Seminal 80s street artist Richard Hambleton, the Shadowman, has died

1 November 2017
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Artist Richard Hambleton, a peer of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring who rose to fame in the 1980s New York art scene, has died aged 65 on 29 October 2017 in New York City. Hambleton became known as Shadowman after he painted hundreds of silhouetted figures on the streets of New York, and is credited with sparking the street art movement. He fell out of the limelight after lengthy battles with drug addiction and homelessness, but had returned to acclaim in recent years.

Tribeca tweeted that Richard Hambleton was the “godfather of NY street art”. A documentary about the artist titled Shadowman was shown at the film festival earlier this year, and is set to open in cinemas in December.

A solo show of his paintings was recently on display in New York, and one piece is included in the MoMA show Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983 which opened yesterday (31 October).

Manhattan institution Woodward Gallery, which maintains a collection of art by Hambleton with its East Village artists portfolio, confirmed the news of his death on Twitter saying he “is remembered for his profound contribution to art history. A true visionary who lived to create.”

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Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, now overseeing the website’s daily editorial output. Contact her with stories, pitches and tips relating to the creative industries on

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