K11 MUSEA Street Art: The Whimsical World of Bao Ho

Bao Ho,阿法奇朵,2019,油漆,300 × 340 厘米。圖片由K11 MUSEA提供。
“Queen of Hong Kong Street Art” Bao Ho sharing her artistic journey with us
Bao Ho’s finished work for HKWalls, an event which brings local and international talent to the city to transform large exterior walls into original works of art.
Bao Ho’s work for K11 Musea
CoBo Social Design and Architecture

Continuing our mini-series focusing on Hong Kong street artists who were handpicked to create new works in the recently unveiled K11 MUSEA, we sit down with “Queen of Hong Kong Street Art”—Bao Ho—to learn more about how this creative soul came to discover street art in Milan, and rediscover herself in the process.

INTERVIEW: Denise Tsui
IMAGES: Courtesy K11 Musea

“Queen of Hong Kong Street Art” Bao Ho sharing her artistic journey with us


It was while traveling that you discovered street art. What spurred that life-changing trip?

I was a graphic designer for about six or seven years. Back then in Hong Kong, design work was really just what the boss gave you. So it’s not really creative work for me. I developed depression in that time, so I quit my job and decided to travel.

My first stop was Australia where I had applied for a working holiday visa. I stayed there for one year because heading to Taiwan then Europe. It was in Italy, in Milan, that I started to do street art. In this time, to make ends meet, I was busking—playing music, selling artworks, and drawing caricatures.


How did you end up meeting street artists and getting involved in street art Milan?

Well, that is quite funny actually. I met a guy in Australia. I was waiting to cross the road with a work in my hand. He was also waiting and I started to check out the work I guess, because he started to ask, “Is that your work?” So that’s how we became friends. When I left Australia to continue travelling, he was always returning to Italy. He suggested I visit, and then introduced me to some of his friends.

They invited me to join them in a mural painting event. It was in a small town near a train station. There was some 40 graffiti artists at least, all buff, cool looking boys, listening to hip hop music and spraying paint. Then there was me. I was the only girl and the only artist using brushes and acrylic paint. It was my first time painting a mural and they gave me a wall right in the center!


What happened after you returned to Hong Kong? Did you know by now you wanted to pursue street art as a career path?

I came back to Hong Kong sometime in 2014 and was still thinking about getting a full time design job and was sending applications out. During one interview, the interviewer saw my portfolio and asked why did I not try to make mural painting my job. He then introduced me to some friends, and that’s how I met the organizers of HK Walls. In 2015, I joined the Secret Wall art battle and to my surprise, I won. South China Morning Post then interviewed me, nicknamed me the “Queen of Hong Kong Street Art”. After that, people began contacting me for projects and commissions. And so, painting murals slowly became my full time job!


Bao Ho’s finished work for HKWalls, an event which brings local and international talent to the city to transform large exterior walls into original works of art.


Your style is very whimsical and reflects cartoons and fairy tales but they also contain darker, adult elements much like how true fairy tales have two versions. When did you discover you liked to draw? Where do you find your inspiration?

I’ve liked drawing since I was a kid. In high school I started reading Japanese manga and watching animations. That’s why you will see those stylistic influences in my work. I like to mix different elements, and add in things from my imagination. I like drawing cute things, because I would like to share happiness to people. I really think street art is for the community, so it’s better to create something that people will like. At the same time, I like to put some darker elements into my work, because that’s really more reflective of real life.


Could you tell us about the work you created for K11 MUSEA? Your mural is titled Affogato, after the Italian coffee dessert. How did this come about?

I think everyone has some childish side, only that, when you grow up, you have to hide it. So for me, it’s like hiding under water. That’s why in Affogato, you see some big characters in the middle of water.

The name arose as I was thinking about how ice cream is like kids and coffee is like adults. Put it together and you both get a kid and adult thing in one, an affogato. It’s actually one of the first times I’ve liked the name of my work!

For the colours, I didn’t want to make it too bright. I chose harmony. I don’t think street art always has to be something very strong and bold in colours. I chose the green because of its complementary contrast to the pink. Again, like a kid and an adult, it’s like they don’t match but then you can put them together and it works.


Bao Ho’s work for K11 Musea


If you could paint on any surface, any size, anywhere in the world, what or where would this be?

The outside of an airplane! But I want to have the whole airplane, and one that’s really flying. I’ve seen it done but only with retired planes. I think it would be very cool.




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