HKWALLS 2018 Part 1: Street Art (Central and Sai Ying Pun)

Dan Kitchener’s mural for HKWalls 2018

Here are some of the best artworks from HKWALLS 2018, an annual street art festival in Hong Kong. The event was organized by HKWALLS (hkwalls.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of street art and culture in the community. The event organizers matched property and business owners (who provided the walls) to local and overseas artists (who provided the talent). This year, the event took place in the adjacent districts of Central, Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun. Let’s look at twelve of the works (more works are in the article: HKWALLS 2018 Part 2: Sheung Wan Street Art)

1. Artist: Elsa Jean de Dieu (France/HK)

Detail view of Elsa Jean de Dieu’s portrait of a young man (painted for HKWalls 2018)

Originally from France, artist Elsa Jean de Dieu has been living in Hong Kong since 2008. Together with her team at her atelier—Elsa Jeandedieu Studio—she specializes in bespoke wall art, murals and furniture design.  Here she has created a striking portrait with a positive vibe.

Artist Elsa Jean de Dieu’s mural as seen from Hong Kong’s Mid-Levels escalator

In the past, Hong Kong’s street art scene was mainly an underground affair, with artists preferring to remain anonymous and working as secretly and quickly as possible to put up mainly tags (quickly scrawled signatures), throw-ups (larger-filled-in signatures), paste-ups (pre-printed art that is glued to the wall) and, if time and talent allowed, wildstyle (multi-colored 3D-style signatures). There simply weren’t that many pieces (the kind of work featured on this page).

Artist Elsa Jean de Dieu’s mural.

By matching up business and artists beforehand, HKWALLS gives street artists time and space to bring their visions to life. There are now a lot more eye-catching pieces around town. A lot of these have been done via the HKWALLS project, but many have been done independently, like this mural by Elsa Jean de Dieu outside the Uma Nota restaurant in Central.

HK Street Art: Mural by Elsa Jean de Dieu (Elsa Jeandedieu Studio) (2017) for Una Nota

Though not part of the HKWALLS project, this mural, along with works by other artists such as Vhils, Cyril Delettre, Matt Gondek and ONI, is a good example of how the street art scene in Hong Kong has evolved largely due to the festival’s influence.

Info:
Location: 21A Lyndhurst Terrace, Central (Lush Spa & Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics)
Artist’s website: www.elsajeandedieu.com
Interview: www.squarefoot.com.hk/home-blog/article/3278/interview-with-elsa-jean-de-dieu—a-mural-artist

2. Artist: Cinta Vidal (Spain)

Artist Cinta Vidal’s mural for HKWalls 2018

This attractive mural is by Cinta Vidal, an artist based just outside of Barcelona who specializes in paintings and murals of gravity-defying, jumbled-up living spaces. The buildings here, with their flaking grey exteriors, cables and profusion of air-conditioners seem to be inspired by Hong Kong’s older tenement buildings (known as ‘Tong Lau’), which can feel kind of gravity-defying and jumbled up even without an artistic re-interpretation.

Detail view

In an interview with Nathan Spoor, the artist describes how her paintings represent the disconnect between reality and perception:

With these un-gravity constructions, I want to show that we live in one world, but we live in it in very different ways – playing with everyday objects and spaces, placed in impossible ways to express that many times, the inner dimension of each one of us does not match the mental structures of those around us. The architectural spaces and day-to-day objects are part of a metaphor of how difficult it is to fit everything that shapes our daily space: our relationships, work, ambitions, and dreams.

hifructose.com/2015/04/24/exclusive-interview-cinta-vidal-agullo-discusses-her-paintings-of-inverted-architecture/
Detail view

HKWALLS’ video of Cinta Vidal:

Info:
Location: 52-56 Staunton St., Central (Stazione Novella & Happy Paradise)
Artist’s website: cintavidal.com

3. Artist: Dan Kitchener (aka DANK) (UK)

Mural by British artist Dan Kitchener at HKWalls 2018

This mural, tucked in a narrow alleyway, depicts what looks like a typical Hong Kong night scene—taxis, wet pavement and glowing neon signs. However, in Hong Kong the taxis are red. And the menacing-looking geisha-android lurking in a dark doorway at the bottom right of the mural is not a common sight.

Detail view. This menacing looking geisha appears at the bottom right of artist Dan Kitchener’s massive mural.

A lot of Dan Kitchener’s work is influenced by Japanese culture, but it is a vision of Japanese culture that has been filtered through the visual aesthetics of sci-fi works like the original Blade Runner movie and Ghost in the Shell anime, both of whose urban settings were based at least in part on Hong Kong.

Info:
Location: 45-53 Graham Street, Central (The Globe)
Artist’s website: www.dankitchener.com

4. Artist: Sheep (China)

Street art portrait of a girl blowing out a candle by an artist known as Sheep

Sheep Chen is an artist from Jiaxing in Zhejiang, China. This bright and colorful mural is a painting of girl blowing out a candle. Sheep’s stated aim in drawing the portrait is straightforward: he hopes to being joy and happiness to people. As you walk towards the work, which is high on the side of a building, it is partially blocked by trees, with the leaves providing a nice frame for the painting.

Sheep’s mural for HKWalls 2018

Info:
Location: 8 Wa In Fong E., Central (Natural Food & Beverages)
Artist’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sheep.chen.37

5. Artist: Alex Senna (Brazil)

Brazilian artist: Alex Senna’s pop-art portrait pained for HKWalls 2018

Brazilian artist Alex Senna creates large, minimalist black and white murals of people going about their daily lives. His style is influenced by comics and caricatures and his portraits have a retro feel to them. The narrow, vertical eyes of the woman in this portrait are a characteristic of his style. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the artist’s colorblindness, his works focus on shape and form rather than color.

Info:
Location: 18 Gough St., Central (NOC Coffee Co.)
Artist’s website: www.alexsenna.com.br

6. Artist: ONEQ (Japan)

ONEQ’s street art painting of a woman eating squid

ONEQ is a Japanese artist who creates stylized paintings of sexy and glamorous pin-up models. Pin-up art is mainly associated with posters of the 1940s and 1950s, but is still referenced nowadays in the retro/sultry style of artists such as Lana Del Ray and Dita Von Teese. In ONEQ’s portraits, the vampish style is dialed up a few notches—full red lips are extra fuller and extra red, wavy hair is extra wavy, high cheekbones are extra high, long fingers and nails are extra long, and curvy proportions are extra curvy. In an interview with Evan Senn, the artist states:

It feels fun simply to draw a curve of woman’s body. But, if I explain more… I still haven’t fully understood women deeply, though I am a woman myself. So, I am drawn to draw women, because women are a mystery to me, and still a part of me.

beautifulbizarre.net/2016/02/04/exclusive-interview-with-oneq

Info:
Location: 97 Hollywood Rd, Central (La Cabane Wine Cellar)
Artist’s blog: kotemufu.exblog.jp

7. Artists: 45 rpm & Voyder (UK)

British artists 45rpm & Voyder painted this aerosol-paint-wielding rat

45 rpm and Voyder are street artists based in Bristol. 45 rpm is known for his clean, cartoon-like style while Voyder alernates between realistic portraits and colorful wildstyle works.

45rpm & Voyder at HK Walls 2018

Info:
Location: Lok Hing Lane, Central
45 rpm’s website: www.thebearded45.co.uk
Voyder’s website: www.voyder.info

8. Artist: Alexis Diaz (Puerto Rico)

Detail view of a street art depiction of a Qilin

Alexis Diaz is a Puerto Rican artist best known for his detailed murals of chimerical creatures. One of his paintings, for example, depicts a cross between an octopus and an elephant). The creatures are meticulously hand painted using tiny black brushstrokes. Most of the inhabitants of Alex Diaz’s painted menagerie are his own whimsical creations; however, this one—with its antlers, hooves and scaled body—is a chimerical creature from Chinese mythology: the Qilin, which is associated with luck, good omens, protection, prosperity, success, and longevity.

Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz’s Qllin mural
Alexis Diaz’s Qllin mural

Here is HKWALLS’ video of Alex Diaz:

Info:
Location: 120 Connaught Rd. W., Sai Ying Pun (CHI Residences 120)
Artist’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Alexis-Diaz-1452270151663226

9. Artist: Gus Eagleton (Australia)

Gus Eagleton explores Hong Kong life in this portrait for HKWalls 2018

Gus Eagleton is an Australian artist. His studio work is varied, but when creating street art, he normally focuses on portraits. These murals tend to feature one or two dominant colors (like the yellow and green in this painting) and often incorporate flowers or floral motifs.

Detail view of Gus Eagleton’s mural

The numbers and Chinese characters in this street art mural are based on real-estate ads. At present the average apartment cost in the territory is over 18 times the median income, pushing home ownership beyond the reach of the average person. Hong Kong is a fun and beautiful place, but for a lot of people here, the cost of living (particularly the exorbitant rents and mortgages) is an ever-present concern.

Detail view

Info:
Location: 12 Third St, Sai Wan
Artist’s website: www.guseagleton.com

10. Artist: Storm (Denmark)

Bird painted by British artist Storm (UK)

I like the way this painting adds a dash of color and nature to the street without drawing attention to itself. Aside from the red wingtips, the colors are muted and the bird’s brownish grey plumage blends in well with the surroundings.

Detail view

Info:
Location: 63 Third St, Sai Ying Pun (The Hideout Coffee House)

11. Artist: Bo Law (HK)

Bo Law’s mural for HKWalls 2018

This wall painting by local artist Bo Law is wildly imaginative. From a distance only the whale breaching the surface stands out, but when you move closer, you start to see erupting volcanoes. rocket ships, skyscrapers and all manner of creatures—a star-eyed genie floating out from someone’s broken head, a Godzilla-look-a-like wading across the harbor, an antlered creature slouching forlornly atop a building.

Hong Kong artist Bo Law’s mural
Detail view
Detail view
Detail view
Detail view

Info:
Location: Alley by 27-29 First St., Sai Ying Pun (Burger Joys)
Artist’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/bolaw.410

12. Artist: Sik (China)

Detail view of a food and space-themed street art mural by Sik, an artist from China

Across the street from Bo Law’s wild mural is Chinese artist Sik’s nicely executed piece of an astronaut, hamburger and zero gravity.

Sik’s mural for HK Walls 2018

Info:
Location: Alley by 248 Queen’s Rd W, Sai Ying Pun


HK Walls 2018 Part 2

HKWALLS 2018 Part: 2. If you haven’t seen the second part of this article already, do drop by and have a look: HKWALLS 2018 Part 2: Sheung Wan Street Art. This article features the works in Sheung Wan

Hong Kong Street Art

Hong Kong Street Art is the the first article I wrote about local street art scene. It is on my personal blog and it covers the artwork you can find in different districts—from Hong Kong Island, to Kowloon to the New Territories.


Go Further

This section includes discussion questions, an art challenge and links to online photo galleries and websites.

Online Galleries

Higher resolution images (e.g. 2048 x 1365) can be viewed online at:

HKWALLS Website

Videos

FWTV – On The Road – HK WALLS – Behind the scenes of HONG KONG’s leading STREET ART FESTIVAL by FifthWallTv (features interviews with some of the artists)

HKWALLs 2018 by HK Walls (festival highlights)

Three Questions

  1. Which works do you like best? Why do those ones appeal to you?
  2. In this article, I’ve focused on the benefits of hooking up artists with businesses like restaurants, health food shops and cosmetics stores. What are the possible negative effects of this kind of sponsorship?
  3. In this festival, artists from overseas seemed to far outnumber local artists? Do you think more effort should be made to reach out to local artists or do you prefer the more international approach adopted by HKWALLS 2018?

Art Challenge

Sketch a wall near your home, school or office. Design an artwork that would go on the wall and add it to your sketch.

~photos and text by


More Street Art Galleries

Taipei Street Art
Street Art in Ottawa, Ontario
Street Art in Shoreditch London
Street Art in Shoreditch, London
Street Art in Hongdae, Seoul
Street Art in Hongdae, Seoul
Street Art in Vancouver, Canada
HKWALLS 2018: Part 1 (Hong Kong)
HKWALLS 2018: Part 2 (Hong Kong)
HK Street Art (old site)
artjouer

Return to Artjouer’s Gallery of Artists

Vancouver Street Art

Bear by Larissa Healey Vancouver Street Art (alley in Gastown)

Gastown Street Art

In the back alleys near Hastings Street in the Gastown area of Vancouver, there are a lot of street art pieces. When I was there, I saw a couple of pieces, like the one of a bear above, that were inspired by Coast Salish art  (for more information about this style, see the Google Arts & Culture gallery on Native American Art of the Northwest Coast: artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/ogKCBqM_vlZQLg).

These two pieces (the other one is shown in the gallery below and features a sun and orca whales) were painted by indigenous graffiti artist Larissa Healey (AKA Gurl Twenty Three).

M. C. Escher-inspired street art

The above mural, by the artist collective Cold World Media, is a street art remix of a famous painting by M.C. Escher: Hand with Reflecting Sphere (www.mcescher.com/gallery/italian-period/hand-with-reflecting-sphere/)

A few of the artworks in the gallery on this page are also by Cold War Media—the Prisoner Smoking a Cigarette, the Freedom mural and the one inspired by Michelangelo.

Starry Sadness
Girl and Panther.

Gallery
Click on any of the below images and the image will open in gallery view.

On a more recent trip (summer 2018), I came across these pieces:

Rise Fly Land
Vancouver Street Art inspired by Northwest Coast Art
Vancouver Street Art inspired by Northwest Coast Art
Love Dragon

Vancouver 1855-1955 (#PIDGINMURAL)

Vancouver: 1855-1955, mural by Ilya Viryachev and commissioned by Pidgin (a restaurant)

This work by Ilya Viryachev was commissioned by PiDGiN, a restaurant in Gastown. The mural depicts various events in Vancouver’s history such as the gold rush of the mid-nineteenth century, the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (and the Chinese immigrants that provided much of the labor), the great fire of 1886, the 1907 Chinatown and Nihon Bachi riot, the great depression, the internment of Japanese during the Second World War and finally, at the far right, a Musqueam woman tearing up the up the Indian Act.

Detail view
Detail view
Detail view

You can find more information at the restaurant’s website: www.pidginvancouver.com

They also produced this video:

Giants by OSGEMEOS (Granville Island)

Giants by OSGEMEOS

This huge colourful mural, painted on six industrial silos by Brazilian artists OSMEGEOS (aka identical twin brothers Otavio Pandolfo and Gustavo Pandolfo), was created as part of the Vancouver Biennale. The 21-metre tall mural painted on the Ocean Cement manufacturing and distribution plant on Granville Island is part of a series of large-scale works entitled Giants that pair have painted around the world. This piece is notable because the painting of each figure wraps all the way around its silo.

Giants by OSGEMEOS; Granville Island (Vancouver, 2019)
View from the Granville St. Bridge

You can see a time-lapse video of the painting process:

Downtown

I noticed this interesting mural by the AA Crew (Virus, Tars, and Dedos) in a downtown back alley (I think this area still counts as downtown Vancouver; I am not very familiar with the city).

AA Crew: Mechanical Robo Episode 1

Beatty Street Mural

This block-long mural, entitled Vancouverites, celebrates famous people who are from Vancouver (or who have some kind of association from the city). It was a created by a team led by local artists Vince Dumoulin, Milan Basic and Manuel Di Ritawas. It has already recently painted over by the city in preparation for a new mural.

The image below features Chief Joseph Capilano (a Squamish Nation leader),  Seraphim Joseph Fortes (English Bay’s first lifeguard and swimming teacher) and David Oppenheimer (an entrepreneur and Vancouver’s 2nd mayor)

Beatty Street Mural: Vancouverites (Chief Joseph Capilano)

On the left of the following photo is part of the war remembrance section. The woman second from right is the late actress and dancer Yvonne de Carlo. if you know who the other people are, let me know. Many of the subjects in the mural are identified on this page: Beatty Street Mural Vancouveritescreatorsvancouver.com/vancouver-x-by-mural (you can also see more photos there).

Beatty Street Mural: Vancouverites
Beatty Street Mural: Vancouverites

The war remembrance statue in the middle of the next photo is the Angel of Victory, which was sculpted by Coeur de Lion MacCarthy

Beatty Street Mural: Vancouverites (The Angel of Victory)

A portrait of Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams:

Beatty Street Mural: Vancouverites (Bryan Adams)

And here is a portrait of Terry Fox, who became a Canadian icon in 1980, when, after losing one of his legs to cancer, he attempted to run across the country to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

Beatty Street Mural: Vancouverites (Terry Fox)

If you know more about the artists or artwork on this page, let me know so I can flesh out the information on this page.


Go Further

This section includes discussion questions, an art challenge and links to online photo galleries and websites.

Online Galleries

Higher resolution images (e.g. 2048 x 1365) can be viewed online at:

Websites

Video

Street Art of Vancouver (A Walking Tour) (by Joanne Hastie)

Three Questions

  1. Which works do you like best? Why do those ones appeal to you?
  2. What are the benefits to a city of having a vibrant street art scene?
  3. How can events like HKWALLS benefit the local community?

Art Challenge

Design a mural that features the past heroes in your community (like the Beatty St. mural).

~photos and text by


More Street Art Galleries

Taipei Street Art
Street Art in Ottawa, Ontario
Street Art in Shoreditch London
Street Art in Shoreditch, London
Street Art in Hongdae, Seoul
Street Art in Hongdae, Seoul
Street Art in Vancouver, Canada
HKWALLS 2018: Part 1 (Hong Kong)
HKWALLS 2018: Part 2 (Hong Kong)
HK Street Art (old site)
artjouer

Return to Artjouer’s Gallery of Artists

Shoreditch Street Art: London Walls Come to Life

Un Kolor Distinto: Street Art
Un Kolor Distinto: Street Art in Shoreditch, London

When visiting London last summer, a friend brought me to the East London neighbourhood of Shoreditch, which for the last couple of decades has undergone a process of gentrification and hipsterfication, with galleries, cafes, dot.com entrepreneurs and fashion boutiques moving into this formerly working class area.

Shoreditch, London
Shoreditch, London

Shoreditch is well known for its street art and you can take tours (Shoreditch Street Art Tours) with guides who are knowledgeable about the artists and themes.

A lot of the street art is done with permission, so artists can take their time and produce larger-scale and more detailed works. Many of the pieces around the district are eye-catching and well-executed. I particularly like the vibrant and cheerful colours of the works by Jekse and Cines of the Chilean crew Un Kolor Distinto (image at the top of the page).

Shoreditch Street Art

Artist ALO, originally from Italy, has a distinctive style, making his portraits easily recognizable:

Mustachioed Man by ALO: Street Art in Shoreditch
Mustachioed Man by ALO: Street Art in Shoreditch, London

There were a few pieces created in tribute of people that had recently passed away, including Ben Slow’s large portrait of a well-known and loved local man, Charlie Burns, who lived his whole life in the Spitalfields area near Shoreditch before passing away last year at the age of 96 (Charlie Burns of Bacon Street: spitalfieldslife.com/2010/05/11/charlie-burns-of-bacon-st)

Portrait of Charlie Burns: Street Art in Shoreditch, London
Portrait of Charlie Burns: Street Art in Shoreditch, London

Click on any of the below images and the image will open in gallery view.

Here is a large mural painted in memory of novelist Terry Pratchett (www.terrypratchettbooks.com), who wrote the Discworld series of fantasy novels, and illustrator Josh Kirby, who was a frequent collaborator.

Tribute to Terry Pratchett and Josh Kirby
Tribute to Terry Pratchett and Josh Kirby
Tribute to Terry Pratchett and Josh Kirby
Tribute to Terry Pratchett and Josh Kirby

I’m not crazy about the busy style, but the mural is remarkably faithful to Josh Kirby’s illustration style.

Though murals and pieces dominate the Shoreditch street art scene, there are also plenty of wildstyle works like the one shown below, as well as more basic throw-ups (like the white text on the building in the background of the photo) and graffiti tags.

40HK Wildstyle: Street Art in Shoreditch, London
40HK Wildstyle: Street Art in Shoreditch, London

Go Further

This section includes links to online photo galleries, website and a video.

More Information

Video

London Street Art: Shoreditch, East London (by vagabrothers), an interesting video that gives some background information on the area’s street art scene and that features interviews with local artists and street art experts.

Galleries

Higher resolution images (e.g. 2048 x 1365) can be viewed online at:

~photos and text by


More Street Art Galleries

Taipei Street Art
Street Art in Ottawa, Ontario
Street Art in Shoreditch London
Street Art in Shoreditch, London
Street Art in Hongdae, Seoul
Street Art in Hongdae, Seoul
Street Art in Vancouver, Canada
HKWALLS 2018: Part 1 (Hong Kong)
HKWALLS 2018: Part 2 (Hong Kong)
HK Street Art (old site)
artjouer

Return to Artjouer’s Gallery of Artists