Catching Up With Hong Kong – HK Walls 2017, Dispatch 1

This week BSA and Urban Nation (UN) are in Hong Kong for the 4th edition of HKWalls to capture a very international and local mix of artists in this East/West nexus; a world-class city for art and culture, English and Cantonese, hi-tech and traditional methods – all during the enormous Art Basel week. We’ll bring you the new walls, some previous pieces, some graffiti, stickers, and a whole lot of color from this fast moving and dynamic city on the Pearl River Delta of East Asia.

A day after heaving rains delayed the first couple of walls and a projection mapping show on  Sunday, a few walls are getting started, like the sprawling text of Amuse and Merlot, a vertically soaring robot of certain pedigree by Pixel Pancho and the trio called Anyway deconstructing a car on a roll-down gate that covers the mechanic shop.

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As the artists arrive into HKWalls headquarters in the base of the Ovolo Southside hotel in the Wong Chuk Hang neighborhood, we decide to head up north to the more congested and commercial center of Kowloon to say hello to Pixel and Dr. Fjordor as they start to sketch out the new figure of their wall way up above the traffic on a cherry picker.

Pixel radios to a young guy who is about 22 years old in English his next directions for where he would like to move the the basket they are riding in next. The helper then translates into Chinese the directions – move to the left and a few meters upward – to a grey haired gentlemen manning the mechanical controls that are mounted to the back of the crane on the street. We ask the walkie-talkie guy to tell Pancho we say “hello” and he turns in his bucket to wave down 10 stories below.

Peeta. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We hop back on the super modern and smooth MTR system train to the Sham Shui Po neighborhood and wander through the markets and alleys and congested commercial streets to see the vendors selling fabrics, zippers, buttons, leather goods… and small groups of guys playing poker on card tables.

We also find a huge 3-D text piece by Italian Street Artist Peeta that wraps around corner of the second story façade that may remind you of a department store at a mall. Eventually we found more free-form one-color characters in some thin alleyways and a very talk Okuda multi-colored geometric patterned fox mural sandwiched between residential high-rises with freshly washed clothing and bed linens hanging outside apartment windows.

Paola Delfin. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Riding the high-tech train back to Wong Chuk Hang at rush hour and crammed closely with people who are poking and swiping at their phones playing games or texting friends, you could watch world news on the screen just above your head as you ride. The images and headlines are featuring news about FBI Director Comey talking about an investigation into Russian interference in the US elections – and an image of Donald Trump inveighing at a rally microphone with a few guys wearing red “Make America Great Again” caps smiling behind him.

It strikes you that a fourteen hour flight to literally the other side of the world has just collapsed into one second. It’s true that people around the world watch these political developments and make judgements – which is why someone tells an American at a party at the end of the night that just hearing his US accent makes the guy think he must be a racist. Real talk, bro.

Shida. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Okuda. Detail. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Okuda. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

GR1. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zids. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Phron & Sars = Seduce. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Suiko. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

HKWalls and Hong Kong stories come to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN)

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