"In the early 1980s, when graffiti seemed to be everywhere, hundreds of startling black-painted silhouettes appeared mysteriously on buildings on the Lower East Side and in other parts of Manhattan. The spectral, life-size, menacing figures lurked and skulked and leapt. Some of their heads, with paint splattered upward, seemed to be exploding."
The New York Times - 2012
Richard Hambleton was a contemporary American-Canadian graffiti artist, Often referred to as the “godfather of street art.” Along with his contemporaries Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Hambleton painted directly on the streets of New York and achieved success during the art boom of the 1980s. Born in June of 1954 in Vancouver, Canada, he was best known for his Image Mass Murder series, wherein he painted chalk outlines around volunteer “victims” splashed red paint, thereby leaving fictional and violent crime scenes behind in over 15 cities. As time passed, Hambleton gradually transitioned to work in the studio, producing a body of work he titled the Beautiful Paintings. “I’ve been doing public art for a long time, and studio work, and there’s a relationship between the two of them,” he remarked of the shift in his practice. A reclusive artist, Hambleton lived and worked in New York City’s Lower East Side until his death on October 29, 2017.