Something missing in Shenzhen, and Chinese cities in general, is graffiti. While people don’t mind tagging phone numbers for services rendered and pasting ugly little ads all over the place, there is a serious lack of creativity. Any good graffiti often gets immediately painted over by the buzz-killing authorities.
It’s not an Asian thing by the way, Japan has some of the best street art in the world. I believe it’s a cultural right, to decorate the blank walls and boring buildings and aging train cars. Real first-tier cities the world over have great tags (especially in Europe)…
Let me just add that in America it is largely a myth that graffiti signifies gang activity. Gang tags are fucking bad art, just stupid geometrical shapes to signify territory in the worst neighborhoods. Good street art, however, is done by real artists and gives a place color and vibrancy. It’s life! It’s pure art, free for everyone to enjoy! No price! Paint over it and there will be a new one, that’s what it’s all about!
So, I’m happy to see good tagging in China. Often the artistic areas of Guangzhou, and Beijing have some quality works. I’m no expert on the subject, but check hereas check out what I’ve seen and liked in SZ: