DOWNTOWN AMERICA

It was 30C with 90% humidity. Welcome to Hong Kong’s late springtime. Although Josh Maupin aka Lilkool had just flown in from New York, was jet lagged and hadn’t quite acclimatised, his creative spirit could hardly be dampened. Since arrival, LilKool had been painting painstakingly while melting – literally - and showing off his remarkable collection of torso tattoos at Joyce Cares. “ Look at my leftover paint that I mixed last night, it’s still in liquid form, which means the murals and the clothings still need time to dry and we are running out of time??!!!”

Luckily he wasn’t alone. Students from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University descended en masse and apprenticed in the mural and clothing decorative exercise. This is because ‘Joyce cares’ is a creative space dedicated to supporting young local talents in the industry, while highlighting important community issues such as sustainability and social responsibility. It is located at Hong Kong’s latest address PMQ, which is the city’s newest hub, dedicated to “design-preneurs” from the fields of fashion, art and design - and located in the former Police Married Quarters [PMQ]. LilKool designed the mural motifs exclusively for Joyce based on the street cultures of downtown Los Angeles and New York. He also sourced some urban streetwear in Los Angeles and some high-fashion pieces from the Joyce archive, then with the help of the students, hand painted colourful graffiti-inspired cartoon characters on the garments to enhance the structure and design. In only three days, the joint forces created a pop-up shop, which was popping with colour, from the wall to the one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.

“I really take the design of the clothing into consideration before adding my creation onto them. For example on a designer white blazer, I added one small cartoon painting just above the pocket as a focal point. As for a pair of skater shorts, I painted numerous characters on the sides so that they will pop out on a body while in movement.”

Each of the cartoon characters on first glance is just a colourful wriggly blob, but if you look at each of them carefully, you will discover a pair of eyes and some crazy hairdos. They could be a cute hair-dyed poodle or a cheeky little mouse. All exude some sort of psychedelic charm.

“All the characters are outlined in one stroke. The colour combination is based on the colour mixing theory, like yellow and blue becomes green so I put green next to yellow and so on.”

With no surprise, all of the garments were sold out at the opening night. Joyce is pleased to announce that LilKool will extend his stay in Hong Kong, and promise to create more one-of-a-kind clothing designs. Be quick, because the pop-up store will vanish by the end of this month!

Joyce Cares at PMQ
Unit H410-H411, 4th floor, Block B, PMQ,
35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong