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  • James Tam 谭炳昌

Graffiti 塗鴉

I don’t know anything about graffiti, but the good ones make me stop to admire, as if in a gallery. Some are amazing not only due to its artistic merits, but the fact that the artists don’t expect reward or recognition for their masterpieces. Even Banksy’s identity remains a mystery. A good piece of graffiti often makes me curious. What does the artist do for a living? Is this person gravity proof? Does he or she plan and practise on the living room wall first, before on-site execution? How many nights does it take to do something this size? 我對塗鴉沒有研究,但一幅好的塗鴉,往往會令我駐足欣賞,如同身在畫廊。好的塗鴉除了藝術價值,還有創作者的心態。哪麼辛苦完成的作品,沒有揚名求利的動機,也算一種清高吧。連舉世知名的 Banksy 的身份,到現在還是個謎。 有水準的塗鴉,會令我好奇。如此藝術高人,冒著地心吸力之險,月黑風高爬外牆噴漆為啥呢?哪麼大的壁畫,他之前有沒有在家裡大廳牆壁預習一次呢?一共要搞幾個晚上才完成呢?

Of course, a lot of street doodling is garbage. Simpleminded atrocities such as gang slogans, misspelled political messages or fatuous declaration of love may seem worthless. But they somehow accentuate the despair and social failure which have given birth to their brand of vandalism. 當然,佳作始終是少數。更多的是粗口錯白字,童黨標語,到此一游,或豬彪愛阿嬌之類的垃圾。但這些低檔次塗鴉,在破舊橫街和貧民窟,卻頗添氣氛,也是社會某方面失敗的見證

I can't paint but I can do this 我雖然不懂繪畫,但畫這個應該沒有問題

Or this ... 這個也應該沒問題

But not this! Too much gravity 這個有點兒難度!我害怕地心吸力

The streets of Hong Kong in the 1960s were largely graffiti-free but for commercial advertisements. The “Kowloon Emperor” Tsang Tsou Choi ( was a notable exception. His Majesty’s unique style of calligraphy was well known to his subjects. I first encountered modern graffiti when visiting London in the mid 1970s. I found it curious and unthinkable then that kids could sneak into train stations to vandalise the buildings and train cars without being caught. But then, without practise opportunities, they may not have produced Banksy. 六十年代的香港正處搏殺階段。街頭除了街招或手寫廣告,無釐頭的塗鴉極為罕見。九龍皇帝曾灶財是個突出例外,所以全港九的子民都認識曾陛下的名字和墨寶。 我第一次看到現代塗鴉是在70年代的倫敦。當時看見火車站和車身上的塗鴉,有些不解。孩子們怎可能爬進車站亂噴一通而沒有保安阻止呢?但沒有這破壞性的練習,又可能出不了 Banksy 這樣的藝術家。

I kind of like the atmosphere, since I don't live there 我覺得整體有些氣氛,因為我不在這住

Graffiti became common in my neighbourhood — Central District of Hong Kong Island — only in the last decade or so. Some are professionally designed and commissioned. Others are traditional street graffiti. In general, the commissioned works can be quite good, especially in SoHo Area. For some reason, nearly all scribbles are in English. 大概在十年八年前,街頭塗鴉在我居住的港島中區開始興盛。蘇豪區有些大型壁畫,是商鋪委託專業畫家之作,水平不俗,確能增添色彩。其他的塗鴉水準參差,也偶有佳作。除了純圖像的塗鴉,有文字的差不多清一色是英文。可能街頭畫畫這玩意說到底是英國傳統?或許學英文的副作用是手不自禁,隨街噴彩油?

Sometimes I wonder how much about a community can one read from the wall. 牆壁上的塗鴉,究竟反映了多少這個城市的現狀和心態呢?

A rare one in Chinese, though it makes no sense 罕見的中文塗鴉,雖然不知所謂

A bit busy, but quite interesting 亂到七彩,但有的氣氛

Have they asked if the residents appreciate their "art"? 塗鴉的人,有沒有問過街坊們是否欣賞他們的街頭“藝術”呢?

Political banners are a distasteful form of legal vandalism in Hong Kong. Would defacing them be double vandalism? Or a community service? 香港的無釐頭的政治海報有損市容,哪麼破壞它的人有沒有“負負得正”的環保功勞呢?

Wall paintings enhance SoHo's atmosphere. Probably expensive 大型壁畫能為蘇豪增添氣氛,可能很昂貴

This one next to the noodle stall is my absolute favourite 我最喜歡這幅在麵檔旁邊的壁畫

Government graffiti take themselves seriously, but inevitably hideous


Graffiti from elsewhere


Iceland 冰岛 (1)

Iceland (2): No worries with security guards here but spray painting in strong wind must be difficult 冰島(2):在這裡塗鴉不怕警衛騷擾,但風很大,噴畫應該有技術難度

Bolivia 玻利維亞

Modern Georgia: politics and anxiety 現代格魯吉亞的政治塗鴉

Ecclesiastic graffiti from ancient Georgia 古代格魯吉亞:上帝的代表也塗鴉

Graffiti in Mainland China reminds me of the ones we had in HK, mainly advertisements for local services


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