‘The Line has Freedom’By: Lionel Pietersen and Tanja Bause
A Heart racing, carnivorous hunt of pure animalistic instinct, speed and power is brought to life by Chinese artist Dal East, on a mural commissioned by Neo Paint Namibia.
The graffito’s rendering which depicts a Cheetah and Blue Wildebeest in a dramatic hunt for survival, can be seen on the wall of the Neo Paint factory shop in town.
Dal East is the name the artist has chosen to represent his artistry. He explained that the two separate words mean ‘universe’ and ‘food’.
The secretive Dal East has painted the walls in countries including the USA, France, Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Slovakia, Israel, Denmark and Reunion Island. Namibia is only the second country in Africa which can boast with one of his creations.
Born in China, East started to paint at the age of three. He later attended a College of Fine Arts in China where he concentrated on sculpture. Since 2004 he has been doing urban art, graffiti or street art as it is called here.
“I create 3D paintings which I make so that they look like sculptures. I try to do something interesting that will make the people who pass by stop and look for a long time and see things. Not only walk by and think ‘OK nice’,” said East. When he started out, he was mostly creating at night but these days, when he sees a wall which needs some cheering up, he asks for permission and once given, he takes out his spray cans and creates art. East is married to South African artist Faith 47 and have been living in Cape Town for more than a year. Together the two travel the world and create artistic wonder on walls.
The artisit’s signature style of interconnected weaving lines shows him to be visually articulate, and his work assured in totality of conception and dynamic rhythm. ‘The Line has freedom,’ he proclaims as he readily identifies with its bold unapologetic movement of hard strokes.
East’s explanation of the detached iconography within the visual narrative such as satellites, rocket ships and crowns are shown to fall by the wayside of the animal, are his interpretation of a single minded action by the predator. “Leaving everything behind, the cheetah remembers nothing and focuses only on the hunt.” Everything which he thought important, every thought to him is lost while he remains emerged in this moment of chase,” he said.
The unique style, he says, is a mixture of American graffiti and traditional Chinese calligraphic art. Dreams, real life and reading are what inspire his art. He is disinterested in the traditional culture of exhibiting in galleries and rather opts for a more public sphere of urban art or graffiti. Having witnessed the artist at work, Keith Haring’s views about graffiti and why it inspired him as an artist come to mind. Watching Jean –Michel Basquiat at work for the first time, he identified what he called literary graffiti. Art that isn’t done for the sake of writing a name or a formal remark, rather little poems, statements and non sequiturs.
He identified a unique skill by such artists as Dubuffet and Mark Tobey, explaining that it was a stream of consciousness of mind to hand flow of aggressively fluid lines done directly on the surface, without a preconceived plan.
East`s work can be described as gravitating toward atmospheric and interdependent rendering, with its fluidity and painterly quality. His work is figurative and yet it deviates from
a descriptive discreteness which is refreshing among urban style art.