If you have ever wondered around the Shoreditch region of London you may have stumbled upon a giant rodent or two – no this is not a commentary on the health and safety of London’s East End but Shoreditch’s Brick Lane has been visited by many an urban street artist including the Belgian artist who goes by the pseudonym Roa and he has left his very distinctive mark on the semi-derelict buildings and shop shutters of the area. London Graffiti tours offer you the opportunity to visit each of his mostly black and white, massive and highly intricate animal street art pieces, standing tall and proud throughout the more industrial areas of Shoreditch so that you can have a closer look.
Each of Roa’s pieces is done on such a huge scale it takes him between 4 to 8 hours to complete them and consequently that means that most of his street art is done with permission of the building owners. This means that they usually stay on display for quite some time – much to the dismay of the local London Councils – some of the oldest of his London monochrome masterpieces have been around since 2010 which is when Hackney council threatened to paint over a 3.5m high rabbit which had been legally painted on the wall of a recording studio. Fortunately the building owners and local residents put up such a fight to keep it that the council had to back down.
He has also displayed his work in major cities across Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand and he likes his art to have a backdrop of desolation or industry which is why London’s Brick Lane holds such an appeal for him. Roa’s work is not inconspicuous or hidden away, he has produced some of the largest and most recognizable paintings in the history of street art and his creations often require him to use a cherry picker to reach their finely drawn lofty heights. Generally he creates animals and birds both wild and urban, that are native to the area being painted and while he normally uses the very minimal color pallet of black, white and red, he has also created some works using more vibrant colors to depict flesh and/or internal systems within the animals and birds. His medium is spray paint and because of the scale of many of his pieces he much first draw a sketch of the final figure which he holds in front of him with one hand as he sprays with the other.
But Roa’s work doesn’t just stand out because of the scale of his pieces. Each animal is done to such fine anatomical detail and given such life with his artistic skills that they are simply mesmerizing. Their eyes holding yours and their expressions tell you a story all of their own. Let www.londongraffititours.com show you around and introduce you to some of them.