A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the acclaimed street artist ROA. ROA was visiting Rochester, NY for the annual Wall/Therapy mural project, and as a team member, it was my task to pick him up from the airport and help him get settled in for his short residency. On a beautiful July evening ROA stopped by my home to meet my family. We all sat in the the backyard watching the neon specks of fireflies against the night sky. ROA, who paints animals, insects, and beasts of all sorts, told us that people have no idea why fireflies do that. We all decided it was just because they enjoy it.
That got me thinking…. what does it say about an artist who spends their time creating art that very few people will ever experience?
Be it a musician recording her deepest most honest love song, but never sharing it with her lover; or in ROA’s case, painting a mural on a decrepit grain silo, hidden behind brush and weeds (see photo below).
To make art because we love it is the truest, deepest art.
I was lucky to get a chance to share in ROA’s art that summer and just like watching fireflies, it is inspiring to catch a glimpse of something that transcends explanation.
ROA (2013). Approximately 74″ tall. Spray paint on Silo, located off of abandoned railroad tracks, surrounded by brush and weeds, in the middle of nowhere. The Silo has since been destroyed. // Photo: Chris O’Brian @chasetheart
ROA painting in Rochester, NY (2013). // Photo: Chris O’Brian @chasetheart