Travel Report: Dafen Oil Painting Village – Shenzhen, China.
February 2018. Shenzhen’s world famous Dafen Oil Painting Village was once responsible for a staggering 60% of the globe’s known replica oil paintings. Wherever you are in the world, from hotels and cafes to restaurants, offices and train stations, chances are that painting on the wall came from Dafen. These days it’s mostly a tourist curiosity, though there are still plenty of studios (about 600) and galleries among all the shops and cafes. Needless to say I didn’t pass up the opportunity to scoot over there myself to see what the deal was.
February 2018. Dafen Oil Painting Village offers up some welcome respite from Shenzhen’s unrelenting urban buzz. Stroll through the peaceful, leafy streets and you’ll find replica Rembrandts and Picassos starting from as little as 200RMB (£23/€26/$32). There are also young, up and coming painters pedaling original creations, though you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets to take one home.
February 2018. Dafen Oil Painting Village is a pleasant place to wander, even if you have no intention of buying. But be warned, some of the pieces on show are so impressive and wonderfully cheap you’ll find it quite the challenge to come away empty-handed.
February 2018. I was determined not to burden myself with any unnecessary purchases that I’d then have to drag around China for the rest of the trip. And then I saw this giant tin bottle top that just screamed, “BUY ME!” I can’t recall what I paid, but it wasn’t much. Damn you, Dafen Oil Painting Village!
February 2018. Duck into some of the village’s narrow side alleys and you can find some amazing works in progress. Although this guy seemed happy enough to be photographed, as a rule you should exercise caution, as many artists will wave you away as soon as they see your camera.
A number of painters at Dafen Oil Painting Village also hold workshops where you can learn some tricks of the trade. Everyone’s invited it seems, from beginners and art students to tourists and kids. Just take a seat, grab a brush, open your mind and see what comes out…
If you’re in Shenzhen, swing by Dafen Oil Painting Village anytime, the area is open daily from morning till night. For more info and to see a range of their paintings available for purchase, take a look at their website.
Going to Dafen Oil Painting Village? Why not also pop into neighbouring Dafen Art Museum.
For more on my adventures in the city, check out my travel reports on Shenzhen.
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