Banksy, Cope2, Invader, Retna, Mr.cartoon, They all have a few things in common. Firstly, they are all extremely talented and well known urban artists. Secondly, they all have very memorable and very, very cool names.
Banksy is the most well known of the bunch, and in my opinion has one of the strangest names of any urban artist (with the competition being "elbow-toe" and "skull phone"). Not much is known about where his name came from, infact, next to nothing is known. I tried to look up any kind of clues tothe origin of his name and, not suprisingly, came up empty handed. However, this article is not really about the origin of urban art names, but what makes a cool and memorable name. A good urban art name is easy to write and embellish, is easy to pronouce, and memorable. So when sombody sees it tagged on a electric box or written in wild style letters on a train, they will be able to set it apart from your average joe blows taggers name.
Before anything else, let me make it clear that how long your name should be and how the letters look and sound together when written are the two (three i guess) most important things. However, depending on what kind od urban art you are planning on doing, one or two of thse factors become more important than the others. For example, if you plan on just writing (slang for when the main focus of the art peice is the embellished name of the artist who wrote it, examples in the gallery) you should focus more on how the letters flow together then how they sound when said out loud. This is different than the name of an artist who works mainly with characters, or with three-dimensional urban art. The main focus of his name would be to make you remember it and associate that name with his style of art. So to help you decide what kind of name fits you and your artistic style i have put together some easy to read and understand bullet points. Enjoy!
- Taggers: The main concern a blooming tagger should have about his name is; can i write it super fast so i dont get caught and will it set me apart from the rest of the crowd. I'll talk about that first part to begin. A taggers name should be short and easy to write. That means you can eliminate anything over four or (at the absolute most) five letters. Names like "Voice, Retna, Milo, Cope2 and Skana" are all good names for taggers. The're short and easy to write so you can get in and get out as fast as possible. Now, the second thing i want to say about names for taggers is the individuality of the name. I am so sick of seeing names like "stoned435, Hate, Smoke, KUSH, killer, or some other garbage name that has been re-used about a million times by every angsty teenager with a sharpie and a bad attitude. Please, i beg you, if you come up with a name that is related to drugs, alcohol, guns, or you have seen someone use that same name, don't use it!
- Writers: Okay, what i mean when i say writers are people who plan on doing larger, more in-depth peices, probably for some kind of a living. If you just plan on doing throw ups (simple two color murals of your name) i would highly recomend following the guidelines for taggers instead of writers. As i mentioned earlier in the article, writers need to be most concerned with how the letters of their name look and how the writer (you) can manipulate them to flow and look good. this means you can be a little less concerned about the length of your name (it should still only be about seven letters max) and more concerned about how memorable it is and how it looks. This means names like Revok, vulcan, daim, bates, kaput, never, and other five or six letter names are the ones that writers want to aim for. If you are having trouble coming up with a name of want to see which letters look good together and which dont, check out www.bombingscience.com and go to their extensive gallery of over eight hundred different wall (in depth pieces featuring an artists name) pictures taken from all over the world.
- non-lettering artists: Finally, i would like to adress urban artists whos main tools consist of posters, stencils, stickers, and 3-d sculpture. That means anyone who does not focus on the embellishment of letters, but more on animals or other non-lettering subjects. your only concerns should be ; is it memorable, and can people pronouce it very easily. Since your art does not have your name built right into it you need a name that is memorable and reminds people of your style. A good example of this is "invader". Invader is a french artist who got famous creating mosic tiles sculptures of old 8-bit video games. Specifically, the game "space invader". So when he was picking a name he went with one that was impossible to get confused with another artists work, and you always associted his brillant work with his name and visa-versa. Another important part of a non-letter based street artists name is the abilty to say it out loud. If you pick a name that is hard to pronouce (xavien, paraux, etc) or people dont want to say to their friends (anything obscene or sexual) you cant really gain popularity through word of mouth, which is incredibly important in your early stages f being any kind of artist. So to recap, when picking a name, always choose one that will remind people of your style, and always pick one that is easy to communicate to other people.
I hope this article helped. I will include the work of most of the artists mentioned in the gallery below.