Richard Hambleton arrived in New York City from Vancover in the late 70s. His public art of Image Mass Murder on city streets across North America (Chicago, New York, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Banff, Victoria, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles), his play on the Marlboro cigarette man as a Horse and Rider of the ‘80s, and his silhouettes of shadowy figures touring the globe splattered on city streets have brought Hambleton an infamous, cult -like fame. Richard Hambleton traveled to all the European capitals from London to Paris passing through Milan intently placing his Shadowman on the city walls with black paint.
Best expressed by his first reaction to Richard Hambleton’s Shadowman figures around 1984-85, Alessandro Riva of Gallery Salvatore Ala recalls: “We were all more or less in our 20s and that strange shadow worked in black paint with the decisive gesture in the darkest corner of the street the one where we pissed at midnight- was more or less halfway between Abstract Expressionism and a cartoon. That strange black threatening shadow gave us an electrifying jolt! (It was) a clear demarcation from the simplicity of the written graffiti to the beginning of a new era in which everything in the arts, and politics, and everyday life would become much more confused, intertwined, intriguing and threatening in a more subtle, less definitive way.”
The highly anticipated World Documentary Premiere of Shadowman by Oscar nominated director Oren Jacoby opens on April 21st at the Tribeca Film Festival! In the early 1980s, Richard Hambleton was New York City’s precursor to Banksy, a rogue street artist whose silhouette paintings haunted the sides of Manhattan buildings. Like so many other geniuses of his time, he fell victim to drug addiction, even as his work continued to rise in both demand and value. Shadowman doubles as both a time capsule of a forgotten New York City era, and a redemption story.