Aerosol spray cans were invented in the 1940s as a tool for coating radiators with aluminum. By the ’80s, these easy-to-conceal gadgets found a new home, as pioneering street artists like Lady Pink, Futura, and Kenny Scharf began using spray cans to make their mark on city walls and subway stations. Today, a variety of street artists have transformed spray cans into sculptures, showcasing the painting tool as an iconic symbol of the street art movement. For example, the French street artist Pimax creates supersized versions of spray cans that are covered in graffiti tags, while the controversial Banksy-protégé Mr. Brainwash designs spray cans that are a visual homage to Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s soup cans.

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