Behind the scenes at street art exhibition Hidden Street
Hidden Street is a community art project featuring nine Hong Kong street artists who have worked together to transform the art gallery into a street corner. Callum Thomson takes a look into the creative process behind the project.
Stepping into Pearl Lam Galleries during the initial stages of street art community project Hidden Street is a profound insight into the desires and motivations of the nine young artists involved in this show. The floor is covered with protective paper, the walls awash with splashes of color. The artists are cheerful and conversational as they put the finishing touches on their respective works in between lounging on beanbags and taking brief cigarette breaks.
A striking red and blue mural adorns the near and far side wall, featuring with boldly designed personified buildings and marine-influenced trams with crab legs, amongst other creations. A joint effort between street artists Felipe Wong, Hadrian Lam, Anny, Bao and Uns, the mural is a stylized representation of Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun, the area where the exhibition takes place. It’s a momentary snapshot of the neighborhood, captured in art.
“Sai Ying Pun and Sheung Wan have a rich culture and history. Our neighborhoods are transforming recently and it is becoming a unique art scene.” says Yuyu Chen of Pearl Lam Galleries. “Pearl Lam Galleries Soho is dedicated to the promotion of emerging artists and designers. We organized this project to emphasize art as a communal experience, and to bring attention to the talented street artists of Hong Kong.”
The artists themselves have chosen to interpret this within their own individual way, some focusing their artworks on the impressions that Sheung Wan and the Sai Ying Pun area have made on them, while others have chosen satirize Hong Kong society or the influence the city has had on their artistic expression.
“I walk through this space, then I feel out this area. This is how I choose to express it. This is my own reflection of the area, with my own style mixed in.” – 4Get
Whilst these artists all had their own slightly different interpretations on the processes and effects of street art, one common unifying theme was that of accessibility. The notion that art only consists of that shown in art galleries and understood by art critics and the upper echelons of society is one that these artists are inherently against. “Art shouldn’t just be for people that have been educated in art school,” says street artist Felipe Wong . “It should be for everyone.”
As the culture of street art in Hong Kong continues to grow, the government is still regularly painting over wall murals. While the debate over whether street art constitutes vandalism continues, at least these artists have a backdrop to showcase their talent.
“Art that’s accessible to the public, that’s not held behind barriers, not held in a private space… even on a subconscious level people indirectly absorb it as they go.” – Peter Yuill
“What I see is a track of people who live here. They leave their history and their memory on the street. To me, that is art.” – Sinic
Hidden Street runs through Sep 11 at Pearl Lam Galleries Soho, SOHO 189, 189 Queen’s Rd. West, Sheung Wan, 2857-1328.