Richard Hambleton – “The Godfather of Street Art London Book Launch & Film Review

As a Native New Yorker living in London when legendary graffiti artist Richard Hambleton – “The Godfather of Street Art London Book Launch & Film from my old stomping grounds has an exhibition and new book out, I have to be there. Imagine growing up seeing his art all around New York, when you are in the club scene in the ’90s? The evening was epic and reminded me of home. 

 Richard Hambleton, the Godfather of Street Art

It was also nice to also catch up with fellow clubbers Nemo Librizzi, who gave the talk after the film preview. He is the son of a legendary dealer of the time (Warhol, Haring, Basquiat, Hambleton etc) Rick Librizzi who is full of stories. 

 Richard Hambleton, the Godfather of Street Art

If you have never heard of the artist he was one of New York’s graffiti rat pack members like Banksy and Blek le Rat, in the heady era of 80s street art. A time when a new counterculture hit New York City. Their brand of guerrilla art heralded social activism through street culture.

The East Village art movement was motivated by the underground club scene with a new version of creative mass media, using the concrete jungle as their blank canvas. Whilst its better-known members, such Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, have become art icons, a new London exhibition.

Hambleton imposed his artistic ideology throughout New York’s streets using the urban landscape to showcase his ideas. Pedestrians were unknowing spectators without seeing his face, name or identity. His was a new kind of expression; graphic, monochrome and hyper-enlarged. ‘Shadow Men’ loomed large on unsuspecting pedestrians in meek New York street corners. My memory is of a shadow man on the corner of Broadway and Houston.

Another Iconic through up of the artist is the ‘Image Mass Murder’ depicted realistic crime scenes across US states and Canadian cities. Before the 90s graffiti art boom, Hambleton became the first street artist to export his work all over the world; his images popped up all over New York and then the world, without overly commoditizing his work.


The Godfather of Street Art

If you want to get into the life of the artist you can witness first-hand the drugs and discord of falling into a high-profile, the incognito artist who slipped below the radar Go check it out.

Richard Hambleton: The Godfather of Street Art, buy the book.