She was champion of the 2015 Secret Walls art battle, has been crowned the “Queen of Hong Kong’s street art scene”, and now self-taught artist Bao Ho is taking over the city – one wall at a time. We catch up with the talented (and modest) 28-year-old Hong Konger to find out what’s in store next.
What is your background in street art?
I’ve loved drawing since I was little, but I never had any art training. I started to do street art towards the end of 2014 when I was traveling in Italy, and met some local street artists who brought me into that world.
Where did your passion and inspiration for street art come from?
I love sharing, and street art is for the public to enjoy – for everyone to see and touch. My inspiration comes from people, stories, and my emotions, but I’m not good at planning so most of time I don’t sketch before I start painting on the wall – it’s more freestyle.
How many pieces of your own street art can be found around Hong Kong?
Quite a lot and I don’t really remember how many, but they are in Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and the New Territories.
How did you come to join HKwalls?
I found HKwalls when I was searching on the Internet to find any opportunities to paint murals in Hong Kong. I sent them an email to ask if I could take part, and I was lucky enough that there was a wall for me to paint on at their second festival in 2015.
How did it feel to win the 2015 Secret Walls contest?
Unbelievable, I don’t think I’m any better that the other artists, but I’m happy as I finally did something that made my mom proud of me, she never said she liked my work before.
How does it feel to create art under pressure in a room full of strangers?
The first time was terrifying. I was super nervous and I was shaking on the stage. I don’t think I even knew what I was doing, but now I think I’m getting more used to it.
How does it feel to be named the “Queen of Hong Kong’s street art scene”?
I’m happy that people like my work, but that title is really too much for me. It makes me quite nervous because I don’t think I’m good enough to be a “Queen”.
Which of your street art pieces do you like most and why?
The first piece I did when I was in Italy, it was for a street art jamming event. My life really changed after I created that piece.
What is your opinion of the street art scene in Hong Kong?
Its getting more popular and more people are accepting it. It’s a good moment for artists who want to make a living with their art, but it would help if people stopped asking for free jobs from artists and realised they need to make a living from it.
And are you making a living from your street art?
Yes. I’m lucky enough to make a living with my art so I don’t need to have other job at the moment. But still, being a “full-time-artist” is not very stable, and I’m always ready to get some other jobs when I can’t make enough money from it. Anyway, I still hope I can keep doing what I like to do.
So what’s in store for you next?
I would really like to do an exhibition – hopefully this year.
Watch this space Hong Kong …
Read more! Spend Five Minutes With some other colourful characters who are shaking up Hong Kong.