POW! WOW! Japan (street art festival) 2015 recap

Art collective POW! WOW! has just wrapped up half of its tour of Asia with artists like Case, Fafi, Ben Horton, Kevin Ancell, Omen, Sasu and many more showing their work to the masses.

With dozens of murals painted along the walls of the Tennozu area, crowds poured through to admire the work, marking the event as a resounding success and cementing the showing in an Asian market. Stay tuned for more work as it becomes available.

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Aaron Kai “Vices” Exhibition at Above Second Gallery (Hong Kong)

Hawaiian muralist and artist Aaron Kai is set to unveil his newest exhibition titled “Vices” at Above Second Gallery this weekend. “Vices” takes inspiration from the “vices” of our generation. Often viewed as sinful or immoral to society, vices hold an aspect of elevating sub-cultures, a notion Kai aims to explore with his signature style of wavy post-pop art that embraces whimsical designs and bold colors.

The exhibition will appropriately be held in the multicultural, metropolitan setting that is Hong Kong, an indulgent city of both virtues and vices. Kai will be in town for meet-and-greets and will also be offering unique dead stock pieces for sale.

If you’re in Hong Kong, be sure to stop by the Aaron Kai “Vices” exhibition’s official opening May 22.

Above Second Gallery
9 First Street,
Sai Ying Pun,
Hong Kong

Village in Taiwan has dozens of anime and children’s characters painted on its houses!

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RocketNews 24:

Don’t you agree that our surroundings influence our mood? Being in a bright, vibrant environment usually makes one feel more positive and happy, and the positive energy in us in turn has the power to influence the mood of others around us.

A small village in Tainan City of Taiwan has been attracting attention online and attracting visitors because of the cheerful vibes that emanate from its brightly colored walls. With walls covered in colorful paintings of SpongeBob, Totoro, Doraemon and other characters and motifs, there’s no doubt this village must be a happy place!

Now more famously known as Cai Hui Cun (彩繪村), which literally means “painted village,” Hujia Village, located in the Shanhua District of southern Taiwan, used to be a quiet, rundown district until about a year ago. Since then it has blossomed into a vibrant tourist spot that continues to see an increasing number of visitors each day, and it’s said that property prices have even risen, thanks to its brilliantly painted walls. What’s more impressive than the numerous wall murals is the fact that this amazing transformation started with a home project that stemmed from the filial piety of five sisters.

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According to Yahoo News Taiwan, some time last year, the Li sisters, who spent a couple of their childhood years living in Hujia Village, went back to the village to visit their grandmother. The trip back to the old village brought back fond memories of when their grandmother used to care for them, and that triggered Fan Ting Li’s inspiration to paint the outer walls of her grandmother’s house as a way to express her gratitude to her 86-year-old granny.

With no experience or training in painting wall murals, the Li sisters had a rough start. The elderly woman watched with worry as Fan Ting and her sisters, Hui Qing, Guan Yu, Qing Yan and Wei Zhen, spent long hours under the scorching sun, and asked her “silly granddaughters” to give up on the idea several times, but the sisters were determined to complete their project.

Studio Ghibli murals

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Residents of the village gazed upon them with curiosity and doubt at first, but were eventually moved by their passion, and some even volunteered to join them. Their little home project gradually spread throughout the village, and their painting team once grew to the size of 18 members coming from all walks of life, including an eight-year-old elementary school girl.

▼ Western influences

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Watching as the voluntary painting team contributed their time, effort and money to beautifying their village, the other villagers too, often contributed to their cause by bringing them snacks and beverages. There have also been private companies that donated items to aid in the decoration of the walls, but due to the residents’ limited funds, they narrowed down their mural locations to the houses of elderly residents who lived alone, hoping to brighten up their days.

▼ Japanese anime characters

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Since word of the painted village spread across cyberspace, tourists from near and far have begun visiting the village, not only bringing some liveliness to the once-sleepy place, but boosting profits for local businesses as well. The local authorities have since acknowledged the efforts put into Hujia Village, and have given their word to contribute to the beautifying and expansion of the painted village.

▼ Chinese motifs.

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The Li sisters and their team of mural maestros can still be spotted creating more wall paintings in the village on weekends. If you’re interested in stopping by, the location details are below! Although the area has pretty much turned into a tourism spot, bear in mind that these murals are painted on actual residences, so it would only be nice to show some consideration for their residents, just as you probably wouldn’t appreciate strangers littering or creating a racket outside your house.

Village information:
台南市善化區胡家里300號 (陽明國小)
Tainan City, Shanhua District, 300 Hujia Village (Yang Ming Elementary School)
*Note: The Painted Village is in the vicinity of the elementary school.

 

Look out for this school as a landmark to guide you to the Painted Village.

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Murals take over Honolulu for POW! WOW! Hawaii 2015 street art festival

POW! WOW! Hawai’i 2015 begins with a Holoholo Tour hosted by John “Prime” Hina

In celebration of the ongoing POW! WOW! Hawaii, festival organizers have released a video highlighting an annual ritual. Hoping to encourage cultural exchange, participating artists are led on a tour around the island of Hawaii every year, visiting a variety of significant historical and cultural locations.

This year features a “holoholo” told by Hawaii native John “Prime” Hina. Similar to artist’s aspirations to inspire with their creations, Hina hopes his storytelling will spark attendees’ interests in their own heritage. Besides its obvious geographic isolation, Hawaii stands as an anomaly among the rest of the United States, having been able to keep more of its rich, vibrant, yet complicated native culture intact relative to anywhere else in the country.

Enjoy Hina’s compelling words in the Michael Inouye video above.

Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo’s sprawling mural will soon welcome travelers at Sendai Airport

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RocketNews 24:

Surely any list of Japan’s greatest animators and directors must include Katsuhiro Otomo, the man behind the likes of Akira, Domu, and Steamboy. Otomo’s distinctive mix of neo-futurism, cyberpunk, and dark humor has earned him both a legion of fans and numerous accolades throughout the world.

We mentioned in a previous article that Otomo would be designing a giant mural for Tohoku’s Sendai Airport. Now it looks like the wait is almost over. The 12-ton mural, which depicts a squat, bespectacled boy sitting astride a cybernetic carp flanked by the gods of wind and lightning, will be unveiled on March 12, one day after the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Working off Otomo’s original illustration, CREARE Atami-Yugawara Studio fired 451 individual clay parts to produce the final product. At 2.8 meters high and 8.7 meters wide, the relief will no doubt make even the busiest traveller stop and marvel at its sheer size and artistry.

▼ A look at the design process

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▼ This thing really is quite spectacular

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Fans of Otomo’s work will recognize some of his visual motifs in the form of the cybernetic carp. Equally striking is the expression of defiance on the young rider’s face–a tribute to the people of Miyagi Prefecture, which suffered extensive damage in the 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

Regarding his motivations behind the project, Otomo was recently quoted as saying: “I hope it will spark children’s interest and serve as an opportunity for them to discuss the Great East Japan Earthquake and its aftermath with their parents.”

Travelers within Japan might soon be making a point of passing through Sendai Airport, if only to catch a glimpse of the impressive mural.

POW! WOW! Taiwan 2014 Video

After taking Taipei by storm, the POW! WOW! team takes a look back at its first-ever venture into Taiwan. Directed by Vincent Ricafort, this lengthy recap of POW! WOW! Taiwan 2014 does well to highlight its quest to paint massive murals in the Taiwanese capital, even dealing with typhoons as the festival brought together street art heavyweights like Aaron De La Cruz, Apex, Dabs1, INSA, James Jean, Brendan Monroe, and Madsteez, as well as regional talents Reach, Mr.OGAY, Seazk, Saym, Zishi, Xue, and Vita Yang.

Enjoy the piece above and head on over to POW! WOW!’s blog for a slide show of some imagery from the event.