SAI KUNG &; CLEARWATER BAY MAGAZINE: Five Minutes with Gustav Szabo, Szabotage

Meet the Clearwater Bay resident and graffiti artist who’s making his mark around Hong Kong.

Art is drawn to beautiful locations, and Sai Kung is one of them. There’s this energy here that’s unlike elsewhere in Hong Kong, a real community feel. It’s such a unique side to HongKong life. I’ve always been inspired by the iconic urban architecture and now Sai Kung is bringing new elements beyond the skyscrapers for inspiration. I’d love to see Sai Kung become a bit more of an art hub for the New Territories. With the amount of traffic and people that come through Sai Kung it could become a window of opportunity for artists. Sai Yin Pun and Sheung Wan are hotbeds for street art, it would be great to see Sai Kung get in on the action. There are already some great murals here.

Art is my passion but it was my career in design ultimately drew me to Hong Kong and I fell in love with the art scene here. I love the opportunity to transform a wall or street with my art. It allows me to connect with people from all walks of life and bring art to a wide cross-section of the community who might otherwise not see it.

I’ve had my adventures on Hong Kong Island but I feel that as an artist I need a bit more space, which is what Clearwater Bay has. I have the room for a home studio and we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing greenery and mountains, and of course there’s thebeaches which I love.

The number plate on my car says Graffiti. I bid for this in this very corporate environment, which I found quite funny, and now I get parking tickets that say “graffiti” on them.

Recently in Hong Kong there’s been a change of attitude towards street art. Generally, graffiti can be seen as a symbol of rebellion but in a city known for its concrete skyscrapers, street art adds a splash of colour and excitement to an otherwise blank wall. Hong Kong is full of contrasts. There are the fancy galleries in Central sitting amongst artworks on walls and in alleyways. It’s these contrasts that are exciting as an artist.

Over the last few years, the local street art scene has exploded. Street art is transforming from something seen as rebellious or even vandalism to a kind of sought-after artworkfor properties and brands. It’s an exciting time with big changes to the street art scene; there’s phenomenal talent and people are more receptive to it.

My signature piece is a Koi fish. When I presented an owner of a café with several Koi fish designs for his wall, he suggested that I couldn’t draw them. So rather than take offence I decided to paint the Koi fish all around Hong Kong.

To become an artist nowadays is a difficult thing to do. There are creative people out there who are just looking for the next outlet to express themselves. We can’t all paint our cars!

You can expect to see more of Szabotage’s art popping up around the town soon. Check outhis work at Art Supermarket or displayed on the walls of Hong Kong Island. Original artworks are available to be viewed at his home studio in Clearwater Bay by appointment.