Google “famous street artists” and you won’t find these guys on the list, but Broken Fingaz ought to be on pop culture’s radar. Our first introduction to them was this mural covering the side of a building in downtown Haifa, their hometown in northern Israel. It depicts an imaginary railway inspired by a forgotten train network known as the Hejaz Railway, that once connected the entire Middle East, but was destroyed 70 years ago in the midst of war and political unrest.
The Broken Fingaz crew is made up for four talented artists, who go by the names Unga, Tant, Deso and Kip. They’re one of Israeli’s only existing graffiti collectives and think of themselves as “gypsies” of graffiti art as they travel the world in search of inspiration while building an international career. Their work has appeared everywhere Tel Aviv to the streets of Birmingham to music videos for U2.
They travel tirelessly as a crew, painting beautiful and provocative murals on walls in impoverished villages, urban ghettos as well as major cities, risking arrest for their art. Inspired by comic books, vintage advertising, religious illustration, naive art and even erotic art, the collective pulls from a vast range of cultures and countries, putting their own modern twist into their work.
Their most spontaneous work, which they call a “bombing”, is frequently destroyed, or “buffed”, by conservative authorities, but they also take on commercial projects from restaurant murals to album covers to make ends meet. When U2 approached the crew to animate their music video, Bono told the Art Newspaper that “we didn’t give them much of a brief; we kind of, dare we say it, got out of their way.”
The crew maintain a blog that keeps track of their projects and have most recently did a residency in Mexico before heading to Rome for an exhibition.
Going nearly 20 years strong, they have still never revealed their true identities to the public, but here’s the only name you need to know: Broken Fingaz. You can discover their work on their website and if you dig it as much as we do, you can even own one of their prints.