In the realm of street art, one enigmatic figure stands out—ROA, the talented muralist hailing from Ghent, Belgium. Despite the widespread documentation and photography of his creations, the artist himself remains shrouded in mystery. This mystique adds an extra layer of intrigue to the captivating tapestry of his work, which predominantly features a profound fascination with animals and rodents.
ROA’s murals transcend conventional artistic boundaries, as he seamlessly intertwines life, death, and the afterlife within his creations. His subjects, often animals, come to life with painstaking detail, featuring not just their external form but also their intricate skeletal structures and internal organs. In a revealing statement, ROA explains his choice of symbolism, stating, “Organs are the vital substances of our body and they represent a lot of the symbolism which I like!”
ROA’s preferred mediums are spray paint and acrylics, and his color palette is predominantly composed of black, white, and grayscale tones. Whether sketching expansive murals or adorning buildings and warehouses in his hometown, ROA’s distinctive black and white style has become a global phenomenon.
ROA’s artistic journey spans continents, as he has left his mark in major cities worldwide, including London, New York, Berlin, Warsaw, Madrid, Moscow, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Paris. His work, often colossal in scale, is a testament to his dedication and passion for the craft.
What sets ROA apart is his unwavering commitment to authenticity. When painting in a specific locale, he draws inspiration from the native fauna. For instance, in Mexico, a place rich with roosters, a ROA mural featuring this indigenous bird would come to life. This meticulous attention to detail not only distinguishes him as a standout artist but also showcases his profound connection with his subject matter.
ROA’s motivation is refreshingly simple—he paints for the sheer joy of painting. His pure passion for the craft is evident in every stroke, bringing animals back into the consciousness of the areas they once inhabited. From soaring birds to scurrying rodents, ROA’s creations evoke a sense of peace, even in their portrayal of life’s inevitable cycle.
ROA’s decision to remain anonymous has granted him a unique freedom, allowing his work and spirit to speak for themselves. In a world often preoccupied with the personalities behind the art, ROA’s anonymity invites viewers to focus solely on the powerful narratives woven into each mural.
ROA, the elusive muralist from Ghent, continues to captivate the global street art community with his unparalleled dedication to his craft. Through his masterful depictions of animals and rodents, ROA not only brings life to the streets but also sparks contemplation about the delicate balance between existence and impermanence in the urban landscape.