Sunday, April 26, 2009

You Too Can Have A Masterpiece...

...Painting In Your Own Home

China is the land of copies: pirated DVDs are available at every streets' corner, you can get all your fantasy clothes designed for a fraction of the price you would find them in the West and Panjiayuan (the dirt market/ flea market) is where you will find 150-year -day old “antiques” and copies of any paintings you’ll fancy decorating your new place with.
Pick and Choose

A few weeks ago I read an article about Dafen in southern China (suburb of Shenzhen) which is the world’s leading center for mass-produced works of art. One village of artists exports about five million paintings every year (most of them copies of famous masterpieces). The fastest workers can paint up to 30 paintings a day! An estimated 60 percent of the world’s cheap oil paintings are produced within Dafen’s four square kilometers.

The Chinese government is proud of Dafen. It considers the art village an “important cultural industry”. Some five million oil paintings are produced there every year and there are between 8,000 and 10,000 painters toil in the workshops. The painters will produce whatever customers want. Copies of famous masterpieces (sometimes more, sometimes less competently executed) are very popular. A reasonably skillful copy of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” sells for €40 ($51). Buy 100 and the price goes down to €26 ($33). The 100 paintings, guaranteed to have been produced by art academy graduates, ship within three weeks. Customers with less exacting standards can receive their 100 paintings within just one week for €6 ($8) each!

Next time you go to a hotel and see one of these masterpieces… remember that some Chinese art students probably painted it with 30 similar ones in a single day.

We got our own Liu Ye copy to decorate the kids’ room:
Liu Ye

And Jeffrey went as far as asking one of the artists to paint a view from across our village La Riviere from a picture!
"La Riviere" by Anonymous!