With the sun
set to be (periodically) shining over the next few weeks, now is the
perfect time to get out and discover some of the exciting street art Shanghai
has to offer. Italian artist Millo embarked on his project in Shanghai
recently, following in the footsteps of Seth 'Globepainter' Malland, and now Shanghai-based, Nottingham-born artist Siu-Hung Tang – aka
The Orange Blowfish – has been busy throwing up new works around town.
up the city walls since 2011, Tang recently celebrated the opening of his first
solo exhibition The Red Pill at the Magda Danysz Gallery. But while that exhibition may have finished, you can still find plenty of his work dotting walls around town - in particular, his Rabbit Holes series.
Tang explains that Rabbit Holes came about through a desire to transport
the buildings on which they’re painted to a safe place. ‘Shanghai is a city
that is constantly changing, buildings are being torn up to make way for new developments,
and its original residents are left with very little. Rabbit Holes began as a way
to leave the local people with a lasting memory of their homes, before they
were kicked out and moved on.’
In his own
words, Tang describes his street art as ‘fast and dirty’, with his colourful,
psychedelic pieces covering ‘ideal canvases’ of three storey buildings, and often
being completed in less than a couple of hours. He views these personal works
as a cathartic rebellion against the formalities of traditional ink painting,
yet is enthusiastically inspired by his life-long admiration for Chinese
calligraphy. ‘Calligraphy artists elicit complete control within their work, in
the way they hold the brush, and in the way each stroke is so purposeful and
organised. However, the real calligraphy masters are able to do this in a way
in which it doesn’t look at all limited. Although my work is organic and
relaxed, the lines are organised within their fluidity.’
his childhood love for Alice in
Wonderland, and later student years watching The Matrix on repeat, Tang sees Rabbit Holes as taking the narrative
one step further, in a hyper-modern re-telling of a story of ultimate escapism. ‘I love to
see people stood directly in front of the rabbit holes staring in to them, as
though they could fall straight into them and disappear into an unknown land.’
Due to the
nature of his work, much of Tang’s art is regularly demolished, but the following
locations have large scale, and, for the time being, fairly long-standing
pieces to discover.
One of Tang’s earlier street art pieces still
remains on the main wall at the docks along the South Bund waterfront, beside the Cool Docks and the Wharf 1846 complex, where you'll also find a number of newer rabbit holes.
Along with the Cool Docks, this might
be a good place to start; the art on
this road is hard to miss. Take exit 2 from Xiaonanmen metro station (on Line 9) and turn right down Wangjiamatou
Lu between the old houses and
building site to see the rabbit holes.
part way down the infamous graffiti wall out of the M50 art district, this is a
small piece Tang says he ‘threw up’ while waiting for the paint on a larger
collaboration to dry.
Donghu Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu
A rabbit hole can be found on the shutters of Bonobo, close to this intersection, so
get there early in the morning or late at night in order to catch a glimpse of
it - or go during business hours to discover The Orange Blowfish's works inside the restaurant (pictured above).
Catch another of Tang’s signature designs on
Ecoshop at 271 Anfu Lu, just across from the Shanghai Dramatic Art Centre.