"I painted the town black." (Richard Hambleton)
Richard Hambleton was an American-Canadian graffiti artist best known for his recurring motif of a black-silhouetted figure known as the Shadowman. 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. “I painted the town black,” he once said. “They could represent watchmen or danger or the shadows of a human body after a nuclear holocaust or even my own shadow.” Born on June 23, 1952 in Vancouver, Canada, he studied at the Vancouver School of Art before beginning his Image Mass Murder series in 1976. These works mimicked the look of chalk outlines used by police during crime scene investigations. Settling in New York in 1979, Hambleton transitioned from street art to producing paintings in his studio. He went on to participate in both the 1984 and 1988 Venice Biennale. The artist died on October 29, 2017 in New York, NY. Today, Hambleton’s works are held in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.