ROA (born c. 1975) is the pseudonym of a graffiti artist from Ghent, Belgium. He is renowned for his unique portrayal of urban wildlife inhabiting derelict buildings and city streets. Often oversized, these distinctively hand painted black and white animals can be found adorning city walls across the globe.
ROA’s method and style is consistent, his work being unmistakably his. He is an artist deeply preoccupied with the removal of man from nature and our subsequent treatment of the animals we share space with. A world where certain sections of our urban community now forage for scraps alongside their animal equivalents. 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 alongside the possibility that inner cities are only passing forms of civilization. It is this "Ballardian" feeling of dystopian modernity, of bleak cityscapes inhabited by wild and often captured and dissected animals, that elevates his work beyond traditional muralism.
For the viewer, the finished work is often all. However, ROA is an artist deeply engaged in the “process” of painting, whilst also working within a clear conceptual framework. Arriving in a new location, like the animals he paints, he adapts to his habitat, allowing inspiration from his surroundings to slowly influence the form his creatures will take. He explores territories we often forget to enter, his work being both a literal and metaphorical statement on the disparity between human and animal behaviour.
ROA exhibits internationally and was a participant in the groundbreaking MOCA exhibition 'Art In The Streets' , curated by Jeffrey Deitch.