An afternoon at The Worlds Art Factory

Dafen Art District painter

By Andy Barraclough

About Dafen

Dafen, Shenzhen, China became know as The Worlds Art Factory during the early 90’s due to the huge amount of oil paintings, replicas, and art based products produced in the district.

Many of the replicas produced here are sold on western markets for consideraby more than they world on the Chinese market. There are rules for producing replicas, such as the artist should have been dead for 50 years, and it should be clear the painting is a replica.

The area itself is vibrant, quirky, and full of character. The artists who work here often do so on the streets, and are friendly and welcoming to visitors. 

As with most of my street photography work I used my Fujifilm X100F for the photos below.

Dafen Art District 1
Dafen Art District-11
Trapped by my Work
When We Were Young

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my time in Dafen, Shenzhen. It is my type of area – full of life with great characters. 

Some people may object to the production of replicas. However, I feel that as long as it is made clear that it a replica then little harm is done. It gives these artists a focus, and platform to showcase their abilities. In addition, the same artists often go on to start producing their own work after producing replicas for a period of time.

In terms of the pictures I was really happy with them. I got a good variation of shots and started to practice range-finding which was cool. I have said on this before on this site that I take better pictures when I’m enjoying myself and it is clearly true here.