Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Interview with Hong Kong illustrator and street artist, Bao Ho

Hong Kong's street art scene has been slowly but surely blooming. Like the greenery in this city, bits of it have been gradually peeking out from behind the greyness of the sidewalks and skyscrapers, adding splashes of colour that brighten up this concrete jungle. With international street artists like French mosaic master Invader contributing their pieces to the walls of the SAR, and street art festivals such as HKWalls being held around town, the people's appetite for visual stimulation amid the concrete jungle has been whetted.

Bao Ho is one artist whose bright and cheerful work captured my attention. A recent contributor to the HKWalls event in Stanley, her art is filled with unusual and whimsical characters, with warm and quirky expressions that contrast their unusual and sometimes twisted designs.

I was lucky enough to speak to the humble artist about her work, which can be seen at H'and. If you're interested you can also donate to her Patreon, Simple Bao.

1. How long have you been actively involved in art?

I've liked drawing since I was little, but I did really get involved in art since 2013 when I travelled in Australia. So, 2 years?

2. Tell us about the evolution of your style and influences.

At the very beginning (when i was a kid) my style was so much influenced by Japanese Comics. Then I was in love with some children's book styles. I tried to mix both together but I found that is not enough of me. I'm quite greedy for art. I like different styles and I did try to do different styles. But still I hope people can recognize all those works are from me. After all I put everything together, mix different things and different style on one paper, or canvas or mural. It turns out like this.

3. You do both illustration and street art - tell me about how you first started getting involved in a) illustration and b) street art in Hong Kong.

I can't remember my first illustration in Hong Kong but the reason why I get involved in this, its because I lived on my art when I travelled in Australia. I was depressed by my job. I quit everything and I went to Australia with nothing but my dream. I wished I could live and travel with drawing and busking which I did.
The first street art in Hong Kong was a jamming work in Tuen Mun with some local artists. I met them in an event called Roofest.

4. Lastly, what are your thoughts on the art scene in Hong Kong and the difference between Hong Kong art scene and international scene?
Peoples' tempo are too fast in Hong Kong. Sometimes it is easy to catch their attention but it's easy to lose that as well. But art is something you need to spend more time and mind, gotta get inside deeply. Like our life. The biggest difference between Hong Kong and international is tempo, I think.

Bonus question: what did you think of Melbourne and how was your experience there?
I LOVE Melbourne.
I used to have an exhibition there. I busked quite often as buskers are welcomed there. You gotta know if you busk with drawing, most of the cities in Australia are not allowed to sell your artwork. You can only do some work which people can't take away, like chalk art. 
And Melbourne people LOVE art, lots of lovely and nice people around. And of course lots of art and many artists too.