All posts tagged: Merlot

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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SNIK, Flip-Flops, Amuse & Merlot – HKWalls 2017, Dispatch 2

SNIK, Flip-Flops, Amuse & Merlot – HKWalls 2017, Dispatch 2

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.


“Hong Kong is that tough sweaty dude with a gas blowtorch in his hands, soldiering a metal frame on the sidewalk while wearing a muscle shirt and flip flops with a cigarette tucked over his ear and a lit one in his mouth,” to roughly paraphrase the description of this city from an artist at a discussion panel here last night.

As he delivers this gem, you look to your left at the pink-cheeked bearded half of the artist duo SNIK, who shakes his head in agreement. Yes, this does seem like a good description of HK so far.

The first finished wall for HK Walls 2017 is this multi-layered stencil by the duo Snik. Detail. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hong Kong also is the top-boss-lip-gloss power babe waiting for a train at the Prince Edward station with sharply drawn persimmon red lips and cinnamon-bun braided hair bobs that look like Mickey Mouse ears on her head – striking a commanding stance with one hand on her waist and her cool eyes laser-focused on her phone screen.

Also, Hong Kong is the pounding staccato noise of 5 double-decker buses hurtling around a concrete road curve at top speed only 5 meters away from you on the sidewalk, propelling hot bluffs of gritty wind that push you closer to base of factories here here on Wong Chuk Hang Road.

Snik. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot and Amuse, an artist duo who know a lot about letter style, hand style, and style in general are painting a massive 30 meter long tag in a opening between industrial buildings knocking out their text based monikers that borrow and snatch from raw graffiti, wildstyle, pop, and advertising design. Lately, drips.

Merlot is originally from Seattle and its outskirts and has been writing/painting for a decade roughly. For the last two years she and Amuse have been hanging together, sometimes calling their two-person crew “The Alphabet Monsters”, possibly alluding to the cosmic comic influences that may evoke fantasies and stories from graphic novels.

Snik. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

I’ve been testing and doing a bunch of different things because I am a graphic designer and so I like exploring a couple of different approaches,” she explains during a break from painting. “Typically the letters will all stay pretty much the same but with this one we wanted to have more fun and do something different,” which includes painting letters in each others names.

We point out the “S” in amuse, which appears to split wide at the top – little molecules spreading apart and spraying upwards. That’s his “S,” but she says he’s coming over later to give the treatment to her “O”.

BSA: Have you two used the fire extinguisher much before?
Merlot: I haven’t but he has before and I would really like to start using it more. He is into this very drippy kind of zone right now and I think that is what he wants his new look to be this year – he actually did a new fire extinguisher piece recently and he incorporated all of these different elements and it was really amazing.

Snik. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Where did you learn how to paint with the extinguisher?
Amuse: My buddy Morgan is a big solid influence of mine and he said to me, “We need to try something different.” Now that is all I want to do. A graffiti writer for more than fifteen years, Amuse says he gets his new tricks sometimes from other guys in other crews he is part of. “Morgan is another guy in the crew – we’re all in the same crew and his approach – Also a very good street artist who I grew up with (in Chicago)- Esteban del Valle – he is amazing and he has this same approach with the dripping and then the nice detailed line work over it,” Amuse explains, “and he told me ‘dude you are killing yourself with all the spray paint – why don’t you incorporate some other kind of paint?’ And he’s right, the bucket paint allows you to paint so much bigger and faster and then you can go back and work on it.”

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

Evidently HK Walls is in full effect right now, with the French trio Anyway, Berlin Duo Snik, Hong Kong’s Wong Ting Fung, Philippine’s Kris Abrigo, and Italy’s Pixel Pancho all on the street, on ladders, on bamboo scaffolding, on cherry pickers.  Just saw Spain’s Spok in an elevator, Zoer showed us his purple/moss/tan color pallet on his phone and tape artist Buff Diss has been lurking from every corner.

And this is a taste of what it is like on the street; The electric/eclectic High/Low influences of Hong Kong are knocking everyone about – sounds of traffic and trucks and construction and laughter and the smell of a cigar smoke and petrol and sweaty basketball players on the public court and aerosol paint and flowering trees all blend together in a heady HK romance sort of way.

Thinking of buying some flip-flops.

Pixel Pancho. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

Anyway. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anyway. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anyway. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anyway. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kris Abrigo. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kris Abrigo. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kris Abrigo. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mundano . Martha Cooper. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We met with Brazilian Street Artist Mundano, who just one first prize at the International Public Art Awards for 2017 for his “Pimp my Carroça” project here in Hong Kong Sunday night. He gave us this hand-made book that he made with photographer Martha Cooper calle “Viva or Catadores”. Congratulations Mundano!

Mundano . Martha Cooper. 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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