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Artist Immortalizes Asia’s Historical Storefronts in Watercolor and Ink

Watercolor Travel Art by Zhifang Shi

Many travelers use a camera to capture the places they visit, but Shanghai-based artist Zhifang Shi opts for watercolor and ink. From Japan to South Korea, the talented artist travels all over Asia, documenting old storefronts and street corners in his sketchbook.

Shi paints en plein air, quickly capturing fleeting moments with loose, gestural line work. His delicate watercolor washes add depth, bringing each scene to life and transporting the viewer into the artist’s colorful urban scenes. Traditional stores emit warm, welcoming glows from their windows, and historical neighborhood streets feature a jumble of old houses, street signs, and lanterns.

Shi is conscious of the fact that many of the small shop fronts and houses he depicts might not be around for much longer. His expressive urban sketches immortalize these family businesses and traditional homes, allowing them to live on forever through his art.

Scroll down to check out some of Shi’s latest travel art and follow him on Instagram for more.

Shanghai-based artist Zhifang Shi captures the places he visits in watercolor and ink.

Watercolor Travel Art by Zhifang ShiWatercolor Travel Art by Zhifang Shi

His urban sketches document old storefronts and street corners in traditional Asian towns.

Watercolor Travel Art by Zhifang ShiWatercolor Travel Art by Zhifang Shi

He works en plein air, quickly capturing moments with loose, gestural line work and washes of color.

Watercolor Travel Art by Zhifang ShiWatercolor Travel Art by Zhifang ShiWatercolor Travel Art by Zhifang ShiZhifang Shi: Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Zhifang Shi.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.

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