Your insider’s guide to Hong Kong

Hit The Streets: Central’s Most Insta-Worthy Street Art Spots

Words: Kate Farr
Photos: Rachel Read

Although renowned as the city’s business district, look beyond the sharp suits and smartphones of corporate Hong Kong and you’ll uncover an ever-changing gallery of street art brightening up Central’s hidden corners.

Your urban art trail begins right in the heart of the city, at the corner of Pottinger Street and Queen’s Road Central, where adorning the balustrade you’ll spot a dragon by French street artist Invader, whose distinctive, pixelated ceramic mosaic works are inspired by video games of the 1970s.

Invader

Continue along Queen’s Road, picking up the Central-Mid-Levels escalator to Hollywood Road. Head west at street level to Graham Street, where a huge installation by local artist Alex Croft covers an entire wall of Hong Kong lifestyle store G.O.D. Having quickly gained fame as Hong Kong’s de facto “Instagram Wall”, this striking piece is inspired by Kowloon Walled City and draws daily crowds eager to get the ultimate selfie in front of this iconic image. Once you’ve snapped, spin around; adorning the side of The Globe pub you’ll spot our second dragon, created by local artist ROES as part of the HK Walls project. This non-profit organisation aims to showcase the work of local and international artists, hosting an annual street art festival every March to introduce the medium to a wider audience.

Alex Croft  ROES

Rounding the corner, you’ll find a very special custom artwork by Hong Kong artist Noble Wong at Kung Lee Sugarcane Juice, 60 Hollywood Road. Adorning the shutters is a portrait of the store’s owners, created as part of the HK Urban Canvas project. Sponsored by the HK Youth Arts Foundation, this initiative works within communities to promote the city’s unique culture, creating highly personalised shutter art that can be found all over the city. More information, including a guide to the artworks can be found on the HK Urban Canvas app (available for download on iOS and Android).

Moving on to Peel Street, and a brief detour to the junction with Staunton Street brings you to Vietnamese restaurant Chôm Chôm. Covering a large section of otherwise unremarkable wall is a pop-art piece by renowned graffiti master, JerkFace, aptly titled “Uphill Battle”. Based on the much-loved Popeye cartoon character, this New York artist is famous for his reimagined interpretations of popular animations and nostalgic comic strips.

Heading back down Peel Street, you’ll find a dramatic mural of a feather-adorned woman at Japanese-Brazilian eatery, Uma Nota. Commissioned on behalf of the restaurant, the theme continues inside and was created by Hong Kong-based Elsa Jeandedieu Studio.

Noble Wong

  Uma Nota

Cross Peel Street and duck left down Man Hing Lane and you’ll find yourself in Pak Tsz Lane Park, facing a confrontational piece above the doorway of French restaurant, Les Fils À Maman. Created by LA artist Cleon Peterson, it depicts a violent scene at odds with the serene courtyard in which it stands.

Turn around and you’ll find another striking piece by an unnamed artist referencing the history of the courtyard in which you now stand. Depicting ‘Mr President’ and a rather glamorous woman named Ching Ling enjoying a nightcap, it’s thought that the piece represents the wife of Dr Sun Yat-sen, the late Soon Ching-ling. Pak Tsz Lane Park itself contains a number of monuments to Sun Yat-sen’s anti-Qing Dynasty revolutionary movement and is of historical significance.

Cleon Peterson  Pak Tsz Lane

Continuing to the end of Man Hing Lane, you’ll cross Aberdeen Street. Head along Hollywood Road then turn right into Shin Hing Street, where you’ll find one of Central’s most complete collections of street art. One side of wine store La Cabane is taken up with a large piece by Shepard Fairey, an artist probably most famous for his now-iconic Obama ‘Hope’ poster. Alongside, you’ll find a grinning yellow cat (known as M. Chat) by French artist Thoma Vuille, and below that, a small black dragon blowing a heart-shaped smoke ring by Spanish artist Pejac. Rounding the corner, look up to spot another great example of a tiled Invader dragon dancing across the wall.

Shepard Fairey  Thoma Vuille & Shepard Fairey
Pejac  Invader

Next, it’s time to meet Jelliboo, a curvaceous character created by local artist Cath Love; she can be found enjoying a glass of wine along with a Picasso-inspired figure by Julien Raynaud in the lane between La Cabane and French restaurant Cocotte. Meanwhile, on the opposite wall, Matt Gondek’s startling Bart Simpson draws your eye down towards another dramatic Cleon Peterson figure and a vibrant cat by French artist Grems.

Julien Raynaud & Cath Love  Matt Gondek
Cleon Peterson  Grems

With dramatic and thought-provoking street art to be found all over Hong Kong, lunch breaks just got more interesting.

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