HKWALLS 2018 Part 2: Sheung Wan Street Art

Nong Pop’s street art mural for HKWalls 2018

Here is the second article on the HKWALLS street art festival held in May 2018. Part 1 (artjouer.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/hkwalls-2018-part-1-street-art-central-and-sai-ying-pun/) focused on the artworks in Central and Sai Yung Pun districts on Hong Kong Island; this article features those in Sheung Wan (which is located between the aforementioned districts).

The event was organized by HKWALLS (hkwalls.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of street art and culture in the community.

13. Artist: Jecks and Nong Pop (Thailand)

A pair of Thai artist’s created these complementary pieces, which share a street corner and a pink color scheme. In Nong Pop’s portrait, a young girl turns to stare at the viewer, the tiger just below her left shoulder reflecting her   fierce interior

Two complementary murals by Nong Pop; (left) and Jecks (right). The artwork was created for the HKWalls 2018 street art event.

In Jeck’s work, a cherubic figure with quiver of arrows on his back appears to be targeted by arrows. Though he lacks wings, he looks like he might be cupid, the Roman god of desire, erotic love and attraction. The crossed fingers behind his back suggest that he has been insincere in his matchmaking (which might explain the arrows being shot at him).

Portrait of cupid by Thai artist Jecks

Info:
Location: 2A Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan (BOOM ASIA)
Nong Pop’s website: nongpop55.wordpress.com
Jecks’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/jecks_bkk

14. Artist: Barlo (Italy)

Italian artist Barlo’s mural entitled The Pet of the Archaeologist (created for HKWalls 2018)

Barlo is an Italian artist based in Hong Kong. His paintings and street art tend to have a mythical and mysterious feel. In this striking artwork, entitled The Pet of the Archaeologist, it is not clear whether the creature depicted is a living animal, a porcelain figure or a biology specimen that has been cut into cross-sections.

Barlo’s mural:; The Pet of the Archaeologist

Info:
Location: Alley behind 18 Upper Station St.
Barlo’s website: hmrbarlo.com

15. Artist: WEST one & Megic (China)

Collaborative street art mural by Chinese artists WEST & Megic (featured at HKWalls 2018)

This collaborative effort by Chinese artists WEST one and Megic is captivating, but it is difficult to photograph (as it is a long artwork in a narrow alley). I love the way three different styles are used: the head of the dragon is painted in a realistic style (by Megic), while it’s body combines a classic Chinese ink landscape style with a futuristic, geometric street art style (by WEST one). The resulting piece could be a comment on Chinese culture—modern and moving forward but with strong roots in tradition.

Mural by artists WEST & Megic (detail view of the dragon’s head)
Detail view of the dragon’s body (It combines abstract geometric shapes with elements from traditional Chinese landscape painting)
Mural by Artists WEST & Megic (detail view)

Info:
Location:Alley behind Sai Street (back of A Side B Side)
WEST one’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/west.one.fs
Megic’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/megic4ever

16. Artist: Zlism (aka Zoie Lam, HK)

Colorful street art mural by Zlism (aka Zoie Lam) for HKWalls 2018

One can’t help but feel  more cheerful after passing by this lively brightly-colored mural of friendly, weirdly-shaped characters. This piece was painted by Zoie Lam, whose initials provide the ‘zl’ in Zlism

Zlism’s mural for HKWalls 2018
Mural by local artist Zlism (detail view)
Mural by Zlism (detail view)

Info:
Location: Rich View Terrace (side wall)
ZLISM’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/zlism
Interview with Zlism: thehoneycombers.com/hong-kong/zlism-interview-zoie-lam-art-illustration-fashion-design/

17. Artist: Neil Wang (HK)

Local artist Neil Wang’s art-deco-inspired street art for HK Walls 2018

The simple color scheme, floral decorations, clean lines and glamorous subject in this elegant and eye-catching portrait by freelance illustrator Neil Wang bring to mind Art Deco posters of the 1920s.

Mural by Neil Wang HK (detail view)

Info:
Location: 21 Square Street
Neil Wang’s website: www.neillhw.com

18. Artist: Riya Chandiramani (HK)

Part of Riya Chandiramani’s mural for HKWalls 2018

Riya Chandiramani’s artwork draws on Indian and Chinese visual motifs. The designs also include words which comment on psychology and society. For example, in the photo below, the design element starting at the bottom left contains the words ‘power’ and’status’ and in the next photo, the sun below the goldfish contains the word ‘peace’.

Mural by Hong Kong artist Riya Chandiramani (detail view)
Mural by Riya Chandiramani (detail view)

Info:
Location: 22-24 Tai Ping Shan St., Sheung Wan (CRAFTISSIMO)
Riya Chandiramani’s Website: www.riyachandiramani.com

19. Artists: Carol Mui & Rebecca T Lin (HK)

Local artists Carol Mui & Rebecca T Lin painted this cityscape of Hong Kong for HKWalls 2018

This artwork by a duo of muralists and graphic designers known as Creative Hustlers depicts the skyline of Hong Kong’s Central District as seen from the Mid-levels. The painting captures an interesting side of Hong Kong. Though the urban areas are densely populated concrete jungles, nature is never far away.

Mural by artists Carol Mui & Rebecca T Lin (detail view)
Mural by Carol Mui & Rebecca T Lin (detail view)
Joyce standing in front of a mural by Carol Mui & Rebecca T Lin

Info:
Location: Universal Building, 5-13 New St, Tai Ping Shan
Carol Mui’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/carolmuiii
Rebecca T Lin’s Website: www.rebeccatlin.com

20. Artists: Finu & Yunus (France/HK)

Collaborative work by artists: Finu & Yunus for HKWalls 2018

This is a collaboration between Finu, who is known for her black and white illustrations of creatures—in this case a stylized dragon with a blank, expressionless face reminiscent of No Face in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away —and Yunus, who works with multimedia (often combining music, video, animation and live performance). In the following video from Yunus, you can see how the two elements—street art and multimedia—were combined:

Street art by Finu & Yunus (detail view)
Street art by Finu & Yunus (detail view)

Info:
Location: 4 Wa Lane (Mahka & La Cantoche)
Finu’s website: www.finu.me
Yunus’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HugoYunus

21. Artists: Remi Rough & Xenz (UK)

Collaborative street art mural by British artists: Remi Rough & Xenz (detail view)

In this mural, the large-scale abstract geometrical designs of Remi Rough and the more intimate nature illustrations of Xenz complement each other well.

Mural by artists Remi Rough (the abstract geometric shapes) & Xenz (the birds) created for HKWalls 2018

Info:
Location: Alley behind 43 Sai St., Sheung Wan
Remi Rough’s website: remirough.com
Xenz’s website: www.xenz.org

22. Artist: KS (HK)

Mural by Hong Kong artist KS for HKWalls 2018

For this mural on the walls of a café, local artist KS has created a food-themed portrait that is similar in style to the paintings in his Random is Beautiful series of portraits.

Food-themed mural by KS
Mural by Hong Kong artist KS

Info:
Location: 16 Upper Station Street (3rd Space)
KS’s website: the-ideo.org/ks

23. Artist: Bisco Smith (US)

Black and white mural by American artist Bisco Smith for HKWalls 2018

American artist Bisco Smith’s white brushstrokes on a black background are a kind of visual representation of freestyle rap lyrics. Before beginning a painting, he chooses an instrumental beat and then improvises brushstrokes to go along with it.

Info:
Location: Alley behind Sai Street
Bisco Smith’s website: biscosmith.com

24. Artist: DILK (UK)

Street art by British artist DILK for HKWalls 2018

Across the alley from Bisco Smith’s artwork is this colorful abstract piece by British artist DILK.

Mural by DILK (detail view)

Info:
Location: Back of 18 Upper Station Street (Parfumerie Tresor & 3rd Space)
DILK’s: www.dilk1.com

Three Works from HKWALLS 2015

Street art doesn’t last for too long, so a lot of the pieces painted the last time HKWALLS was held in the district of Sheung Wan have disappeared. Here are a few of the works that are still around.

Artist: XEVA (South Korea)

Korean artist XEVA’s dynamic street art mural of Bruce Lee (created for  HKWalls 2015)

This is a great mural of a local icon.

XEVA’s Bruce Lee Mural

Info:
XEVA’s website: www.xevasb.com

Artist: Hopare (France)

Street art portrait by French artist Hopare (created for HKWalls 2015): Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Hopare is known for his colorful paintings of faces overlaid with bold geometric lines and curves. I have briefly introduced this French artist in my article Color & Identity: Portraits by Hopare, Lita Cabellut, JM Robert, Gian Piero Gasparini, Iqi Qoror & Douglas Coupland

Mural by Hopare in Sheung Wan

Info:
Hopare’s website: www.hopare.com

Artist: Stern Rockwell

Mural by American artist Stern Rockwell for HKWalls 2015

Info:
Stern Rockwell’s website: www.sternrockwell.com


HK WALLS Part 1

HKWALLS 2018 Part: 1. If you haven’t seen the first part of this article already, do drop by and have a look: HKWALLS 2018 Part 1: Street Art (Central and Sai Ying Pun).

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:

Websites

Three Questions

  1. Which works do you like best? Why do those ones appeal to you?
  2. What other words and messages can you find in Riya Chandiramani’s mural?
  3. How can events like HKWALLS benefit the local community?

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)
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Color & Identity: Portraits by Hopare, Lita Cabellut, JM Robert, Gian Piero Gasparini, Iqi Qoror & Douglas Coupland

Hopare; Untitled (ink, spray paint and acyrlic on canvas); Art Central 2017 (Avenue des Arts)

The artwork on this page features fascinating and colorful large-scale portraits by five artists. Each artist uses his or her own special techniques and materials to explore themes of identity (To view any of the photos at a higher resolution, click on the image).

1. Lita Cabellut

Coral Flowers 05 (detail view)

Lita Cabellut, a Spanish artist of Romani ancestry, specializes in large-scale portraits (though she is involved in a wide range of creative endeavors such as photography, poetry and video). In her portraits, she strives to obtain a realistic, almost luminous skin tone via the use of carefully selected media and pigments.

In her coral series of portraits, the canvas is pockmarked with tiny holes, bringing to mind coral skeletons. In Coral Flowers 05 (shown above), the vibrantly colored explosion of hair is like the living coral covering the surface of the reef. In a coral reef, the living coral organisms are anchored to the framework of the reef, a framework built of coral skeletons. Similarly, for humans, we live for ourselves but are still anchored to the culture, heritage and genes of our ancestors. We live in a present built upon the framework of the past.

Lita Cabellut; Coral Flowers 05 (mixed media on canvas); Art Central (Opera Gallery)

Video: How Lita Cabellut grew from street child to an internationally renowned artist (by the Economist)

Mini-bio: Spanish Artist Lita Cabellut was born in 1961 in Sariñena, a village in Aragon. Left in the care of her grandmother, she had a rough and tumble childhood on the streets of Barcelona. When she was 12, she was adopted by a Catalan family. As a teen, she developed an interest in art after seeing the paintings of Goya, Velázquez, Ribera and Rembrandt in the Prado Museum. She later studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam before becoming a full-time artist.

2. Hopare

Hopare; Untitled (ink, spray paint and acyrlic on canvas); Art Central (Avenue des Arts)

The human face is a favorite subject of Hopare, a Paris-based street artist. Rather than going for a strictly realistic style, Hopare uses bold colors to evoke emotions and moods and superimposes geometric lines and curves on the faces. In the untitled painting shown here, the bold black lines and curves bring out the natural geometry of the subject’s facial structure and are also reminiscent of Maori tattoos (known as moko), which represent the identity and history of the wearer.

Hopare came to Hong Kong to participate in a street art event hosted by HK Walls in 2015 and created the piece shown below.

Street art by Hopare (HK Walls 2015: Sheung Wan, Hong Kong)
Street art by Hopare (HK Walls 2015: Sheung Wan, Hong Kong)

Mini-bio: Street artist Alexandre Monteiro (aka Hopare) was born in 1989 in Limours, France to Portuguese parents. When he was 12 year old, he discovered street art after noticing the graffiti-covered walls of a factory. He soon started doing his own graffiti, and this interest was encouraged by his art teacher in junior high school, who just happened to be a well-known street artist known as Shaka. Hopare later worked in an interior design firm before becoming a full-time artist.

Video: Live Painting Hopare & Live Music

3. JM Robert

JM Robert; She Looked Away (2018: Ink, acrylic & spray); Affordable Art Fair (Gallery: Art Supermarket)

In these three portraits, Jean-Maxime Robert overlays stencilled and sketched female faces on vibrant graffiti-inspired abstract splashes of color. He is interested in evoking not only the visual flair of street art, but also the building surfaces on which such works are painted. He states:

The damaged walls of the houses and buildings fascinate me. I always feel the thrill in front of deteriorated and degraded walls—this is my main source of inspiration. In my paintings, I try to develop the my own aesthetic design of ruins. I want my paintings to speak a contemporary language that reflects the history and and story of our cities.

Exhibition notes from Art Supermarket
JM Robert; She Looked Away & The Woman with the Earring (2018: Ink, acrylic & spray); Affordable Art Fair (Gallery: Art Supermarket)

JM Robert’s painting process involves:

  • The surface of the canvas is scratched and scraped to give it a texture more akin to a degraded concrete wall.
  • The colorful abstract background is painted on the canvas.
  • The face is hand-drawn in black on top of the background. Only the outline of the face, the hair and a few shadows are added. This style mimics the look of stenciled graffiti and also gives the portrait a transient, ghostly feel as if the image of the face is just a faint memory.
JM Robert; Sans Artifices (2018: Spray, ink & acrylic); Affordable Art Fair (Gallery: Art Supermarket)

Mini-bio: French artist JM Robert was born in Macon, Burgundy in 1987. He was interested in painting at a very young age and studied art and decoration at the Beaux-Arts School in Paris and graphic design and décor at the Métiers d’Art in Paris.

4. Gian Piero Gasparini

Gian Piero Gasparini; Guen (cotton on wood); Affordable Art Fair Central (Palma Arte)

Italian artist Gian Piero Gasparini frequently works with mosaics of painted cloth. Gasparini is fascinated with the relationship between personality and outward appearance and the way the two react to form one’s identify. His use of mosaic reflects this preoccupation. Our identity is composed of different personality traits and of different physical characteristics (e.g., skin color, hair color, facial structure, etc.). Like pieces in a mosaic, these traits and characteristics bear no meaning when viewed in isolation, but when stitched together they combine to form the fabric of one’s identity.

Gian Piero Gasparini; Anna (cotton on wood); Affordable Art Fair Central (Palma Arte)
Anna (detail view)

Mini-bio: Italian artist Gian Piero Gasparini was born in Milan in 1969. He studied Illustration Techniques at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan. Early in his career, his style was mainly hyperrealist and he worked with architectural and design firms to produce large-scale air-brush murals. He started working as an independent artist in 2004.

5. Douglas Coupland

Supersonic Mustang Pizza Pop Head (2010, acrylic and epoxy on pigment print); Exhibition: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything (2014) at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Canadian author and artist Douglas Coupland often works with mixed media installations, but has also created this Pop Head series. The photo prints are done in the style of high school year book photos, but the subject’s faces have been covered by brightly colored paint. The paint serves two purposes:

  • It masks the subject’s face, making him/her anonymous, thus allowing the subjects to represent any and every teenager.
  • It reflects the messiness and dynamism of each subject’s still-evolving developing identity.
Douglas Coupland; Brilliant Information Overload Pop Head & Electric Laser Goo Pop Head (2010, acrylic and epoxy on pigment print); Exhibition: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything (2014) at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Liquid Video Game Pop Head & Supersonic Mustang Pizza Pop Head (2010, acrylic and epoxy on pigment print); Exhibition: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything (2014) at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Douglas Coupland; Liquid Video Game Pop Head (2010, acrylic and epoxy on pigment print); Exhibition: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything (2014) at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Mini-bio: Canadian writer and artist Douglas Coupland was born at Royal Canadian Air Force Base Baden-Söllingen, West Germany in 1961. He grew up in West Vancouver and briefly studied Physics at McGill University in Montreal before returning to Vancouver to study art. He studied at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, the European Design Institute in Milan and the Hokkaido College of Art & Design in Sapporo. He began his career as a designer in Japan, but after returning to North America, he wrote the book which launched his literary career: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. During the 1990s, he focused on his writing career, but started working on visual arts projects again in 2000.

6. Iqi Qoror

Iqi Qoror; Study of Focus (2017: Charcoal, acrylic & wool on canvas); Affordable Art Fair (ArtFront Collective)

The above self-portrait by Indonesian artist Iqi Qoror is similar to the Douglas Coupland’s Pop Head series paintings in that the face of the subject has been completely masked with a brightly-colored abstract pattern. The are several differences, however. In Iqi Qoror’s painting:

  • The subject in the painting is the artist himself.
  • The abstract pattern is created from wool (rather than the the dripping paint of Coupland’s portraits).
  • The background is not as plain and contains shadows and props.
  • There is a much starker contrast between the rest of the painting (with its dull and dark blues and grays) and the vividly-colored mask.

The last difference seems important. Besides hiding the artist’s identity, the wool ‘mask’ can represent the role of art and the imagination in adding color to a mundane existence.

Mini-bio: Indonesian artist Iqi Qoror was born in in 1984 Yogyakarta). He studied November Industrial Design at the Institute Of Technology (ITS) in Surabaya After graduating he began his professional career as a visual artist. To further develop his skills, he studies Fine Art at the Indonesia Institute of The Arts in Yogyakarta.


Go Further

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

Artist Websites

  1. Lita Cabellut (artist’s website): www.litacabellut.com
  2. Hopare (artist’s website): www.hopare.com
  3. JM Robert (artist’s website): jm-robert.com
  4. Gian Piero Gasparini (artist’s website): gianpierogasparini.com
  5. Douglas Coupland (artist’s website): www.coupland.com
  6. Iqi Qoror (artist’s page at the Art Front Gallery site): artfront.com.sg/iqi-qoror-page/

Galleries

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

Six Questions

Each of the artists added something extra to the model—a coral hairdo, geometric lines, translucent circles, so the three questions this time are related to the effect that this has in each painting.

  1. How would you interpret the huge coral hairdo in Lita Cabellut’s painting?
  2. How would you interpret the black geometric markings in Hopare’s painting?
  3. How would you interpret the vivid, abstract splashes of color in JM Robert’s portraits?
  4. How would you interpret the translucent circles in Gian Piero Gasparini’s painting?
  5. In Douglas Coupland’s Pop Head series, how would you interpret the ‘dripping’ appearance of the paint?
  6. In Iqi Qoror’s painting, how would you interpret the colorful wool ‘mask’? Why do you think the artist used wool instead of paint?

Art Challenge

Draw or paint a protrait and add something colorful to the model’s hair or face. Explain what you added and why.


~ text and photos by longzijun

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