'Global painter' faces flak from officials for artwork

'Global painter' faces flak from officials for artwork
SPLASH OF COLOURS: A man looking at Mr Malland’s painting on the wall of a house in Fengjing town. The French artist said he turned to street art because of the creative freedom and direct interaction with the audience.
PHOTO: AFP

French artist Julien Seth Malland's canvas is brick and mortar. The artist has been painting on streets, ruins and public places since the mid-90s.

Since April, he has created nine murals in the south-western suburbs of Shanghai, reported AFP.

Mr Malland had previously painted on a wall in Palestine, slum houses in South America, and on French and Belgian avenues.

Being a street artist, or "global painter" as he calls himself, Mr Malland enjoys talking with people and being involved in local communities, reported Sina English.

He turned to street art because of the creative freedom and direct interaction with the audience.

He said people have to go to museums to see displayed artwork, whereas his is out in the open for all to see.

"I try to integrate some elements of the local culture into my painting," he said.

TEMPORARY

Mr Mallard is aware that his outdoor paintings will not be permanent.

"What matters to him is how he makes the local people happy," his Chinese agent Cao Bin was quoted as saying on Sina English.

But Mr Mallard's work is not without controversy. More than 10 images painted in Shanghai's Jingan district in December were destroyed by the authorities.

Officials were quoted as saying the street art in the partially demolished compound posed a danger to visitors, reported South China Morning Post in January.

Photos of the paintings were a hit online and their removal upset residents.

One Internet user said it was ridiculous.

"Does that mean the graffiti added to the walls' weight?" the netizen asked.

Whether his latest work is allowed to stand the test of time remains to be seen.


This article was first published on June 26, 2015.
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