ROA, a street artist from Ghent, Belgium, has a truly unique style of painting his murals. His murals often depict animals in the stages of life, death, or life after death. He seeks to draw attention to the animals that once lived in the concrete jungles of today, and remind people that things have not always been as they are now. The grayscale palette of colours that he uses only enhances this effect.
Pilsen, Chicago, USA
ROA struck here in an interesting feat of depth perception and angles. The wall that he painted his mural of an opossum on has a harsh angle, where the it dips backwards and then becomes rounded. This allowed ROA to effectively hide the part of the opossum where there is a large bite taken out of it. From a certain angle, it simply looks like a normal opossum. However, when one walks slightly to the right, it is revealed that things are not always as they seem. ROA manages, in a way that only he can, to convey this somewhat grim message.
Shoreditch, London, England
As part of a his “Hypnagogia” gallery show in London at the time, ROA painted a giant hedgehog in the streets of London. This hedgehog added to London’s already extensive ROA street art collection. Following his typical choice in animals, this painting depicts another animal that is native to the United Kingdom. He has also chosen to show this hedgehog in good health, as opposed to some of his other murals which show dead or dying animals.
Mexico City, Mexico
As part of Mexico City’s “All City Canvas,” ROA visited, and painted a giant snake. In Mexico, the snake is a powerful symbol to its people, both today and in Mexican Legends. It’s considered to be a powerful emblem of rebirth and transition. ROA, in his usual way, painted a local type of snake, and portrayed it to be very much alive. The snake can be seen squeezing several small rodents with its tail, all while still on the attack. This is another excellent example of ROA’s style of painting, and even though it may lack colour, it does not lack in vividness. ROA has long been welcomed by the people of Mexico, and has many other murals spread throughout the country
As a guest to the “Katowice Street Art Festival,” ROA gifted the city with two new murals. In these murals he is depicting his subject animal, a bird, inside-out. In his greyscale colour palette, he supplies an anatomically correct depiction of the skeleton and internal organs of a bird, alongside a normal version of the same bird, both sitting on a length of barbed wire. In typical ROA fashion, these murals require a second look to take it all in, as well as to really appreciate its slightly morbid beauty.
Another depiction of a long-evicted animal, ROA’s depiction of a crane in London, England is hauntingly beautiful. This particular mural, at the corner of Hanbury Street and Brick Lane, has now joined the ranks of London’s large collection of ROA masterpieces. Again painted in ROA’s signature colours, demands to be both seen and respected by the miniscule people below. A true beauty.
From across the world, the paintings of Belgium’s ROA can be both enjoyed and admired. He cleverly brings past and present together with his vivid animal depictions, reminding the people of the world what animals previously inhabited their cities.