Painting Guangzhou with the world’s largest color set
Walking into Justin’s studio, we saw countless works of art leaning against walls and lying on shelves. Although the light was dim, the bold colors in his paintings instantly captured our attention. Green kangaroos, blue fishes, orange birds and brown emus indicate his obsession for colour and nature.
“I inherited my love for color from my mother who is also an artist. But it was in Guangzhou that I found the world’s largest color set,” Justin said excitingly, pointing to a shelf where he keeps a wide range of pigments, “one of my friends owns a leading brand. She invited me to paint her bags and introduced me to this amazing color set—women’s nail polish!”
Picking up a large bottle of glitter pink, Justin said, “a small bottle of nail polish may cost you 100 yuan, but this just cost me 30 yuan. I found these beautiful colours in a factory along Guangzhou’s Metro Line 2.”
He said he knows the city even better than some of his local friends. He loves wandering around, observing people, architecture, details and the changes that are taking place. “When I first came here, I got on the buses at weekends, going from one end to another and then coming back, just looking at the city.”
If you look into the detail, you can find hints of Guangzhou and Nansha in Justin’s painting. Litchis, fishermen’s hats and Qilou (Guangzhou’s arcade shop-houses), are all presented in a range of exotic colors.
“I paint animals, sea creatures and lots of things because I like the environment. (Previously) there wasn’t so much concern for the environment. But things are changing. And it’s good,” he said, “for example, I live here in nature. Nansha is a beautiful area. I can see stars three or four nights every week.”