Hong Kong-based architect, designer and artist Gustav Szabo (AKA Szabotage) channels his creative skills into both his professional career and his life as an artist
Four years ago, Gus Szabo moved to Hong Kong from London to continue his interior design role with acclaimed international design firm yoo, working alongside such visionaries as Philippe Starck, Marcel Wanders and Kelly Hoppen. Having initially trained as an architect, he worked on various projects with the firm: "I was really lucky to work with all those people. Starck was amazing; I get goosebumps now just talking about him!" says Szabo, as we sit down to chat with him about balancing his professional career with his life as an artist.
These days, he can be found working for Steve Leung, founder of SLD and winner of Perspective's Pinnacle Award 2016. Szabo says that the skills that he gained from his classical training as an architect have allowed him to cross over into a range of different fields, and he now works exclusively within the product design arm of the firm.
His diverse skill-set also crosses into the realm of art. During his 20-year stint in London, he developed his street art style in his local Shoreditch neighbourhood, working under the moniker of Szabotage, and also held a number of exhibitions in the city that were extremely well-received.
Since his arrival in Hong Kong, he has been inspired by the region's iconic style of urban architecture and emotive streetscapes, capturing an array of built environment scenes throughout his work. But it is perhaps his koi fish that has made its mark on the city the most. Depicting the celebrated fish jumping out of the water, a number of the works can be seen throughout the city, with a large concentration in the popular districts of Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun.
"The koi jumping out of the water is a jubilant symbol, and it's what I am most often recognised for. Hong Kong is very money oriented, so I think there can be a loss of focus in terms of what life's really about. People miss out on that buzz of life, as they are so busy trying to make money, and that's why I get a buzz from sharing my art here," he explains.
At the end of last year, Szabotage held an exhibition of his most recent works at Loft 22 in California Tower. Set against the backdrop of the city, guests were treated to works that included his signature bold cityscapes, pop culture figures and, of course, the koi fish.
Szabotage will hold his next solo exhibition from 29 March-13 May at: Art Supermarket, 1/F Asiarich Court, 5 Staunton Street, SoHo, Hong Kong
This is an excerpt from the "The Specialist” article from the March 2017 issue of Perspective magazine.
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