Before Banksy there was Blek le Rat. 20 years before. Blek started doing stencil art in the early 1980's. I photographed this piece in Paris in 1985. Blek started off doing stencils of rats on the streets of Paris. He claimed it was "the only free animal in the city." He then expanded to do life size works. The oldest known preserved work by Blek is from 1991. On his website he describes one of his stencils as "Marcel Dassault with a stick." This could be that. Or another one described as: "BUSTER KEATON, CHARLOT (like Charlie Chaplin), or simply THE OLD MAN”.
Invader is a well known street artist from France who works in mosaic tiles. His name comes from the arcade game Space Invaders, and many of his pieces are of the characters found in that game. Pictured here is one I came across by accident, in Koln Germany, in 2011. Invader has invaded many cities across Europe.
This piece is by Banksy. It is located just off Front Street in Toronto behind the Sony Center by a parking garage. I came across it by accident back in 2010 shortly after Banksy was in Toronto. As of last year it was still there, the only one left of the 7 or so pieces he did at that time. It is covered by acrylic glass.
Shepard Fairey from California is a another notable street artist. This piece is in Toronto on the rear on the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street. Plus a few of his limited edition prints I have collected. He has done giant murals around the world. Impressive stuff. Generally his work has a social context.
There is a lot of street art in and around Hamilton. Here are a few pieces I have come across. These are from 5 to 10 years ago. There was a great site under Plains Road where an overpass crosses the RBG property below. Many of these are now painted over.
A few years ago I designed my own wall of graffiti for the basement. A combination of sprayed graphic and stencils. When I was a kid I painted murals on the walls of my parents basement.