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At Art Republic we have long recognised the brilliance of Street Art for its unique social commentary and witty interpretations of popular culture. Many of our talented artists create three-dimensional works that cleverly manipulate and transform familiar objects into their own unique creations. From vivid colours to humorous compositions and boundary-pushing subject matter, street art-inspired sculptures are a joy to experience.
Although, at first glance, Ancient Greece and the streets of New York have little in common, they are both recognised as the birthplace of new forms of art. Whilst Greek artists in 800 BC moved away from traditional painting to create sculptures that were true to the human form, graffiti artists in 1960s New York were finding a new form of expression on the sides of train cars. Both sculpture and street art are celebrated as a daring move away from tradition.
Working on a three-dimensional scale allows for freedom of expression - many of the sculptors in the Art Republic community regularly extend the limits of their chosen art form. They push the boundaries through their varying techniques and mediums to create artworks which are though-provoking and limit-pushing.
Who says sculpture has to be serious? Each of these artists have re-imagined sculptural aesthetics to play with motifs from popular culture. Take a look at just a few of our favourites below...
Brian Donnelly a.k.a. KAWS lives and works in Brooklyn, USA and is a graffiti artist and designer. KAWS takes beloved pop culture icons like Mickey Mouse and gives them a signature street art twist - all through the medium of sculpture. Although his characters are often portrayed as sad or covering their faces, KAWS' sculptures are endearing and relatable. Often compared to Andy Warhol due to his success in blurring the boundaries between high and low art, KAWS has really spearheaded the sculpture movement, adapting and modernising it for a 21st Century audience.
This sculpture sees KAWS’ original bear design ‘Companion’, who was introduced to the world in 1999, as the cuddly teddy bear for the Undercover bear, from the brand of iconic Japanese designer Jun Takahashi.
The use of sculpture to represent or commemorate religious figures has been popular for centuries, and street artist RYCA loves to play with this popular motif. His sculptures merge iconography with elements of popular culture to great, and often humorous, effect. RYCA combines Street Art, popular culture, and current affairs to create what he calls a ‘Poptarian’ style. We love the playful jokes and political references used in each RYCA artwork, creating accessible and refreshing compositions.
Art Republic's exclusive collaboration with RYCA 'Buddha Smalls (Sandstone)' is an amalgamation of Buddha and rapper Biggie Smalls - a fusion of spiritual and American icons. This tongue in cheek sculpture is a light hearted take on the idea of icons' - regardless of whether they come from religion or the New York rap scene.
Similarly, in his sculpture 'Long Suffering Trooper', RYCA substitutes the familiar image of Jesus Christ on the crucifix with a Storm Trooper from Star Wars. Witty, cheeky and slightly controversial, RYCA's sculptures are not to be missed. Check out the street artist's collection of artworks here.
Otto Schade is a Chilean-born artist who combines surrealism and street art to great effect. With an artistic style fluctuating between the boundaries of surrealism and abstract, the themes for his works are generally related to the artist’s private stories, offering a unique insight into his dreams and obsessions, as well as political issues and pop culture. Otto is heavily influenced by past Art movements and still pays homage to traditional the art techniques of sculpture in his work. Discover Otto's artwork here.
Whatshisname is a Polish-born contemporary artist now living in London. The anonymous artist's satirical designs are a humorous take on popular culture, particularly the work of American artist Jeff Koons. The artist's name alone stirs intrigue, and we love how Whatshisname’s bold designs and playful cast of characters are out of the ordinary. Drawing the audience in with his witty sculptures, often of balloon dogs in cheeky positions, Whatshisname is always one step ahead of his audience - explore his artworks here.
This original sculptural artwork by Otto Schade and Whatshisname is a joyful combination of both artists' styles. Whatshisname’s light-hearted balloon dog form and Otto's signature ribbon detailing means that this witty sculpture shines with personality and humour.