A single village in China is responsible for cranking out 60% of the world's paintings. The overwhelming majority of the paintings are slavish reproductions of famous paintings. The artists doing the work are very talented, however, and an organization called Regional asked some of the artists to paint themselves. The results are incredible.
Dafen is a village surrounded by the thriving metropolis of Shenzhen, and the origin of most of the world's reproduction oil paintings. In the popular imagination Dafen's artists produce anonymous works for unknown customers, operating no differently than a faceless factory churning out counterfeits, replicas and nothing close to what would be considered art.
Regional productively collaborated with the otherwise commoditized community in Dafen by asking selected individuals, some for the first time, to imagine themselves in their professional medium. The final works show the technical, creative, and professional facets of the artists identities subsumed by the styles and relationships they maintain with specific famous artists. The hybrid result of original subject with derivative style comments on originality, global cultural production and Regional's cooperation with emerging enterprise forms that are internationalizing the village.
Link (Thanks, Howard Rheingold!)
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