All posts tagged: Hong Kong

Mr. Barlo Embraces Surreal Experiments on Hong Kong’s SoHo Streets

Mr. Barlo Embraces Surreal Experiments on Hong Kong’s SoHo Streets

South of Hollywood Road in Hong Kong is often referred to as the SoHo of the city, steeped in neverending staircases that scale the pitched incline and pinched into back alleys full of skinny cats, fashionably urban youth, and a fair amount of homegrown organic graffiti and Street Art.

Mr. Barlo at work in Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

A home away from home for the Italian Mr. Barlo, who has explored his ideas on the streets here for four years or so, today we have examples of the creative range of ideas he is experimenting with in new wheatpastes and a recent mural (for HK Walls this spring).

“ ‘The Pet of the Archeologist’ – This is the last wall painted over the weekend for @hkwalls 2018. This is a concept born quite a while ago in Hong Kong for a wall in Hong Kong but never had the chance to be done properly. It also made me think that it has been ages since I painted a mural in the streets of this crazy city that I call home(-ish).”


Mr. Barlo. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

All of these pieces are meant to be discovered – scattered as they are among the winding streets and backsides of increasingly chic boutiques, quirksome art galleries, and sleekly dark bars.

” ‘La città inquieta” (unresting city)’ – This is the first of a series that I am determined to push forward through 2018 – not necessarily limited to paste up. It is my first attempt to channel into an artwork the chaos under the veil of modernism, the naive optimism and the unspoken anxieties that this city has been feeding me since I decided to call it home,” he says.


Mr. Barlo. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

“It is also the first attempt a pasting above ground – definitely not perfected yet,” he says of the undulating flag that is a metaphor for the anxiety and discomfort of changes percolating inside notions of modernism, and perhaps nationalism today.

Using the streets as a laboratory to test new ideas and techniques, Mr. Barlo is not worried that pieces may cause confusion, because whether it is surrealism or classical Western ideas of figurative beauty, all of it can be reappropriated, sliced into pieces, pulled apart and examined from within.

But whatever the implied or opaque meanings, watchers of Mr. Barlo will tell you that his technique is definitely progressing.

Mr. Barlo. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

“These wheatpastes represent quite a new way of working for me, given the limits of paper as a medium and the higher risk of seeing work that still took hours to be made being taken down right away,” he says as he stretches to describe the experience of going out and hitting up walls as night with a friend or two with these new one-of-a-kind and often cryptically themed posters that have hidden meaning known mainly to him.

Mr. Barlo. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

“It has been a very refreshing approach that has allowed me to work on pieces that are more focused on one specific subject while trying to still infuse character and a sense of mystery into the work.”

Mr. Barlo and “Sisyphus”. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

“‘Sisyphus’ – aka your reward for walking all the way up on Aberdeen Street,” he says of this dung beetle. “This is the second attempt for this poster as the first was removed within 24h after I put it up, before I could even take a picture of it. Considering the title it was kind of hilarious.”

Mr. Barlo. Softcore. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

” ‘Softcore’ – I hadn’t drawn human features for so long but I got caught again by the beauty of the volumes that only the human figure can express,” he says of this neoclassical beauty. “The spot is also so right for it, just outside Sai Ying Pun MTR (train station.”

Mr. Barlo. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

“La Musa” (The Muse) byMr. Barlo. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

“Amphora” by Mr. Barlo. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

“Amphora” by Mr. Barlo. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

Mr. Barlo. Hong Kong (photo courtesy and © Mr. Barlo)

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BSA Film Friday: 05.04.18

BSA Film Friday: 05.04.18

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. FAR//FERN – An interpretation of “The Hero’s Journey” by NDZW.
2. Doug Gillen On The Road in Hong Kong

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: FAR//FERN – An interpretation of “The Hero’s Journey” by NDZW.

Full of wise philosophical bon mots delivered in a modulated voice with a monastic cadence, artist NDZW stars as the hero who breaks from well established patterns to go outside his comfort zone with the possibility of being transformed by it.

Directed by Christian Fischer, the stark monochrome palette keeps the journey in Vienna and Upper Austria within visual boundaries, but the variations and textures are rich. Elements of magic are neatly punctuated by the hypnotic, at times heavenly, vocals and arrangement of musical group Down With The Gypsies. The truths are parcelled out like grandpa’s life wisdom delivered while you take a ride in an old 1993 station wagon that smells like gasoline, bumping over potholes in the asphalt on a country road. There is a pause while he looks out the window, then he thinks of something else he wanted to tell you. Pay attention.

Inspired by an interpretation of Joseph Campbells book “The Hero’s Journey” you can here the romance literature woven with Sanskrit and the Buddha here in this narration of truths. Overlaid onto the artists life, here more specifically the graffiti or Street Artists’ practice of painting in abandoned spaces, it is a curiously appropriated adaptation that is ultimately inspiring.

 

 

Doug Gillen On The Road in Hong Kong

Doug is actually in Brooklyn this weekend but here’s his latest release from his recent trip to Hong Kong. It is full of interviews, shots of the work (not all of which is part of HKWalls), and some personal existential observations.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 04.15.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.15.18

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. First we have a series of politically themed and powerfully timely images of ICY & SOT installations from their involvement with the third edition of the Crystal Ship Art Festival in Ostend, Belgium. With forced immigration caused by the war industry providing armaments to everyone including your cousin Judy, the even more disgusting flipside of all this is the xenophobic nationalism that is now spreading in various countries, treating refugees and immigrants like crap.

So Icy & Sot give us here the security fences that create prisons for people to keep them inside and out and, perhaps taking a page from Ai WeiWei, a floating vest installation in the local park – complete with the artists in a boat and daffodils on the grassy knolls. Right after that we have another life-vest themed piece, a mural by Gaia entitled “Requiem for Migrants, Requiem for the Liberal Order”.

Thanks to photographer Butterfly for her contributions here.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Barlo, Gaia, Icy & Sot, Not Art, Sidka Nubian, and the Reading Ninja

Top Image: The Reading Ninja (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Icy & Sot. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Ostend, Belgium.  (photo ©Butterfly)

Icy & Sot. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Ostend, Belgium. (photo ©Butterfly)

Icy & Sot. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Ostend, Belgium. (photo ©Butterfly)

Icy & Sot. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Leopold Park. Ostend, Belgium. (photo ©Butterfly)

Icy & Sot. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Leopold Park. Ostend, Belgium. (photo ©Butterfly)

Icy & Sot. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Leopold Park. Ostend, Belgium. (photo ©Butterfly)

Icy & Sot. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Leopold Park. Ostend, Belgium. (photo ©Butterfly)

Icy & Sot. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Leopold Park. Ostend, Belgium. (photo ©Butterfly)

Gaia. “Requiem for Migrants, Requiem for the Liberal Order”. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Ostend, Belgium. (photo ©Butterfly)

Gaia. “Requiem for Migrants, Requiem for the Liberal Order”. The Crystal Ship Art Festival 2018. Ostend, Belgium. (photo ©Butterfly)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Fujita for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sidka Nubian (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NOT ART (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Barlo. “The Pet of the Archeologist” HK Walls 2018. Hong Kong.  (photo © Barlo)

Barlo. “The Pet of the Archeologist” HK Walls 2018. Hong Kong.  (photo © Barlo)

Untitled. Spring 2018. NYC (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Top 15 Videos on BSA Film Friday From 2017

Top 15 Videos on BSA Film Friday From 2017

Every Friday we invite you to stop by and take a look at new videos that have been submitted or recommended or that we tripped over walking by the railroad tracks. This year we showed you about 250 of them.

We call it BSA Film Friday and it travels with us to cities around the world now when we do it LIVE with you and other audience members in theaters and lecture halls and museums. The beauty of the video/film form is you can get a full story quickly, and you are often surprised by how transformative it can be. You can also see how many people are affected by urban and street culture through these films – we see people’s eyes light up when they realize that they too can create in public space, that the world is not simply a product but is a piece of art that many of their peers are now jumping in to co-create.

As a collection, these 15 are illuminating, elevating, riveting, strange, soaring, and achingly beautifully normal. From looking at the Separation Wall and Banksy to a travelling crew of graffiti writers on farms in Polish pig country to the amazing dance troupe who interpreted the 5 floors of art installations in a downtown Berlin former bank, you have before you a massive buffet of a visual feast.

The final desert is hand-held phone video caught in the moment last month in Mexico City. We didn’t know Keith Haring was coming down the tracks to surprise us, and we didn’t know that this unpolished jewel would garner thousands of viewers and commenters – effectively placing this little piece of video at number 1 for its popularity. Maybe the fact that it is so raw is what people relate to – along with an ongoing adulation for Haring.

We hope you can take some time to enjoy some of the best Street Art videos from around the world and on BSA this year.


No. 15
Faith XLVII / Aqua Regalia Hong Kong

From BSA Film Friday 05.19.17

“Distant universes delicately tangled,” says the near-whispering narration as you are gazing upon scenes from Hong Kong – those interstitial moments that carry you between the more remarkable ones. Faith XLVII gives us a quiet look at these inside a the dencse cacophony called “Aqua Regalia”, looking at the parts of a culture that a visitor is sensitive to because they are not taken for granted. With this ability to see, one takes a quick course of a city, a society. Invariably you end up with more questions.

“We speak of death and birth in terms of celebration and mourning.” Faith XLVII is in search of more universal truths, the timeless ones, since we understand them so poorly. Herein are glimpses, romantic and unvarnished.

“This is one of the first videos I’ve co-directed, alongside filmmaker Dane Dodds,” Faith tells us. “Its a project that is close to my heart.”

No. 14
Gonzalo Borondo / Cenere

From BSA Film Friday 08.11.17

Borondo keeps it open for you. He provides the stage, the staging area, the proscenium, the altar, the emanating light, the associations and memories you have with your belief system, or lack of one. During his artist residency with Pubblica, curated by Carlo Vignapiano and Elena Nicolini in May, the Street Artist (among other things) creates a journey as much as a destination in this intimate chapel. The video by Gerdi Petanaj captures this and perhaps a little more.

 

No. 13
The Haus / Lunatix Dance

From BSA Film Friday 04.07.17

From the moment it opened on April 1st, the Haus was a hit! BSA was very lucky to be there in February for a full tour while still in development in Berlin, nearly dancing ourselves through all five floors of this former bank with full scale installations in places that once held offices, conference rooms, employee coffee lounges.

By inviting Creative Director/dancer Serdar Bogatin and the film crew “Shuto Crew” into the space with members of the Lunatix Dance Production troupe, these spaces and art environments come completely alive, invoking stories and dramas – clearly making the spaces into elaborate set-design pieces.

 

No. 12
Ella & Pitr / Frappés PinPins

From BSA Film Friday 05.05.17

The French duo Ella + Pitr here revel in the simplicity of the gestural act of a full-body full-bucket splash of black paint.

Carnal, visceral, overlaid with psychographical information, the motion of splashing inky pigment across a white quadrilateral is an act of defiance and a release of the inner chaos – instantly recognizable as chaos elsewhere in the world.

The uncontrollable quality, especially when purveyed within an atmosphere of prim control, provokes amplified emotions in some. Fear, liberation, rage, release. Which ones will you experience?

 

No. 11
Indecline/ Rail Beast

From BSA Film Friday 10.20.17

“This reminds why I hate vandals! All this does is create more unnecessary work for the guys at the paint shop,” says a commenter on the Vimeo page where INDECLINE has posted this locomotive takeover.

You see kids, this is why we can’t have nice things. I just mopped this floor and you come running in here with your muddy boots! For Pete’s sake.

Truthfully, this decidedly unpolitical piece is a surprise coming from INDECLINE. Guess they were taking the day off from railing against hypocrisy and injustice with this animated train that recalls Saturday morning cartoons like Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner.

 

No. 10
Olek / In the Blink of an Eye

From BSA Film Friday 01.13.17

“It is one thing to read about the events in those parts of the world, but it is something totally different to actually look in the eyes of the women who lost everything while running from the war,” says artist Olek about how her world view changed when crocheting the project featured this week.

While gathering and producing materials for her installation with Verket Museum in Avesta, Sweden, the Brooklyn based Street Artist was holding informal crochet workshops with volunteers who would be producing the decorative yarn skin that covered every single item inside and outside of the house with their handmade crochet stitches.

Some invited guests were refugees who had escaped war in Syria and Ukraine and the artist and local folks shared stories and crocheted, sewed, and prepared the art materials together over the course of a number of days. It was during these exchanges of personal stories that, “a conversation started that has changed me forever,” she says – and she immediately needed to reflect it in her project with the museum.

 

No. 09
Sebastian Purfürst – Soniconoclasm / Broken Motor

From BSA Film Friday 06.02.17

In Berlin recently we met a photographer/media artist/musician who showed us a music video he just made of regular people whom you might meet on the city streets at night. This spring he asked more than 25 of them to recite phrases and “cut-up of army radio slang phrases” and by splicing them together with his band mate’s recitation of the lyrics synched to their lips, the rawness and rage and disconnected connectedness of people whom you can meet on the street rang true. “

This unvarnished quality bypasses the styled self-awareness of a lot of commercial media, and the anger actually comes across as fear. Perhaps you’ll think its too dark in demeanor – but then suddenly the melding together of the faces into one common entity makes it magic, even transcendent – revealing a simple sameness of everyone.

“This suspenseful individuality of the people is almost completely dissolved in the chorus,” says Sebastian Purfürst of his video with bandmate Markus F.C.Buhl.

Together they are called SONICONOCLASM.

 

No. 08
Pixel Pancho/ UN – Berlin

From BSA Film Friday 09.22.17

Pixel’s original installation was nixed by the city at the last moment but that didn’t prevent the Italian Street Artist from rallying to find another solution!

This new installation in the back courtyard was conceived of, designed, and constructed over a period of 4 days last week and became the secret surprise behind the museum for those who wandered there. Using landscaping techniques and botanical knowledge that come naturally from his farm in Italy, the artist create a mise en scène of epic impact with his robotic folk-futurist sculptures. Night time lighting took it to another world, but you can see the details better here in this short video Jaime Rojo shot on site.

 

No. 07
FifthWall TV / Occupied in Bethlehem – A visit to BANKSY’s “Walled Off Hotel”

From BSA Film Friday 06.16.17

“It’s almost become a playground for people to come to,” says your host Doug Gille as he looks at the section of the Separation Wall that the Banksy “Walled Off” Hotel is installed upon. “I think it is so crucial for people not to just come to see the wall or to paint on the wall,” he says.

“50 years under military control makes it the longest occupation in history,” is a quote that Gillen brandishes across the screen from the United Nations. The fact that Banksy is using his art star power to keep this on the front burner says a lot about the man.

“I think a lot of these people feel like we are forgetting about them and we have to remind them that we’re not,” says Gillen as he soul searches next to the Dead Sea.

 

No. 06
Various & Gould / City Skins – Marx und Engels

From BSA Film Friday 07.14.17

Conceptual Street Artists often perform interventions without explanation, satisfied with their own observations of the outcome. For Berlians Various & Gould the process has more often included the participation of the public – a way for more to take ownership and inspire dialogue. Sometimes many dialogues.

You may have seen our piece on their most recent public project called “City Skins”: Marx and Engels Statues Re-Skinned & Re-Located : Various & Gould.  Here is a mini-documentary that shows you the artists, the process, and the thinking behind the process.

 

No. 05
Rurales

From BSA Film Friday 01.27.17

Now to the Polish pig farms! Another Street Art/Mural road trip movie, this time across Poland with JAYPOP, Seikon, Krik KONG and filmmaker Cuba Goździewicz. See the discoveries, the relationships, the reactions to the work from a warm and considered human perspective.

The beauty of randomness and the randomness of beauty. These guys are fully engaged with their surroundings, the opportunity, the myriad people they befriend or portend to make allies. It’s an uncharted trip where permissions are sought and often refused, but they never stop painting somehow.

 

No. 04
Swoon/ Fearless

From BSA Film Friday 10.13.17

Using existing and new footage of Street Artist Swoon and selected interviews with people in her orbit, director Fredric King presents and hour long documentary that looks over two decades of art making. The stories told and the insights that Calendonia Curry aka Swoon presents while en route to her next adventure illustrate the fluidity with which she pursues the creative spirit, whether on the street, on a vessel down a river, or installing in a museum. An integrated explorer, Swoon brings you into the fold to go on this journey that always feels like its just begun.

No. 03
Fin DAC/ Rooftop in San Francisco

From BSA Film Friday 08.25.17

On an expansive rooftop in rainy/sunny/rainy San Francisco, Street Artist Fin Dac brings to life ‘Shukumei’, an ebullient and mysterious muse. The film is largely a stop motion record of the work set to music, but did you notice how much dexterity and effort goes into this precision play when you are working at this angle, basically painting the floor? The remarkable integration of the glowing skylight orb, dramatically revealed, imparts the figure a mystical dimension as well.

Video editing by Tonic Media, Soundtrack by Mombassa/Lovechild, and shout out to Ian and Danielle at Rocha Art and Missy Marisa, model.

 

No. 02
Niels Shoe Meulman In Magic City / The Art Of The Street

From BSA Film Friday 12.01.17

Niels Shoe Meulman spent some nights in a Munich jail thirty years ago for mucking about on the walls. This year he was paid to do it in Munich for Magic City, the travelling morphing exhibition (now in Stockholm) where Street Art is celebrated along with all its tributaries – including a film program and a number of photographs by your friends here at BSA.

Born, raised and based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Shoe shares here his new improvisational piece and some of his reflections on his process and his evolution from being in advertising as an art/creative director and reclaiming his soul as a graffiti/Street Art/fine artist. As ever, Martha is in the frame, putting him in the frame.

No. 01
Keith Haring- Rough Cut / Mexico City Metro

This rough cut lil’ video reached more than 300K individuals and had 100K views with thousands of shares on FB and on Instagram with dozens of comments and high engagement was easily propelled to the #1 spot.

From BSA Film Friday 12.01.17

It all took us by surprise last week in Mexico City when suddenly a whole train covered on both sides with Keith Haring’s work approached while we were waiting at the platform to catch the Linea 2 of the Metro. He made his name in part by illegally doing drawings like these in NYC subways and here now they are crushing a whole train. The name of the project is “Ser Humano. Ser Urbano” or “Being Human. Being Urban” and it aims to promote human values and human rights. The pattern you see is from “Sin Titulo (Tokyo Fabric Design)” – now stretched across these whole cars, if you will.

The train itself is inexplicably having brake troubles, so we get some jerky spur-of-the-moment footage but all week on Instagram and Facebook we’ve received tons of comments from people reacting to this little bit of Keith video by Jaime Rojo on BSA.

 

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Mong Kok: Hong Kong and a Graffiti Hall Of Fame

Mong Kok: Hong Kong and a Graffiti Hall Of Fame

There is a lot you can do in Mong Kok, one of the most commercial and bustling neighborhoods in the Kowloon section of Hong Kong. There’s the Ladies’ Market with more than 100 vendors offering bargains on clothing and accessories, Sneakers Street, which will have you swimming in pumped up kicks, and don’t forget the Bird market – where you find old guys “walking” their birds in cages and see someone feeding live crickets to others.

Kwiz. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Surprisingly left out of most tourist guides however is this hidden patch of organic graffiti that just grows wild in a relatively quiet haven that is actually within this chaotic neighborhood.

Wild Style. Tags. Throwups. Bubble tags. Burners. The occasional burnout.

Wais. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

All is here today gone tomorrow, regularly replenished, some seriously styled. Local names are here, but so are a lot of international names so you know its a go-to spot for traveling vandals. Hidden from the main hustle of the streets and underneath a major viaduct lies a secret alley bursting with color…and trash…and homeless people and art. Some furtive lovers come here to steal a kiss or two.

On the day we went the sweet smell of weed hung in the air as if being blown from some secret pipe to keep the residents of this monstrous city chilled…Some tags we recognize, many other we don’t or simply can’t read.

Wais. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ares. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hadrian. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Graffiti Joiners, MATY. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Maty. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Miami’s Atomik hosted by XEME. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

CWD. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Julien de Casabianca/Outings Project. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Julien de Casabianca/Outings Project. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ryck. Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mongkok: Hong Kong Graffiti Hall of Fame. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skulls Reign On the Street and In Art Shows, Threatening and Humble Reminders

Skulls Reign On the Street and In Art Shows, Threatening and Humble Reminders

Skulls. We see them on the streets and recently many at art fairs.

The Memento Mori of the streets, these skulls reminding us that one day we all will be dead. Every single one. These are occasional, unplanned in pattern, surprising in appearance on the public stage perhaps.

Andrew Schoultz at Volta New York 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But in a culture that glorifies violence and guns in movies, television, video games, rock and roll t-shirts, backpacks… the sight of the skull is old school. Here on the streets there are one or two skulls, not like the thousands in an ossuary underground in the Paris Catacombes.

Stephen Wilson at Scope New York 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Possibly these skulls appear in artworks on the street as an omen; meant to shock, or frighten, induce dread. Certainly uniforms have carried logos and insignia with skulls- from Nazis to US Marines to Pirates of Penzance to Cypress Hill the images of skulls are more of a threat, a promissory note, an invocation of warrior status.

Mexicans, on the other hand, eat them as sugar cookies for celebrations set aside every autumn called Day of the Dead, where people make peace with the loss of love ones.

Guy Richards Smit at Spring Break Art Show, New York 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In the end, perhaps it is not the warlike associations. It may be the great leveling force of death, bringing every person to one level, that fascinates us. Regardless of where your body is buried, the rains will wash your bones into the oceans of time, and that is all you will be.

Maybe too it is healthy to keep these facts in mind despite all the drama, the tribulations, the wealth, the status, the suffering, the ignominy. Jim Morrison said no one here gets out alive, which is obvious, and funny as hell.

Here are some reminders of that fact on the street and elsewhere.

An unidentified artist in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Scott Campbell at Scope New York 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Damien Hirst at Art Central Art Fair 2017 – Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Epic Uno on the streets of Brooklyn, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

An MSK Crew member on the streets of Brooklyn, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

An unidentified artist at Scope New York 2017 . (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Henry Hussey at Volta New York 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Niloufar Banisdr at Scope New York 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NeverCrew in Hong Kong for “Discordant”

NeverCrew in Hong Kong for “Discordant”

“…our collective obligations towards our environment.”

You wouldn’t think the phrase would need to be said, yet it sounds revolutionary in a consumer-driven, market-driven society. The Swiss duo NEVERCREW are clear in their intentions.

As ever.

Nevercrew “Discordant” Above Second Gallery. Hong Kong. 18th March – 22nd April (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Discordant exhibition is still running at Above Second gallery in Hong Kong and these images we captured there encapsulate the discordance. Nature versus man. Our desire for convenience, our disregard for the gifts the Earth gives, our total dependence on it nonetheless.

“Discordant emphasizes the juxtaposition of mechanical and natural elements to portray a world where mankind and nature, economy and environment, are constantly at odds with one another,” they say in the press release. They go on to comment on “the exploitation of natural resources, pollution, and particularly overproduction and mismanagement of waste as ‘a signal of an imbalanced relationship with the natural system.’ ”

Nevercrew “Discordant” Above Second Gallery. Hong Kong. 18th March – 22nd April (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The gargantuan garbage bag and the fish, the cloud of broken construction mater floating above the gift of wildlife, the ruthless slicing through mechanically of the whale.

It makes you think things like, “Who the hell do we think we are?” as we contemplate NEVERCREW’s “examination of humankind’s core struggle to strike a balance between the demands of lifestyle, efficiency and our collective obligations towards our environment.”

Nevercrew “Discordant” Above Second Gallery. Hong Kong. 18th March – 22nd April (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nevercrew “Discordant” Above Second Gallery. Hong Kong. 18th March – 22nd April (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nevercrew “Discordant” Above Second Gallery. Hong Kong. 18th March – 22nd April (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nevercrew “Discordant” Above Second Gallery. Hong Kong. 18th March – 22nd April (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nevercrew “Discordant” Above Second Gallery. Hong Kong. 18th March – 22nd April (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

NeverCrew “Discordant” Is currently open to the public at Above Second Gallery in Hong Kong. The exhibition ends this Saturday, April 22nd.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 04.02.17

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.02.17

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Good to be back in dirty old New York from dirty old Hong Kong this week. Actually on the dirty meter, we think New York still wins! Hooray!

Looking to the national stage, things couldn’t possibly be more dirty, as the rolling dumpster fire looks like it is setting records for failure to deliver on promises and a gathering cloud of accusations of straight up conspiracy, nepotism, corruption, even treason. And that’s on a good day. Art on the streets sometimes reflects directly and often indirectly on the facts on the ground. Now that spring is here, we expect to see a lot more voices again joining the fray.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring: Below Key, Chzz, Crash, Danny Boy Doid, El Sol 25, Laser 3.14, Obsrvrone,Pixel Pancho, Snik, Two One, Tony Matelli, Wrong Kong, Xeme, and Zura.

Top image: Crash in collaboration with The L.I.S.A. Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dany Boy Doid . It’s A Living (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Sol 25. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Two One in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Laser 3.14 in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wrong Kong in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chzz in Ukraine. (photo © Chzz)

Zura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We have previously published this Pixel Pancho piece shown in detail above and below. The artist had to restore the piece after additional text was added to it without permission from the artist. We liked how the piece plays with the architecture and the trees as experienced from the High Line Park, sort of like she is lounging and specifically peering through this opening.

Pixel Pancho (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Xeme in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Xeme in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Xeme in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Snik in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A more common refrain these days as New York’s long-heralded creative community finds fewer neighborhoods to afford – this one on a Williamsburg musical instrument store that had an amazing collection of guitars. It started out as a small business in the basement of a storefront and grew two more times during the 2000s. A powerful engine of the economy in the city, when artists can’t afford to stay due to high rents the city stands to lose revenue – and soul. The stories keep piling up as artists now often are giving up and leaving for cheaper cities – so whoever put this up addressing the mayor knows of what they speak. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Obsrvrone in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Below Key (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tony Matelli at the High Line Park. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. A client waits while a her shoes are being repaired in Hong Kong last week. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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HONG KONG Re-cap, HKwalls 2017 Makes New Paths for Urban Art

HONG KONG Re-cap, HKwalls 2017 Makes New Paths for Urban Art

Go East Young Woman!

That’s where you’ll discover dynamic graffiti and Street Art and murals these days thanks in part to last weeks’ HKwalls festival, now in it’s fourth year. You’ll definitely see more women involved in this outdoor exhibition than most festivals that we’ve become familiar with, not that the organizers are making a point of it.

Zoer. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And in an incredibly diverse display it is gratifying to see a wide range of countries represented in the artist pool from Asian cities like Jakarta, Manila, Taipei, Penang, Chiang Mai and Hong Kong – along with the European and American contingent you’ve been seeing in other proper Street Art so-called ‘festivals” elsewhere.

In some ways this feels like a new frontier in an old land.

Making the path by walking, this relatively tiny group of passionate urban art fans has convened here in the blooming bohemia/ industrial neighborhood Wan Chuk Hang on Hong Kong’s South Side, with the art-generated traffic getting heavier by weeks end to see live painting, painting competitions, DJs, gallery shows, a short film program, night time projections, and panel discussions.

Jecks. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

All week we saw intense interest and scrutiny from the new generation of fans who could easily fit into major cities globally with their fashion and omnipresent phones. With one eye on the rising international interest in Street Art and the other on the lettering traditions of graffiti, the calligraphic traditions of Chinese history, modern and traditional tattoo culture, these young fans are hungry for something that seems alive and contemporary.

Despite the much discussed high rents and small apartments here, you can also see that a relatively stable economy has provided many young people a disposable income to create or purchase art and art products.

Jecks. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

HKwalls co-founders Jason Dembski and Stan Wu and managing director Maria Wong say they’re supplying a much-needed public art element to the annual Hong Kong “Art Month”, which tends to be focused on galleries and the somewhat insular spectacle of high-end international art fairs like Art Basel and Art Central. But clearly after four years of bringing graffiti and Street Art together on walls in different neighborhoods across the city it’s much more than that.

With an inclusive welcoming vibe they’re harmonizing contradictory dynamics with diplomatic aplomb; honored traditions are melding with the hip digital tribe, mildly subversive free expression is getting elbowroom in a culture that doesn’t necessarily value it, wild-style graffiti burners are created in tandem with large multi-hued murals of many disciplines.

Jecks. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jecks. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But then, this is Hong Kong, an Eastern/Western city of 7.4 million that speaks English and Cantonese and has been acutely aware of the movements in Mainland China since HK’s transfer of sovereignty from the UK two decades ago. So, “balance” is an appropriate term to use with HKwalls, with an unusually balanced roster of talents from graffiti kings like Tuts from Jakarta and Dilk from Nottingham, stencil wizards like SNIK from UK, design/graffiti collective letterists like Alphabet Monsters, illustration/comic book artists like Hong Kong’s Messy Desk and Seoul’s SeeNaeMe, abstract geometrists like Kris Abrigo from Manila, and magic realists like Spain’s Spok, France’s Zoer, and Italy’s Pixel Pancho.

To present such a wide swath of influences and talents can run the danger of being unwieldy and fractured, but somehow there is a common thread of quality that runs through the offerings.

Kris Abrigo. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In a way it is an irony that a subculture with roots in disadvantaged economic circumstances like graffiti appears to be garnering a certain cachet among educated artistic and professional people in their teens and twenties. Here is a marginalized, sometimes anti-establishment subculture that now welcomes many to participate either as artists or fans, and along with skater culture, hip-hop, and modern existential feelings of disconnectedness despite a hyper-connected digital world, you have an instant community to plug into.

Growing in tandem with the scene is an expanding middle class and a certain amount of free time among Hong Kong young – both rather feeding what may be described as the growth of an urban contemporary culture. “Sub” handily is removed from the descriptor and lifestyle brands swoop in for the “like”.

Dilk. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ultimately, HKwalls is blazing new urban paths in a densely chaotic city and involving local unknown artists in their official selections along with bigger international Street Art names like Swoon, who did a Hong Kong city tram project that brought her work to city streets for about 6 weeks, as it did for Vhils a year ago. With a good sense of balance like this, we expect to see HKwalls on the streets for their 5th anniversary next year.

Not all the walls were completed before we left so here is a selection of the finished ones.

Dilk. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Snik. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Debe. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tuts. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tuts. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anyway. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mauy. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mauy. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aspire. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aspire. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse126 . Merlot AKA Alphabet Monsters. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spok. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spok. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © courtesy of HKwalls)

Rodney Stratton. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Candy Bird. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Candy Bird. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Snub. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


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

#urbannationberlin #allnationsunderoneroof #unblog @urbannationberlin @bkstreetart


Artists for HKwalls 2017 include: Abudulrashade, Alphabet Monster aka Amuse126 & Merlot, Anyway, Brain Rental, Buff Diss, Candy Bird, Damt, Debe, Dilk, Jecks, Kris Abrigo, Mauy Cola, Megic, Messy Desk, Pixel Pancho, Ralph Macchio, Seename, Snik, Snub, Spok, Taka, Tuts, Wong Ting Fung, Zinan, and Zoer.

Exhibit artists include Snik, Abdulrashade, Dilk, Mauy Cola, Spok, Seenaeme, Wong Ting Fung, Jecks, Messy Deck, Mooncasket, Brain Rental, Kris Abrigo, Rodney Stratton, Cath Love, Barlo, 3x3x3, Debe, Taka, Xeme, Ralph Macchio, Candy Bird


This article is also published on Urban Nation and The Huffington Post

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Swoon On the Streets, In the Fairs, and Beyond in Hong Kong

Swoon On the Streets, In the Fairs, and Beyond in Hong Kong

Brooklyn Street Artist Swoon has traveled to hot, hopping Hong Kong recently to create the façade for the tramline with HKwalls, a program of customization for the historic public transportation cars in the city center that has included also Portuguese Street Artist Vhils with HOCA, and during Art Basel this year a site specific tram from Hong Kong artist Kingsley Ng.

Swoon. Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Not surprisingly, as is the custom of Street Artists everywhere, the wheat-pasting romantic portraitist introduced a number of her friends to the streets of the Incense Harbor city among its myriad winding cobblestones, wending staircases, and wiley alleyways.

The experience of a local is perhaps to discover this new entity on a wall suddenly, a figure so full of presence and personality as if it may speak to you. As an international traveler the experience may be to be greeted in a foreign land by a friendly familiar face.

Swoon. Detail. Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In our case, that same face greeted us again in the entirely scrubbed austerity of the white cube of a Parisian art dealer, nested as it was among a honeycomb of other white boxed and illuminated beneath a vast white canvas on a pier by the Ferris Wheel.

We meditated lightly on this topic of the gallery on the street – commercial gallery – museum gallery continuum during our Images of the Week wrap up this week. It is an unusual position that Street Artists’ occupy and one that introduces topics around speech, advertising, commercialism, and traditional graffiti practices of getting up and marking one’s name.

Swoon. Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And now we muddy those waters once again, by telling you of a BSA-curated show of new prints that will benefit the Heliotrope Foundation when it debuts next week in New York. Swoon’s Heliotrope non-profit is literally building community, homes, shelter, and helping people become teachers in Haiti. (more at end of posting)

Swoon. Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Swoon. Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Swoon. This piece titled “Sonia” was destroyed in the process of bringing down a structure from the wall. Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Swoon. But we found one intact and for sale at the Art Central Art Fair in Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Swoon. Adeline the owner of Parisian Galerie L J at Art Central Art Fair is shown talking to a potential buyer not in the photo. Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


By donating our efforts along with the donated talents of 6 world-renowned Street Artists; Miss Van, Tavar Zawacki (Above), Li-Hill, Case Maclaim, Faith XLVII, and Icy & Sot, we encourage others to contribute to Heliotrope and to buy a custom new print from these artists. We’re proud to curate for this project, to be associated with these great artists, and to provide a platform for everyone to make these connections.

Additionally, Swoon herself will release new drawings from Haiti.


SWOON X Heliotrope X BSA : A Benefit for Heliotrope Foundation
curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, co-founders of BSA

Opening Event: Thursday, April 6 from 6-9pm.
Beats and refreshments provided.

Location: 88 ½ Seventh Avenue (between 15th & 16th St.)
in Chelsea, New York
Pop-Up Exhibit runs April 7-9 from 11am – 6pm daily

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BSA Images of the Week 03.26.17 : Hong Kong Edition

BSA Images of the Week 03.26.17 : Hong Kong Edition

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

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.



Certainly Hong Kong got a little richer this week – not that it needed it. Of course we mean richer in the sense that more artworks and appreciators have been coursing through the streets, the art fairs, galleries, the back alleys, roof top gardens and even a terrace or two. The most satisfying aspect of being a part of a worldwide grassroots people’s art movement like Street Art/Urban Art/graffiti is that you will always find someone you know along this continuum of practices.

Anyway, a particular thrill this week was seeing it on the street – and on the art-fair wall. Some times the same exact image. We didn’t actually hit any museums but we did see Swoon in the alleyway and represented by a gallery. Same with Cleon Patterson. We saw Vhils work in his studio and in Art Central fair – and you can also catch it on the side of the International Hong Kong School – and once in a while it is on a wall of plastered posters in the city. Os Gemeos at Art Basel is a great find, but we didn’t see any of their yellow fellows on the streets.

Thorny questions arise for some – by way of pointing out that when you catch an un-permissioned tiled Street Art piece by Invader on the wall in public here it is no more than an advertisement for the one at his gallery in the art fair, a sign of the final deleterious stages of a free-spirited untarnished proletariat art practice now corrupted by capitalists, sold out.

Yes, got it. Also, remember that since it’s earliest days, graffiti and Street Art have often been about fame and burning one’s name into the minds of many – why else would you sign your piece? You may even use your name as the art itself.

Additionally you can see a fresh Swoon for no money at all in the street. At the art fairs or museums, not so much.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring: Barlo, Caratoes, Cleon Paterson, Crafty Cow, Faust, Invader, Jimmy Paint, MSK, Rukkit, Shepard Fairey, and Swoon.

Top image: Swoon. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cleon Paterson. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Barlo. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MSK. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Invader. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Invader. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jimmy Paint. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faust. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rukkit. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KristopherH. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KristopherH. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cat Time with Caratoes. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Art Central Art Fair. Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A Diverse Mix on All Accounts – HK Walls 2017, Dispatch 4

A Diverse Mix on All Accounts – HK Walls 2017, Dispatch 4

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.


Last night was a blast with Louisa Haining and “Secret Walls” at the HKwalls HQ here on the southside of Hong Kong. DJs were pumping old school hiphop hits and happy jams from 80s and 90s and the young and extremely attentive HK crowd was happy and savvy, although a BK crowd would have singing/yelling the lyrics and fronting and jumping around more probably.

Debe. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s a sort of franchise, these Secret Walls events, begun In Berlin in the 90s(?) and the competition of multiple artists and art styles up on a stage creating in teams in a semi-competitive environment  with black instruments on a white wall – all while the audience is swilling beer and pumping to jams blasted by a DJ… is just flexible enough to respond to any range of tastes and ultimately does what we love the most; engages people directly with the creative spirit.

Also we appreciated the diverse mix of graff writers and Street Artists from Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, UK, Italy and US – not unlike the representation of people in HKwalls itself out here on the street.

Debe. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And that spirit has been alive on the streets for HKwalls these last few warm and sticky days, now at full volume with artists around many corners (and up a few elevators) making new murals in this industrial and auto neighborhood now in the early-throes of gentrification. On the one hand, walking on some streets is so loud and near-death-defying with boldly defiant drivers who don’t appear to register your existence as you scurry across the street in front of them.

On the other hand there are some of those trendy shops with pressed panninis and olives in a tub and pretty mommies and business suit daddies ferrying their progeny up the elevator of new glass buildings to private day care activities – and of course the sparkling green soccer fields full of teams playing every night.

Debe. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It helps matters that there is a brand new extension of the MTR train system, all shiny and smooth and hi-tech and friendly, running right though the neighborhood out to the furthest island of Apleichu – now five minutes away.

Enter the HKwalls festival. Run by three partners – founders Jason Dembski and Stan Wu and managing director Maria Wong. This is the fourth time out for the festival, which has been held in different neighborhoods and had various configurations in terms of art and artists. Determined to break the mold in whatever ways are possible, the three have backgrounds in graffiti, architecture, marketing, entrepreneurship, and curating/producing events.

Tuts. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The mix of artists is about a third from Pacific Rim, a third Euro-US, and a third locals and expats. Respected by the graff kids and old schoolers, they are smart to be inclusive of HK’s professional artistic folks too, including inroads from the illustration side, tape artistry, brushwork of all manner, aerosol freehand, stencil, projection mapping. More on this later but just wanted to give you a little background on the solid knowledge that is in effect, yo. Suffice to say more attention needs to given to this hard-working big hearted team.

Tuts completed his wall. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Today’s update gives you a sense of some of the flavor on the festival tip, along with some shots of pieces inside the Art Central show on the other side of mountain on this island.

While it was good see the offerings in the deliriously corporate environment under giant tents near a Ferris Wheel – and a number of the full ceiling to floor sculptural installations were of good quality – there is a definite reigned-in quality, with a slight tendency toward cute. As artists in certain parts of the Western world and even the Middle East have become more activist and challenging in certain aspects, the art fairs in general are sort of playing it safe.

Spok. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mauy. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mauy. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jecks. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jecks. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Messy Desk . SeeNaeMe. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Messy Desk . SeeNaeMe. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Messy Desk . SeeNaeMe. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dilk. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dilk. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aspire. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aspire. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wong Ting Fung. Process shot. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cleon Patterson at Art Central Art Fair. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey at Art Central Art Fair. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Desire Obtain Cherish at Art Central Art Fair. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anida Yeou Ali at Art Central Art Fair. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Invader at Art Central Art Fair. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Craneo at Art Central Art Fair. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 


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

#urbannationberlin #allnationsunderoneroof #unblog @urbannationberlin @bkstreetart

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