ROA's street art

ROA_4738628227_5c3dfd120f_b.jpg Graffiti is often a harmful imposition on communities, but ROA's is so delightful and imaginative surely anyone would think twice about whitewashing it -- especially commissioned works. Thankfully, authorities in London saw reason in that case and allowed the Hackney rabbit to stay. Pictured above is his cousin in Brooklyn. UPDATE: Zeitgeist Magazine has a marvelous gallery showcasing how ROA paints his rabbits. Here's a map of some of his stuff in London. Behold! The circulatory system of the rabbit. ROA !'s photostream [Flickr via I360]


  1. I think that a more careful distinction between ‘graffiti’ and ‘street art’ and ‘tagging’ needs to be established for these discussions.

    This is some kind of ‘street art': it doesn’t promote one gang against another, or against the police, or against the local population.

    Frankly, it makes this particular wall much more attractive, and likely makes the people who live close to it a lot happier.

    Good for ROA.

  2. Carleton University’s campus is connected by a maze of pedestrian tunnels. Obviously, the tunnel walls have graffiti. But artists avoid putting new graffiti on top of something else that they like. So as the good spots became full, a social dynamic emerged. I wonder if anyone has studied it.

  3. 99% of graffiti is the mindless tagging crap. A pathetic need to say “pay attention to me!” The equivalent to a dog peeing on every place it can. This is art, some effort, skill, and thought was put into it but sadly this is very rare.

  4. “Delightful and imaginative” is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. The examples might be neat to see once or twice, but I wouldn’t want them in my neighborhood. Better than disorganized graffiti? by a long shot. But monochrome walls would better, imho.

    People are free to their own opinions about art. Not all of us are fans of public art.

  5. Hate be a wet blanket, but you can call it “street art” all you want, but if you’re sneaking out and painting on someone else’s building, it’s graffiti and vandalism. If I showed up and this was on the front of my store, pretty or not, I’d be painting over it.

  6. “Graffiti is often a harmful imposition on communities”

    graffiti is at worst ugly, at best beautiful.

    socially, it is often one of the most effective barriers to the gentrification-driven displacement that affects poor and working-class communities. rich folks don’t want to move somewhere where their walls can get tagged, somewhere where members of the community are visually claiming space as their own. one of the first signs of impending large-scale displacement is the enforcement of anti-graffiti laws. in new york city, we’ve seen that from the lower east side to harlem, from sunset park to long island city.

  7. This is really an amazing wall. This Fall my kids saw it and said, “Hey, they replaced the pig with a rabbit!”. My son remarks, “yeah, and its a dead rabbit, or at least a really unhappy one what with his spine exposed and all”

    The pig was really cool too. To bad he couldn’t get both of them on the wall.

  8. Roa’s work describes a middle-ground between anatomical study and imagined illustration. Things like incorrect vertebrae are part of the flavour. Using this kind of criticism one can find numerous ‘faults’ within most of his depictions but this is not the point. His skill is evident within the sheer scale and the composition of the choreography and even in the way the fur moves. These works transcend any demonstrative showcasing of drawing ability and offer something a lot richer.

  9. Good graffiti, like other genres of “art,” takes time. I find those works most enjoyable where the artist has spent considerable time/effort to put their piece together, even if it’s just their name in some funky hard-to-read yet beautiful script. Those pieces where the graf is just a quick tag, a handle or gang mark etc, are lame. Perhaps not harmful per se, but the later i equate to dog-pissing marks, the eye sores.

    In 80’s i recall taking tour down the Seine through Paris and seeing on the stone banks some big, multi-colored pieces. At first i thought, oh my, historic walls defaced. But then was caught in their beauty and appreciated them, believing they added a new dimension to the beautiful city.

    More recently as i’m exploring abandonment, the artists tend to take the time to work their amazing craft on the walls of factories, etc. Those I’ll photograph along with the decrepitude. Then again, there are those who scribble or “spit” on a cool location or even another’s fine work. I despise those, along with the vandals who break stuff, punch holes, litter — seems to be the same class of jackass, but that’s another issue, eh.

    Clearly a gray area. not sure now we define semantically. but the good stuff – you know it when you see it.

    Regarding store fronts. We’ve seen the extreme measures people have gone to preserve the art, sometimes even removing for posterity (or $$). Banksy stuff easily comes to mind.


  10. I don’t really feel like getting into the graffiti/art/streetart/vandalism discussion.

    Just wanted to show fellow BBers the stuff ROA left behind here in Warsaw, PL.

    It was mostly illegal (apart from the bird on black, rabbit indoors and sleeping bears) and the photos don’t show all of it, but I know most of the people living in the area appreciate what ROA did and vlep[v]net does and that’s what matters the most.

    “If I showed up and this was on the front of my store, pretty or not, I’d be painting over it.”
    If it wasn’t pretty I’d get the “artist” responsible and make him pay for any damage etc.
    If it was ROA I’d be there holding his paint for him.

Comments are closed.