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‘Graffiti Man’: Chinese 3D Painter Beautifies the City of Beijing

Qi Xinghua, China's first 3D street painter. (Image: Weibo.com)
Qi Xinghua, China's first 3D street painter. (Image: Weibo.com)

A modern city is like a giant creature, formed by concrete and steel. The bustling streets are its veins, while the rising skyscrapers are its bones. This giant creature can grow, thrive, age, and be wounded.

In Beijing, a metropolis with hundreds of years of history, a man is trying to use paintings to heal the scars of this old city.

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Under the cover of night, Qi Xinghua is transforming the stripping part of the red wall into a big crocodile. (Image: Weibo.com)

Having graduated from Central Academy of Fine Arts of China in 2005, Qi Xinghua started his career as a 3D painter in 2010. Being active in 3D art creation, he has broken the Guinness World Record for creating the world’s largest 3D painting four times.

Now living in Beijing, Qi Xinghua has launched his new project outside of his normal work. In his spare time, he wanders the busy streets of Beijing searching for an art board that ignites his inspiration.

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Qi Xinghua’s most recent work. (Image: Weibo.com)

Qi’s art board could be a shoddy wall with ugly surfaces, a dusty unnoticeable corner of the street, or a broken wall with a zigzag edge. These walls are a part of the big city, often in the form of scars and wounds.

Qi’s purpose is to use his skills and imagination to turn these scars into creative artwork.

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Following the same wall as the crocodile, Qi paints a glamorous mermaid with a green tail. Did you notice that she is pregnant? (Image: Weibo.com)

Qi calls himself “Graffiti Man,” roaming the city and changing its bruised look. He enjoys street art, which lets him use his imagination and free expression of art.

His street paintings are mostly improvised, and his inspiration is from the traces of nature’s abrasion. He thinks of his paintings as cooperating with nature. Qi said on his Weibo account:

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Qi paints two ambushing pandas on two broken parts of a brick wall. It looks like one is a kungfu panda that is going to hit you with a lollipop, and the other is practicing qigong. (Image: Weibo.com)

Qi and his daughter, standing between the pandas, who are ready to jump out and surprise you. (Image: Weibo.com)

Qi and his daughter standing between the pandas, which look like they are ready to jump out and surprise you. (Image: Weibo.com)

Like many other street painters, Qi is working out of his own pocket, and is often under threat of being arrested by police. But seeing the change of the city he lives in, he feels that it’s worth it.

This city is more than just concrete and steel. When a dull, plain-looking wall comes alive by a new painting, Qi fulfills his aim — he instills life and delight into the city.

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A discolored brick wall in Beijing. (Image: Weibo.com)

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A mother whale and her calf. The little whale is asking his Mom: “Mom, how did you blow out green water?” (Image: Weibo.com)

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Qi moved aside a trash bin, and painted an old man who makes a living in the city by collecting trash. He also wrote a reminder by the painting: “Sharp objects will hurt trash picker’s hands.” (Image: Weibo.com)

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Does the elderly man know he is the character in the painting? (Image: Weibo.com)

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