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Home to towering skyscrapers and bustling metropolitan streets, it’s easy to assume that Hong Kong is just another modern city. But, along with being Asia’s financial capital, Hong Kong also plays host to one of the region’s most vibrant art hubs.
From world-class galleries and exhibitions, to dedicated Art Months, the creative spirit is well and truly alive here. And nowhere is this more evident than on the streets. From the ”east-meets-west” inspired murals found in busy Central, to the urban graffiti in industrial Wong Chuk Hang, and colourful hipster delights of Sham Shui Po, street art is transforming the cityscape with bold expressions of artistry. Local and international artists alike have taken to using urban surfaces, big and small, as their canvas.
“Creative hustlers” Carol Mui and Rebecca T Lin speak about their street art murals, as well as their favourite Hong Kong neighbourhoods for art and inspiration.
The artist duo look to the beauty of nature for their greenery-filled murals. The friends started their mural business in 2017 to help offices, restaurants and shops transform their walls with art, and have since worked with clients like DBS, Lululemon and Pizza Express. Uniquely balancing dreamy streetscapes with luscious depictions of plantlife, the duo’s signature style is anchored in Carol’s philosophy of “slowing down”, whilst drawing on Hong Kong-born Rebecca’s dedication to home and heritage. Their piece at landmark revitalisation project, The Mills (now a cultural, experiential and retail hub), brings Mother Nature to the location’s industrial landscape.
Q: What was the inspiration behind this piece?
Rebecca: On my site visit, I noticed how the new development wrapped harmoniously around the preserved structures, which links with the collaborative theme within our previous murals of contrasting cityscapes layered with overgrown nature. I took inspiration from the architecture, specifically the notorious green pillars, and incorporated our signature greenery into what looks like a paradox between a thriving environment and an abandoned workplace to evoke feelings of sentimentality — ultimately highlighting the history and heritage of the building.
Q: What was the process of painting this mural like?
Carol:It was an interesting experience painting in Tsuen Wan; my mum grew up there, so it was nice exploring her childhood jaunts on our breaks — like trying her favourite noodles in the Heung Che Street Market. It’s great that some of these places are still around. There was also a really sweet moment when a stranger passing by gave us two cold drinks he bought from 7-11 because it was such a hot and sunny day.
Q: What has been the public reaction to your piece?
Rebecca: We’re honestly surprised by how popular this one has been — we didn’t expect this mural to be the background of so many Tinder profile photos! It’s always flattering when a piece is well received, and interesting seeing how different our piece can look depending on what filter was used.
Q: Where in Hong Kong do you like to go for inspiration?
Carol: There’s a lot of plants and botanicals in our work, and Hong Kong is the perfect place to go hiking and get lost in the mountains for some inspiration. Rebecca lives in Sai Kung, and I used to live on Lamma Island, so nature was literally on our respective doorsteps. It’s also fun going to the Prince Edward Flower Market to look for special, seasonal or rare plants we wouldn’t find while hiking — we’re both obsessed with house plants (surprise, surprise!), so it doubles as a fun shopping day — although both of us are running out of space for plants at home.