grub + travels + perspectives

Exploring Hong Kong: More Street Art

Here I am again attempting to continue blogging about last year's super duper awesome trip to Hong Kong. I was stuck with the day 1 post for the longest time. Haha. Since day 2's really heavy on photographs, I decided to split it to 2 parts: first one's our sort of photowalk to see the street art, and the second part will be all about the rest of our activities for that day: visiting The Peak, Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden, Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, eating at the one-Michelin-star restaurant One Dimsum, wandering the streets of Mong-kok, spending a few hours at Victoria Harbour and lastly, visiting Kubrick Cafe. (There's still too much to write about! T_T)

Waking up the next day to this beautiful view once again: lines and patterns created by the buildings, the pipes and the parking spaces, aligned taxi cabs at one side of the road, pastel-colored structure, shapes, colors, the overall feel of being in the city. Ah, what a fine way to start the day. I'm not even going to hold back myself saying it -- I love you, Hong Kong.

My original reasons for being here were the neon signs and Wong Kar-wai, but after getting a taste of HK's street art in Gough Street, I researched more about it the last minute and asked Jom if it is possible to squeeze it in our day 2 itinerary.

I found this very comprehensive street art guide and I was very ecstatic when Jom agreed to visit some of the places indicated. It felt like my heart's going to burst when I knew that the street art scene in HK is huge and very much active!

Before even arriving there, I was already bombed with graffiti everywhere.

By Jacmila
By Smile Maker

Going to Central, we traversed the Central–Mid-Levels escalator. It's the world's longest outdoor covered escalator system that stretches 800 meters and is elevated 135 meters from the ground. 

Because Hong Kong is a hilly country, this escalator was built to accelerate and assist the movement of people especially during rush hour. I read online as well that there were not enough funds to build a two-way system, so it is set that from 6:00 AM - 10:00 AM, the escalator's direction is downward and it goes the opposite way from 10:30 AM until midnight. And because we made it there around 9:00 AM, we had no choice to climb up the walkway. Hahaha. We can't wait for another hour because everything else in our itinerary will be pushed back as well. Although it was tiring, this provided me an opportunity to have a glimpse and observe the streets of Central Hong Kong. It was early morning, so most establishments are still closed. But the view's still excellent. There are alleys, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and historic buildings.

For film fans, if you remember, this escalator and walkway is an iconic location in Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express. Yes, that scene where Faye Wong was traveling along the escalator, with her image mirrored at the surface of the railing. And it was also a backdrop to Cop 663's crummy apartment. You can see the floating and passing heads and bodies through the window in some scenes.

I'd love to go back and ride the electric ladder for real and just people watch or take a peek into other people's lives through their windows for 20 minutes. But for now, I guess I get to tick this off the bucket list.

I don't know where we were and how long we've been walking, the next thing I knew we turned a corner and saw this. I suck at following directions more so giving them, so I'll just try my very best to be as detailed as I possibly can on where to find these graffiti or their respective artists. (Or you can visit this page, there's a map!)

Frank, Marilyn, Audrey and Charlie for Madera Hotel by Rob Sketcherman -- Peel Street corner Hollywood Road
Obviously this is not street art BUT OMG A YOSHITOMO NARA EXHIBITION!!!!!! -- At Whitestone Gallery, Hollywood Road
By Rukkit -- Upper Station Street
By Jean Jullien
By Egg Fiasco (PH graffiti artist!!!) -- Tai Ping Shan Street
The other half of this was already painted over with black, the original graffiti was a ram, I think.
By Barlo -- Tai Ping Shan Street
By Artime Joe (SK)
By Alec Monopoly
By Cat Time Biatch
Also saw this very colorful building, which I think is a school, with its walls also painted with graffiti

I've also managed to see Fin DAC's Friends and Lovers graffiti (Gough Street corner Mee Lun Street) but it was blocked by this food stall with lots of patrons so I didn't bother taking photos of it. 

Me scouting for street art was a spur-of-the-moment thing so I didn't really research that well. At this point, I really have no idea where exactly you'll find these murals, but basically around Hollywood Road, Tai Ping Shan Street and Upper Station Street areas. Give or take, it took me an hour or so to walk around and take photos. I really did go through every corner and alley I could just to find these art pieces. I'm so in love with each and every one of them! Even more when I found those made by PH artists like Egg Fiasco and EXLD!

I'm not sure if photo walks for street art are usually done by tourists in Hong Kong but if you're thinking of going around these places, let me suggest that you do it early in the morning, that way, these establishments are not yet open and you can take lots and lots of photos without interrupting anyone. There's less people too!

It's also not guaranteed that you'll be seeing the same mural twice. Hong Kong has this street art festival called HKwalls (actually, most of the artworks are because of the festival) and sometimes, some of these get painted over. Some works get retained, some do not. So you don't really know what to expect. But that's a good kind of surprise, right?

These lanes I've been to and the art I've seen are just the tip of the iceberg. If you'll research about Hong Kong's street art, there are tons of other places left to explore. It just makes me very happy to see this concentrated amount of art in a small area. I've done photo walks in the BGC area (1, 2) to take snaps of murals but the pieces are so far apart sometimes and it will really eat up your time. Cavite is also no stranger to street art as well. We have the Cavity Collective here, a crew of Cavite-based graffiti artists. Just recently, the first arts festival in Cavite was held which was called Paghilom.

One of the best mornings in my entire life. I just went gaga with all the vibrant colors, the paintings, and larger than life illustrations. I took and took and took photos until it was time to leave. Haha. All the walking and climbing up a flight of stairs was so worth it.