ROA at Raintree

As part of the kindergartener’s “Bone Robot Project” at Forest Preschool, a Belgium artist who goes by the pseudonym Roa, came to paint!

Wait, I thought Roa had an art show in NYC at the Jonathan Levine Gallery going on right now?

He does! (Click here to check it out).

But while in the States he also visited Forest School!

Welcome ROA!

Welcome ROA!

The kindergarten class came upon Roa’s work when doing research for their “Bone Robot” project. The kids choose the themes for their semester-long projects. And this one was a doozy!

A student's sculpture (looks like a Bone Robot to me!)

A student’s sculpture (looks like a bone robot to me!)

Robots

Robots

Here is a short essay by the kindergarten teacher/owner of the school:

Who is That Masked Belgian Man?

Roa at Raintree

Roa at Raintree

Cultivating Relationships to Further Inquiry

To make a robot, it’s best to understand how bodies move. Bones, joints, muscles, tendons, cartilage are all good things to know for robot making. How are bodies put together? What components allow movement? What would happen if something were left out? What does the mechanics of animal locomotion mean for robots?

To answer these questions, the kindergarteners first studied the human body.

And from humans they moved on to local animals. Their goal: CREATE BONE ROBOTS THAT MOVE.

As Bone Robot Project evolved, the children became enthralled in the work of a graffiti artist also interested in the bodies and workings of animals bones–ROA.

“Wow. That’s just, I mean, that’s just pretty cool,” remarked a kindergartener.

And it is pretty cool. Roa examines the local fauna of an area–the common, the native, the endangered. He considers the role animals play in a particular place and with the human inhabitants. Then, he finds a prominent location to give it form. Using spray paint, Roa creates huge art pieces depicting the flesh and bone of a town.

Kindergarteners have a lot to say about his pieces. The often viscid nature of his graffiti seems to match the juxtaposition of the children’s project of bone and metal.

How will the children integrate their encounters with Roa’s art?

ROA painting

ROA painting

He used foam brushes, rollers and spray paint

He used foam brushes, rollers and spray paint

Mural Materials

Mural Materials

The kids observed him and sketched and wrote while he worked.

The kids observed him and sketched and wrote while he worked.

Baby and friends watching ROA

Baby and friends watching Roa

On day three…

He painted a...

He painted a…

Groundhog

Groundhog

Mural Materials II

Mural Materials II

I spy ROA painting in the studio (as seen from the kindergarten classroom)

I spy Roa painting in the studio (as seen from the kindergarten classroom)

Parent...

Parent…

Performance...

Performance…

Art!

Art!

My nine year old son (who used to attend this preschool) hasn’t gotten a chance to see the murals in person yet but he did look through all the pictures and jot down his thoughts…

One needn't be a gallery-goer to have an opinion of art...

One needn’t be a gallery-goer to have an opinion of art…

On the Raccoon skeleton, he wrote:

I realized that it was missing part of it’s rib cage. Why did you put it in skeleton form? Why didn’t you just paint a real raccoon? Couldn’t you have made it a bit smaller? I mean, it’s squished up in a little corner, well big corner but HUGE painting. The last thing is that wouldn’t it suck being that raccoon? Squished up in a corner of a room, missing part of your rib cage?

And on the Groundhog, he wrote:

Is that a squirrel or a groundhog? Because it looks a lot like a squirrel well, the head anyway. Why is it’s tail so stubby?

Roa has certainly taken some liberties with animal anatomy, exaggerating the size of the bones in the Raccoon’s tail and in his big-headed, skinny-necked groundhog. The kids noticed while he painted, that he worked quickly (each mural took approximately 3-5 hours each), did not have an eraser and he did not “fix” drips.

“I thought he was supposed to be professional?” one of the kindergarteners remarked as a drip of black paint left a trail down the wall. (hahahaha)

“This is art. If I wanted it to be perfect I would take a picture.” Roa answered.

Indeed!

It was fun to discover an artist with a secret identity as Spy Garden loves a little mystery. It is exciting to see how these murals have inspired conversation. How will they inform the next generation of artists?…

Fleeting graffiti

Fleeting graffiti

Dexie appreciating street art haha

Dexie appreciating street art haha

Roa’s recent works showing now at the Jonathan Levine Gallery are neatly contained in squares and rectangles you can hang on a wall:

Roa, Composition III: Alligatoridae, Testudinidae, Gastropoda (DETAIL) (source of image: Jonathan Levine Gallery)

Roa, Composition III: Alligatoridae, Testudinidae, Gastropoda (DETAIL) (source of image: Jonathan Levine Gallery)

Which is really just so much more civilized than street art. But civility, restraint, subtlety? Perhaps not the stuff to suit the wild preschoolers of the forest!

8 thoughts on “ROA at Raintree

  1. narf77

    Roa who shall not be identified had his strongest critic in The Spy. No fawning mass appreciation society but a critique worthy of a maestro. No rib? What was he thinking! Squished in the corner of a room and with a stubby tail? The man is taking liberties. I guess groundhogs and racoons are not part of Mr Roa’s home environment but if you are going to recreate bone art in a forest kindergarten Mr Roa, it doesn’t matter that they can see your face, what matters is that you know that forest kids “know”! Hopefully Mr Roa learned something from his encounter with small determined people. I hope he learned that one’s anonymity is less important than one’s credibility.

    Reply
  2. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!

    Wow! How did you convince the artist to visit? You have to admit that a small, rural Missouri school isn’t on most world-touring artist’s radars… Very cool!

    Reply
    1. Spy Garden Post author

      The kids wrote him a letter! And the school did raise money to pay his artist-fee for the murals. It was his first trip to Missouri!

      Reply

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