China Lite

Creative industry in a creative district

(chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2009-09-02 14:59
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Located in the Creative Square of 798 Art District, the shop is more like an exhibition hall.

You can find lots of kinds of things. Mugs, notebooks, little cloth dolls, hand-ripped art pieces, calendars, jewelries, T-shirts, or even postcards with the “798” logos and cute texts.

Some of them are a mixture of western and eastern cultures. This calendar is a good example. The portrait of a sacred Chinese emperor is teased by a half-naked western lady. Famous Mona Lisa is wearing a red-star cap which was part of the red army uniform several decades ago.

Some are given a special meaning by their producers to remind people of the past times. Wanziqianhong was a brand of hand cream in the 1970s. For those who are using Nivea to protect their hands may recall the sweet memory that the old brand brought them when they were young. The string game was very popular among kids also in the 70s. All you need is a string to play the game. Your two hands weave the string to a maze and your partner solves it in a short time to win the game or, make it a bigger mess and a dead knot.

Popular culture can also be found here. The iron wire made Bird Nest explains how the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games impress artists. The slang of “Bu Cha Qian”, which literally means “I’m not short of money”, is printed on money envelopes. Ironically, it brings people a laugh amid a gloomy global economic downturn.

According to the shop owner, Mr. Zheng Hao (Jackie Zheng), making money is not the only purpose for him to start the business.

Interview

Everything in the shop is not produced in a large amount. Their makers, if they have time, would be in the shop and introduce their works to shoppers directly in turn to get some market feedback.

Interview

To both the owner and artists’ delight, the shop has been quite popular among visitors to the district.

Interview

Maybe you don’t know the names of artists, as they are somehow not so famous in the circle yet, but their products are attractive enough to make you decide to take them home. And most of all, you don’t need to worry about wearing a same bag with someone else.

Meanwhile, the shop is also focusing on educating more artists. Big names are often invited to the shop to communicate with kids in the community and hopefully, some of them can also be a star in the art sky.

As a stylish place in Beijing, 798 Art District, which used to be an old factory, has been turned into a conglomerate of studios, trendy cafes, exhibition halls, attracting artists of different tastes and nationalities to swarm in and pursue their careers and dreams.

Editor: Flora Yue

Camera: Lou Yi

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