For several days last week, you could gaze at a Sham Shui Po building made to look like a psychedelic polar bear or marvel at walls splashed with the colors of the rainbow.
The giant 3D art by Spanish artist Okuda covered an 11-story building, one of 28 given over to the most creative expressions during the third Hong Kong annual street art festival.
The March 21-27 event was organized by arts group HKwalls as part a cultural campaign that produced unintended benefits for shop owners in the district, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Walls and entire buildings provided a canvas for 31 local and foreign artists who were asked to freshen up the tired, old district with a burst of color.
Sham Shui Po was chosen for its history and diversity, with young and old residents living in a weathered urban jungle.
By Monday, human figures and other art forms had taken over grimy and peeling walls in Lai Chi Kok Road, Wong Chuk Street and their environs.
HKwalls managing director Maria Wong called them “wall paintings”, not graffiti, in tribute to the soaring ideas that inspired them.
A shop owner said the event helped revitalize the old district, making it a magnet for shoppers.
But street artists are not getting enough appreciation from Hongkongers, one local artist said.
Kristopher Ho, 29, a first-time participant, said creative art is often regarded as a subculture in Hong Kong, making it hard for people like him to make a living from their craft.
He said there is too much commercialization of art and too little art education.
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