Close X


HKWALLS’ Tools of the Trade documents the rise of graffiti & Hip Hop culture

Catch a glimpse of the seminal movement up close in Hong Kong

LiFTED | Roger Yiu | 11 May 2021

Do you wonder how graffiti artists manage to smoothly paint on whole subway cars or cover huge walls without being seen? Ever since writers first started putting their names up on things stationary and moving, they’ve had to adapt. In order to conquer the many obstacles in the dark or under the cover of night, graffiti writers have developed inventive tools to help them write and spray with style. Now, HKWALLS is letting the public inside the secretive world of graffiti with their latest exhibition Tools of the Trade.

Tools of the Trade is one of the main features of HKWALLS’ annual street art festival. Established in 2014, HKWALLS has been leading the street art movement in Hong Kong, aiming to create a platform for artists to showcase their talent while introducing the art form to a wider audience via workshops, exhibitions, and mural paintings. Local artists Cath Love, Zlism, and Taka etc will be showcasing their skills live in Sai Kung, Hong Kong in the following week.

Aside from the various drawing tools used by graffiti writers over the years, the exhibition also features a massive collection of photos from the acclaimed American photographer Martha Cooper, who is best known for documenting the New York graffiti and Hip Hop scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She later published the seminal book, Subway Art, in 1984 with Henry Chalfant, which is considered the bible of graffiti to many, as it kick-started a global graffiti movement along with the film Wildstyle.

Tools of the Trade also offers a rare glimpse at the legendary King of Kowloon’s authentic calligraphy, as well as Hong Kong artist Lazian’s pixel art, and a demonstration of gif-iti, a new form of animated graffiti made by UK artist INSA that can only be viewed online. If you are a Hip Hop or street art fanatic hoping to learn some things about its rich visual history or dying to explore the culture, this exhibition is for you.

Tools of the Trade by HKWALLS is on view till June 6 from 12 pm to 8 pm at G/F, Soho House, 33 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. It’s closed on Monday and Tuesday. More info can be found here.