- Hongkonger Andrew Mok, aka Offgod, creates art and accessories so good that global rappers who have millions of followers on Instagram want his work
- His solo exhibition ‘Prosthetic Garden’ features 3D-printed accessories and digital paintings – one depicts a character confronting things like NFTs and AI art
In many ways, Andrew Mok is just your average 18-year-old. He loves hip-hop and rap, he keeps up with street fashion and, as the end of high school draws closer, he is thinking a lot about exams and universities.
But he is also a social media phenomenon and followed by some of the biggest names in art and music on Instagram.
The student at Hong Kong’s Victoria Shanghai Academy, who goes by “Offgod” after one of his favourite fashion brands, Off-White, has made a name for himself thanks to his manga-style art and 3D-printed accessories, which have gained him 273,000 followers.
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Last week, he posted an image of a pair of Airpod Max headphones accessorised with one of his creations on his Instagram page @yalocaloffgod, which caught the eye of the American rapper known as Ski Mask the Slump God. The artist, who has 5.4 million followers, commented: “Bro if I don’t get my pair I swear to god.”
Mok’s portfolio also includes album covers for rappers such as Australia’s The Kid Laroi and America’s Juice Wrld, as well as collaborations with fashion brands.
On February 2, his International Baccalaureate mock exams barely over, Mok looked a little overwhelmed at the opening of his solo exhibition, called “Prosthetic Garden”, at the Gallery by the Harbour, in the Harbour City mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.
“I get so overwhelmed with everything going on,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve even fully processed this exhibition. My brain’s always somewhere else. But it’s cool to take a break from school.”
While juggling his various commitments has been challenging and stressful, “I know I can make time for it if I want it badly enough.”
Mok started drawing from a very young age. “My parents used to give me a pen and paper to shut me up during dinner,” he joked. “For me, it was either art or sports, but I kept up with art because you can draw whatever you imagine.”
“Prosthetic Garden”, co-curated by Mok and his brother Tate Mok, who is studying architecture at University College London, features 12 of Offgod’s digital artworks – including commissions from brands such as Adidas and Bape – alongside 14 3D-printed sculptures shown in public for the first time.
The most eye-catching digital painting is This is Art?, which depicts a character confronting recent trends such as the NFT craze, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in art and the period of time when climate activists threw food at famous paintings.
“There’s a paint splatter to hint at the controversy last year regarding the global-warming activists that threw soup at [Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers in London’s National Gallery],” he said.
Mok is sceptical about how long AI art can remain popular for. “I think that AI can be a powerful tool, but I don’t think it can become a substitute for artists because I feel like it’s missing the personal touch that artists have,” he said.
The other digital artworks on display are inspired by fashion brands and street culture. “I want to show a sense of teenagers having fun and expressing themselves in different ways,” he said of them.
The 3D-printed works are mostly colourful, snazzy accessories that can be attached to handbags, shoes and AirPods Max headphones, which is what he uses to listen to music. He wants to further explore the realm of “wearable art” pieces like these, specifically as a form of self-expression for Gen Z.
Mok plans to take a gap year after graduating from high school to go to New York to be with his friends in fashion and the arts, and to give living in the Big Apple a try.
Part of the appeal of the US is its street-art culture, which he cites as a major influence. His favourite artists are Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy, Tyler, the Creator, Childish Gambino and Frank Ocean.
One film he does not mind watching again and again is Mid90s by Jonah Hill. “It’s a movie about these teenage skateboarders in 1990s America – perhaps that’s also why I take inspiration from older pop culture.”
“Prosthetic Garden”, Gallery by the Harbour, Shop 207, Level 2, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, 11am-10pm daily. Until February 26.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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