Malaysian graffiti artist Kenji Chai made his way to the UK earlier this year, thanks to Wolf Blass’ initiative to bring passionate talents from SEA on a trip of a lifetime, to meet the Premier League champions Manchester City on their home turf.
Kenji earned his place on the journey to London and Manchester because of what he had brought to the table: his unique skillset together with a heart filled with passion. Working under the pseudonym Chaigo for over a decade, Kenji created world-famous nature and animal-themed graffiti masterpieces that mark the streets of Penang, Malaysia. With his golden ticket in hand, Kenji was all set to share his passion for graffiti art with the Man City stars.
Touchdown in the UK
Embarking on his first trip to the UK, Kenji was most excited about exploring “unchartered” territory: the weather, food (yes, even fish and chips count) and the culture. A highlight for him was sitting at the Wembley stands, surrounded by boisterous Man City fans who have traveled all the way to see their team attempt a quadruple for the first time in English football – truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Art in the City
As a man who is passionate about his craft, the journey to Manchester was an extremely eye-opening experience for Kenji as he got to interact with other similar individuals who were chasing their own passion.
Meeting and teaching graffiti art to Man City first team players Claudio Bravo, Fabian Delph and Fernandinho Luiz Roza was quite a privilege for Kenji and he was left impressed by Fernandinho, who was exceptional in the challenge. Teaching the three Man City players was also a test in itself of Kenji’s character as an artist, as he was not used to coaching people through their work. However, Kenji was more than capable and this was clear by looking at the art that his students produced.
Kenji and the City culture
What impressed Kenji the most about meeting the three Man City stars was learning about the youth team’s rigorous journey to becoming a part of the first team. The path to receiving a full contract with City’s first team is much more challenging than most people might know. Only less than 1 percent of students from youth football academies make it to the professional stage, making it a huge feat. The sheer passion and dedication exhibited by these young players is phenomenal – considering how they have to balance both school and football training on a daily basis.
This discipline and tenacity of the Manchester City players have definitely instilled a new found motivation in Kenji, spurring him to continue doing what he does best. Now that the trip to London and Manchester has concluded, we can’t wait to find out how the trip will inspire Kenji’s upcoming work.