In my “What Is Art?” series, I will share short explorations into art and artists. 

I am not a formally trained or studied artist. My article explorations will be short and sweet. Not because I or other art novices can’t understand art nuance. Instead, to make art more approachable and open each of us to the personal emotion and ideas art creates, when it connects with us.

For me, art is anything and everything—art is in the eye of the beholder, it’s ours alone to define.

Until I read his obituary in the NY Times, I never knew who Richard Hambleton was. He was a Canadian-born conceptual artist who is best known for the shadowy figures he created on buildings throughout Manhattan’s Lower East Side, during the 80s (earning him the nickname, “Shadowman”).

During this time graffiti was everywhere, but Shadowman’s paintings still stood out. His life-size, often menacing specter-like figures lurked, skulked, and leapt from the walls they were painted on (usually during the dead-of-night). “I painted the town black,” he noted.

Is there anything in Richard Hambleton’s art that resonates with you?

I like the simplicity of his figures—often one color, rough, explosive. Each figure blends-in with, while standing out from its environment—creating individual stories of each form.