Before heading over to Hong Kong, I did a little research on the street art scene and reached out to Stephen over at Longzijun to find out more about where I could find any good art areas to check out. The bad news? Stephen said I probably wasn’t going to find the mural-type street art works that I prefer and that the Hong Kong street art scene tends to be more graffiti-writing and paste-ups.
Not the most artsy street art – there is a lot of graffiti
The good news? He did tell me that HKwalls was happening right at the tail end of my trip so I was quite happy to pop by the Sheung Wan area to check it out, and I am immensely glad I did!
What is HK Walls?
Sheung Wan can probably be described as a gentrifying hipster area, and HKwalls – a street art festival in its 2nd year invited various street artists from local and international circles to take over many of the walls in this neighbourhood and beautify them.
The artists mostly painted over 14th and 15th March – I was there on both afternoons watching them at work, so one thing a little different from my usual street art hunting is that I actually got to see the artists at work and watch the artworks progress, instead of just seeing the final art pieces. It’s amazing how much the artwork can evolve over just one day! Here are a couple of the works in progress that I caught. You can head over to HKwalls Facebook page to see how the actual final works turned out – they also painted at Stanley Market so if you’re headed to that area, maybe check it out!
At the junction of Caine Street and Ladder Street, which is apt as it’s on top of a steep stairway and there is a noodle store at this corner too
I also spotted other older street art and graffiti works in the area as well alongside the HKwalls works, I haven’t been able to identify all the works, but here’s where you might see some of these works! Use the handy dandy menu here to navigate.
Looking for other things to do in Hong Kong? See my post-trip recap and all my Hong Kong posts here, check out my guides to the outlying islands Cheung Chau and Lamma, or see how you can enjoy a local food experience here.
I suggest starting from the top along Caine Road and then climbing down the stairs of Upper Station Street. Tai On Terrace is on the left as you descend – explore the walls around those blocks and then head down to Po Hing Fong Street and walk along the side of Blake Gardens back to the bottom of the stairs at Upper Station Street.
HKwalls: Idrawalot aka Addison Karl (Germany) @ LEAD, 1 Tai On Terrace. I like the hatching – reminds me of colour pencils and art in school somehow
HKwalls: 4GET (HK) @ Yoga Bam Bam, 28 Pound Lane. There were chairs here for some reason, so I took a seat and a break here
these random tanks are close to Yoga Bam Bam
HKwalls: Bao (HK) @ 8 Tai On Terrace – this looks like painstaking work, but I love the detailing
HKwalls: Dems (Spain) @ 9 Tai On Terrace – this was a giant piece and there was some sort of mini party taking place, with drinks and ice cream on sale. The Gallery was just around the corner on the left
HKwalls: Stern Rockwell (USA) @ AFFECT-T, 28 Po Hing Fong Street – this is very gangsta~
HKwalls had a special gallery set up in an empty space at Tai On Terrace which had works by several of the artists for HKwalls on sale, I took a gander but nothing in particular caught my eye…
Checking out sellable works by participating street artists
On the opposite side of Blake Garden lies the hipster Tai Ping Shan Street – you can find several works along this street and on the many perpendicular roads and back alleys that line it. Most of the action was happening in the alleyway between Sai Street and Upper Station Street. A mix of cute little shops, artsy type shops as well as eateries around here – a nice place to chill out in the afternoon or evening.
Tai Ping Shan Street
HKwalls: Peter Yuill (Canada) @ RJMD, 14A Tai Ping Shan Street. The deep blue colour is quite striking
I was more intrigued by the pasted up blue pipes than the larger artwork on the left!
HKwalls: Felipe Pantone (Spain) @ Tai Ping Shan Street – If you see the final work, that reads ‘Pant’
Not street art per se, but fun and happy nonetheless
Upper Station Street
HKwalls: Rukkit (Thailand) @ Upper Station Street – you can see in the bottom left photo that Rukkit is using some sort of ruler/stencil to achieve those straight lines. You couldn’t quite tell how the final piece was going to look like at all, somehow I imagined something akin to a tube line. Imagine my surprise to see this fox face appear!
Alleyway between Upper Station Street and Sai Street
HKwalls: exld (Philippines) – is the dog shooting an… eyeball?
HKwalls: Artime Joe (South Korea) – something about this was really cheery and preppy. I kept thinking of M&Ms
HKwalls: Egg Fiasco (Philippines) – This guy seemed to be working quite quickly – the middle picture was his progress when I left on Day 1, which I thought was almost complete. Was quite surprise to see the sheer amount of detail piled on the next day (top and right pix!)
HKwalls: Barlo (Italy) – You couldn’t quite tell what the work was going to look like from the initial sketch! What’s really cute is that lady who’s peering out her door and watching the artist at work. She was really into the artwork, coming out and taking pictures and giving all smiles to the artist!
HKwalls: Jay Flow (South Korea) – very graphic shark jumping out of the wall
HKwalls: Gantz5 (Macau) – This is actually part of a larger piece that stretches along the wall
Hollywood Street has a whole bunch of art and antique shops along it. Take a walk all the way up it from the Tai Ping Shan Road area towards Aberdeen Street where you can pop into the revitalised PMQ (Police Married Quarters) which is an uber hipster creative hub these days with lots of very cool shops. Pop into the various alleyways along the way to discover some surprises within!
Look who’s watching~
Another face at the junction of Shing Wong Street
Tank Lane stairway between Square Street and Hollywood Street
HKwalls: Hopare (France) – this piece is really striking and bound to catch your attention as you walk along Hollywood Street. One of my favourites of the trip!
Not sure who this was by – it’s opposite the Hopare work, but it’s kinda cute
HKwalls – Gas (China) @ Little Square, 21 Square Street – I’m trying to figure out what word that is exactly – Gas’s schtick is writing in Chinese characters
HKwalls – Rookie (Taiwan) @ Little Square – cool octopus! – to the right is Square Street which has some random bits of graffiti along it too
HKwalls: Xeva (South Korea) @ Cawah Arts Gallery, 23 Square Street – can you tell who that famous face is?
One of the walls along Square Street. The dustbin was quite intriguing somehow.
I turned down Shin Hing Street and walked towards Gough Street. There are a bunch of lanes that you can explore around here with lots of little shops along the stairways and Gough Street, which is also where you can get the famous Kau Kee beef brisket noodles and Sing Heung Yuen noodles.
HKwalls: Parent’s Parents (HK) @ La Cabane, 97 Hollywood Road / Shin Hing Street – I quite liked this work too, striking visual
Callixto @ 11 Mee Lun Street – to the right is a little alleyway with some graffiti and street art works. I thought the Einstein was funny
@ 2 Mee Lun Street and Gough Street – You don’t normally see this Lovers & Friend’s work by Fin Dac in its entirety as it’s usually blocked by Sing Heung Yuen, a ‘da pai dang’ or roadside stall which is popular for tomato noodles. Sadly, didn’t manage to try the noodles >_<
Little Bao @ 66 Staunton Street and Chung Wo Lane – it’s not a bun shop, but an Asian diner of sorts
Right at the start of the Mid Level Escalators is Central Market – I’m not sure if much is still open there, but a lot of the shop shutters have artworks on them! so if you’re taking the escalator, perhaps pop by and check it out.
This was en route up the Mid Levels Escalators – what I did one time was take the escalator up to the top and from there walk across towards Tai On Terrace, so I wouldn’t have to climb the slopes!