Sunday, 25 June 2017

Graffiti 塗鴉

I don’t know anything about graffiti, but the good ones make me stop to admire, as if in a gallery. Some are amazing not only due to its artistic merits, but the fact that the artists don’t expect reward or recognition for their masterpieces. Even Banksy’s identity remains a mystery. A good piece of graffiti often makes me curious. What does the artist do for a living? Is this person gravity proof? Does he or she plan and practise on the living room wall first, before on-site execution? How many nights does it take to do something this size?

我對塗鴉沒有研究,但一幅好的塗鴉,往往會令我駐足欣賞,如同身在畫廊。好的塗鴉除了藝術價值,還有創作者的心態。哪麼辛苦完成的作品,沒有揚名求利的動機,也算一種清高吧。連舉世知名的 Banksy 的身份,到現在還是個謎。 有水準的塗鴉,會令我好奇。如此藝術高人,冒著地心吸力之險,月黑風高爬外牆噴漆為啥呢?哪麼大的壁畫,他之前有沒有在家裡大廳牆壁預習一次呢?一共要搞幾個晚上才完成呢?

Of course, a lot of street doodling is garbage. Simpleminded atrocities such as gang slogans, misspelled political messages or fatuous declaration of love may seem worthless. But they somehow accentuate the despair and social failure which have given birth to their brand of vandalism.


I can't paint but I can do this 我雖然不懂繪畫,但畫這個應該沒有問題

Or this ...  這個也應該沒問題

But not this! Too much gravity 這個有點兒難度!我害怕地心吸力

The streets of Hong Kong in the 1960s were largely graffiti-free but for commercial advertisements. The “Kowloon Emperor” Tsang Tsou Choi ( was a notable exception. His Majesty’s unique style of calligraphy was well known to his subjects. 

I first encountered modern graffiti when visiting London in the mid 1970s. I found it curious and unthinkable then that kids could sneak into train stations to vandalise the buildings and train cars without being caught. But then, without practise opportunities, they may not have produced Banksy.


我第一次看到現代塗鴉是在70年代的倫敦。當時看見火車站和車身上的塗鴉,有些不解。孩子們怎可能爬進車站亂噴一通而沒有保安阻止呢?但沒有這破壞性的練習,又可能出不了 Banksy 這樣的藝術家。

I kind of like the atmosphere, since I don't live there

Graffiti became common in my neighbourhood — Central District of Hong Kong Island — only in the last decade or so. Some are professionally designed and commissioned. Others are traditional street graffiti. In general, the commissioned works can be quite good, especially in SoHo Area. For some reason, nearly all scribbles are in English.


Sometimes I wonder how much about a community can one read from the wall.


A rare one in Chinese, though it makes no sense

A bit busy, but quite interesting

Have they asked if the residents appreciate their "art"?

Political banners are a distasteful form of legal vandalism in Hong Kong. 
Would defacing them be double vandalism? Or a community service?

Wall paintings enhance SoHo's atmosphere. Probably expensive

This one next to the noodle stall is my absolute favourite

Government graffiti take themselves seriously, but inevitably hideous

Graffiti from elsewhere

Iceland 冰岛 (1)

Iceland (2): No worries with security guards here but spray painting in strong wind must be difficult

Bolivia 玻利維亞

Modern Georgia: politics and anxiety

Ecclesiastic graffiti from ancient Georgia

Graffiti in Mainland China reminds me of the ones we had in HK, 
mainly advertisements for local services

James Tam 谭炳昌

No comments: