But in Rochester, New York, some residents are not so impressed. ROA’s painting of two bears on the side of a building, part of a local street art project called “Wall Therapy”, has caused controversy among local residents since its premiere earlier this month. “It’s not something we feel this neighbourhood deserves,” said a woman who lives in the same street as the mural. “It definitely has sexual overtones.” Another passer-by said she thought it more resembled a mama and baby bear.
The city of Rochester, meanwhile, has decided to leave the fate of ROA’s bears to the discretion of the owner of the building, who refused to comment and has left the painting alone. As for ROA, he is naturally delighted. “People stop, look and talk to each other about it,” a friend of the reclusive artist told a local news outlet. “That’s what art is all about, right?”
After Rochester, ROA moved on to create work in New York City and Chicago, where he had also been invited to take part in a street art project.