Well-known Malaysian street artist Cloakwork was at 2019! Outloud Street Art Festival showcasing his artwork, which is now set for all to see for free on a wall close to Ponte e Horta square. We sat down with the artist to talk about his works, where and how he started and his inspiration.
Outloud Street Art Festival has happened for the third time in Macau. What do you think of such a festival happening in the city?
I think it’s great to have this kind of event once in a while because it allows people and talents from different countries to gather, update each other, exchange ideas and make new friendships.
Do you usually do partnerships with other artists you meet at events like this?
Yes, it’s very nice to get to know them and to paint with different artists. It’s also a great challenge to have different styles together and mix them, making it more natural and organic.
You hail from Kuala Lumpur, where you have dozens of artworks scattered through the city, but also through the world. How do you feel street art impacts cities?
I definitely think street art changes the landscape of a city, makes it more diverse. When you paint a wall, it feels more alive and interacts with the audience, the people who pass by the piece of art. I believe colorful and meaningful paintings can inspire and cheer people up, especially in situations such as traffic jams and such. Much better than plain concrete!
Do you think it can also have that effect in Macau?
Yes, I think so. Nowadays, people are so stuck to their phones and technology is so addictive that people forget that beauty exists in the simplest of things such as their surroundings.
There are lots of events happening in Macau, especially art. Art Macao is one of them. How do you feel street art can help the younger generations to learn about art?
I think is the artists’ task to entertain, but also educate everyone on street art and all that concerns it. It’s not purely vandalism like some people think. By doing more of this kind of event around the world, we (artists) hope the new generations can fully pursue their dreams and make them feel that every career is possible if you really want to and are passionate about it.
How did you start doing graffiti?
When I was in college, studying illustration in Kuala Lumpur, I took the train every day and passed by a kind of wall of fame graffiti wall. It kept changing with time, with different artists adding new paintings and drawings to it. I thought college time was boring, so I wanted to do something extraordinary out of my ordinary life. After I graduated, I worked as a graffiti designer at a skateboard shop and started doing freelance as well. I am a full-time graffiti artist now.
What did your parents think of you getting into this trade?
I feel very blessed that my parents were always super supportive of my dreams because, in the end, all we have is our dreams.
For those not so familiarized with street art and graffiti, could you explain to us what it is all about?
Graffiti is all about expressing yourself through art, trying to make the city walls colorful and spreading a positive message. In this era, there is a lot of negativity on social media and many bad things happening around the world so I want to try to brighten everyone’s lives up a bit.
Why the name Cloakwork?
“Cloak” means hidden and “work” means movement. I usually paint graffiti at night and after one day, people see a sudden new drawing in a specific place. That’s why I chose this nickname because I like to surprise the viewers. It’s “hidden movements”. I like painting at night because it gives me more of an adrenaline rush.
What do you think is the best way to change someone’s perspective on graffiti? To appreciate graffiti as a form of art and not view it as vandalism.
I think this kind of event and festival is very important to educate society. People should bring their parents and other family members to these events so they can check out the works, experience the live painting happening and see that there are positive traits to this art form.
Where do you get your inspiration from for the artwork you did in Macau, specifically?
First, I have to look at the wall and surroundings. For this wall, which is located in a back alley, I wanted to paint a three-story house, including lovebirds, trying to talk to each other and some other elements.
Do you have any role models from this industry, someone whose works you follow?
Yes, some. Nychos, from Austria, for example, is someone I admire.