Wulumuqi Lu 乌鲁木齐路
45cms (W) x 37cms (H)
Oil on Panel
The first place I lived in Shanghai was near a street called Wulumuqi Lu. In Shanghai, most of the streets are named after regions or cities in China. Wulumuqi is a place in Xinjiang, north west China. 'Lu' means 'Road', so this is Wulumuqi Road. Wulumuqi is a place that sits somewhere close to the permeable membrane between classical chinese living and hipster foreigner living. It's the kind of place that expats will live when they want to be able to get their beef noodles from a greasy chinese-speaking only alleyway eatery, then walk next door to get a flat white and gluten free pistachio brownie. As with anything that sits on a frontier, it is subject to lots of change. Restaurants and shops open and close with such regularity that you begin to doubt your own grasp on reality where you will walk past a korean barbecue place that you were sure wasn't there yesterday but can't be sure as you thought there was a hardware store nearby but that's gone now. Amid this chaos there are a couple of mainstays; above ground level there's some lovely classic Shanghai art deco architecture, the famous tree lined streets and institutions such as 'Avocado lady' who got the name as she somehow was the first person to obtain Avocados to import into Shanghai.
I ended up chossing a flat perspective where I kept all the foregraound quite Two dimensional, but I put in depth in the shops. This wasn't actually intentional, but I think it's because when i started out my main concern was the buildings and shops, so I scaled it accordingly. I spent a lot of time looking at the colours on the buildings, shapes, architecture and atmosphere. The people then ended up being a bit too small to be able to define properly. This worked out ok in the end because it's a busy street, and you rarely meet the same people more than once, and at a certain distance the people don't provide the character of the place, they're more like examples of how the space is used.