Within moments of ROA’s arrival on site to his designated building for “Living Walls : Albany,” he spotted a recently departed squirrel, took it as a sign and it became quite clear what he was going to do next.
The squirrel population in Albany is (somewhat) jokingly of a “different” breed – they are as tough as they are territorial, while still somehow managing a natural presence and a non-intrusive interactivity with passer-bys. Squirrels are everywhere in Albany, making it a more-than-fitting subject for ROA’s large-scale contribution to the Living Walls project.
Cosmically or maybe even comically enough, as ROA was working up in the lift adding detail to the animal laying on its back, a man associated with the building’s owner shared an anecdote of how a couple years back a pesky squirrel’s nest almost resulted in the same building burning down, with firefighters called to the scene and all.
During ROA’s time creating the piece, people stopped by to inquire more about the wall and what was going on, with many lingering on the “why a squirrel” question.
ROA (photo © Andrew Franciosa)
“People are bored with simple messages,” said ROA “they want something deeper.”
With the inspiration of the piece still laying off to the side, ROA entertained the public’s curiosities with a grin saying, “Its for you to figure out if it’s dead or alive and the meaning behind it. It’s a very simple message – just a squirrel on it’s back,” as another onlooker proudly repeated his take on ROA’s work in succession, “that symbolizes something!”