Acrylic and Gold Leaf on Canvas
24" x 12"
Often referred to as the godfather of street art, Richard Hambeton was born in Canada in 1952. His early work of the 1970s includes the eerie ‘Mass Murder’ public art series, in which he painted chalk outlines around volunteer ‘homicide victims’, afterwards splashing the outlines with red paint. These disarmingly realistic looking ‘crime scenes’ appeared in 15 locations around New York City.
In the 1980s, Hambleton created what is arguably his most famous collection, known as the ‘Shadowman’ paintings. Looming on walls, street corners and buildings around New York, each painting resembles a dark, life sized silhouette, splashed in black paint. It is thought that Hambleton chose his locations to maximise the shock impact on unsuspecting passersby. Hambleton later continued the series across the Atlantic, in Paris, London and Rome, and completed 17 figures on the East side of the Berlin Wall in 1984.
Along with Jean-Michele Basquiat and Keith Haring, Hambleton is considered to have sparked the street art movement of the 1980s, and became a significantly influential figure for later artists. As the 90s’ progressed, Hambleton withdrew somewhat from the art world, growing weary of what he saw as the business’ negative impact on artistic freedom. In 2017, Hambleton died of cancer at the age of 65, six months after a documentary focussed on his art and career premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.