Stuart Carly, Cathay Pacific Loyal Diamond member and regular visitor to Hong Kong, said Hong Kong street art has existed in many forms for generations.
“From the sea of bright lights and neon shop signs synonymous with Hong Kong, to the graffiti and art installations in back alleys of the city, there are plenty of places to visit to catch a glimpse of art that interests you,” he said.
Here are Carly’s tips:
Do an hour street art walking tour
Graffiti and “street art” are artwork created in a public space, typically without official permission - this is what gives this art form its cheeky allure. To get behind the scenes and understand the meaning behind various street art pieces around Soho and Central, a guided walking tour is the ideal way to do it.
Relish the art of shop signage
Neon signage is a fascinating part of the city’s heritage, it shows how everyday necessity and utility can be just as beautiful as any other art form. Like Shanghai and Tokyo, Hong Kong was an early adaptor of the technology, with neon signs appearing in Hong Kong in the 1920s. Since then, neon signs have lit up the streets of Hong Kong day and night.
“While Nathan Road is the most famous strip of neon-saturated activity in Hong Kong, quieter neighbourhoods like Sai Ying Pun offer the opportunity to immerse oneself in a sea of neon on a smaller scale,” said Carly.
Enjoy the theatre of the street
No visit is complete without a long walk through the back streets of Kowloon. With a variety of fascinating museums and art galleries to visit, Kowloon is already a prime destination for art lovers, but the energetic nature of the streets is “where it’s at”.
“It is the back lanes of traditional neighbourhoods where visitors can really appreciate Hong Kong’s unique charm and urban pulse,” Carly said.
“The melange of the modern and traditional is a captivating experience, and these neighbourhood visits - whether in Kowloon or even around Kong island - have been the cornerstones of some of my best memories.”
Don’t rule out the art galleries
Today’s galleries are a far cry from the elite and isolated ones of the past, as Hong Kong makes room and shows its appreciation for a more diverse range of art forms. This has seen them invite the vibrancy and culture of street art through its doors, paying homage to urban art and the important role it plays.
“Above Second Gallery in particular, and Sai Ying Pun in general, present an updated view of life in Hong Kong. I’ve noticed that my interest in graffiti and other contemporary forms of Asian art continues to blossom,” says Carly. “Hong Kong is unique.”