Graffiti in China

Photo provided by Ransom Wingo

Photo provided by Ransom Wingo


For today’s (or tonight’s; however you wanna look at it) blog I found myself exploring City Weekend. I would first like to mention that I found the services provided for Nightlife to be very interesting! Now, in regards to my research interest. Generally I am very interested in criminological studies, however, as I mentioned during my visual self-introduction I am also very interested in art.

I think it would be very interesting to look at graffiti and what it can tells us about the artists and even the societal pressures (or lack there of). The article quotes graffiti artists about a 600-meter-long wall on 50 Moganshan Lu that has been sanctioned by the government in Shanghai for graffiti. One artist, Brand Fury One, was quoted as saying that the wall is open to anyone who passes by, as long as graffiti etiquette is followed.

According to graffiti artist Brand Fury One, “Anyone can go on by and paint on this wall with no permission required. It’s an area where you can go and showcase some of your work to the general public. However graffiti etiquette implies that you don’t just go and paint something over anyone else’s work, unless you’re doing a bigger piece.”

The article goes on to quote another graffiti artist, The Orangeblowfish, about the demographic of people that have done work on the Wall (from amateur tourists to professional artists) and how frequently work is done on the Wall (something new each week). Brand Fury One is quoted as referring to the Wall as the billboard sign for the art district. Brand Fury One’s quote is the response to the fact that the Wall is slated to be demolished. The article closes by saying that graffiti will not be stopped by the destruction of one wall, and then highlights other popular graffiti locations.

Nevertheless, the impermanence of graffiti art is inherent, and the destruction of a wall will not discourage graffiti artists from continuing their craft. Artists and local supporters have requested that the city sanction more areas for legal graffiti, and there are other popular venues for street art such as the Shanghai Graffiti Park at Lingshi Lu and walls surrounding several universities such as JiaotongFudanTongji and the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology.

While the article is definitely very interesting, something else really caught my attention. Part of one of the comments made on the article itself by one of the users

…Still no respects for the “street” (food or art, in this case) culture here yet… (posted by aliyeo)

It gives a little hint at something very important here, the graffiti culture. While the “Great Wall of Graffiti” is extremely popular, icon even the article says, it is still sanctioned and recognized by the government. How much does this recognition, even though it is set to be destroyed, take away from the true meaning of “street art”? Or graffiti even? I do not claim to know graffiti culture, but if a characteristic that makes it appealing is the illegal nature, then perhaps aliyeo is on to something about this not being very representative of culture. Is this an example of true Chinese culture being censored?




One Response to “Graffiti in China”

  • melaniehouston says:

    I think its great that you’re interested in researching not only Graffiti in China, but the story behide each graffiti artist. Your research ideas remind me of art therapy in a way, such as that every picture has a story. Since China has faced many challenges in the past fifty years alone, I am sure that its graffiti has a much deeper meaning than we could ever imagine. I especially liked your last question: “Is this an example of true Chinese culture being censored?” I wonder how exactly the government felt about graffiti? Make sure you have multiple artist you are researching. Maybe you can examine if and how graffiti in China has changed overtime?! Overall, I am impressed with your interests. If you decide to research this topic, I will really look forward to your presentation.

  • Leave a Reply



    January 29th