Hong Kong Phooey … number 1 super guy. Here now, gone 5 hours later!
Yep. True story!
Upon hearing an 8-bit street art of Hong Kong Phooey was adorning a quiet back street in Happy Valley, I made plans to pop over that way to see my childhood cartoon hero in all his 8-bit tiled glory myself.
I’m so thankful I did! He was in a perfect position, slightly visible from the main road if you thought to look that way, low enough down to touch and see. He added a blast of colour to what would have been a drab and otherwise uninteresting side street.
Able to get up close to one of these masterpieces for the first time, done by French artist Invader, the artwork was even more impressive. Tiling something like this would NOT be an easy task to accomplish, nor do I imagine cheap.
I bubbled with excitement. This was an icon of my childhood, seemingly immortalised in a style of art I have become fascinated by. So much fun to see and a joy to appreciate. A character, whilst not created in Hong Kong (he’s an American cartoon character), certainly influenced by it in a GOOD way.
Absolutely delighted I had found this art, little did I know its hours were numbered. At 3 pm that same afternoon, only 5 hours after I had taken these photos, a government contractor came along and DESTROYED it, removing it in the same way Pac Man had been removed previously. I won’t get to share this quirky art with my children. Other friends who had wanted to come and see it for themselves will now never have the chance to enjoy it as I did.
Apparently official reason for removal is these artworks are ‘distracting’. How a tile image hidden on a stark side street could be distracting is a mystery to me! Even more frustrating is, when you look at this wall, there is more than just the tiled street art on it, and yet that graffiti has been there for what looks like YEARS! Why hasn’t IT been removed with the expediency being administered on these uncommissioned tiled art?
This work of art (and all those like it in Hong Kong) was, in a way, donated free of charge to Hong Kong by an acclaimed international artist… and yet, the government seem to have decided to waste money better spent elsewhere on destroying conceivably valuable works they deem ‘too distracting’. The potential of these artworks is lost to a narrow minded and single sighted beuraucracy. These artworks could have led to a budding future for tourist revenue; A street art walking trail; To show that street art/grafitti is not necessarily just a spray painted name tag but a genuine piece of art that CAN be appreciated.
I’m sad Hong Kong didn’t consider at least delaying the destruction of these so they could discuss the unrealised potential of this kind of art, both present and future for our city.
Again I say THANK YOU and MERCI to Invader for, albeit briefly, bringing a pop of colour and delight to Hong Kong. The government may not appreciate your art, but there are many of us who live here who do!