Street artist ROA is a muralist from Ghent, Belgium whose work has often been recorded and photographed, but very little is known about the artist and even less is documented.
At a very young age ROA remembers wanting to be an archaeologist or something adventurous and collecting little skulls from birds and rodents to draw at home. He grew up in the eighties and was therefore naturally inspired by the American life; music, skating and so forth. The love for music, in particular hip-hop, quickly joined his curiosity for graffiti. Like most muralists, he began by spraying throw-ups under bridges and walls. During his early years, Roa expressed an active, eclectic mix of styles. At the time, there was no prevailing movement in Belgium, but as time went on, the scene quickly evolved as travelling artists showcased a wide array of talents and skills. Slowly but surely ROA became addicted to the eclectic nature of urban art.
Roa’s anonymity has kept his work and spirit uninhibited. The mysterious Belgian artist first began his outdoor endeavours by painting on buildings and warehouses in his hometown. Nowadays, his distinctive black and white paintings can be found worldwide. He created hundreds of murals across Europe and travelled to numerous other locations around the world for inspiration.
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Roa is primarily known for his strong obsession with animals. His work has been turning heads across the street art community by bringing birds, rodents, and other animals back into the consciousness of man in the areas they once inhabited. Roa always uses animals that are native to the location he is painting in. If he goes to Mexico for example, which is abundant with roosters, he will paint a rooster. He often combines life, death, and life after death in his murals, something which quickly distinguished him amongst the traditional muralists. His animals are often painted to include skeletons and internal organs, making the sight even more realistic. As the artist states: “Organs are the vital substances of our body and they represent a lot of the symbolism I like.” Roa’s attention to detail is unique for the street art scene, showcasing his true passion for painting. His preferred mediums are simple spray paint and acrylic paint. Most of his works are created with a mixture of black, white, and grayscale colours.
Some major cities, where his work can be found include London, New York, Berlin, Warsaw, Madrid, Moscow, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Paris. Roa was part of the exhibition ‘Art in the streets’ in 2011 at MOCA Los Angeles, bringing together the most influential street artists of our time.
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