Although Hambleton does not consider his work graffiti, he calls it “public art”, he is a hugely influential figure for the graffiti movement. Hambleton is accredited as one of, if not the first person to take his street art to other cities, both within the United States and worldwide. Blek le Rat, known by many as the unofficial godfather of stencil art, stated that seeing Hambleton’s Shadowman paintings in Paris inspired him to make life sized stencils. Similarly his life sized stencils were revolutionary, they were a deviation from the usual writing and pieces that were popular at the time. Hambleton did not spray paint but rather used a brush to paint all of the Shadowmen and Mass Murder, helping to build the bridge between the art community and the world of graffiti art as it had begun to move from the streets and into the studios.
Richard Hambleton is a pioneer of graffiti and spray painting. He started in New York City and became most famous for his Shadowman and Image Mass Murder. The Shadowman was a series of large human-like figures painted, mostly in black, on walls, in doorways, down alleys. For his Image Mass Murder Hambleton drew chalk lines on the ground resembling the chalk outlines police use for crime scenes, Hambleton then threw red paint on the chalk outlines to simulate blood.