All posts by Sally Kirchell

Sally Kirchell has been involved in the emerging street art scene since 2010. She runs a number of art related sites such as Beyond A Word specialising in creating Custom made Personalised Art for every occasion from Weddings to Birthdays and much more.

The Arrow Above: Portrait of a Street Art Icon

Born in California, Arrow is a world-renowned street artist who has kept his identity a secret. His name was created when he began painting the word ‘Above’ on freight trains as a teenager.

He later shifted to drawing arrows pointing above, which became his trademark.Much of his work is made with these abstract shapes, though he’s also known for art with a social conscience.

Perhaps most controversially, in October 2011 he created a city block-long text mural in Miami which read ‘give a wall street banker enough rope and he will hang himself‘. Above it he suspended an effigy of banker being hanged. He hoped the art would draw further attention to the Occupy Wall Street movement shaking US politics at the time.

Above street art wall street banker enough rope and he will hang himself miami | Art-Pie

In 2012 he visited Spain, a nation in the throes of the Eurozone crisis- when 24% of the population were unemployed. He created a stencil piece showing a queue of people waiting outside an unemployment office along with text announcing the figure, the highest unemployment rate in the world. At the time Spain’s unemployment rate for under-25s was 53%.

In South Africa he created a giant mural to raise awareness about the illegal blood diamond trade. In his very own ‘jewel heist’, he tricked one of the world’s largest jewel exporters into allowing him to paint on the side of one of their buildings. His mural read ‘Diamonds are a woman’s best friend and a man’s worst enemy’. He hadn’t informed the company about the second half of this sentence.

Above street art Diamonds are a woman’s best friend and a man’s worst enemy | Art-Pie

In 2014 he was commissioned by Redbull to design and decorate obstacles for their professional fixed gear BMX competition Ride+Style in San Francisco (pictured below).

Above street art Johannesburg | Art-Pie
Click to enlarge

In October 2015 Above went to Johannesburg, South Africa to paint his biggest mural yet, a 33-meter tall piece of work called Incognito.

What’s great about this mural is the way the overlapping arrows create stunning colour combinations.

For Above, this was a crucial part of the work that he wanted to get right:

“My colour selections were predetermined by the relationship of how each colour transforms when laid on top of another.

This was easy, however, in the designing of the mural I had to constantly move colours and shapes to finally get the final colour arrangement you see.”

More pics below of the Incognito mural – click to enlarge

Above street art Incognito Johannesburg | Art-Pie Above street art Incognito Johannesburg | Art-Pie Above street art incognito johannesburg | Art-Pie

Above is still thriving worldwide, creating both pieces both abstract and political.


Sally Kirschell

D*Face, from stickers design to art galleries

'CLI-CHE' by D*FACE | Art-Pie

Some of the most iconic art to hit the streets and cover the walls of London is the work of an artist known as D*Face. From the skeletal bust of Marylyn Monroe to the irreverent images of Queen Elizabeth II, his distinctive style is easily recognised by its characteristic blend of skateboard punk and Pop Art.

D*Face is a British street artist, who over the years has experimented with many art mediums. Starting with stickers, posters and sidewalk graffiti, his portfolio later included bold artwork emblazoned across buildings in countries around the world.

His enthusiasm for skateboard graphics started at a young age, fuelled by American street art magazines and films. After a failed attempt at a photography course in college, he switched to an illustration and design course where he blossomed and started freelancing with his skills.

Still experimenting, he drew dysfunctional characters on stickers. The stickers were plastered across parts of London where his quirky designs came to the attention of the public. When he branched into street art his reputation became established.

D*Face kept his identity a secret until 2008 when he admitted to being Dean Stockton, a revelation he felt necessary as he was getting older. With his work appearing in galleries, there seemed little point in maintaining the subterfuge.

"Going nowhere fast" by D*face | Art-Pie
“Going nowhere fast” by D*face | Art-Pie

His style is most recognisable when he uses cultural icons such as Andy Warhol or Marylyn Monroe, but it is obvious he has drawn inspiration from Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop Art work. The themes are very similar but the comic book style of Lichtenstein’s 60s world is overshadowed by D*Face’s darker images. His ‘Kiss of Death’ is a great example of a Lichtenstein transformed into something more sinister.

D*FACE aka Dean Stockton
D*FACE aka Dean Stockton

In many of his works, D*Face encourages the public to do more than see the art itself but also to look around and consider the commercialised surroundings of their environment. Fame and celebrity are often both symbolised and ridiculed at the same time in his art.

Despite the subversive bias in his work, the D*Face brand today has reached a level of commercial success that would have been hard to imagine when he started.

Stockton, as the public persona of D*Face, also paints on canvas and is well known for the effects he accomplishes through screen printing. In 2010, two large statues dubbed Zombie Oscars appeared in Los Angeles, declaring that ‘beauty is one snip away’. Clearly, D*Face is not restricted to 2D nor has he lost his sense of irony.

by D*FACE | Art-Pie

“Silence = Death”: The Political Art of Keith Haring

Keith Haring was a street artist at the heart of the urban art movement in 1980s New York. He was also a gay man diagnosed with AIDS. Partly as a result of living with these stigmas, his work often bears a strong element of political and social critique.

He was one third of a trio of New York street artists at the helm of the growing movement. He, Richard Hambleton and Jean-Michel Basquiat regularly met to discuss each other’s work, and sometimes collaborated.

He first began using public spaces as his canvas whilst studying at New York’s School of Visual Arts, when he started drawing on blank advertising panels in subway stations.

Whimsical human figures drawn in bold and clear outlines became his trademark. They contrast with the heavy subject matter of much of his work. In his art he called attention to the AIDS epidemic afflicting gay men in the 1980s.

Silence = Death by Keith Harring | Art-Pie

He made his targets state and society. The Reagan and Bush administrations neglected to fund research into treatments and a cure for the disease. This negligence left AIDS sufferers in the dark, without support, whilst religious leaders and the media continued to blame gay men for the problem.

One of his most famous works is a commentary on the epidemic called Silence=Death, which depicts a crowd of figures covering their ears as if to avoid the horrible truth of AIDS. Overlaying the crowd is a pink triangle. The Nazis gave this symbol in the form of a badge to concentration camp inmates imprisoned for their sexuality. The symbol was reclaimed by the gay community in the 1980s.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

In the mid-80s Haring set up ‘pop shops’ which sold his imagery on t-shirts, buttons, bags and stickers. The shops made his work accessible at low cost to everyday people and were an innovative way of disseminating pop art.

After he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987, Haring felt a renewed determination, sensing the urgency of his work.

Some critics described his art as freer after his diagnosis. Robert Farris Thompson wrote that “in his art he found the key to transform desire, the force that killed him, into a flowering elegance that will live beyond his time.”

He died in 1990 as a result of AIDS-related complications. But his work lives on, his figures still a recognised visual language in the 21st century.

Something Lurking: The Shadowmen of Richard Hambleton

Richard Hambleton has been called the godfather of street art. He began producing what he called ‘public art’ in New York City in the 1970s.

He’s known for the black figures he first painted on the buildings of New York’s Lower East Side, which he called Shadowmen. The Shadowmen arrived in the early 1980s, and shocked many a denizen of that city who walked the streets at night. In 1981 and 1982 he populated the Lower East Side with these unnerving figures.


A reclusive man, physically gaunt (somewhat creepy-looking himself), Hambleton had undertaken work of a similar bent before. In his Mass Murder project in the late 1970s, he drew crime-scene outlines of dead bodies on the street and had volunteers play homicide victims. Passersby mistook the installations for the aftermaths of real murders.

Both these projects spoke to the zeitgeist, as US urban crime panics shook the nation in those decades. The Shadow men would shock passersby, who often mistook them for shadows of real people, possible assailants. Many people who lived in NYC around that time have stories of the moment they were petrified by a Shadowman and these stories seem to be almost a badge of honour top the artist with a distinctly morbid streak. For Hambleton audience reaction was integral to the artwork itself.

The Shadowmen by Richard Hambleton | Art-Pie
Click to enlarge

He said:

“Other artists put their work on the city, but what I paint on the walls is only part of the picture. The city psychologically completes the rest. People experience my paintings. They aren’t simply exposed to them.”

His art was apparently inspired by the shadows left on the sides of buildings by victims of the atomic blast on Hiroshima. In an age of Cold War anxiety, perhaps his work pointed at the way people’s lives seemed to rest on a knife edge.

The Shadowmen drew in other urban artists, who daubed over the black figures with their own work. Indeed, Hambleton was not a lone wolf. With Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, he was one of a legendary trio of New York artists at the forefront of the street art boom. The three regularly met to discuss their work with one another, and sometimes collaborated.

His work began to pop up all over the globe. Shadowmen even appeared on the Berlin Wall in 1984, when he painted 17 life-size figures on its eastern side. His Shadowman paintings have been documented by photographer Hank O’Neal.

Take a look at the gallery here:

The Shadowmen by Richard Hambleton | Art-Pie

The Shadowmen by Richard Hambleton | Art-Pie

The Shadowmen by Richard Hambleton | Art-Pie

This article was written by Sally Kirchell, owner of Blue Horizon Prints an Australian online canvas prints company offering cutting edge prints in a wide variety of styles from Street Art to Vintage Prints. They offer free delivery to the UK and Australia and deliver all over the

9 Artists Predicted to Make Waves in 2016

If you are into art, you will have heard of the famous names doing the rounds. However, there are many artists currently under the radar who are looking for the chance to break out and make it big. Here are 9 artists who are predicted to make waves in 2016:

1. David Choe

He is an American artist of Korean descent, best known for figure painting, creating murals, graffiti and creating novel graphics. His paintings have been called “dirty style” for they portray excitement, degradation and desire with a chaotic, raw tone. He is famous for his “Bucktoothed Whale” graffiti and many others he made on the streets of Los Angeles. He has been creating street art since he was a teenager, inspired by other graffiti artists of LA, such as Mear One and Hex. He also accepted Facebook stock options in exchange for painting a mural, which is now believed to be worth a lot of money.

David Choe | Art-Pie

2. Rosson Crow

She is also an American artist from LA. She claims to be inspired by diverse references, such as the cowboy culture, Las Vegas architecture, theatre and music. She creates large-scale paintings that drip with excitement, illustrating theatre with a touch of history. For instance, her 2007 painting “Night at the Palamino” illustrates a scene at a Hollywood nightclub which once played hosts to legendary artists, such as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson.

Rosson Crow | Art-Pie

3. James Jean

He is an American artist of Taiwanese descent. He is known for creating various DC comic book covers and has received various recognitions in that industry. However, in 2008, Jean retired from his comic book drawings to focus on painting. He has been incredibly successful in his painting career as well, most notably known for his work with Prada, including a mural for the 2008 show in Milan. Jean’s paintings are known for their romanticism and poetic depictions.

James Jean | Art-Pie

4. Adam Neate

He is a conceptual artist from Britain. He has been ranked at the top for creating urban street art. In his early years, Neate painted on cardboard boxes he found on the street, and now major collectors and celebrities bid high money for his original artwork. He mostly creates figurative images in multi-dimensional tones. He left hundreds of paintings on the streets of London as an open exhibition. From there, he got invited to many solo exhibitions and was recognized as a pioneer of the new movement which showed street art in conventional art galleries. He claims to get inspiration from his wife, graffitist Daze and Picasso.

Adam Neate | Art-Pie

5. ROA

He is a Belgian graffiti artist, known for his street work in Europe, United States, Australia and New Zealand. His work usually comprises of wild animals or birds found in the city he is painting. He works with minimal colors, mostly using black, white and red. He only uses vibrant colors when depicting internal organs of the animals. He has created many large-scale murals in popular urban areas.

ROA | Art-Pie

6. Jeff Soto

He is an American artist from California, known for combining street art with pop surrealism. Even though he has done graffiti from a young age, he claims to be “a muralist with an occasional urge to do some graf.” Soto also works as a freelance illustrator, providing editorial work to clients, such as Entertainment Weekly, Sony Music, United Airlines and Disney. Soto has also created remarkable paintings and had his first solo exhibit in Los Angeles’s New Image Art Gallery. Soon he was invited to many other solo exhibits and has been successfully merging street art with pop surrealism.

Jeff Soto | Art-Pie

7. Saber

He is an American artist from California, known for his graffiti and paintings in Los Angeles. He is famously known for creating large-scale graffiti on the concrete bank of the Los Angeles River. The painting took him a year to complete, using 97 gallons of paint. It is the largest known graffiti in the world and can be viewed from a satellite. His graffiti went viral and he has since created many pieces of art.

Saber | Art-Pie

8. Audrey Kawasaki

She is also an American artist from Los Angeles, California. She is known for painting on wood panels, depicting young, adolescent women who seem to be erotically charged. Her art is an infusion of the Japanese Manga and Art Nouveau. She claims to be influenced by Gustav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha. She dropped out of Pratt Institute in New York City because her professors discouraged her from her style of painting, which mostly included nudes. She has since been a rising star of Los Angeles. One of her paintings was tattooed on singer Christina Perri on an episode of LA Ink.

Audrey Kawasaki | Art-Pie

9. Aya Takano

She is a Japanese artist known for creating art with an infusion of manga and anime. She also portrays science fiction in her paintings, taking inspiration from her father’s library of natural sciences and science fiction. Her artwork illustrates exotic animals and architecture found in urban cities, usually portraying juxtaposition between future and fantasy. She worked under Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami who helped her polish her skills. Takano’s paintings capture Japan’s Otaku culture but from a feminine perspective and show how this culture will boom in the future.

Aya Takano | Art-Pie