Category Archives: STREET ART

Something Lurking: The Shadowmen of Richard Hambleton

Richard Hambleton has been called the godfather of street art. He began producing what he called ‘public art’ in New York City in the 1970s.

He’s known for the black figures he first painted on the buildings of New York’s Lower East Side, which he called Shadowmen. The Shadowmen arrived in the early 1980s, and shocked many a denizen of that city who walked the streets at night. In 1981 and 1982 he populated the Lower East Side with these unnerving figures.


A reclusive man, physically gaunt (somewhat creepy-looking himself), Hambleton had undertaken work of a similar bent before. In his Mass Murder project in the late 1970s, he drew crime-scene outlines of dead bodies on the street and had volunteers play homicide victims. Passersby mistook the installations for the aftermaths of real murders.

Both these projects spoke to the zeitgeist, as US urban crime panics shook the nation in those decades. The Shadow men would shock passersby, who often mistook them for shadows of real people, possible assailants. Many people who lived in NYC around that time have stories of the moment they were petrified by a Shadowman and these stories seem to be almost a badge of honour top the artist with a distinctly morbid streak. For Hambleton audience reaction was integral to the artwork itself.

The Shadowmen by Richard Hambleton | Art-Pie
Click to enlarge

He said:

“Other artists put their work on the city, but what I paint on the walls is only part of the picture. The city psychologically completes the rest. People experience my paintings. They aren’t simply exposed to them.”

His art was apparently inspired by the shadows left on the sides of buildings by victims of the atomic blast on Hiroshima. In an age of Cold War anxiety, perhaps his work pointed at the way people’s lives seemed to rest on a knife edge.

The Shadowmen drew in other urban artists, who daubed over the black figures with their own work. Indeed, Hambleton was not a lone wolf. With Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, he was one of a legendary trio of New York artists at the forefront of the street art boom. The three regularly met to discuss their work with one another, and sometimes collaborated.

His work began to pop up all over the globe. Shadowmen even appeared on the Berlin Wall in 1984, when he painted 17 life-size figures on its eastern side. His Shadowman paintings have been documented by photographer Hank O’Neal.

Take a look at the gallery here:

The Shadowmen by Richard Hambleton | Art-Pie

The Shadowmen by Richard Hambleton | Art-Pie

The Shadowmen by Richard Hambleton | Art-Pie

This article was written by Sally Kirchell, owner of Blue Horizon Prints an Australian online canvas prints company offering cutting edge prints in a wide variety of styles from Street Art to Vintage Prints. They offer free delivery to the UK and Australia and deliver all over the

Tristan Eaton and Shepard Fairey to paint at sea

Tristan Eaton | Art-Pie
Tristan Eaton

Tristan Eaton and Shepard Fairey and other artists are working with Designersbloc on Painted Oceans, a project to preserve and celebrate sea forts off the Kent coast. The Red Sand Sea Forts, which are located just off the east coast of England are the lucky winners for this project.

The sea forts are located in a cluster eight miles north of Whitstable off the Kent coast and were built in 1943 after the Blitz as a strategic defense post to help defend against any similar attacks.

This project is nuts in terms of feasibility but exciting at the same time hence we wanted to publish something on the site and ask you to support it. A crowdfunding campaign is underway to raise money for the project and an accompanying documentary.

Red Sand Sea Forts | Art-Pie

“Painting at sea – are you crazy?”

According to Designersblock director Piers Roberts, Painted Oceans is set to be “one of the most dangerous and exciting mural projects in history”.

He says the motivation for the undertaking, is three-fold – “To preserve them and promote their value,  “to investigate their history “and to stimulate the economy of the coast.”

“There are two types of these forts, the army ones and the navy ones; the Redsand ones we’re working with are the army ones and were once connected by bridges,” adds Roberts, who is working with the Project Redsand Trust, which is able to grant access for the project.

A month at sea

Engineering consultancy Burro Happold has already looked at the structural integrity of the site, which was once home to pirate radio station Radio City in the 1960s.

Tristan Eaton – who is behind the idea for the project – specialises in large scale environmental work. He has already drafted in Shepard Fairey, Futura, How & Nosm and The London Police, who are all planning their murals now. All of the artists will live at sea for a month to complete the project.

Night mural for POW! WOW! in Hawaii by Tristan Eaton | Art-Pie
Night mural for POW! WOW! in Hawaii by Tristan Eaton

The logistics…

Roberts, who is project lead, says there is still a long way to go. “We need to think about how we get onto the forts, how will we link them, how we get gantries onto them, how we paint them…The murals won’t be painted straight onto the rusted steel, we need to get undercoats on there and use marine quality paint. It’s really about preservation.”

Chairman of the Project Redsand Trust Robin Adcroft says the project is still in review. As yet no agreement has been reached between Project Redsand and Painted Oceans to carry out the mural paintwork,” says Adcroft.

For the project to go ahead “much detail would need to be clarified and agreed upon,” says Adcroft who wants Project Oceans work to contribute to the long-term conservation of the site.

He adds: “Further public consultation would be required before  any go-ahead can be granted.”

If the project gets the go-ahead it is expected to be completed this summer and after that boat trips will take visitors out to see the work, according to Roberts who says it is too early to say whether people will be able to access a landing platform.

A crowdfunding campaign is underway to raise money for the project and an accompanying documentary.

First seen on Design Week

9 Artists Predicted to Make Waves in 2016

If you are into art, you will have heard of the famous names doing the rounds. However, there are many artists currently under the radar who are looking for the chance to break out and make it big. Here are 9 artists who are predicted to make waves in 2016:

1. David Choe

He is an American artist of Korean descent, best known for figure painting, creating murals, graffiti and creating novel graphics. His paintings have been called “dirty style” for they portray excitement, degradation and desire with a chaotic, raw tone. He is famous for his “Bucktoothed Whale” graffiti and many others he made on the streets of Los Angeles. He has been creating street art since he was a teenager, inspired by other graffiti artists of LA, such as Mear One and Hex. He also accepted Facebook stock options in exchange for painting a mural, which is now believed to be worth a lot of money.

David Choe | Art-Pie

2. Rosson Crow

She is also an American artist from LA. She claims to be inspired by diverse references, such as the cowboy culture, Las Vegas architecture, theatre and music. She creates large-scale paintings that drip with excitement, illustrating theatre with a touch of history. For instance, her 2007 painting “Night at the Palamino” illustrates a scene at a Hollywood nightclub which once played hosts to legendary artists, such as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson.

Rosson Crow | Art-Pie

3. James Jean

He is an American artist of Taiwanese descent. He is known for creating various DC comic book covers and has received various recognitions in that industry. However, in 2008, Jean retired from his comic book drawings to focus on painting. He has been incredibly successful in his painting career as well, most notably known for his work with Prada, including a mural for the 2008 show in Milan. Jean’s paintings are known for their romanticism and poetic depictions.

James Jean | Art-Pie

4. Adam Neate

He is a conceptual artist from Britain. He has been ranked at the top for creating urban street art. In his early years, Neate painted on cardboard boxes he found on the street, and now major collectors and celebrities bid high money for his original artwork. He mostly creates figurative images in multi-dimensional tones. He left hundreds of paintings on the streets of London as an open exhibition. From there, he got invited to many solo exhibitions and was recognized as a pioneer of the new movement which showed street art in conventional art galleries. He claims to get inspiration from his wife, graffitist Daze and Picasso.

Adam Neate | Art-Pie

5. ROA

He is a Belgian graffiti artist, known for his street work in Europe, United States, Australia and New Zealand. His work usually comprises of wild animals or birds found in the city he is painting. He works with minimal colors, mostly using black, white and red. He only uses vibrant colors when depicting internal organs of the animals. He has created many large-scale murals in popular urban areas.

ROA | Art-Pie

6. Jeff Soto

He is an American artist from California, known for combining street art with pop surrealism. Even though he has done graffiti from a young age, he claims to be “a muralist with an occasional urge to do some graf.” Soto also works as a freelance illustrator, providing editorial work to clients, such as Entertainment Weekly, Sony Music, United Airlines and Disney. Soto has also created remarkable paintings and had his first solo exhibit in Los Angeles’s New Image Art Gallery. Soon he was invited to many other solo exhibits and has been successfully merging street art with pop surrealism.

Jeff Soto | Art-Pie

7. Saber

He is an American artist from California, known for his graffiti and paintings in Los Angeles. He is famously known for creating large-scale graffiti on the concrete bank of the Los Angeles River. The painting took him a year to complete, using 97 gallons of paint. It is the largest known graffiti in the world and can be viewed from a satellite. His graffiti went viral and he has since created many pieces of art.

Saber | Art-Pie

8. Audrey Kawasaki

She is also an American artist from Los Angeles, California. She is known for painting on wood panels, depicting young, adolescent women who seem to be erotically charged. Her art is an infusion of the Japanese Manga and Art Nouveau. She claims to be influenced by Gustav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha. She dropped out of Pratt Institute in New York City because her professors discouraged her from her style of painting, which mostly included nudes. She has since been a rising star of Los Angeles. One of her paintings was tattooed on singer Christina Perri on an episode of LA Ink.

Audrey Kawasaki | Art-Pie

9. Aya Takano

She is a Japanese artist known for creating art with an infusion of manga and anime. She also portrays science fiction in her paintings, taking inspiration from her father’s library of natural sciences and science fiction. Her artwork illustrates exotic animals and architecture found in urban cities, usually portraying juxtaposition between future and fantasy. She worked under Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami who helped her polish her skills. Takano’s paintings capture Japan’s Otaku culture but from a feminine perspective and show how this culture will boom in the future.

Aya Takano | Art-Pie

An Old Spanish Church Transformed by Street Artist Okuda

A truly amazing project: a historic church in the Spanish city of llanera was transformed into a skate-park earlier this year by La Iglesia Skate.

The venue called Kaos Temple underwent a radical and colourful transformation at the hands of street-artist Okuda San Miguel.

We previously reported on this artist and pointed out his recognizable style of bright and isometric paintings. The result is astonishing and gives another dimension to the church. We included a few shots of the finished work below.

La Iglesia skate | Art-PieImage credit: Red Bull Media

La Iglesia skate | Art-Pie

Image credits: La Iglesia Skate

Okuda | Art-Pie

Image credits: okudart

llnara church | Art-Pie