IGOTW: Street Artist @Cloakwork On Being A Rebel And Painting Graffiti At Night

Although the mysterious @Cloakwork decided to keep his real name a secret, we found out how he started doing graffiti and his thoughts on the local Malaysian graffiti scene.

Cover image via Cloakwork's Instagram

QUICK QUESTION: What is graffiti to you?

Image via Giphy

Do you think of it as a form of vandalism?

Image via skyscrappercity

Or a piece of art?

This is the question that always seems to rise up when graffiti becomes a topic of conversation. But regardless of what you might think, it is here to stay and affects everyone because graffiti is everywhere.

@Cloakwork is a local illustrator and graffiti artist who is on a mission to change the perception Malaysians have on graffiti. We got to know him a little better in a fuss-free interview:

SAYS: Tell us a little about yourself, Cloakwork!

Cloakwork: Hello, my name is Cloakwork. I'm a 24-year-old Malaysian graffiti artist and illustrator. I daydream often and my mind experiences some creative fantasies that inspire my artwork. As for my real name, I'd rather keep it a secret. ;)

What's the story behind the name 'Cloakwork'?

Cloakwork is separated into two parts:*'cloak' and 'work'. Cloak means hidden, stealth and cloaking, while work is a movement, I often do graffiti at night without being noticed. During the day you'll see a plain concrete wall, and the wall gets 'cloakwork-ed' at night - people will see a colourful graffiti wall there and not know how it appeared overnight.

Why graffiti? What inspired you to take it up?

I grew up a rebel and I hated most of my college life. I am mostly inspired by the graffiti pieces I see at Pasar Seni LRT station. I take the train every day to college and I was really intrigued and inspired by those pieces.

How would you describe your style of graffiti? And what materials do you use?

I would describe my style leans toward urban and cartoony. I paint characters with vibrant colours that appeal to citizens. 99% of them on walls are painted with aerosols.

When and how did you start your Instagram account?

Hmmm, I started Instagram account roughly 2 years ago when I got myself a secondhand iPhone 4s. When it comes to tech, I am pretty slow - but better late than never!

How has Instagram helped you in your career as a graffiti artist?

Instagram is like my international gallery, my portfolio where anyone around the globe can reach me and have a look at my work. Also, I can keep track of other artists' Instagram accounts.

What's the graffiti scene like in Malaysia?

I feel that the local graffiti scene here lacks unity. Everyone keeps to themselves when the scene should be about us connecting and sharing the same message. I hope that there will be a consistency in terms of gatherings and graffiti events that'll help inspire more new blood.

Many still argue that graffiti is a form of vandalism. What do you have to say about that?

Whether it is art or vandalism, there is no point arguing for graffiti is very subjective. For me, I do my best and leave it to the public to judge. If they like it, they will enjoy it. So far, I'm quite pleased that I have been receiving positive responses from the public and even, the police. ;)

Could you share with us some of your favourite pieces to date?

GangsterMan: One of the larger pieces I did during the 7-day boot camp with my friends in Fatmawati, Jakarta. A different take on the stereotypical characteristics of a gangster.

Budak TanahAirKu : This piece was commissioned by Petronas to revive abandoned buildings all over the city in conjunction with Merdeka Day. This is a Gen-Y kid who still appreciates the traditional culture of playing the renowned 'Wau'.

Young Heart : An obscure portrait of my future self. Painting is my dream and each piece comes from the heart. I'll keep painting for as long as I can because age is nothing but a number.

More street art pieces from @Cloakwork

Cloakwork has over 6k followers on Instagram. He uploads photos throughout the week, with an average of 350 likes per post.

For more street art pieces, follow Cloakwork here.

Also, help us find the next Instagrammer that we should feature! Feel free to tweet us or drop us a message on our Facebook page.

Last week on IGOTW, we featured @mr_darcy, a barista with a love for all things monochrome:

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