Shanghai Color Portraits. 2018

    Shanghai is an amazing futuristic city, which has been destroyed and completely redone in the past 20 years.  A brand new city, with a very old traditional Chinese mindset in the population that lives there.  Shanghainese have seen their city grow massively, as new people move from the countryside to the city every-day.  Shanghai boasts a population twice the size of New York, with the city itself larger than the land size of the entire country of New Zealand.  China's vast economical growth at breakneck speeds has created a massive melting pot of sorts, contained and created in a immigration of it's own country.

    Every Chinese person is not the same.  Different Providences have different languages, different customs, and are essentially almost different small countries.  This creates a wide variety of different types of thinking in China all under the umbrella of a new Communist regime, whom is striving to stamp out creative thinking which could lead to a democratic society, all of which seems backwards in it's seemingly capitalist society and it's new young generation of wealthy, educated in the west college graduates.

    The result is a hodgepodge futuristic city, where Royals Royce and Lamborghini cars can be found in the street next to a farmer pushing his cart full of fruit and vegetables.  The new generation has been rigorously educated, with most youngsters beginning their English education at the age of 3, or younger.  A child does not have the luxury of play-time, as the weeks are filled with school, and then after-school education, including piano, art, dance and language lessons.  In some English educational books, Children are taught that "happiness means having money in China."  A gigantic population, which was promoted under Mao's regime and the resulting one-child policy, leaves gigantic aging family members to tend and take care of one child, also resulting in what's known as the little prince/princess disorders in the massive waves of spoiled children who are spotted crying for what they want at one of the massive and countless futuristic shopping malls spread throughout the city.

    College graduates experience freedom of thought and expression in their western lifestyles as they are educated with values of the western world, only to return home to large groups of family members who pressure these students to immediately drop any of their dreams and ideas and to focus on marrying immediately and producing children, putting any career dreams on hold and to satisfy only what the family desires.  With families going as far as pairing their children in what is known as "marriage-markets" in parks throughout the city, a famous one People's park in downtown Shanghai.

    The interesting result is a new breed of Chinese, which will one day lead China's future.  They are the future, and currently they are living in the past of Chinese tradition.  This is my observations, as a foreigner "laowai" into the interesting and not well known culture of China, more specifically Shanghai, which is becoming more open to the world.  The young generation bring their color to this otherwise black and white history of China and this new City.  In painting, subjects choose the color they think most represents themselves as the story unfolds of a new superpower coming to be.

The Shanghainese Girl whom Dreams of Berlin to Escape the Flat World

By Jake Johnson

Artists Oils on Canvas

121.92 cm x 76.2 cm

2018

www.bigcomicart.com

 

Traveling thousands of miles and living on the other-side of the world in a twisting dynamic culture that is constantly changing has been a real eye opener.  A post-cultural revolution world, culture and country that has rocketed itself to the top of the economic world war.  Nothing can describe the sheer mass of a 1.5 billion population that influence begins to ripple waves across the world.  Each young individual, dynamically prepared and educated with each a unique purpose in their hearts. And, they have the power and the means to do so.   All of these wishes and dreams are of course, against the basic fundamental ideas of the country.  

 

Good painting is like climbing a mountain, a long journey that takes preparation, skill and fortitude to survive it.  It takes several days and large amounts of energy to create a image, which is layered like a sculpture, and imbued within its layers is the essence of a soul that is immortalized.  Only when you feel it’s eyes watching you, as if it peers directly into your soul, is when I feel I have some success.  To succeed where others have failed, is to ignore the hecklers of the political circles whom are only concerned with their own egotistical agenda.  True painting isn’t about the egocentric artist, but about the representation of the human condition which transcends a timeless boundary and creates a dialogue which allows us to examine ourselves, learn, laugh, cry, grow and advance in civilization.  I’ve made a lot of friends (and a lot of enemies) in this adventurous journey that is not for the faint of heart.  My hope is to make many more (friends) and to succeed where others have told me that I would fail.

 

Please share the love.  For inquiries, wechat: jakeart

 

mailto: jakeart@icloud.com

 

Current Projects:

The Shiggy Challenge

Born out of Miami, this video parodies a famous dance crazy that has sudden viral spread over the internet.  Started by some guy called Shiggy, that was from this Canadian artist named Drake.  There is something interesting in the psychology of sweeping dance phenomenons that catch the public eye.  Many successful artists use these dances to jumpstart their career.  A.K.A. PSY

 

This is an experiment to see if I can create a viral video.

T-SHIRT Viral Experiement

Shanghai Boy London Photography 2018

With the recent booming Chinese economy, Asia has become a new superpower with might to be reckoned with.  Aside from this, it's younger population is enjoying a first class experience, most of them newly minted millionaires in the brand new city.  The Pudong river flowing black through the middle of the city, with pollution being the byproduct of the massive pace of this economy.

Chinese culture currently eats up all western ideas, and with that becomes a symbol of power and money.  To know, or to have a laowai (Mandarian for foreigner) friend is a good asset.  But whats even better is to represent your power and money in the city.  The way you show business is good, by buying luxury European brands.  Handbags, purses, wallets, jewelry, clothing, shoes, and cars.  All of these things must come from the west, to show your class, to show your wealth, to show your knowledge, and to just be hip.  It's what's in style.  In one of the many breathtaking 50+ story shopping malls, some with ornate baroque designs that have more funding from the Chinese government than it's healthcare, simple t-shirts, can command prices above $5,000 RMB (currently roughly $738 in USD).  These simple t-shirts become much more than a brand, they become a way of life.  The importance of this fashion trend has taken the city by storm in a very short amount of time.  This fashion trend speaks waves about Chinese culture, and ironically it's from London?  

 

Link available online:

 

https://steemit.com/art/@miamideal/china-documentary-shanghai-boy-london-photography-2018

 

 

 

Miami Bus Stops 2012-2018 @artmakeschange

    Miami Bus stops is a simple project involving photography of multiple bus stops located throughout the city at different times of the day.  The work involves a recording of life of the happenings all associated with the bus stops located in the town.  In other parts of the world, public transportation is a valuable city resource that provides great function to city residences.  In america, the bus stop has become a symbol of poverty, a burden on the tax payer, and overall not a good decision as cars have become America's choice of travel.  In poorer areas of the city, we can find residences crowding the bus stop as part of their everyday routine, these residences mostly immigrants to America.  We can find many different cultures surfacing at the bus stop.  In some areas, we also find homeless people sleeping during the day.  In the wealthier parts of the city, we see desolate bus stops placed haphazardly throughout the city without rhyme or reason, their benches acting as a billboard for revenue for the city.  The bus stop here becomes like a theater stage, with plays unfolding everyday which can tell us a lot about the health of the city, the people living in it, and the hardships endured.

 

Hero Project, 2008-2012

    An amusing take on an old tradition of painting.  A master painting study series involving a revival of craftsmanship in painting with my child-hood heroes as my subject matter.  A master's thesis gone wild, each painting creates a dynamic narrative into this new mythical world of super-heroes today.