Graffiti stars bring creativity and colour to Fruit Market for Humber Street Sesh

Simple Bao has worked on projects across the world, collaborating with brands such as Nike and Red Bull.

Two world-renowned street artists are heading to Hull to bring a burst of colour to this year’s Humber Street Sesh.

Taking inspiration from Hull landmarks and links, Hong Kong-based Bao Ho and Anny Chong will bring their creative talent to walls in the Fruit Market before and during the two-day event, taking place this weekend (Friday, August 2, and Saturday, August 3).

Two walls at the rear of the Humber Street performance venue are earmarked for Bao and Anny to create large-scale colourful artworks and festival-goers will be able to watch the artists at work at various times across the two days.

Self-taught Bao, also known as Simple Bao, is the queen of Hong Kong’s art scene, winning the 2015 Secret Walls art “battle”, the world’s premier live art event. She works on projects across the globe and has collaborated with top international brands including Microsoft, Nike and Red Bull.

She was also commissioned by Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, to paint one of four Simpsons commissions at the UPFest urban paint festival in Bristol last year.

Graffiti artist ANHZ.

Anny, also known as ANHZ, is one of the most active illustrative and colourful artists in Hong Kong, working in streets and alleys across the city, as well as in US, China, Europe.

The artists are coming to Humber Street Sesh as part of an Arts Council-funded graffiti project. 

In another element of this, the East Yorkshire bus company has donated two decommissioned single-deckers as a canvas for other inspirational urban graffiti artists from across the UK to showcase their creative skills during the Sesh. 

The theme, known as “wild style”, links back to the origins of graffiti on subway cars in New York, which is why the artwork will be placed on the vehicles.

The buses will be located at the C4DI end of Humber Street in the family-focused area of the festival on Saturday, August 2, where Sesh-goers can watch the artists at work.

Live graffiti “battles” will also take place between professional graffiti artists around the Fruit Market area, from Stage @TheDock to Humber Quays, on Saturday, August 2, and festival-goers will also have the chance to try some water-based chalk spraying on Victoria Pier.

The Arts Council-funded graffiti project is part of the wider aim to achieve a “legal walls” strategy for Hull to help build on the city’s reputation as a visitor destination for graffiti fans and ensure a constant supply of refreshed artwork to provide new reasons for people to return.

It is hoped local artists will join forces with artists from around the world to continue the projects for years to come and potentially build additional arts events into the calendar.

Wykeland Beal, the joint venture of commercial developer Wykeland Group and housebuilder Beal Homes, working in partnership with Hull City Council, is supporting the project and has provided the two walls to be used by Bao and Anny.

Isabelle Tracy, Humber Street Sesh Art Director, said: “We’ve always had graffiti artists at Humber Street Sesh and we try to raise the bar each year, so we’re doing more of it and expanding into different areas.

“It’s important that we bring something unique to the Sesh and this is the first time we’ll be using cherry pickers so the artists can create large-scale works covering whole walls.

“We have a brilliant partnership with Wykeland Beal and we want to have a long-term plan to make sure the walls don’t become tired. 

“It’s all part of the ambition to put Hull on the map as a go-to place for international street and graffiti artists.”

Natalia Cleary, Fruit Market Events and Community Co-ordinator, said: “We’re delighted to support this fabulous arts project.

“It’s so exciting that two international artists will be creating amazing large-scale artworks live during Humber Street Sesh and a great coup for Hull. It’s definitely not to be missed!

“This year the Sesh has a dedicated family-friendly area, around C4DI and Humber Street, we’re looking forward to families getting involved in all the wonderful activities that are lined up.”

[Janey Revill – Meehan Media & Comms]