Turning graffiti into tourism dollars

Graffiti artists Faris (right) and Fakhri (left) discuss their next creative work.

PETALING JAYA: For graffiti artist Mohd Faris Azlan, his art, previously viewed as a form of vandalism, has the potential to be a tourism product.

And it’s one, the 29-year old who is better known as Reeze, feels can help boost the economy for the country and create opportunities for our youth too.

Faris, who has been dabbling in the art since his school days, says promoting graffiti can help woo graffiti artists from other countries to come here.

“And they will meet with local artists and work with them.

“It can also promote Malaysia’s uniqueness, like our delicacies and interesting sites. They come here to meet us and tour the nation at the same time,” he told FMT.

Faris, along with his friend, fellow graffiti artist Muhammad Fakhri Mohd Salleh, 29, have been “showcasing” their talent in Kuala Lumpur since 2004.

Fakhri completing his latest graffiti.

The duo are graduates in art and design from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

Their work has even caught the eye of an international audience, with admirers coming from as far as Dubai and Belgium, among others.

For Fakhri, he wants to rid the negative perception the public has of graffiti art and wants to turn it into a more competitive venture that encourages greater participation.

Social media, he says, has made people more aware of graffiti and the art form has grown tremendously over the years.

Currently, he said there were between 100 to 150 active graffiti artists.

“But we want to expand the community and promote healthy competition among ourselves.”

Which is why he has called for the general public to appreciate graffiti artists and do away with the perception that such a venture or skill was a waste of time.

Fakhri added that graffiti art should be judged for its message.