Take It To The Streets: The Cool Kids' Guide To (Affordable!) Graffiti Art

Graffiti has come a long way since it began as an act of rebellion for the young, urban-dwelling set. What used to be considered a defacement of public and private property is now appreciated as self-expression — art in all its raw, aggressive, and honest glory. Nowadays, an increasing number of graffiti artists are bouncing from illicitly spray-painting buildings to framing their work for galleries — and at prices way above our pay grades. But, don't fret, you can get the look for less.
Let us introduce you to three amazing artists staying true to the street movement — and affordable commissions. Like the graffiti look but don't want to commit to expensive artwork or permanent wall murals? We rounded up budget-friendly graffiti-inspired decals and decor to bring a bit of outsider expression indoors — without taking a spray can to the wall. Home street home, indeed.
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Aerosol artists remain a mainly illusive, nocturnal breed, uncomfortable with commercial production, and prints can be as hard to track down as the painters themselves. (As Oakland-based artist Eddie Colla once put it, “The problem with vandalism is that it eventually attracts unwanted museum exhibits.”) And, like all fine art, originals are particularly hard to score. Luckily, the following folks are not only rattle-can masters, but they all have surprisingly affordable work available now.

In 1990, Revok began his art career in Riverside, California, by sneaking out of his parents’ house to spread his vision around the neighborhood. Since those early days as a 13-year-old graffiti writer, he has gone on to participate in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ “Art in the Streets” exhibition, the Pasadena Museum of California Art’s show “Street Cred: Graffiti Art from Concrete to Canvas,” and a solo exhibit at Vicious Gallery in Germany.

But the member of the infamous graffiti crew MSK (Mad Society Kings) hasn’t lost his street cred. As one of the world’s most influential taggers, Revok creates intricately stylized lettering, sometimes high above the ground. In 2008, he added his own flare to a billboard advertising a Murakami show at the MOCA. The beautified billboard was removed at Murakami’s request, so that the Japanese artist could add it to his own collection.

Revok’s artistic risks have led to several arrests in the U.S. and abroad and a 180-day jail sentence in L.A. He now lives in Detroit, where things are safer — at least for street artists. There, he founded the Detroit Beautification Project, which helps bring murals to blighted areas.

In recent years, Revok has been honing his craft indoors as well, creating wood panels layered with paint and strips of found material from abandoned buildings.

In support of fellow muralist Swoon’s community-based arts center, Braddock Tiles, Revok is selling a limited-edition print of one of his abstract works, “550 Helena St.,” for $45!

Photo: Courtesy of Jonathan LeVine Gallery.
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Dabs Myla
If you could bottle cute in a can and spray it, out would come the candy-colored world of Dabs Myla. Originally from Melbourne, the L.A.-based husband-and-wife team collaborate in a symbiotic bliss that Sponge Bob and Patrick would envy. The pair met in art school nine years ago and began painting as a team shortly afterward. Today, the couple work on all their projects together.

Their output reflects their sunny, joke-fueled partnership — showcasing the refreshing, lighter side of graffiti. In their studio pieces, Dabs’ playfully naughty characters romp like cuddly giants through Myla’s realistic cityscapes. In their bright murals, mushrooms tip their caps to wolves, aerosol cans shoot out glazed donuts, and orange juice cartons sport bushy mustaches.

They recently released two prints, “Good Times” and “Moonlight Fantasy,” available for about $152 each though Handmadeposters in Norway. The prints are a bit bawdy, but still adorable. Dabs Myla also have an installation opening on August 17 at White Walls gallery in San Francisco.

Photo: Courtesy of Dabs Myla.
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Cannon Dill
Of course, the best way to get street art at a steal (without actually stealing it) is to invest in someone who is just starting out. Twenty-one-year-old Cannon Dill fits that bill perfectly. In April, the Oakland artist had his first solo show at his hometown gallery LeQuiVive, and then he hit the road with his friend and muralist Brett Flanigan. The two crisscrossed the country with their spray cans, painting walls in Denver, Chicago, Detroit, New York, New Orleans, and other cities along the way.

Dill’s paintings have the feel of finely detailed pen-and-ink drawings writ large. Like illustrations from dark fairy tales (or freak folk album covers), his paintings frequently feature foxes, wolves, and birds with heavy, sad eyes. Their plaintive faces make you want to bring them in out of the cold and comfort them in your home — which you can do for $100 or less.

Photo: Courtesy of Cannon Dill.
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It’s hard enough to decide what to order for lunch, let alone what to paint on your walls. The following decals and tiles designed by well-known street artists offer a way to throw some murals up without having to worry about changing your mind — or getting busted by the cops. The graffiti-inspired mural option requires a bit more commitment, but, thankfully, there's still no risk of jail time.

Sam Flores Hand Signs Blik Decals, $55, available at Upper Playground.
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Aleix Gordo Lilac Drops Mural, $4.88 /ft², available at Bloom Papers.
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Dora Drimalas Fifty24 Pong Blik in Pink Decals, $60, available at Upper Playground.
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Not quite ready to turn your home into a haven for graffiti? Design accessories offer a gentler approach to bringing street art indoors. From throw pillows to cute clocks, we’ve got your softer, sweeter side covered.

DENY Designs Bird Ave Ohio State Buckeyes Red Throw Pillow, $49, available at PureHome.
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Yoshitomo Nara Flip Clock, $300, available at Park Life.
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Victor Ash Astronaut Cosmonaut Screen Print, $264.68, available at Victor Ash.
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BANDID8 Bear Scout World #3 Phone Case, $29.11, available at The Wallery.
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Fifty24SF by Dave Ellis & Doze Green, $25, available at The Giant Peach.