Street artist ROA (born c.a. 1976) is a world-wide known street art muralist from Ghent, Belgium and although his work has been much photographed and documented, very little is known about him. Early in his artistic career, ROA painted buildings and warehouses in his hometown of Ghent. He was also inspired by the U.S. hip-hop culture in the ’80s, which lead him to becoming involved in the subsequent emerging graffiti culture. Like most muralists, ROA began with throw-ups under walls and bridges.
His early childhood ambition was to be an archaeologist, which is why he spent his spare time drawing skulls and life-forms of birds and rodents. This explains his obsession for focusing on animals and rodents in his modern-day mural art; which mostly focuses on the local wild or urban birds and animals that are native to each area he is working in.
He has created works on the streets of cities across Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand: from London, through to New York, Berlin, Warsaw, Madrid, Moscow, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Atlanta, Melbourne, etc.
In his mural artwork, ROA usually uses a minimal colour pallet (e.g. black, white and red), but also creates works using vibrant colors depicting flesh and/or internal systems within animals and birds. These days ROA uses spray paint or acrylic paint; using a mixture of black, white, and grey scale colors. At times, he refers to sketch, especially when it comes to large murals.
In 2010, ROA came to notoriety in the U.K. city of Hackney, when local Council threatened to paint over one of his paintings; a 3.5m high rabbit. The rabbit had been legally painted on the wall of a recording studio in Hackney Road. A campaign was launched to keep the mural, by the building’s owners and local residents, which forced the Council to change its mind.
SQUIRREL – This large squirrel piece is on the side of Blue Bottle Coffee , 160 Berry Street, Brooklyn, New York.
So, if no one knows ROA’s real name, we don’t even know if ROA is an acronym or not. But, if it is, here are three of my offerings:
- ROA = (Record of Achievement)
- ROA = (Return on Assets) but hopefully not…
- ROA = (Rip Off Artist)
And while I leave you pondering this; I will leave you with one of ROA; astute comments: “Organs are the vital substances of our body and they represent a lot of the symbolism which I like!”
To see other street artist view my this page.