Artist Profile: RORSHACH
(Robert Ramone and Andre León)
Clifton, Passaic County
Deeply immersed in graffiti culture while growing up in Newark, Robert Ramone has been sharing his love of this art form in the public sphere since 2011. And while Robert was making his mark on the city’s gritty streets, Andre León was in his Newark home sketching portraits with charcoal.
In 2016, the two merged their talents and sensibilities and created RORSHACH. Straddling the line between urban art and fine art, RORSHACH combines masterly portraiture with a distinct graphic flair, both on the streets and in their studios.
“I see myself as a bridge between graffiti and street art,” says Robert. “Graffiti is my passion. But it is street art that can pave the way to a career.” Both Robert and Andre are delighted that galleries and museums are increasingly embracing art fashioned by graffiti and street artists.
RORSHACH’s distinctive aesthetic on the streets and in corporate settings is increasingly garnering attention. The duo’s talents have become an integral part of the visual landscape not only in their native Newark, but also in neighboring Jersey City and Montclair as well. And while Robert continues to curate Newark’s Abington Walls, the city’s premier graffiti space, he and Andre busily work on commissioned murals.
Both artists are continually pushing themselves and their boundaries. Robert is relentlessly honing his skills to bring what he does on the street onto canvas, and Andre is steadily mastering the techniques that painting on city walls demand. They attribute their distinctly infectious body of work and sumptuous choice of colors to their Latin American roots—Robert’s from El Salvador and Andre’s from Ecuador.
In 2019, the duo held their first solo exhibition, hosted by the arts incubator Express Newark. While they generally complete large murals within five days, they can spend up to two months on a studio piece. They are also on a mission. “We feel obligated to voice stories of struggle,” states Robert, RORSHACH’s spokesperson. “In my case, it is growing up in the inner city.” Referencing their style and subject matter as Afrofuturism, they are particularly passionate about showcasing women of color. “And we are always evolving,” says Robert. “Each day, something new inspires us.”
Among the duo’s recent, hugely impressive public artworks are those at Newark’s Four Corners Public Arts Project and at the first Jersey City Mural Festival. “We are thrilled with the recent opportunities that have come our way both in the public sphere and in corporate settings,” comments Robert. “We look forward to painting more huge buildings while traveling across the country.”
RORSHACH is a featured artist in On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey.
Image Caption: RORSHACH, Purple Rain, Aerosol, 2021, 13 ½’ x 20’. Photo courtesy Sara C. Mozeson