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Drawing inspiration from city graffiti scene
By Yoyo He

A quiet alley off Xinle Road in downtown has recently been attracting crowds eager to see a makeover it has been given by graffiti artists who have created a vibrant splash of color amidst the late winter drabness.

Graffiti in Shanghai ranges from raw street art tags to elaborate murals and for many people symbolizes creativity among young people in the city.

If you want to show off your artistic skills in public places, remember to seek the permission of the authorities in advance.

With spring almost here, it's a fun day out to track down some of Shanghai’s graffiti hotspots and admire the handiwork of city graffiti artists. Here iDEALShanghai offers a guide to some of the city’s top graffiti spots.


Cool Docks — where iconic buildings meet ET

Graffiti covers a 300-meter-long flood control wall at Shanghai’s former Shiliupu Dock on the southern part of the Bund, now the Cool Docks hub for restaurants, bars, clubs and stores.

It was created by Italian graffiti artist Renato Daina in a week four years ago.

Letting his imagination run riot, everything from iconic city buildings to ET jostles for your attention.

Address: Waima Rd, near Maojiayuan Rd

How to get there: It takes about 15-minute taxi ride from Jing’an Temple to the Cool Docks. Or you can take a No.24 bus or Metro Line 9 and get off at Xiaonanmen Station.

Rucker Park — a whole different ball game

A basketball court in Rucker Park, on Huachi Road in Putuo District is another favorite haunt of graffiti fans in Shanghai. There is a graffiti wall in the park that has attracted many top city graffiti crews. The manager of the park says basketball and graffiti are both core parts of street culture and anyone with a passion to create wild and creative graffiti is welcome to have a go. Usually, graffiti is painted over every two months.

Address: 58 Huachi Rd

How to get there: It takes about a 20-minute taxi ride from Jing’an Temple. You can also take Metro Line 7 and get off at Langao Rd Station.


Moganshan Road — gallery on the street

Get photographed or just view the graffiti art at Moganshan Road near Changhua Road, one of the few places in Shanghai where this street art is quietly sanctioned, just a block from the renowned warehouse art galleries of M50. Sprayed onto the wall are works by Shanghai and international graffiti artists.

The wall includes part of Changhua Road as it crosses Suzhou Creek, and the stretch of Moganshan Road from the intersection with Changhua Road is said to have some of the best graffiti in Shanghai.

Address: 50 Moganshan Rd

How to get there: The M50 gallery complex is well enough known that most taxi drivers should know where to go. Or you can take a No.738 bus or Metro Line 1 to stop at Shanghai Railway Station.

Xinle Road — drab alley gets vibrant makeover

A quiet alley on Xinle Road in Xuhui District has been transformed by artists as part of a campaign to brighten up drab downtown lanes. Graffiti artists Michael Cho, Da Xiong (Big Bear) and Vivienne Fay are among those involved.

The 100-meter-long graffiti wall is aiming to promote the idea of “modern Shanghai, nature, fashion and dreams,” say the artists.

Fay led seven art students in this non-commercial graffiti project, working together for 40 days.

The artists covered up layers of illegal advertising stickers and transformed the grey, mottled walls into vibrant showcases of graffiti art glamor.

Address: Xinle Rd (between Xiangyang Rd N. and Donghu Rd)

How to get there: It’s a 15-minute taxi ride from People’s Square to the alley. Or you can take No.167 bus or Metro Line 10 and get off at Shaanxi Rd S. Station.



Shanghai Jiao Tong University

A series of graffiti walls at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Minhang campus cover about 500 meters beneath an elevated road that crosses the site.

Many of the works created by students have commemorative themes. Poems and cartoons depict their reluctance

to bid their classmates farewell and portray highlights from their university days. Some large-scale works are up to 2 meters high. The site came to public prominence in 2011, after a student painted a skull and a train image following the collision of two bullet trains in Wenzhou, in neighboring Zhejiang Province, in which 40 people died. The image went viral.

Address: 800 Dongchuan Rd

How to get there: Take No.958 bus or Metro Line 5 and get off at the Jianchuan Rd Station.

Tongji University

In Yangpu District, it leaves a 100-meter-long, 2-meter high wall as a space for students to indulge their street art aspirations. It started off as an old fence between Xiyuan canteen and Xueyuan canteen on the main campus.

Designs include original figures and abstract patterns. The wall’s fans are mostly nearby residents in addition to students.

Address: 1239 Siping Rd

How to get there: Take Metro Line 10 and get off at the Tongji University Station or take a No.123 bus.

University of Shanghai for Science and Technology

Its graffiti wall in Yangpu District is divided into several sections — an area of about 500 meters — while the student dormitory building is also festooned with images.

City residents and visitors have been flocking to the flock to the increasingly acclaimed wall to view and photograph the work.

The wall is whitewashed before summer vacation so art students can cover it with new work. Professional artists also come here to try their hand at graffiti.

Address: 516 Jungong Rd

How to get there: Take Metro Line 8 to Huangxing Park Station, and then take No.991 bus or a 10-minute taxi ride to the campus.

On trail of more wall artwork gems

As well as those sites, there are other street artwork gems — both graffiti and commercial murals — to be found around the city, though sometimes they’re not where you’d expect to find them. Here are some highlights.

1. Carrefour supermarket under Wuning Road Bridge, near Changshou Road


2. A residential block on Xietu Road, near Dapu Road


3. An old-style house on Shaanxi Road N.


4. An old house on Shaanxi Road S., beside Shanghai Culture Square


5. A hotel on Shimen No.1 Road, between Nanjing Road W. and Weihai Road


All these works add the city some artistic qualities. If you find any other views, remember to share them with readers of Shanghai Daily and iDEALShanghai via editor@iDEALShanghai.com. Your pictures will have chance to be seen on Shanghai Daily.

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