Having already stumbled into the path of some fantastic mural work by the Taiwanese street artist ‘Candy Bird’ a few days previous, we were eagerly back onto the streets of the capital Taipei in the search of more street art and sculptures.
On one particular night we made our way to the cinema and all-round shopping and teen lifestyle mecca of the Ximen (or Ximending) district of the Taipei metropolis.
As we edged our way around the area taking it slow and easy navigating around the queues at the bubble tea shops, the huddles of groups staring into the shoe shop windows of Converse and Vans and the pockets of squealing teens rushing back and forth from one of more than 10 cinemas in this small neighbourhood, we began to notice tiny pockets of graffiti.
Down a side street or two there were fragments of graffiti, mostly area tagging and murals, not so much what most people would now separately describe as Street Art like the work we found the day or so previously.
Whilst we’re both far more keen on the astronomical rise in street art over graffiti having seen so many great pieces in Belgrade and throughout many of the other countries we visited in 2012; it was a magnificent feast for the eyes as we turned the final corner to discover an honeypot of fantastic work.
Along this one stretch of wall were the works of four or five graffiti mural artists, though unfortunately we couldn’t be sure of their origin. Perhaps local Taiwanese? Perhaps people from abroad on a tour of sorts leaving their markings here, there and everywhere.
Then we turned the next corner
The walls and work went on and on
Murals, tags and wall after wall covered the entire park area and from what we could make out from the area was that it was part of some competition or contest facing graffiti artists and teams against each other, but unfortunately there wasn’t much we could take from there to confirm our suspicions.
As we walked further into the rabbit hole as the light was going down we emerged into another side street of graffiti, but also of what we would describe as street art – where tagging ends and artworks begin – not to say that tagging or graffiti on a whole isn’t art, mind you.
In this side street of fashionable mens and womens clothes shops was a narrow staircase leading up to a record store and with us still trying to hunt out live music to see with the time we had left in Taiwan, we thought we’d ask the people who’d probably know best.
To our surprise, we found an old friend.
Unmistakably his work, it was our old friend ‘Candy Bird’ from our street art find before.
If you do get the chance to visit the Ximending area of Taipei do leave yourself plenty of time to do a little off the beaten path exploring, taking in a few side streets between corner shops and old fashioned Taiwanese houses. You’ll find some great pieces for sure.