Art or vandalism? The age-old debate regarding the nature of graffiti since its emergence in the 1960s has infiltrated mainstream discourse for years. Society has since seen itself gravitate towards the answer of art as graffiti continues decorates the wall of art galleries and buildings. No longer having to hide and work within the dark, graffiti artists are now celebrated as respected figures within the community.
Malaysia, with its vibrant and growing graffiti scene, has seen its artists blossom to reach international platforms. In celebration of its beauty, Bad Lab has commissioned four of Malaysia’s best graffiti artist to leave their mark by performing live graffiti paintings on the MRT pillars stretching across the Jalan Damansara highway.
Bad Lab, a personal care range geared towards man, intends for this movement to push boundaries beyond what we even imagine.
Now known as the #BADLABBILLBOARDS, the painted pillars, which will be up for 6 months, are challenging the public’s perception towards graffiti by providing these world-renowned artists a sanctioned platform. The pillars act as a medium for the artists to showcase their work to a nation that knows very little of them.
The talented home-grown artists commissioned were Cloakwork, Katun, Dmojo and Shade.
Cloakwork, born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, is a multidisciplinary graffiti artists and illustrator. His name is a combination of two words which represent the nature of graffiti. Cloak, the stealth and hiding entailed of a graffiti artists and work which represents movement. Cloakwork has took his quirky and vibrant style around the globe for the past 6 years, tagging the world with his art.
Katun, whose name derives from his love of reinterpreting carton characters, is no stranger to the graffiti art scene. Having been in the scene for 11 years, Katun fell in love with graffiti in his secondary school days. Growing from his humble beginnings, his work, which often incorporates cartoon characters, has flourished to be versatile and full of life, touching the hearts of all who see them.
Having started in 1999, Dmojo, or Phobia, is a veteran to the graffiti art scene. Based in Kuala Lumpur, his work, which involves vivid colours, animal skeletons and mixed direction, is whimsical and ominous.
Lastly, Shade, a graffiti artist who maintains an aura of mystery around him. Very little is known about him other than his art. His work, as witnessed, often includes complimentary colours and vivid illustration never fails to capture the attention of the public.
Joining the forces of these creative and innovative graffiti artists, Bad Lab hopes to “create awareness for the vibrant street art and creative culture currently happening in Malaysia,” says Lum Chong Heng, the Commercial Director of Bad Lab.
In appreciation of their work which has crossed borders to reach international street art conventions, these artists were handpicked for their unique individual style. Their work has stopped traffic, capturing the attention and the hearts of each car passing by.
The act of graffiti, which 13 years ago was considered to be illegal, has seen itself rise through the ranks into contemporary culture. Graffiti has long been known as a medium to address socio-political issues, its origins which were known to be juvenile represents more than its rebellious roots, it embodies the fight for the freedom of speech. Graffiti has long been known as a medium to address or oppose socio-political issues.
Just like all forms of art, it sends a message, and it is deserving of each canvas it holds, whether it be in an art exhibition or the wall of a warehouse.