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Off the wall characters

Nikita Nomerz. From "Parts of a whole." 2017. Nizhniy Novgorod

Meet five Russian street artists whose work has made its way to major museums and galleries. 

Misha Most

Moscow artist Misha Most (b. 1981) is known for his colourful palette and inventive science-fiction imagery, as well as for his text-based works. In his early project, “Constitution Live,” he adorned Moscow’s walls with quotes from the Russian Constitution enshrining the rights of citizens. The author of the world’s biggest mural, spanning 10,000 sq. m. in the town of Vyksa in the Nizhny Novgorod region, Most never ceases to experiment. One of his latest achievements is the invention of a graffiti-spraying drone, a revolutionary device that literally lifts street art to new heights.

Nikita Nomerz

An artist from Nizhny Novgorod, dubbed the mecca of Russian street art for its prolific urban art scene, Nomerz has populated the walls of different cities, from his own hometown to quaint medieval towns in Spain with mysterious black-and-white human figures. Still, the highlight of his career was a project entitled “Living walls." The artist ingeniously added facial features to dilapidated buildings, bridges and sheds, turning them into fairy-tale monsters with gaping mouths and piercing eyes. Nikita is active as a festival curator and tireless scribe of Nizhny Novgorod street art.

Kirill Lebedev (Kto)

Kirill Lebedev, born in 1984 in the Moscow suburb of Zelenograd, is more widely known by the nickname Kto (“Who”). He is a master of aphorisms, immediately recognizable by their rainbow lettering and paradoxical wit: his messages range from a laconic “Nothing special," or “Thank you for your attention and attempt to comprehend” to complex philosophical passages. These sparkles look equally good on walls, canvas and paper. His biggest on-going project is spread all over Moscow: the artist cuts eye-shaped holes in the synthetic fabric covering the facades of buildings under renovation. Wherever you go, veiled houses come alive and follow you with eerie empty gazes. 

Timofey Radya

The works of Ekaterinburg artist Timofey Radya (b. 1988) combine visual art and poetry. His minimalistic sayings strike the viewer with their poignant precision that gives them a life of their own: they live on as folk sayings and internet memes, sometimes even becoming city landmarks. His most popular work, "Я бы обнял тебя, но я просто текст" (“If I only could embrace you, but I'm just a text”), which adorns an unused billboard on a roof in Ekaterinburg, has generated a tsunami of take-offs. Radya often works with light, making his thoughts glow with neon at various festivals and biennales. These events often happen in obscure locations such as Nizhny Arhyz observatory in the Cauсasus mountains where his words “Они ярче нас" (“Brighter than us”) shone high and bright in the starry sky for a whole month in autumn 2016.

Artyom Filatov

One of the key figures of the Nizhny Novgorod street art scene, Artyom Filatov (b. 1991) is an artist, curator and activist who takes the tragic fate of city’s famed but endangered wooden architecture close to heart. Filatov uses various media: his artwork ranges from large-scale installations, favoured by galleries, to small concrete bricks with Latin inscriptions discreetly inserted into the pavement. Filatov prefers to paint, rather than spray his works on the city’s derelict wooden houses. His murals, which often take their subject matter from nature, remind one that these buildings are no less fragile than spring flowers. An indefatigable advocate of the city’s street art scene, Filatov founded the Nizhny Novgorod online street art map project, an incredibly handy tool for any art-savvy visitor of the city.

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