China Struggles to End its Image as Capital of Art Copies
Ma Chunyan's hands appear to hold Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting "The Starry Night."
But it is not Van Gogh's masterpiece. The 32-year old Chinese artist is holding a $145 reproduction she made in one day from an image on her cell phone.
Ma is from Dafen, a small, but heavily populated area in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. She is one of an estimated 8,000 painters there who specialize in creating copies of Western art.
Dafen was once home to 300 rice growers. Then it became an international center of painting reproductions. The change began a few short years after former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping opened up China's economy in 1978.
The town once claimed 75 percent of the world's oil painting reproductions. Dafen has 1,200 art businesses and galleries, which employ about 20,000 people. Its yearly output reached $601 million in 2017.
But many people there are wondering about the future. The local economy has shrunk since the financial crisis in 2008, when foreign demand for art reproductions fell and never returned.
The local government has launched a plan to rebuild Dafen businesses. The goal is to have artists stop copying masterpieces and instead create their own original works of art.
But success is difficult. There are few artists who want to create original works. And there is little demand for the work of the few who do.
To change this, and to bring in newer artists, the government of Dafen has invested 100 million yuan in an art museum. It has also built 269 apartments for artists. The town now has 300 artists making original works.
One of them is Chen Jingyang, who has lived in Dafen for 12 years. He does not believe the new plan will be successful.
"The big buyers know that the market here used to be famous for copies, and it was a low-end market, so not many are coming for the original paintings," he said.
I'm Susan Shand.
1.cell phone 手机
I talk to other people about my cell phone.
2.low-end market 低端市场
Want to attack the low-end market, it is necessary to reduce production costs.
3.art museum 艺术博物馆
I see you've been to the art museum.
4.opened up 开放
Another new air route has been opened up.
5.The local economy has shrunk since the financial crisis in 2008, when foreign demand for art reproductions fell and never returned.
financial crisis 金融危机
If this is not stopped, the financial crisis will deepen.
This incident led to the breakout of the global financial crisis.
6.And there is little demand for the work of the few who do.
there is little demand for ...需求少
There is little demand for the goods.
For example, suppose it is an unusually warm winter and there is little demand for tropical destinations.
但这不是梵高的真迹 。这位32岁的中国艺术家拿着的只是售价为145美元的仿品，是她照着手机上的照片用一天时间临摹的 。
马春燕来自中国深圳的大芬——一处人口密集的小村镇 。据估计，那里有8000名专门临摹复制西方艺术作品的画家，她是其中一员 。
大芬曾经是300名水稻种植者的家园 。后来，它才成为国际油画临摹中心 。1978年，中国前领导人邓小平开放了中国经济，短短几年后，这里开始发生改变 。
这个小镇曾经声称拥有世界75%的油画仿品 。大芬油画村拥有1200家艺术企业和画廊，雇员大约有2万人 。2017年，这里的年收益高达6.01亿美元 。
但是那里的许多人对未来感到困惑 。自2008年金融危机以来，当地经济一直在萎缩，当时国外对临摹艺术品的需求下降，这种形势再也没有回暖 。
当地政府启动了一项重建大芬油画村的商业计划 。旨在让艺术家不再临摹复制名作，而是打造自己的原创艺术作品 。
但是成功并非易事 。很少有艺术家愿意创作原创作品 。而且市场对于为数不多的原创作品的需求也有限 。
为了改变这种状况以及引进新的艺术家，大芬政府投资了1亿元打造了一间艺术博物馆 。政府还为艺术家建造了269套公寓 。如今该镇有300名艺术家创作原创作品 。
陈景洋就是其中之一，他已经在大芬生活了12年 。他认为新计划不会成功 。