No Risk, No Fun
Fifteen canvases in bold colours dot the walls of Hong Kong contemporary art gallery Over The Influence. Standing in front of a painting of an angry polar bear and chatting to a group of young people is Reach, the graffiti artist from Taiwan and the artist behind the “NO RISK. NO FUN” show, his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong on display from the July 6 to 29.
The artworks depict various urban landscapes and feature Reach Boy, a humorous and whacky character with a rebellious streak that he expresses in a positive way. With his renowned skill for well-crafted contouring and use of clear and clean colours, Reach’s work at the Hong Kong show carry punchy titles to match the mood; “Home Lost” and “Overpopulation 01” touch on a theme close to his heart, the environment.
Over The Influence is dedicated to artists who are engaged with the urban environment, and the gallery was founded to showcase radical and dynamic artists from around the world, who are inspired by the context within which they work. “NO RISK. NO FUN” is part of the gallery’s first Greater China Summer Program. Devised to provide a springboard for young emerging artists from Greater China, the exhibition marks the first of many vibrant exhibitions from their summer program.
For the artist from Taiwan, best known for his signature Pink Bear & Blue Cat, the exploration and experimentation with design, photography and vast layers of media have seen him collaborate with many industry heavyweights over the years. In 2008, Reach printed his first publication, “TOOYA! Taiwan Graffiti”, and has continued to establish his reputation internationally.
Whether exhibiting at galleries around the globe, painting on canvases, walls or crafting large-scale murals, Reach raises cultural awareness through his work. In 2014 he took part in POW! WOW! Hawaii and later acted as Creative Director for POW! WOW! Taiwan, to help push local street art culture abroad.
Speaking on the eve of the opening of his exhibition at Over the Influence, Reach described the message behind the work on show at “NO RISK. NO FUN”: “While I was making this series I was thinking about theory. Some people make art about politics, some about war, or what’s going on in the world right now, and I have so many choices to choose from when it comes to explaining myself, but when I think about this question the top issue that comes to mind is environment – it is the most important thing.”
“If we think about war, people fight because they want something, but that thing is from the earth, gold, oil, things like that. The most important question is about our land. I wanted to do something simple to let people know that they need to see the problem,” the artist explains.
“I try to keep things simple and use humour but the details in the work tell you something serious. The point is you have to do something, even if it is a small thing. I’m an artist; if I don’t make art I’m just a normal person without the power to tell people how they can help. This is my way of telling them very simple things can change the world.”
Such as? “Don’t throw out garbage, don’t litter!”
Reach hopes the importance of the message behind the visual impact of his work will stay with viewers long after the show is over: “I hope they understand the very important issue that is our environment, because that is all, that is everything.”