In your mind you are probably saying – Malaysian Graffiti?... Really? To that we here at Spray Planet have to say hell-to-the-YES! Now that we are well into the second decade of the 21st century, it should be evident that graffiti and street art is not just a culture exclusive to Western countries.
While we are more connected than ever via the internet, many times a lot of information we receive via social media is purely photographic with no verbal context. This lack of supporting content and attribution makes it hard to figure out exactly where these incredible photos come from filling our Instagram feeds. In turn the poor context translates to most westerners being unaware of the growth and development of Graffiti and Street Art happening in remote countries around the world. This is exactly the case with Malaysia.
Finding Malaysia on a map can be difficult, but try identifying Malaysian with no attribution if you’re not from the Malaysian Graffiti and Street Art Scene. A small recondite country located in Southeast Asia, Malaysia’s territory is divided in two. One portion is the Peninsular Malaysia, located in the Malay Peninsula between Thailand and Singapur, and Eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and Brunei.
The Graffiti Scene in Malaysia
Malaysia itself is a country full of peculiarities, but what may be the most surprising is its small yet strong graffiti and street art scene that has seen exponential growth in recent years. This growth is probably partially due to an Official Montana Colors shop located in the capital (Kuala Lumpur: District Shop aka Montana Shop Kuala Lumpur). The access to high quality materials from Montana Colors has helped spur the young Malaysian graffiti and street art scene. Add to that the interest and dedication of local graffiti artists, and you have a graffiti and street art scene that has undergone an unprecedented evolution churning out some amazing graffiti artists highlighted below.
Asmoe – Graffiti, Wildstyle, Lettering
If there is a king of Malaysian wildstyle graffiti, the title would probably have to be given to Asmoe. With just 7 years of experience as a graffiti writer under his belt, his pieces can compete with famous Western graffiti writers. His murals boast an aggressive wildstyle that possesses total coherence, successful dynamism and balance. His color schemes, for which the 94 range is essential, aren’t exactly his weak spot either. It may be that his job as a designer gives him a slight advantage in this area.
Last year MTN-World posted a brief but interesting interview with the writer. It’s a good way to get acquainted with Asmoe’s work and to get know a little more about the Malaysian scene’s context and its peculiarities, as well as that of Southeast Asia in general.
Katun.- Graffiti, Characters,
All graffiti and street art scenes have an outstanding writer who excels at painting cool characters. For Malaysia, that would be Katun. Animals, people, robots… nothing escapes his creative mind and skill with a spray can that allows him to inject walls with life with his comic-like illustrations in unique scenarios.
Dmojo – Graffiti, Illustration, Realism
Continuing on in the field of graffiti / street art illustration we have Dmojo, one of the first names that began to resonate in Southeast Asia several years ago. His realistic visceral compositions of fish, spines and bones make his style quite recognizable. However, his skills with spray paint allow him to maneuver efficiently through any type of graphic task, from expressive to typographic letters. Time and time again, we’ve seen him handle the Hardcore and Mega Colors like a fish takes to water.
Kenji Chai – Graffiti, Illustration, Manga
This may well be the most personal graffiti / street art illustrator in the graffiti world. His original compositions stand out for their individual style, characterized by the presence of elements from Asian culture and even stylistic nuances that remind you of manga drawing. His signature style is most recognizable in his quill pen on paper compositions.
Siek27 - Graffiti, Wildstyle, Lettering
Another virtuous Malaysian wildstyle graffiti artst is Siek27. If you’ve seen any murals by Asmoe, it’s most likely that Siek27 is nearby. Skilled as well in handling aggressive graffiti lettering, if you pay close attention and look at the pieces carefully you can notice subtle details that are showcase a surprising perfectionism: a sharp highlight here, a flash there, some stripes in the background in a certain way…
We could go one shedding light on the Malaysian graffiti and street art scene with other names absolutely worth mentioning like Escapeva, Nestwo, or Mozak. However we’ll have to take a better look at their work in a future follow up article on Malaysian Graffiti. For now, we are highlighting five artists who represent well, one of the most interesting and overlooked scenes in graffiti today.
For more articles and information on graffiti, street art, mural art and gallery artists, and supplies, make sure you check out the Spray Planet Blog!