Internationally renowned artist, Sonny Behan, has become most well-known for his majestic and intricate large-scale wildlife murals that are scattered across the globe. His unique style of art blends realism with abstract elements and washes of colour. His passion for using his creative voice to raise awareness for important societal and environmental issues has also built him a reputation for being an engaged artist, driven by a desire make an impact.

Born in the United Kingdom, Sonny moved to South Africa with his family when he was just eleven year’s old; a move that sparked a lifelong fascination with wild animals. It was this passion for wildlife that, in 2017, inspired Sonny to embark on his ‘To The Bone’ project. Using his unique style of street art, Sonny set out to raise funds and awareness for endangered wildlife on a global scale.

Over the course of a year, he had created impactful murals in far-reaching places such as New York, London, Canada, Russia, Miami, Ireland, Amsterdam and South Africa. The mural tour culminated in his first solo exhibition that was held in New York in May 2018. The sold-out show was eagerly anticipated and vastly successful, drawing interest from around the globe.

South African Urban Artist Sonny
South African Urban Artist Sonny

As a creative ambassador, Sonny not only campaigns for endangered species, but for a range of sustainability issues that face our world today. By taking these conversations to the streets he’s able to tackle difficult themes through his art. Together with organisations such as UNICEF, WWF, The International Foundation for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Discovery’s Project CAT, Sonny has been able to use the beauty of his creativity to bring important issues to the fore.

As an increasingly coveted urban contemporary artist, Sonny now splits his time between the streets and the studio. The success of his first solo show led to a growing demand for his artwork, which is now featured in several prestigious galleries around the world, including prominent locations such as London, Paris, Cannes, Miami, and Singapore.

Entirely self-taught, the South African urban artist began painting murals in 2012, largely using acrylic paint combined with a variety of spraying techniques. He then moved on to use spray paint, eventually evolving into a style that incorporated a mixture of both mediums and an array of techniques including brushwork, rollers, and an extensive colour palette. As of 2019, Sonny has progressed to using oil paints as his primary medium for his canvases, while opting for acrylic paint for his murals to avoid the negative health and environmental effects of spray paint.