Making art out of thin air

31 May 2016 / 13:10 H.

GRAFFITI has always gotten divisive responses out of Malaysians. The first being "Wow, that's a nice piece of work!" and the second being "Why would someone do this here?" Like any other form of art, graffiti has its fair share of detractors and admirers.
One thing is for sure though, it is a growing culture. More and more Malaysians are viewing these vibrant and creative pieces in a more positive light and as a way to liven up old buildings, tunnels, parking lots and so on.
But for those who feel that graffiti is nothing more than vandalism, perhaps Loo Lok Chern aka Cloakwork can change your mind. The 25-year-old has made a name for himself, having travelled to many parts of the world to showcase his style of art with the help of aerosol paints.
In fact, his love for "vandalising" walls has led this young chap to hold his very own world tour. At the time of writing, he has already been to Japan and Taiwan, and will be heading to Hong Kong and United Kingdom.
"I love being able to travel as I get to make many new friends and learn plenty of techniques and tricks to hone my craft. But the most important thing is for me to share my work and showcase my creativity with those who live in other parts of the world," said Loo.
What drew you to graffiti art?
I've always been quite a rebel, and I'm always going against the mainstream. I also wanted to do something extraordinary; and graffiti allows me to maintain my rebellious nature and create awesome pieces of art that others can admire. I got hooked on it; I love the adrenaline rush throughout my body when I'm doing graffiti on the streets and in public spaces.
Could you share some of the difficulties you faced when you started out?
When I first started out, it took me quite a bit of time to sketch the shapes that I wanted. On top of that, I was worried that someone might mistake my intentions for vandalism. With loads of research and practice, I can now visualise and create shapes much faster than before. It also helps that people recognise my work as art pieces, instead of vandalism.
How are you looking to change the perception of the older generation who typically views graffiti as a form of vandalism?
Graffiti in Malaysia is still stagnant in a grey area, and I hope by sharing my artwork, I can inspire, enlighten and bring joy to everyone despite all the negative events and situations that have been happening over the past months and years. This is why it is also important that we have a steady stream of events and gatherings to keep us in the game.
You're quite active on social media; what are your thoughts on these platforms? What do you dislike about them?
Everyone should never take social media too seriously. In the end, it should be fun! Do what you like and let it grow organically. What I dislike are people who judge others by their number of followers and not the quality of posts in that profile.
Besides creating awesome art, what else do you do?
I am the co-founder of Against Lab and Wallriors. Against Lab is a contemporary fashion label and multidisciplinary creative entity, while Wallriors is a platform that works on art projects in public spaces, to make art accessible to a wider audience by taking it out of the conventional gallery space and embedding it within the cities we live in – making art truly for everyone.

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