Graffiti in Shanghai: Where to find the best licks of spray paint

Graffiti in Shanghai: Where to find the best licks of spray paint

Dezio, Popil and Mr. Lan -- never heard of 'em? Here's how to find the works of a new wave of urban artists
Graffiti in Shanghai
Graffiti in Shanghai
Graffiti in Shanghai
Graffiti in Shanghai
Far from extinct: Interest in urban art is on the up and the city is attracting world renowned graf artists.

For the best graffiti in Shanghai -- and we're talking street art here, not the cancerous spread of phone numbers on buildings spruiking all sorts of clean and dirty stuff -- there are two spots showing the work of the city's rising urban artists. Those locations: Moganshan Lu and Rucker Park.

And with wall space at a premium, each visit could be greeted by a fresh coat of spray paint.

Moganshan Lu -- Shanghai's graffiti ground zero

Graffiti in ShanghaiFrance's Dezio has developed a following with edgy urban art work that decorates the walls by Moganshan Lu.

Nowhere else will you find so many pieces in one place, including work by Shanghai's Popil -- one of China's best young female graf artists -- and elaborate and playful pieces by international underground stars like France's Dezio.

At this area of Moganshan Lu next to the M50 gallery and exhibition spaces, you can explore quality graffiti in Shanghai, taking in walls exploding with raw street art as well as the only slightly more sedate commercial gallery scene. Some are clearly defined pieces, others are definitely less so -- but if you are anticipating politically inspired works, you'll be disappointed. Depending on the day of visit, elaborate pieces and wildstyle text are more the order of the day.

A long wall runs along Moganshan Lu from Changhua Lu, surrounding a vacant lot by Suzhou Creek. The wall is covered with tags and pieces -- a practice tacitly allowed by the city because the area has become the city's premier art district.

Rucker Park -- a different vibe

For more of a raw street culture vibe, head to Shanghai's Rucker Park in the grittier northeastern Yangpu District.

Basketball courts located on the second floor of an old warehouse have become a hub for local street ball and graffiti in Shanghai, with loud pop-inflected images by Shanghai luminaries like Mr. Lan presiding over raucous action on the courts.

Getting There

Moganshan Lu: The M50 gallery complex on Moganshan is well enough known that most taxi drivers should know exactly where to go if you simply tell them “Moganshan Lu.” The graffiti wall includes part of Changhua Lu as it crosses Suzhou Creek; you can walk down the main stretch of Moganshan Lu from the intersection with Lu Changhua to see some of the best examples of graffiti in Shanghai.

Shanghai Rucker Park: 721 Kunming Lu between Tongbei and Laoyang Lu, about a 20 minute taxi ride (approx. RMB 20) from the Bund or People’s Square. You can also take Metro Line 4 and get off Dalian Lu Station; walk north from the station on Dalian Lu to Kunming, then head east on Kunming. Rucker Park is adjacent to Shanghai’s Live Bar, a pleasantly grungy rock club. Both are open late. Tel: +86 21 6589 6881. RMB 6 admission.

Seen any great street art? Let us know.