Fancy some good artwork on your walls? Van Gogh perhaps, or a Rembrandt? Can’t afford it? Oh yes, you can buy artwork in Xiamen!
It seems many people can buy, not the originals, but copies made by talented artists and which are sold around the world. They hang in private homes, hotels, motels and conference centres and it seems most are painted and sold in Xiamen, Fujian province, China.
I visit the Xiamen oil painting ‘village’ (within the city) which has evidently been named one of, if not the top, centres of the world’s oil painting areas: most of these paintings are exported to America and Europe.
Some 5000 artists (mostly graduates from Art Schools) produce the paintings and it appeared that each had their own specialities. Many will paint your family or home from a photograph to your specification or styles.
After sheltering from a monsoon type downpour I later wandered around the streets full of little shops selling completed canvases, paint brushes, frames, and other art paraphernalia.
Needless to say I too bought an “original” artwork – not Mona Lisa or Chairman Mao, but a bright green frog with four shopping bags. I asked the artist where he got the idea from. He responded “Look up Google”.
I have done as he suggested and the closest I can find were on UK, reusable shopping bags: my frog is a boy, the bags were of naked frogs or frogs in dresses. Perhaps this is how they get around the original artist’s copyright, by making small changes.
My quirky green frog takes pride of place on my wall and he always gets favourable comments about his cuteness – not what people expect to see as a souvenir from China. (of course I have other more Asia-obvious things too)
My next blog (s) will be about the Jimei university’s JMU Fine Art College and the artist in the Duishan Art District. Now take a walk with me through the village … all these photos were taken on my phone.