Bao: biography

Bao is an exception: a female street artist born and resident in Hong Kong, in a city which hasn’t been so open to street art for long, though things are a bit more open-minded nowadays. However, Hong Kong is not the city most dedicated to urban art, which makes it even more difficult to break into this Asian world, which is in addition quite macho.

Her talent is matched only by her creativity: evolving in a joyful world that is not unlike manga, her frescoes, rich in details and intertwined characters, take us back to the wonderful and imaginary worlds of our childhood.

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Bao has a keen sense of drawing and transcribes strong emotions through her works. Whether they are men, women, creatures or animals, all her characters reflect feelings that humanize her scenes. And creatures abound: whether they are underwater, coming from space, navigating in parallel worlds, Bao relentlessly creates off-beat universes in which all the characters rub shoulders and dance together, for our greatest pleasure.

Bao knows what she wants and makes it happen. She usually works fast, often finishing her work in one go. Preparation is essential to be efficient and swift when creating the frescoes. Subsequent to her reflexion, action becomes necessary and it is time to complete the art piece in her head. It is then that Bao comes to life and applies her brushstrokes with precision and rigor, gradually revealing the characters and the links that connect them to the landscapes of her frescoes.

A talented, nice, open yet simple little woman, Bao takes us into her world and shares with us her moments of tenderness and mischief.

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How do you define yourself? Why do you define yourself?
I don’t really think I’m an artist. I just do what I like and I really appreciate it because I’m able to live with it.
Right now, I’m doing more illustration and street art. But actually, I’m doing whatever I want to do.
 What’s your story? What are your reasons for painting?
I was a graphic designer for 6 or 7 years and I worked in an office. But I realized that’s not what I wanted to do. So I quit my job and started to travel around the world.
When I was in Italy, I met some local graffiti artists and they introduced me to the world of street art. I like street arts because they are for the public. It’s totally different from painting on canvas. For me, it’s like communicating with people.
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What inspires you?
I’ve liked manga since I was a kid. That’s what made me start drawing. Most of my inspiration comes from manga.
 What’s your favorite “playground”?
The wall is my playground, for sure. I always dream of painting bigger and bigger walls.
 What equipment and techniques do you use?
To paint on the walls, I mostly use paint and brushes, but sometimes spray paint as well. For illustration, lately I only use the iPad. It’s very handy, but I’m also trying to go back to pencil and paper or canvas.
What’s the most important project you’ve worked on? Why is that?
Last year, I worked with Tumi on a travel collection with suitcases, bags and luggage tags. I was very happy to travel with my own suitcase…
 Who are the main artists who inspired you in the beginning?
Miyazaki Hayao: his animated films showed me another world.
Tim Burton was my mentor on the dark side…
 What are the main artists that you are thrilled about today?
The same ones as before.
 In your opinion, does urban art have an impact on people’s lives?
What I like about street art is that it’s aimed at the public. Anyone can see it and touch it or even paint over it.
It is not necessary to be a “professional artist”. You don’t need to be a professional artist. You can make up your own story based on the street art you have seen and which inspires you.
It can happen at any time in your life and one day you find yourself walking past your own mural every day on your way to work or on your way home.
 Do you think your work questions society? In what way?
I don’t really think so. I just do what I like to do, and if it makes people happy, I’m happy, too.
 The Drip’in concept is to bring urban art into the home. Our emblematic object is a white train, which we leave freely in the hands of the artists. Why did you choose to collaborate on this “Cover It Project”?
As I said, I’m happy that my work is making its way into someone’s life. I hope to cheer people up