In China, public trees have been transforming into beautiful works of art thanks to 23-year-old art student Wang Yue. With her friend Li Yue, aka Belladrops, documenting her progress, the artist has garnered much attention for her creative public art which has turned the streets of Shijiazhuang into a delightful sort of pop-up gallery.
Equipped with a backpack full of a few basic painting tools, Wang treats tree trunks as her canvas and creates illusionary portals in the natural fixtures. Choosing to maintain the beauty of nature in her work, the visual communications major paints images of adorable animals and botanic landscapes onto the exposed wood. Wang’s intention behind her public artworks is to brighten up the foggy streets of this town, which happens to have one of the worst cases of air pollution in the world.
The artist’s process in producing her fun series of tree hole paintings, which she refers to as Meitu (a play on words that translates as “beautiful journey” or “beautiful picture”), is a thorough one. It begins with scouting for the right tree (one with enough smooth surface to paint on), composing a digital drawing with the frame of the exposed trunk, and finally painting the image onto the tree. Each painting takes about two hours, though the process altogether takes a little over a week.
The tree hole paintings have been embraced by the community and approved by the local environmental protection bureau, who confirms “the paints do not harm the trees.” Wang has created over a dozen public paintings thus far and promises to continue doing so beyond her academic studies.