3 Cool street art documentaries to watch during the coronavirus lockdown.

cool street art documentary

Are you bored and stuck at home? Is the graffiti culture something of your interest? Then watching some cool street art documentaries and movies may entertain you.

Watch how the artists work, and listen to their insider stories. We chose our favourite documentaries; the ones we find more interesting!

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat / The radiant child (2010)
  • Banksy x Danny Boyle “The Alternativity”
  • Beautiful Losers (2008)

The figure of Jean-Michel Basquiat captured in a documentary.

Did you know that Basquiat, before being an iconic and well respected artist, was a graffiti artist? 

As many other American teenagers, Basquiat spent his youth painting in the streets. Jean Michel and many of his friends were known in the New York 1970’s graffiti scene. Similarly to what happens with many other famous artists, his career in the art industry started with a tag: SAMO. 

What’s interesting about this cool street art movie?

cool street art pictured by Oscar Guerra
Basquiat’s artwork created by Tdecoma in Barrio del Oeste, Salamanca (Spain)

Basquiat came from a humble immigrant family, and made it all the way through to become New York’s art scene golden star.

  • The clip shows Basquiat as a very influential figure in the street art culture.
  • Inedit interviews with the artist give us a different glance to what we are used to observe in the general news.
  • It showcases the presence of minorities within the art industry. 

The Radiant Child is a must see documentary if you are into urban art and graffiti. It shows as he covers the city with the graffiti tag ‘SAMO’.

In 1981 Jean-Michel puts paint on canvas for the first time, and by 1983 he was an artist with “rock star status”.

The tag was active for many years, until Basquiat and the artist Al Diaz, co-author of the tag decided to “kill it”. As a result, they wrote in different walls “SAMO is dead”.

Who’s ‘The radiant child’ director?

Basquiat's cool street art
Basquiat’s wall painting captured by stephane333/ flickr

Tamra Davis is a well-known Hollywood director of music videos and TV series, who captured Basquiat as no one else.

Mrs. Davis became close friends with Basquiat, and decided to shot the film because of her boredom about Jean-Michel’s misconceptions.

Is Banksy the most famous urban artist in the world?

Banksy, the most famous urban artist in the world
Who is responsible for the cancellation of following our dreams?

Banksy is one of those artists who everybody knows. Even the youngest ones in the family are familiar with his pieces. Would you be able to describe any of his famous and cool street art artworks?

Besides being a stencil and spray paint artist, Banksy has at least a couple of complex art installations and projects. For instance, Dismaland.

It is a very pessimistic and realistic version of Disneyland, which lasted for a short period of time.

“The Alternativity”, a cool street art movie in which Britain’s most famous contemporary artist is featured.

The documentary was directed by Lauren Jacobs and Martin Webb. It also features a world-famous movie director called Danny Boyle.

Banksy invited him to organize and direct an alternative version of Nativity, hence the name of this film.

This cool street art piece is a refreshing and different way to see how Banksy works. You get to see his relationship with other art creators. We think that the documentaries’ whole concept makes it worth watching it.

The walled off hotel project (December 2017)

picture taken by Addy-Cameron Huff
A special host will greet & welcome you at the entrance of ‘The walled off hotel’

On the other hand, we could observe a permanent project which is still running. To visit it, you’d have to go all the way to the ancient city of Bethlehem, Palestine. 

A touristic business developed, along with Banksy, an artistic project called “The Walled Off Hotel”. This is probably Banksy’s most elaborated project. It features a piano room, museum, gallery, and bookshop.  

Most importantly, this ambitious and controversial project has been active and running since 2017. Wouldn’t it be amazing to sleep here?

‘Beautiful Losers’, a cool street art and graffiti generation.

If you are interested in getting to know how Shepard Fairey, the man behind the famous icon “Obey”, got into graffiti then you should definitely watch “Beautiful Losers”.

The film explores the life of a whole generation of graphic artists, filmmakers and skate stars. Aaron Rose and Joshua Leonards directed it.

What’s the documentary about?

cool Graffiti documentaries
Documentary show at La Casa Encendida, Madrid

It shows how all these people met as young teenagers in California during the 1990’s. After becoming friends, they inspired a whole generation of young people in different industries.

Something you will frequently see and hear throughout the movie is the term DIY (Do It Yourself). A series of interviews will let you know what’s it all about.

Despite the fact that the concept comes from 1970’s UK guerrilla art movement, these artists use it to create something useful for their daily artistic lives: building an art space for themselves, where they could create, show everybody their art and even obtain a living out of it.

Who are the artists featured in the film?

Shepard Fairey aka Obey
Obey is one of the artists featured in the documentary entitled ‘Beautiful Losers’
  • Shepard Fairey aka Obey. 
  • Barry McGee, considered as the pioneer of the street art movement “Mission School”, and well known graffiti artist.
  • Stephen Powers, graffiti and contemporary artist.
  • Harmony Korine, movie director. 

Our opinion about the cool street art documentaries recommended

Watching different types of media expressions will offer you a great perspective on how art processes happen. These documentaries talk about artists, and their social context.

Do you have any other recommendations for us? Is there anyone that we should add to the list?

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