Shenzhen Daily has joined hands with the Information Office of Shenzhen Municipal People's Government to launch a series of reports titled “Decade of Transformation,” to tell the story of Shenzhen in the eyes of expats. Rafael Saavedra, a popular YouTuber who has been living and working in China for seven years, will host the series, showing you Shenzhen, a dynamic and energetic city from the perspective of 60 expats. This is the third story of the series.
由深圳市人民政府新闻办公室与英文《深圳日报》（Shenzhen Daily）共同策划推出的系列全媒体国际传播作品《我们这10年：湾区老外说变化（Decade of Transformation）》已在各大主流媒体和互联网平台正式上线，该系列将集中展示过去十年以来深圳在各个领域所取得的伟大成就。此次系列作品中，在中国工作和生活了七年的知名网络博主Rafael Saavedra将向大家介绍60位外籍人士，通过他们的脚步和镜头记录和观察一座行进中的中国年轻都市。敬请垂注！
Lele Fioroni is a painter from Milan. He settled down in Shenzhen almost nine years ago, working as a web designer and drawing in his spare time. His colorful, diverse, and creative works, particularly those drawings inspired by Shenzhen’s buildings and Chinese characters, attracted the attention of galleries and buyers. Now, he is planning to create an abstract painting of the Futian CBD.
Italian artist: SZ is source of my inspiration
For Italian artist Lele Fioroni, Shenzhen is not only the city where he realized his dream of becoming a painter, but is also the source of inspiration for his artworks.
Almost nine years ago, Lele moved from Milan to Shenzhen, working as a web designer, and drawing in his spare time. He was lost for words in describing his first impression of the city.
Lele Fioroni at an interview with Shenzhen Daily at Leevan Art Gallery in Shekou, Nanshan District.
To Lele’s surprise, Shenzhen has never slowed its pace of growing and expanding. He witnessed countless magnificent skyscrapers springing up from the ground and the opening of seven new metro lines underground. “Over the past decade, it’s fascinating to see everything evolving week after week. Every week it’s changing and is different,” he said.
Realizing painter dream in SZ
In Lele’s eyes, Shenzhen is a land of great promise to the art world’s newcomers such as himself and it was here in 2018 that he started to pursue his career as a painter.
Lele (L) and Li Yixuan, general manager of Leevan Art Gallery, at an interview with Shenzhen Daily.
“It’s easy to find the right resources and establish good connections here. Shenzhen has many factories, shops, galleries, art fairs, and anything you might need. It makes for an easier life for designers and artists,” he said.
At the moment, Shenzhen boasts 32 art museums, 15 culture museums, and 64 culture stations, among other public cultural facilities.
One of Lele's works in his studio in Longgang District. Wang Haolan
Lele sold his first painting in a creative market of OCT Creative Culture Park in Nanshan and has gotten in touch with galleries and buyers since then. His works reached an even wider audience after they were displayed at several art exhibitions.
Depicting ever-growing infrastructure via paints
In the same year, a light show that was staged to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Shenzhen’s reform and opening up fueled Lele’s passion for depicting the modernity and dynamic of Shenzhen via his paints and brushes.
Lele introduces to Shenzhen Daily journalists the inspiration of his works in the square in front of Shenzhen Civic Center in Futian District. 勒乐在深圳市民中心广场向记者介绍作品的灵感来源。
“I watched the 15-minute show from the top of Lianhua Hill. The show synchronized together the lights on all the buildings as if all of them formed a giant screen. I had never seen such a scene in a city before. I cannot forget what I saw that day,” he recalled.
Lele introduces one of his works featuring Ping An Finance Center to a visitor at Leevan Art Gallery. Lin Songtao
He consequently created a series of works inspired by Shenzhen’s superstructures. The Ping An Finance Center and China Resources Tower are the first two high-rises he put on canvas.
He drew these breathtaking buildings as seen in particular moments: a colorful Ping An building that is lit by LED lighting at night and a shiny China Resources Tower standing by the sea under the sun.
Lele in the square in front of Shenzhen Civic Center.
“When I arrived in Shenzhen, the two structures were not yet completed. I saw them growing. I saw them finished. These two paintings are my tribute to the city of Shenzhen,” he said. Now these two works are magnets of an ongoing art exhibition held in Shekou.
Inspired by SZ’s soft power
In addition to its hardcore infrastructure, the soft power of Shenzhen has also nurtured Lele’s most successful serial works themed on Chinese characters.
Lele's work "Hai Na Bai Chuan" in his studio. Wang Haolan
In an artwork named “Hai Na Bai Chuan,” which means that all rivers are contained in the sea, Lele drew his creative interpretations of this four-word Chinese idiom in patterns and textures of water, river, and sand.
“Hai Na Bai Chuan represents the city of Shenzhen. Shenzhen is like a cocktail with diverse cultures. People from all over China and abroad come here to develop their careers and win their futures,” he said.
Lele introduces "Hai Na Bai Chuan" to a visitor at Leevan Art Gallery.
The design and moral of this painting are also inspired by the history of the city. “Shenzhen 50 years ago was just a fishing village. Now it’s an incredible city,” he added.
In the future, Lele plans to create a six-meter-long and two-meter-high abstract painting of the architecture complex of Futian CBD. Every time he visited the downtown, he would choose to walk to draw inspiration: “If it’s a sunny day, you can experience the shining light bouncing through all the metal and glass of the buildings. At night, you can see every building becomes a screen projecting a fantasy of colors, of flowers, of Chinese culture and letters.”
Lele introduces to a visitor one of his works at Leevan Art Gallery. Lin Songtao
“Shenzhen is the city of design, the palace of design. Stopping to look at every single building, each can be regarded as a work of art,” he told. “I enjoy appreciating the growth of the city and enjoy growing with it.”