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Graffiti Trip

       

By Jacqui |  Published on Monday, November 28, 2011.

The photographer Gzave tells us about his graffiti trip in Asia. Come discover Kuala Lumpur, Bali, and Bandung through his story and photos.

Another translation by Jacqui providing you exclusive french articles previously published on FatCap.org. Enjoy.

 

Graffiti and street art in Malaysia and Indonesia

After returning from a long trip in Asia, Gzave does us the pleasure of sharing his graffiti roadtrip through Kuala Lumpur in Malasia,  Bali, and BandungIndonesia with us and the FatCap readers. Here is Gzave’s report compiling his experience and of course his photographs of tags, pieces, and other characters. Inside, find out about encounters with artists and the exploration of the land and its graffiti.

 

Kuala Lumpur
Capital of Malaysia, city of 4 million people. Its name means “muddy confluence” in Malay.

Upon arriving in Kuala Lumpur, you immediately notice the presence of graffiti done by tourists and foreign artists of renown. There are English artist NED’s tags and flops, the huge pieces by French artist Hozoï, and many other silvers, tags, and pieces done by Australians and Germans. There is, of course, a lot of local graffiti that you can see but it is worth noting that their styles are very similar to those in the United States and Europe. Right away you can sense a strong influence from MSK and this feeling is confirmed, even assumed, in speaking with the local artists. Graffiti alone does not dominate the streets. Stencils are equally present and the mix of the two makes the city lively and attractive.

 
 

The first essential step in each city with graffiti is to find the shop that sells the spray paint. This is where meeting people is the easiest and it's also ideal for fishing out information on the best spots in the city. That being said, head in the direction of TSS Shop, The Super Sunday, run by Malaysian artist Kioué whose multiple styles have been livening the local scene for many years. He’s the founder of the shop, he organizes jams, and he creates t-shirts. He’s even preparing to launch his own brand of spray paint. The welcome is warm, meetings and paintings with others are quickly organized. In regards to the well-known graffiti spots, a lot of the best artists paint along the river. Pasar Seni and Jelatek are two train stations where the level of quality in the pieces there make a visit worthwhile.

 
 

Malaysian artists are very open and welcoming with foreign tourists and they are very interested in the Western scene. Oddly enough, there are a lot of places with elaborate pieces but barely any vandalism. Apart from Bonks who puts up his flops and silvers everywhere, it would seem that the majority are not attracted by vandalism which, according to the artist They, holds no interest in their local context. They prefer to develop their art and try to make a living out of it by doing commissioned works. Hitting up a train or tagging something in the middle of the street does not interest them any more than painting in graffiti yards. Besides the tags that you can find all around, it is rare to see bigger pieces, flop, and silver in the city streets. Parking lots are an exception to this, however, and they are often covered in more or less elaborate pieces.

 
 
 
 

What’s funny is that the “ancients” from this graffiti movement are only around 26 years old. The oldest pieces that can be found in the city date from 2005-2006. Graffiti here is young. It is growing quickly and yet it still has many good years ahead of it. These artists’ skill level is already impressive, even if it is heavily influenced by American styles.

Carpet (crew: PHB-KLK, RTC, ZNC) who is as present in the streets as he is in the graffiti community, fully respects the codes of graffiti. This allows him to draw his letters in styles ranging from the simple to the more complex.

Kioué (TSS): He finds inspiration in the world’s calligraphy. He is as comfortable with doing portraits as he is with lettering and his street presence manifests in his many signature pieces.

They: Not a part of any crew, he pairs his signature with the initials TLG, letters that actually signify a movement, a way of painting and thinking. He sets himself against the westernized majority, proclaiming a uniquely Malay style. This “original born native” is inspired by the history, the architecture, and the lush environment of his country.

 
 

Some artists resist outside influences like the young They, a local artist who proudly defends a “nationalist” and local conception of graffiti. He is against imitation and he strives to develop with brilliance a style of his own, unique to his city and the Malaysian culture. He is inspired by architecture and he creates his pieces by incorporating his cultural background and personal sensibility. The result is explosive, atypical, and lucid. In addition to being talented, this artist is dynamic, making videos and setting up many meetings with the locals and the tourists that have come to paint.

Bali
Surface area is 2,176 miles squared. Average annual temperature: 88 degrees.

Bandung

Situated in the west of the island of Java. 2,511,000 inhabitants. A city inundated with graffiti.

After the journey to Kuala Lumpur, the discovery of Bali and Bandung in Indonesia was just as captivating. In Bali, it was pretty simple. Most of the pieces there were painted by tourists, so you can see pieces done by Nasty, Bates, Atlas - lots of German and French for the most part. There is so much silver around the Legian area, however, that it is not counted anymore.

 
 
 
 
60 x Pope x Ratch4 : Boys & Roses:

 

FAB tribute to Dare

 

Bandung is by far the most interesting city artistically. The crews ZNC and FAB are very active. These crews are far-reaching (Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Vietnam...) and are packed with talent. They are a big family that spreads over all of Asia with its roots in Bandung. Very welcoming, always ready to paint, and dynamic in the streets as well as online, they develop styles that are for some original and for others influenced by the big classics of the graffiti world. Like in Malaysia, they do a lot of commissioned work but they also have a “street art” approach to their paintings’ characters and styles, sometimes leaving behind the shackles of the conventional graffiti they practice regularly.

It is common to see walls done by clothing brands, political parties, and even the police! A whole police department is dedicated to seeking out graffiti artists to decorate the walls and participate in prevention campaigns against violence, robbery and other offences. There is clearly another department that is in charge of tracking down potential vandals - not everything is always so rosy. However, commercial graffiti seems to be very active in this city.

Walls commissioned by the Bandung police:

 
 

I invite you all to discover the works of these artists. These crews are also very active on FatCap. ZNC and FAB’s pages are regularly updated.

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