Filling the city with art by literally painting right onto the streets makes it feel like everyone is immersed in an illustration, acting out some kind of larger-than-life story. Formerly bare patches of asphalt and concrete get splashes of color, patterns and imagery that can be humorous, fun or politically pointed. Roadsworth is among the street artists best known for this style, and recently debuted a new piece referencing the refugee crisis.
“A new record: as of today, the UN has counted 65 million refugees in the world,” he says. “I painted this in recognition of this tragic fact. Walls and Fences are for painting and climbing not for dividing and obstructing.”
In this particular mural, painted onto a street in Montréal, passersby are confronted with massive hands cling to a chain-link fence, effectively forcing them to recognize and think about the subject matter.
Other Roadsworth murals are more playful, like a stop-animation squirrel that appears to run down the street when the images are stacked in a GIF, and a crosswalk that has been turned into a rope bridge. A giant pink ice cream cone melts onto the pavement.