‘Graffitunes’ does not exist in the dictionary yet to French graffiti artist Samee, it is a theme that echoes with the ways he view, create and combine sensory experiences from hip-hop tunes into graffiti art. Rooted in the spirit of Hip Hop culture, Samee started to learn popping, an original funk style street in 1999. From funk to break beats, Samee takes great inspiration from a variety of music elements including rhythm, dynamics, melody, texture and form.
In this solo exhibition of Samee Sam, a series of fifteen works titled after different songs created using spray, acrylic and posca paint on canvas will be premiered. In this collection, Samee explored different mediums to incorporate this overflowing energy into his art. While diving into the tunes of one song and watching its video clip, the artist reinvigorated provoked memories and emotions arising from happiness and love, anger and loss which then is projected onto the canvas.
Curated by Jessica Wan, the Vernissage will be an immersive, sensory-stimulating experience led by visuals, music and live performance, inviting all to celebrate graffiti art at Offlimits.
Samee Sam is a French artist and dancer living in Hong Kong since 2012. Despite that street graffiti is illegal in Hong Kong, Samee thrives on the creative urge to initiate his artworks on rooftops and out door spaces, subsequently completing his masterpieces in the studio. Graffiti-painting under this approach places him under constant time pressure, which allows him to push for new artistic heights and sprout new ideas for artwork concepts.
Is graffiti ‘Art or Vandalism’？Samee probes the viewer in this ongoing debate with a simple question: “From your intuitive interpretation, what is the difference between a ‘Coca-Cola advertisement’ and a ‘graffiti tag’ in the street？”. Fundamentally, what is recognized by our eyes are letters, shapes and forms. The only difference is that commercials are paid for to be in public spaces while graffiti is not (unless caught).
Born in Paris during the 1980s graffiti boom, Samee was inspired by the first generation French graffiti artists like NASTY AEC and Zenoy DKC. He first started to tag and throw up in the streets during early 2000s and learnt different graffiti techniques through experimenting with his peers. In 2004, Samee took a step further by spray painting in subway tunnels alone then on trains for end to-end projects with his crew. Through immersing himself in the Parisian graffiti scene, he focused on the mastery of sketching and constantly explored original ideas while developing a personal, one of-a-kind splashing style. Essentially, it was the savage beauty and instinctive energy that helped keep him ‘alive’ on this artistic journey. In his words, “Graffiti is the bones; colours and lines are the blood and flesh”.
Samee specializes in letters and abstract forms. The instinctive spontaneity and abstract expressionism style of painter Jackson Pollock is of great inspiration to him. As he paints, Samee attempts to draw emotional connections from personal memories by spontaneously responding to the work developing before him, solely relying on his initial instincts while making instantaneous decisions on colours and lines. This approach stems from his graffiti making experiences that one can rarely correct any mistakes made. Unlike most street artists, Samee’s work is highly personal,shying away from making a public statement. To his audience, Samee is an artist who speaks of intuition, and sees art-making as a place of exploratory play.