SHANGHAI - trip #3
The next leg of the tour was to Shanghai. This is the trip I was most excited about since I have heard amazing things about Shanghai. I don’t think I could write enough to properly describe this city. It is massive. I have heard that it is almost 4 times larger than all of Los Angeles. In 2000 the population was at 17 million. Today it probably tops 20 million. There are more people than I had anticipated.
Every place you walk there was somebody else there. It was a great experience to visit, but I could not live there I don’t think. It was like one massive ant colony.
Everywhere you look, and everywhere you drive, you just see building after building. I must have taken close to 2000 photos in the 4 days that I was there.
After 13 hours on a plane, or in an airport, we made it to Shanghai. Waiting for us at the airport was Daisy, the K-Swiss representative for this trip.
Daisy giving me a fuck you look, and jimmy caught mid sentance
Daisy is really nice, but has no problem speaking her mind. She has a tongue that is worth of a sailor, but she gets shit done. Also waiting for us was Jimmy Au. Jimmy works freelance for K-Swiss, and had organized the 5-city Asian K-spray tour last year. Jimmy is like my Chinese brother.
jimmy acting a fool
I love this guy. I have never met someone that is positive as much as he is, and is organized beyond description. He had our days planned out to the hour before we ever arrived in China. Jimmy is the oil that keeps everything flowing smoothly on these trips. If wanted me to fly over to China to pick flowers, I would do it as long as he is in charge of organization.
We were whisked off to a restaurant where we had enough meat to make a vegetarian cry. Food was good, and the beer we had never tasted so good.
terrible photo of spa. they had little rocks down the hallway for the walkway.
After dinner, we were taken to a massage spa for an all over massage. Anyone who has traveled for 13 hours straight understands how amazing this can feel. Before we went, I felt like someone had beaten my shoulders and neck with a baseball bat. I cannot begin to tell you how great my life is. Where else can you get this type of treatment??
After the dinner and massage, we made our way to the hotel. This hotel is unbelievable. it was like a friggin city inside a building. it was huge. the view was fucking incredible.
and the view? i cant explain. here is a little 180 degree photo for you, i couldnt fit it into one shot, so it is in 3 pieces
this is to the far right
this is in the middle
this is to the far left
a view during the day
See that building on the bottom of the photo? that one with the four squares on the roof? that was the same building that was used to hold the Sneaker Pimps show about a year ago.
Today we went to this temple, whose name I forget. it was an amazing place. it was gated behind these huge walls. The picture below was from the neighborhood it was in. it had this really unassuming entrance, then when you walked in, it was like paradise opened up.
do you know why the bridges are not straight? the Chinese believed that the spirts, or ghosts could only walk a straight line, so if they made the bridge with many turns, they could not follow them over the water.
see, we are not ghosts
It was an amazing place, and had bridges that snaked over the water to little buildings. It looked like it was out of a kung fu film.
I kept expecting guys to jump out with swords and to start fighting. Guess that is the problem when the opinion I have formed on china is based on the martial arts films I saw as a kid. I must have taken hundreds of pictures there. Every turn was picture perfect. We walked around for an hour or so, then emerged out from the walled temple to the outside
outside the temple
i fucking hate starbucks
There were beggars and desperate tried to get money from us by hawking bootleg watches. You kept hearing the persistent sound of 'hello, hello, sir, hello, watch? Rolex?’ but the Rolex came out "Lolex" instead. It would have been funny if they didn’t follow me half a block every time I looked up.
We went to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai.
The museum if beautiful, with huge windows, and tall ceilings. The Shangai Biennale was up and the art was great. I wish I could tell you the names of the people who I liked, but I can barely remember a name when it is in English. Asking me to remember a Chinese name is like asking me to fart rainbows.
We checked out the show for about half an hour, then we made our way to the roof top patio for a meeting with the director of project development at the museum. I have no idea how Jimmy and Daisy arranged for this to happen, but I was happy they did. We sipped on kiwi juice drinks and talked about future possibilities.There has been chatter about maybe doing another k-Swiss event in Shanghai, and I think they were trying to see if this was possible to do in Shanghai. Outside of the K-Swiss business though, we kicked around the idea of doing a show at the museum that showcases urban art. No guarantee that it will happen, but if it were to happen it would be the first intensive museum showcase of urban art in Shanghai. How insane would that be? Me in a museum! Fuck yeah! We also pitched the idea that Sixten ten and myself curate the show. I am excited to see what w can make happen.
lesson learned: dont eat the jellyfish
Daisy before eating jellyfish:
Daisy after eating jellyfish:
talking w Himm outside
For diner we went to a famous Chinese restaurant that I can’t remember the name of. It was an interesting place. Some days I feel adventurous and want to try new foods, then other days I just want to eat comfort food. This was a nonadventerous day for eating. I can tell you now; the fried jellyfish wasn’t my favorite. It tasted like eating a gummi worm that had been left in the sun for a few months, then had the flavor extracted. For dinner, Himm of Urban Look (www.urbanlook.com) joined us for dinner. Urban Look is the first magazine of urban art in China.
after dinner, we went to some swanky outdoor place and had a drink. i was the usual gluttonous pig, and ordered desert too.
Shola looking at blurry daisy
how chris looks after a long flight
the night was getting late, so we made our way back to the hotel and met up with Chris, the production manager of K-Swiss, and Shola
Woke up this morning and had breakfast with Chris, the production manager for K-Swiss. We went over some of the production issues with the shirt and shoes. I always enjoy hearing about the behind the scenes stuff. How the factories work, how things are made, etc. Chris filled me in, and we managed to relax and have a great breakfast while overlooking the skyline of Shanghai. I love my life.
Holy Grail of shoe stores
Tom knows whats up
Afterwards we went to Sole Society. Solesociety is a sneaker shop that is beyond description. Next week they are having their grand opening. For the Grand opening the list of people flying in is like a streetwear list of whose who - Hiroshi, Stash, Futura, Jeff Staple, and Edison Chen. The show had a display that was like a sneakerheads wet dream. Almost every single shoe I have seen over the past 3 years on sneaker blogs were here. The shoes were loaned to Sole Society from Hiroshi, Stash, Futura and the rest of the bunch. I don’t consider myself a sneaker head, but even my jaw was on the floor. My only regret is that I wont be around for the opening next week. Would have been good to meet Hiroshi and everyone. Jimmy took us upstairs to meet the owner of the store, Tom. Tom was a super nice guy and really humble. He took time out to chat with us and give us the background on how the store came into existence. Come to find out he lived in Los Angeles for years and went to Art College there.
Epha looking a cute as a bugs ear
After that we headed to the Ground Floor Gallery to check out my good friend Ephameron. This falls under the 'small world' category. Epha is the one who helped organized the Brussels Exhibit I was in 2 weeks earlier. As it turns out, she also had an exhibit at the same time in Shanghai. Even stranger, her hotel was next door to the same building that the K-Swiss event is going to happen.
Epha was showing with a guy by the name of Nigel Peake, who was from Ireland. He was a nice guy, and I enjoyed the art he had. We chatted for a few minutes, and then we had to head out to get ready for dinner
That night we had dinner with the Chinese distributor of K-Swiss. We went to this swanky Thai restaurant that was inside some compound. It felt like we were driving into Lord Bruce Wayne’s manor or something. It was straight out of a comic book. The tops of the building were lit, and there were security guards checking to make sure we were supposed to be there. Once we were inside, we had one of the best dinners ever! Dish after dish came out, and out of the 15 dishes that were served; there was only one that I wouldn’t eat again. We finished our meal, and parted ways with the distributors. Me, Sixten, and the whole k-Swiss crew hit the town for an evening of drinks.
First stop though was along the Hangpu river at The Bundt. The Bundt is on the river, and boasts one of the best views ever, and some of the most impressive architecture. beautiful
This is what we looked at as we slugged down drinks.
First place we hit was the Shangri-la. It was on the top floor and must have been 20 floors up. We ran into Diana from MOCA there. In town for 2 days and already feeling like a local. Somewhere along the way somebody (me?) had the bright idea that we should order a few shots of Patron. That was the beginning of the end.
Drinking makes you do this
drinks make us happy
at least one of us looks sober.
We had a few more drinks then went to another roof top bar on the other side of the Hangpu River. It had a great view, and great drinks, but there were 80% westerners there, and maybe 20% Chinese. It felt kind of odd, but with our crew nearly 10 deep, we were pretty self-contained. More shots of Tequila, a few more shots of something else, and a few more beers, and we were done. Back to the hotel to sleep it off, hopefully.
Today was great. Woke up and had breakfast with Ephameron and Nigel in the hotel. The hotel had one of the most extensive buffet style breakfasts I have ever seen. You had to walk half a block to go from the hot food to the breads. Crazy. This was the first time that we could sit and chat since we were both in Shanghai. We finished breakfast and decided to go to the ovservation level of the hotel. the views are incredible.
my hotels view can beat up your hotels view
After stuffing ourselves with a large breakfast and checking out the view, we parted ways until the evening time. Met up with the K-Swiss crew, and we did some errands, and then made out way to the venue.
Jimmy with preshow jitters.
the roof with no box
This was the view from the rooftop
The venue was amazing. Jimmy had this box fabricated that was huge. It kinda looked like a fish aquarium. The front and back were clear so that the crowd could see into the box. The border around the glass wall was the pattern I use in my art, and on the other side was Sixten's. For this show we were to be inside the box, and paint the inside of the glass wall. We figured it would be kind of cool, but it was a little tricky. Normally when I spray a stencil, I start with the lightest color, which has the most detail. This means it is easy to line up the next color because there is so much detail to register it with. The only problem with painting on glass is that you have to start with the black, which has the least amount of detail. Trying to line up the stencils backwards with little detail to work with was difficult at first, but turned out pretty good.
when the interviewers become the interviewed
Their enthusium is contagious!
This is how you say 'fuck you, stop taking pictures of me' with your eyes
Before the show however, we needed to do some press interviews. Press interviews in English can be boring because they ask the same questions, but press interviews in Chinese just plain odd. I was asked questions like 'which building is favorite', and 'what is future of Graffiti Shanghai?'. How the hell am I supposed to know??? I am not a graffiti artist, and I have been in this city for 72 hours. Luckily, we had Shola and Daisy translating for us, so suspect the stepped in to make sure some sort of intelligent answer came from me once it was translated back. Every time I do interviews in any Asian country, I just keep thinking about the 'Lost in Translation' scene where Bill Murray's character is doing the Suntory commercial. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It is funny as hell.
calm before the madness
After the press stuff, we went back to the hotel to relax for an hour, then back to the venue for the event. We started about 8:30 and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. I had made the mistake of going into the Art Aquarium once, and had a posse of photographers line up outside and start taking pictures. It was a little overwhelming. The only problem with the whole painting on glass thing is that people seemed to like getting 1 inch from the glass and taking pictures of me while I was painting. A picture here and there is fine, but I was ready to paint the camera of this one guy that had a camcorder and was filming with the lens nearly touching the glass. I finished my piece and was happy with the outcome.
sixten and me painting
crowd seemed to like it
my finished piece
sixten in front of finished piece
this happened when i walked in front of my finished piece
Chatted a bit and then we were off to a diner. It is a bit odd to go to a traditional American style diner in the middle of Shanghai, but I wasn’t in the mood for food roulette, and the others with us were really in the mood for it too. Jimmy drooled over the menu as he read the names of each dish. Jimmy lived in San Francisco for years, so it had been a long time since he had American diner food. I ordered a Reuben. It was good, but when you have had a Reuben sandwich at Canters deli in Los Angeles, it’s a standard that is hard to live up too. We finished off the night and went back to the hotel to sleep. You know you are getting old when a soft bed sounds better than going out on the town. Got some sleep though,
the end of the night
Got up, met the crew, then made the long drive to the airport. This was the end of a very long, very exhausting, very exciting trip. As I type this I am en route to Los Angeles for 3 days of rest before heading to Baltimore for a wedding.
Here are a few pictures that have nothing to do with nothing, but i liked them for various reasons
no underwear, see through skirt. mercy
its like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder, how i keep from going under
crab dumplings, what you know about that??
saw this jacket with Lucy Maclaughlan's artwork on it.come to find out it was a bootlegged shirt. she never licensed the artwork out. thats china, folks!
round round, i get around, yeah!