Artistic Ipoh

Street art and graffiti

In Ipoh there is a lot of street art.  Some has been officially commissioned by the town, some painted on the side of buildings with the owners permission and some just painted on walls without permission.  As we wandered around town, on our second, by flying visit, we wondered about the inspiration behind the paintings as we gazed at the pictures.

This gallery shows a selection of both official and unofficial street art in Ipoh.

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The council commissioned 7 wall murals, painted on old buildings in the heritage part of town. The official art trail map has adopted two extra locations. The inspiration for the council was most likely the success of Street Art Trail in Penang, which sees thousands of tourists flocking every week to enjoy the works. The council commissioned the very same artist, Ernest Zacharevic to do the murals in Ipoh.  Use this map to do a self guided Ipoh Walking Guide to Street Art if you wish.

Some murals, painted with the owners permission, seem to have a more practical reason behind the motivation. A school wall, for instance, seemed to utilize the art as inspiration for the students, a restaurant uses it as a marketing tool.   Other murals, it seemed to us, were pictorials the artist wanted to tell a story, make a statement, show their memories to the town or simply showcase something special.

The artists, creative souls that that obviously are, may simply be indulging in the urge to create inspired by the art on the walls inside the myriad of cave temples around Ipoh.

We think the vast majority of street art here has been commissioned or pre-approved and it appears to be skillfully executed.   Is it street art or just graffiti if it is not officially commissioned ? Certainly, some art is not great and paintings can be found on near derelict walls and probably therefore do not have permission.  I have to ask whether the lack of talent and/or prior approval make it graffiti and therefore a form of vandalism?

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

Do you agree street art need not be restricted to painting on walls? Walking around town, we spotted an amazing looking telephone kiosk.  Is it art if it is interesting ?  I think so.  We stopped to take a photo.  Whilst Clive was composing the picture, I spotted a photographer taking a photo of Clive taking a photo.  What happened next was that the photographer and a journalist tracked us down for an interview for the local newspaper.  They were intrigued why we were taking that particular photograph.   It was my fault, I thought the telephone kiosk was intriguing – a burnt and melted payphone but with the handset neatly in place as though it had been tidied up after the cash had been removed.   Surrealism. Modern abstract.  It even had the word “Hello” (well nearly! ).   Scroll down to see the photograph that got us in the news :

Ipoh street art

In hindsight, the photo of Clive taking the photo was far more interesting ! What was I thinking?

One thought on “Artistic Ipoh

  1. I sometimes think whether something is art is entirely up tp the viewer! I have pretty much given up trying to appreciate anything produced after the surrealists (with a few exceptions) but while I would hesitate to call it art, other people pay a lot of money for it. WRT to street art, I don’t think of tagging as art, but the rest is either approved or unapproved art.

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