This is the world's biggest 3D painting
Already home to the world's biggest freestanding building and the world's highest airport, China has completed yet another superlative achievement -- the world's largest and longest anamorphic, or 3D, painting.
Stretching 374.43 meters (1,228 feet) in length and 7 meters wide, "The Rhythm of Youth" beat the record set by a 106.3-meter-long painting created by artist Joe Hill in London in 2011.
"The idea to break a Guinness world record has always been there," says Yang.
"The project itself dates back to 2012. After learning that Nanjing will host the 2014 Youth Olympics, I came up with the plan after discussions with a student, Xu Yan-ting."
The 39-year-old Nanjing-based artist has been working on 3D paintings for the last decade and is considered a 3D anamorphic art pioneer in China.
"The inspiration behind this creation is mainly from a Chinese idiom, 'The source is distant and the stream flows a long course'," says Yang.
The Chinese phrase is intended to highlight the value of long-standing and well-established traditions.
Binoculars, walkie-talkies and a 370-meter-long canvas
Scenes in the record-setting painting include: a snow mountain, "which marks the beginning of Yangtze River -- China's mother river"; a yellow rapeseed flowerbed in Jiangnan (south of the river); and some of Nanjing's modern buildings, including the iconic Nanjing Zifeng Tower, says Yang.
"On top of the city is a floating runway, with suspended rocks and ropes to symbolize the spirit of adventure," he adds.
"Finally, the mascot of this Youth Olympics -- 'NanjingLELE' -- stands on a green lawn to highlight the Youth Olympics theme."
Planning the painting took six months but the actual execution lasted 20 days, with 20 artists assisting Yang and Xu.
They used about one ton of paint and two tons of canvas, says Yang.
Besides weather, the biggest challenge was collaborating on such a big space.
"We had to use binoculars and walkie-talkies to overcome the communication difficulties that come with working on a 370-meter canvas," says the artist.
As for what attracted Yang to this unique form of art, often referred to as "trompe l'oeil," he says it's all about accessibility.
"3D painting diffuses the boundaries and distance between one's work and the viewers," says Yang. "To a certain extent, it is like pop music -- all audiences can express themselves through the same painting."
"The Rhythm of Youth" is on display at the Communication University of China, Nanjing until August 11. (Dates may change depending on weather conditions.) Nanjing's Summer Youth Games are on from August 16-28.
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