Who would know that a casual walk through Brooklyn would result in a run in with a ROA?
Now what exactly is a ROA you ask? Well ROA is a a Belgian graffiti artist whom is as secretive as UK street artist Banksy. ROA prefers to keep himself out of the public eye, insisting that his identity take a backseat to his work. Yet he’s produced some of the largest and most recognizable street art in England, Norway, Puerto Rico, Brazil, South Africa and in New York…or Brooklyn to be precise.
ROA generally paints distinctive illustrated animals or birds in black and white in unloved corners of the city that are home for scavengers and vermin. They’ve become the mascots of the neighbourhood and have created a popular worldwide following. According to Wikipedia’s (because it’s always right…) artsy fartsy explanation: His work refers to taxonomy and the classification of species, but in a way that is a meditation on social stratification, urban decay and renewal and the possibility that inner cities are only passing forms of civilization. The skeletons, deserts, anatomical dissection are reminders of the transience of life.
In his own words “You know the whole world is really taken over by humans. Well, there are a lot of animals who manage to use it to their benefit. I’m really interested in the circle of life as something that most people see as something horrific, it can be something really beautiful. When I travel, I try to paint the local species. So I’m always interested in the little scavengers and rodents and crazy animals that live with the people in the city, animals that are survivors.”
I’ve only seen the one ROA in Willamsburg and I hear there are a few others in Bushwick, so send me a message or even better a picture if you spot one! UPDATE: Spotted a bird in the East Village on 2nd St.