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Saturday Block pARTy!

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illustrations by skullboy Copyright 2013

Join us at Socialito on Wyndham Street every Saturday starting September 28th for the Saturday Block pARTy! Food and drink specials, live art from some of your favorite local artists, and a killer DJ set are sure to recall the vibes of your favorite Brooklyn Block.

Click here to download more information about the artists in the line up.

Youth Outreach mural

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Twoone and Shida are on their final day working on the 16 story climbing wall at Youth Outreach in Sai Wan Ho. Who needs cherry pickers anyway? Braving heat, heights, and numbing limbs, the Aussies have almost completed one of the largest public murals in Hong Kong with nothing but rock climbing gear and a tote bag full of Ironlak. After day one learning the gear, they’ve spent the past three days painting while dangling above the Hong Kong streets.  The mural should be complete by this weekend…go check it out!  Big thanks to the team at Youth Outreach and to Twoone and Shida for their enthusiasm!

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The Hours in HK

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10 Australian artists will be gracing the streets of Hong Kong next week!

They will be here in conjunction with their opening at Above Second of “Neon Golden” presenting works on paper by 14 artists from the collective The Hours.  Got a boring wall that needs a bit of inspiration? Contact info@above-second.com for commission project estimates.

 

INSA interview

INSA graffiti

courtesy Above Second

INSA’s “Graffiti Fetish” on the Vaford Gates.

by Zoe Li

Published: August 22, 2013

Published on BLOUIN ARTINFO (http://hk.blouinartinfo.com)

HONG KONG – Among the dreary loading docks in the industrial Chai Wan neighborhood, there is a colorful mural, incongruous against bleak factory buildings. This is the work of U.K. artist INSA, known for his large graffiti murals of abstract patterns mixed with hyper-real depictions of female body parts and fashion.

As one of the more commercially successful graffiti artists in the world, INSA has undertaken many private commissions including recent works displayed at Tate Britain. On August 18, he sprayed two large murals in Chai Wan to inaugurate the Vaford Gates, a public art project inspired by New York’s Bowery Mural.

The Vaford Gates are the rolling shutter gates that cover the front and back entrances of a warehouse for the prominent construction company Vaford Group. The two shutters are now exhibition spaces for temporary murals curated by Above Second’s May Wong. As Chai Wan’s gentrification snowballs and more artists, galleries, and designers move into the area, the Vaford Gates will become a visual marker of the creative energy of the neighborhood.

BLOUIN ARTINFO spoke with INSA about his inspiration behind the murals at Vaford Gates and how it is “easy” to do street art in Hong Kong.

Do the two murals relate directly to your past work on commodification, femininity, and sexual desire? 

Yes, they do. I wanted to produce a variation on a couple of my more iconic images and adapt them to the space I had available. The front side is my heel pattern, which I call “Graffiti Fetish,” it is a pattern made of legs and heels. The second gate is my inverted hearts, which is called “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” Both of these use very feminine shapes in the same way my past work does.

Is it a political or social statement that you are making about the female image, or about commodification? Do you consider yourself a political artist?

Most if my work has an underlining social commentary about our relationship with the objectified form whether that be the female body or consumer goods. I wouldn’t call myself a political artist but as a human being I have a social conscience and think a lot about what my work means. Personally, I don’t like to necessarily preach and shout as I find this can sometimes be hypocritical of artists to do this as they are often in a very privileged position to talk about politics. I prefer my work to open up questions with people but don’t want to push my opinion on them.

The murals are not directly shouting a political message but they are a part of a continuing series and theme within my work about consumer fetishism and misplaced aspiration so indirectly they invite people to discover more of my work. But having said that I think the very nature of large street art and public murals is political by nature because it’s challenging to the very grey space surrounding it.

INSA in the process of creating a variation of “Graffiti Fetish” on the front Vaford Gates.

Many of the passersby who will see the mural will be workers in the industrial area. Did you take this into consideration when planning the murals?

No, I can’t say that. As this is similar to work I’ve done in other parts of the world I can’t say I’ve changed it for this particular audience. But I try to work within a certain color palette and aesthetic sense that is easily accessible and enjoyable to the “public.”

How long does it take you to plan a mural? Can you take us briefly through the process? 

There’s always a thought process in terms of advanced planning in thinking of the color scheme but these particular pieces of work are done entirely on site to work with the scale and location directly.

Where is your dream place to do graffiti next?

Brazil.

INSA’s variation on “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.”

Is your work always planned these days? When and where was your last impromptu work?

My artistic life is a mix of planned work and planned projects that have a lot of process involved, but the next day I might be able to just paint a piece for fun. The most recent was last week in London. I did a quick thing near my studio because I liked the look of the wall.

What is your impression of street art in Hong Kong? Do you agree that it is harder to be a street artist in Hong Kong than anywhere else? 

There seems to be a burgeoning scene and I actually found last time I was here a couple of years ago it was very easy to do illegal street work with no questions asked. I think there may be a misconception that it’s difficult to do street art here, and people should try to do it more.

Please tell us about your next project.

Tonight I get on a plane to Berlin for an exhibition, which is celebrating the launch of a special edition artist beer bottle I’ve collaborated on with Warsteiner Beer.

 

THE VAFORD GATES

VAFORD GROUP
presents

THE VAFORD GATES
Inaugural murals by world-renowned artist INSA (UK)
Paramount Building, No.12 Ka Yip Street, Chai Wan, H.K.

A crowd of journalists, stylists, architects and designers showed up Sunday for the painting of the inaugural mural of The Vaford Gates by UK artists INSA. His signature high heels and heart-shaped bottoms adorn the gates of the Vaford Group Warehouse and will be up until later this year.  The Vaford Gates  are rotating murals that will feature local and international artists.  They are an initiative to vitalize the arts district of Chai Wan and to draw the eyes of the international art world to Hong Kong.

INSA worked tirelessly from noon to well into the night to music and the encouragement of bystanders.  His two murals are the first of many to come.

By utilizing a wall space for rotating murals, Vaford Group hopes to revitalize Chai Wan’s art community and draw international attention to the art scene in Hong Kong. As in the case of the Bowery Mural in New York, public art murals invite an influx of new businesses and arts related activities to the area. Chai Wan is becoming the new art destination district and this exciting initiative will only prove to expedite the development. The Vaford Gates, sponsored by Vaford Group, will bring the cutting edge, hip, public art programming that Hong Kong needs in order to stay on the forefront of the international public art movement.

Vaford Gates kicked off this August with two shutter gate murals by internationally acclaimed artist and designer, INSA. INSA established himself from a graffiti background through extensive street level work and gallery shows around the world. He has undertaken many private commissions including recent works displayed at TATE Britain.

INSA’s canvases and installations are often hyper real, finely crafted creations in which sexual desire and commodity-fetishism merge and contrast. Always with a heavy sense of irony, INSA visually exaggerates the notion of objectification meets commoditization with graphically depicted oversized body parts that are suspended in the controlled architectural lines of a sneaker or bold black and white graphic patterns. INSA uses these powerful patterns to play with and distort the spaces where his work is installed to entice the viewer into the ‘fantasy’; a shallow fantasy of materialistic aspiration where objectification is flaunted as a symbol of wealth and success.

Hot on INSA’s Heels

 

He came, he painted, he kicked ass (of which there were many on our walls). And now he’s coming back!

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The London-based graffiti, conceptual and fine artist will be returning to Hong Kong for an exciting new project! You may remember him from his solo show “Gloss” here at Above Second back in 2011, featuring his signature hyper-real creations that delve into a realm of sexual commodification, fetishism and excess with the most acute sense of irony. As always, INSA’s signature depictions of female footwear featured wildly.

Last time, he came to Hong Kong and made the last addition to his “Girls On Bikes” series. In a week’s time, the Vaford Group will be sponsoring shutter gate murals by INSA in Chai Wan, in an initiative to vitalize the local art community.

In the meantime, follow him on his blog and twitter for hilarious access to his stream of consciousness. No one should miss the excitement of him live tweeting a painting session ever again with gems like, “Dude stop talking to me – you stink of piss and I gotta get this finished!”

Also, if you haven’t come across his mind-blowing brainchild that is “gif-iti, check it out!

“The beauty of INSA’s GIF-ITI is that it only truly lives when viewed online, where these days most street art ends up being viewed, and it exaggerates the ephemeral nature of graffiti as each layer is painted instantly over the last. Mixing retro internet technology and labour intensive painting, INSA creates slices of infinite un-reality, cutting edge art for the tumblr generation.”

INSA, ‘Online Love’ in Newcastle

INSA x PORTUGAL THE MAN x DANGER MOUSE x TUMBLR

INSA x RONE in Melbourne

More about INSA’s arrival and activity in Hong Kong coming soon!



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