Bo Law and the Whale

Hong Kong illustrator and artist Bo Law creates fantastic worlds brimming with quirky characters and imaginative architecture often using barely more than a marker. 

In 2018, a whale appeared in his murals for the first time. Since then, it has become one of his favourite subjects to paint. Why? Because this majestic creature symbolises hope and freedom to him.

Currently, the streets of Hong Kong are home to four different iterations. 

Whale #1

Painted for the HKwalls 2018 festival, a black whale outlined with white marker surrounded by a busy and almost overwhelming cityscape, it was the first time that Bo Law included a whale in one of his murals. Being a last-minute addition to the festival didn’t allow much time for planning, so he just created his design largely on the go. Using just a marker, it took him 7 days to finish the mural. 

Location: on the wall of “Burger Joys”, 27-29 First Street, Sai Ying Pun

Whales #2 and #3

These two were created as commission work for the Okura Store in Causeway Bay in November 2020. Okura specialises in Japanese clothing and homewares and since Japan has always been a big inspiration to Bo Law, creating designs for the store came naturally. 

Carrying the likes of Mount Fuji, daruma dolls, cherry blossoms, the Tokyo Tower or the ubiquitous lucky cat, Bo Law hopes that his big whale transports Japanese culture to Hong Kong.

The little whale on the other hand is inspired by and therefore in part a continuation of a work he had previously done for the store. When Okura first opened, Bo Law had created a series of monster illustrations for the shop which have now became part of the little whale’s pattern. Bo Law particularly paid attention to the interaction of the light shining on the little whale, giving it the feel as if x-rays are laying bare the whale’s skeleton.

Location: G/F Hamilton Mansion, 1-3 Cleveland Street, Causeway Bay

  • Bo Law's big whale outside Okura in Causeway Bay
  • close up of Bo Law's whale for the Okura store in Causeway Bay, daruma dolls and lucky cat
  • close up of Bo Law's whale for the Okura store in Causeway Bay, Tokyo tower and cherry blossoms
  • Bo Law's little whale outside the Okura store in Causeway Bay
  • close up of Bo Law's little whale outside Okura in Causeway Bay
  • close up of Bo Law's little whale outside Okura in Causeway Bay
  • close up of Bo Law's little whale outside Okura in Causeway Bay

Whale #4

Bo Law’s latest whale mural was created for the HKwalls festival 2021. This time, he wanted to challenge himself in the choice of colours and the backdrop of the whale. 

Being aware that his mural would be located in a busy passageway in the middle of Sai Kung, he wanted his work to emit a feeling of calm to the passersby. He worked thoroughly from sketching his mural to applying the paints with rollers and brushes to finalising the outlines with a marker.

While the colour scheme of neutrals and pastels was already new to him, the backdrop of the whale proved to be even more of a challenge. Instead of yet another dense and busy world, he chose to create an open space around it. Not just any open space, though, but one inspired by the mind-boggling worlds of Dutch painter M.C. Escher.

Location: outside of Man Lin Wah restaurant in the alley connecting Wan King Path and Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung

  • Bo Law getting started with his whale mural for the HKwalls festival 2021 in Sai Kung
  • Bo Law applying paint to his mural for HKwalls festival 2021
  • Paint buckets and Bo Law painting in the background
  • Bo Law adds black outlines to his whale mural.
  • Bo Law applies finishing touches to his whale mural for HKwalls 2021 in Sai Kung
  • Bo Law's finished whale mural for HKwalls 2021 in Sai Kung.

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