstanding cubic forms on the walls of both cities for more than 15 years. His eye-catching work is hard to miss, being as it is generally oversized, while the fact that he travels a lot helps him to create even bigger coloured objects in the city. Wais participates in many international street art exhibitions and graffiti battles all over the world and in his home country.
Locals say that Zmogk is a ‘father’ of Russia’s street art and graffiti scene. And that’s true. Zmogk was one of the first street artists in Moscow who decorated the urban walls of the capital with his huge pictures of electric futuristic robots and transformers of different colours and shapes. Even nowadays Zmogk works in his huge studio and creates various forms of art not exclusively in his native city, but in the whole world.
Ches’ form of street art is focused on classic traditional graffiti lettering and creating of characters. This Moscow born and based artist travels a lot, and participates in many different street art festivals, conventions, event and battles. What really separates his style from many other Russian street artists is the fact the Ches’ art has remained recognizable right from the very beginning, with a strong emphasis on lettering and typeface.
Akue is an artist beloved of all Muscovites. He combines many forms and styles just in one canvas by using his special technique of mixing acrylic, oil wax and spray to make his pieces of art truly unique. Akue participates in various local and international street and contemporary festivals annually. You can buy and check out his art here.
Just like Zmogk and Wais, Nootk got his passion for street art and graffiti when he was very young. He’s famous for the outstanding massive soft coloured works on the streets of the Russian capital and many other cities and countries of Europe. His unique style impresses immediately, extending to massive compositions on the walls of old Soviet-era houses, old abandoned factories, urban walls and on wood. Nootk decorates everything with special characters and compositions, and works on them in advance at home. His works are presented annually at the different events, exhibitions and contemporary art fairs in Moscow.
Luka (fka 16:59) is one of the most famous contemporary street artists and photographers of Russia. Moscow born, Alexey started drawing on the streets of the capital together with Nootk, and lately collaborated with Iney as well. At the moment Luka travels around the world decorating and beautifying the walls of big cities, and also creates and curates many interesting art projects in Russian and international art exhibitions, where he introduces the public to his exclusively created masterpieces of street art.