Hypebeans continues to expand its artistic influence around the globe with yet another creative partnership. This time around, Hypebeans is connecting its community with world-renowned Spanish contemporary artist Okokume at its first café in Hong Kong.
Known for her Lowbrow-inspired painting style, heavily influenced by caricatures from Japanese manga and American cartoons and street culture, Okokume, also known as Laura Mas Hernandez, is launching an immersive art installation takeover and capsule collection in partnership with Hypebeans. Hypebeans Hong Kong will be transformed into a showcase featuring an exclusive Okokume painting titled Aura, exclusively painted for the café. The artwork features Okokume’s iconic “Cosmic Girl” character, depicted with neon pink hair and a glowing aura around her. The background is illuminated portraying a mix of emotions through the vibrant colors and floral details that illustrate harmony and delicacy. Through the painting, Okokume hopes audiences will be able to experience a sense of understanding that will heal their deepest wounds.
In tandem with the installation, the art piece will be printed on a two-piece t-shirt capsule collection to commemorate the collaboration. The t-shirts arrive in classic black and white colors and see the portrait of the Cosmic Girl take center as the main graphic. Okokume expresses how thrilled she is to collaborate with Hypebeast stating, “Collaborating with Hypebeans is an exciting way to showcase my work to a broader range of audience, and I wanted to express something different and fresh to mark a new beginning. The Okokume for Hypebeans collaboration has been created with a more sensorial concept beyond the tangible, and I hope viewers at the art installation will resonate with the positive and energetic essence this collaboration transmits.”
Diving further into the partnership with Hypebeans, Okokume explains the process behind her new work and inspirations in an exclusive conversation with Hypebeast.
Hypebeast: You are best known for the iconic Cosmic Girl and the work you are presenting with Hypebeans centers around “The Aura of Cosmic Girl.” Can you talk about the representation of the pieces and the artistic intent?
Okokume: I wanted to represent the aura of Cosmic Girl’s body to create a connect between the viewer and the work, to show a more intimate sensibility that envelops the viewer with a positive and energetic essence.
A scene where Cosmic Girl dives into the sea of her own aura, allowing us to navigate between vibrant and changing colors, bringing us closer in a more intimate space.
Your art is often vibrant and takes a lot cues from traditional Japanese manga art. What is it about Japanese manga that inspires you most?
Since I was very young I have been surrounded by references to both manga and Japanese anime. Unlike other drawings that I could see, these were more striking to me because of the intensity of the expressions, movements and totally surreal worlds that made any child’s imagination fly.
Can you elaborate on how you have incorporated elements of American cartoons and street culture into your work?
It was through the underground and lowbrow movement that I felt the need to be able to adopt any kind of expressive form to bring my work to the public.
From there I went on to paste my drawings on the walls of the cities I visited, often joining street art collectives, some of which are still active today.
How did the collaboration with Hypebeast come about? How is your work for Hypebeans different from your other pieces?
To my surprise, Hypebeast showed interest in my work and contacted me to propose this collaboration. All this when we were just starting to come out of the global pandemic. It seemed to me a very interesting opportunity to show my work and I wanted to show something different and fresh to mark a new beginning.
Unlike other works, this one has been created with a more sensorial concept, leaving for this project the vindictive messages and focusing on transmitting sensations beyond the tangible.
Positivity is a major theme in your work. In an era where the world is coming back from a global pandemic, how did you find inspiration at a time like this?
Nothing really changed as before quarantine, I spent many hours at home working. I was used to it but, as time progressed and when the whole situation worsened it was hard not to have an internal battle of mixed feelings, where many days I would stand in front of the canvas and get stuck.
It was hard to find inspiration at a time when we were restricted from total freedom, but at the same time I ended up finding the way. My work helped me to get through that time and let off steam by showing all those feelings that came up.
You are one of the fastest-growing contemporary artists in the world. What projects can fans look forward to seeing in the near future?
This last year has been the one in which I have had the most work. Without a doubt, there are many projects in progress that I am impatient to show – so, I can only say that I have given the best of me in each of these and I hope that some of the editions that will come out will reach many of your homes.
The Okokume for Hypebeans installation is now open to the public at Hypebeans Hong Kong until January 3, 2023. The collection is available at Hypebeans Hong Kong. Those in Hong Kong can also look out for an extended Okokume for Hypebeans food truck experience at Tong Chong Street Market in December.
Hypebeans Hong Kong
Shop B30, B/F, LANDMARK ATRIUM
15 Queen’s Road Central