Graffiti or Art? You Be the Judge

ByHu Dongmei and Xie Chuanjiao July 15, 2020

One person's graffiti is another person's high public art. Ma Xiao subscribes to the latter theory.

The public artist went viral recently, after a number of his works were released online.

The 30-year-old from the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region became interested in outdoor public art in 2006. Back then he was more of a graffiti artist who could only make simple, quick drawings on shabby walls. Public outdoor art had not been accepted in cities at that time.

It was not until 2010 that Ma got the chance to create trendy art. And in 2017, he engaged his first major business project when a large shopping mall in Yinchuan, Ningxia, invited him to help create a large work of art on the walls outside one of its buildings.

The tall walls were a challenge — more than 1,000 square meters. Ma was required to dangle from a lift "in the air" to paint. It took 70 days to complete his biggest piece of public artwork so far, but it boosted his confidence.

In 2018 Ma was named champion in the art group of the JOYBO International Graffiti Festival in Chongqing. That year, he was invited to participate in the Berlin Mural Fest and the Great Wall International Graffiti Festival in Wuhan, Hubei province. Last year, he attended the Beijing Meeting Neighborhood Festival.

Now Ma has established a professional team called Chinese Gang, which aims to take advantage of the street art medium to spread Chinese culture around the world.




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