GODFATHER OF STREET ART much of what has been written on Richard Hambleton has focused on the artist’s early “public art”.


Hambleton’s unforgettable images have permeated our collective consciousness for over three decades now. From 1976-1979 Hambleton’s “Mass Murder” installation was secretly placed onto streets in over 15 cities, in order to mimic the chalk-body outlines and blood splatered crime scenes of what appeared to be “victims”. Early on, when Hambleton’s works were freshly discovered in major cities, they ignited an anxiety-induced phenomenon as people were unaware of the identity of the artist. Graffiti had long been seen in public spaces. Hambleton, however, was not engaged in random acts, but serious art installations that prompted the general public to observe and accept the fragility of being.

The immediate impact of his work gave life to his form of popular expression: a social experiment. In the early 1980’s, Richard Hambleton began his “Shadowman” series. Each of over 600 dark, ominous, shadowy figures were painted in an unexpected corner, alley, or side street. The powerful blackened “Shadowman” works became legendary guardians in a secret mission to disable the emotional stability of our everyday lives: seen in New York City, London, France and Italy, as well as on the East and West sides of the Berlin Wall.

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