Earlier this month, a crowd of both novice and experienced Shandong graffiti artists, better known as the Spade Crew, descended on Nanning Lu out near Qingdao Technological University. Their mission was simple – add a bit of color to Qingdao’s streets – and after a several hours they achieved unhindered success.
Qingdao’s streets may not be as prolifically tagged as those in BJ and SH, but there are several local artists hoping to change that by adding a bit of paint to the many make-shift walls erected on Qingdao’s ever-evolving urban landscape. As Qingdao has been known to produce a multitude of traditional artists over the years, and many contemporary artists make the exodus up north to Beijing, these guys also paint in hopes of putting Qingdao on China’s contemporary-art map.
We took the time to sit down and talk with ICE, one of the harbinger’s of the Qingdao graffiti scene, and below is a short video and interview.
Why do you think there isn’t as much graffiti here in Qingdao as in Beijing or Shanghai?
There actually aren’t so many good walls in Qingdao because it’s so hilly here and most of the streets are quite curvy.
What do you think most common people and Qingdaonese think about graffiti?
There are two main reactions we usually come across: one is “Wow, that’s beautiful!” while others often stop, stare and inquiry “What in the hell does that mean?”
What do you see for the future of graffiti in Qingdao?
Hopefully there will be more and more people getting out and doing graffiti.
Aren’t you concerned that the authorities might catch you?
Well the police aren’t really concerned about graffiti. I guess the chengguan (城关/a type of street security) would be the only ones we would have to worry about, but they usually don’t work on the weekends.