Tough times are hitting everyone, even the art forgers:
The craft of copying, a vital element in China’s economic rise, has literally been turned into an art form in this laid-back enclave in the middle of the nation’s most thoroughly industrialised region.
Vincent van Gogh-style sunflowers and Jackson Pollock-esque drip paintings are to be had for just a little over 100 yuan ($A22), and to the untrained eye it is not immediately obvious that these are just replicas.
This is the work of hundreds of creative 20-somethings who have gravitated from across the vast nation to Dafen, where a decent income could be combined with a Bohemian lifestyle in a pleasantly warm climate.
But as foreign interest has weakened, a slightly jittery atmosphere has set in among the hundreds of artists who live here, many of them highly trained even if they mainly occupy themselves with reproducing other people’s work.
“The impact of the financial crisis is very, very real,” said Gong Fajun, a 27-year-old painter from central China’s Hubei province, who has been in Dafen for four years and who said his income was down 40 per cent from last year.
Crisis hits Copycats in South China Art Enclave (AFP/The Age)