“Even if I am not a professional painter or an artist, I can still participate in it, so that is why I go to the events, even if I don’t draw,” says Steven Chung Chun-kit, one of the participants. The 26-year-old advertising creative agrees that everyone can be an artist.
Chung says the Street Art Movement brings together a group of individuals who want to challenge the stringent rules and restrictions in Hong Kong by doing something on the streets for the public.
“I think this is one of the most exciting events I have ever participated in in Hong Kong,” Chung says.
Conducting impromptu public events carries risks. Police checked Ho and Poon’s Identity Cards three times when they were making graffiti in the alley. Security guards ejected them when they were doing life-drawings on the stairs outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre because they had not booked the venue.
In August, Ho arranged a drawing session on a train along the MTR’s Tung Chung line. Participants posted their work on the handrails and members in special costumes boarded the train at each station. After an hour, the event ended because MTR staff received complaints that they were disturbing passengers.
Ho thinks the general public in Hong Kong is not interested in street art because of the general atmosphere of restrictions and rules. Hong Kongers may also simply dismiss the possibility that they might take part.
“You cannot blame it on the people, because firstly, we do not have formal art education for all,” Ho says. “We are not trying to complain about anything; we are trying to advocate, to promote this idea, and bring this issue onto the table.”
Geeio Yuen Ho-lam, who has taken part in most of the events organized by House for the Bum, thinks things are improving slowly as more people learn about art.
“We are not making trouble, we just want to draw and share stories,” the 27-year-old designer says. “If anyone doesn’t like our attitudes or actions, we will be like: ‘Sorry, we won’t draw you’.”
In fact, one of Ho and Poon’s main goals when they organise the events is to interact with passers-by. They encourage participants to tell passers-by about what they are doing and to explain that art is fun.