Over the weekend, Juxtapoz visited ROA as he was preparing his upcoming show and installation with The Garage in Amsterdam. Back in the Dutch capital after 8 years, the Belgian artist is currently finishing 5 new, mostly large scale pieces for this exclusive showcase that will be part of The Garage's "salon sessions" that will open on April 26, 2018.
Like often with his process, ROA arrived to Amsterdam with a very rough idea about the kind of works he wanted to create and present in this show. He first spent couple of days gathering material, old furniture and vintage pieces of wood, which helped him complete the concepts. It is the size, the shape and the colors of these materials that helped him decide which members of local wildlife will be immortalized in this presentation. HIs new pieces are rendered with much more attention to detail, as ROA has been spending a lot more time in the studio. Stepping away from working exclusively with spray paint, his new works are done with brushes, a new element from his past works.
Painted with signature black and white, using the aesthetics of vintage science books illustrations, the subjects are purposely crammed inside the given format. Symbolizing the way humans are pushing the nature away from themselves and into smallest pockets of untouched environment, these composition carry a lot of meaning for the artist.
"These pieces carry my love and my sadness," ROA told us. "My love for the nature and it's endless beauty, and my sadness for the way we're treating it." With this in mind, his subjects are often portrayed with eyes closed, letting viewers wonder whether they are peacefully sleeping or already dead. The tension is further accented with interactive parts, which allows the viewer to look into the animal itself. ROA made sure to get the right kind of hardwood for his work as well as use the local fittings to construct the self composed “canvases.” Unlike older works which were made mostly of found items, the new pieces are using the high quality antiques as the base, adding to the authentic feel of his recognizable creations. —Text and photos by Sasha Bogojev