There is one thing that I have in common with this incredibly talented street artist from Ghent, Belgium and it is the love, admiration and respect for animals we both share. ROA’s street art is mainly representing animals, both wild and not, in the urban environment and sometimes how they adapted to it. His huge animal murals and the way he represents them is what has brought ROA to my attention.
Once again Berlin has played an important role for me to discover ROA’s street art, for starting to like his murals and wanting to know more about him. A lot of people define his street art morbid, not appropriate and in some cases they asked for it to be removed which I totally disagree with, as you might have guessed.
After having done a little bit of research I came to realize that the animals that ROA immortalizes on giant murals are all from the local environment. In fact he gets his inspiration by observing the area he has chosen to leave his street art signature, at times by getting to know its history helps too and, based on what he finds, he tries to pass on a message. I would define ROA both as a watcher and a reporter of what he discovers and sees around him.
Creative But Still Close to Reality
The animals that ROA paints are incredibly well detailed and that is impressive if you ask me considering he is not painting on normal canvases but in a very large scale on a walls of public buildings or abandoned ones. I absolute adore how ROA’s murals are incredibly precise, the animals are so extremely close to how they look in reality that it’s impossible to walk by and ignore them.
These animals are “posing” dead or alive, sometimes they are even in a decomposing state and what I love about the way they are represented is how peaceful and calm they look even when they are involved into a fight or an escape. To me the expression of these animals’ eyes is tranquil and inoffensive almost like if they have accepted their fate which in most cases is decided by humans and not themselves.
Another thing that I love about ROA’s street art is that he uses mainly black and white paint, sometimes red or other vivid colors if he wants to represent the internal animals’ organs rotting away for instance. I know he isn’t the only street art artist to paint black and white murals, but his style his very recognizable and it cannot be confused or misjudged. When I look at ROA’s murals I think of death as an inevitable part of everyone’s life, I’d like to think that is the reason why the animals have all such a calm expression. I don’t personally see his street art as morbid and morose, not at all, but has a perfect recreation of the reality.
ROA has traveled and left his signature in many countries in Europe but also in other places like New York, Africa, Mexico, Cambodia and more. I’m so very fascinated by his works and by street art in general, it must be such a challenge every time to turn up somewhere and create incredible art pieces of the sort. I cannot imagine how extremely satisfying it must be for the artists to stand in front of their finished artwork, it must be an incredible feeling, don’t you think so too?