The Ambassador Hotel is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of events embracing the arts and promoting environmental awareness in its Taipei, Hsinchu, and Greater Kaohsiung hotel branches until the end of this year. Although one of Taiwan’s oldest hotels, the Ambassador is certainly not old-fashioned. Rather, it is keeping up with the latest trends in street art, commissioning Guanzhou-based Chinese 3D street painting artists Wan Yiju and Wan Yiheng — aka the Wan Brothers — to create Taiwan’s largest 3D street painting titled 3D Future City, a Journey of Illusion, now on display outside the lobby of the Ambassador Hotel Hsinchu. The hotel’s anniversary celebration and Hsinchu’s local characteristics are elements featured in the work. People can physically step onto the painting and experience the virtual 3D effect that seems to catapault people through time and space into the future, suspended like clouds in the sky of a futuristic city.
Born into a family of artists, the 32-year-old twins’ artistic talent started to develop early on in their childhoods. The brothers have dedicated themselves to 3D street painting since 2004. They are the Guinness World Record holders for the World’s longest 3D street painting and regarded as the best 3D street painting artists in southern China today. Wan Yiju said at a press conference in Hsinchu last Thursday that their works have mainly focused on the themes of illusion and the future. For the 17m-long, 6m-wide, and 4m-high 3D Future City, a Journey of Illusion, which took two months to complete, they incorporated the ideas of technology and ecology in an attempt to reinforce the impact on the audience’s visual experience. Wan Yiheng said that the work is to convey an idea: As technology develops to a certain level, a society should evolve to be more eco-friendly and be more caring, not indifferent.
Another feature of the painting is a giant robot nicknamed “A-wei.” The robot stands in the suburb of the future city full of tall buildings and holds a watering can to nourish the earth. In addition, “A-wei” protects Sauter’s brown frogs indigenous to Taiwan, seen on the bottom right of the painting, and hermit crabs, on the bottom left, in the hope of raising awareness for environmental protection and animal conservation. The brothers’ dream is that technological development can reach a state of symbiosis with the environment. Besides the robot, the twins have created two jet-propeled cars flying out from the center of the painting to symbolize the act of carrying technology and culture toward a better future. People can physically step onto the flying machines and it looks as if they are flying. Interestingly, any movement made by people can affect the dynamics of the whole painting — one of the features that make 3D street paintings so attractive.
When asked what is the secret of creating a 3D street painting, Wan Yiheng told the Taipei Times last Thursday that, unlike ordinary paintings, artists working on 3D street paintings often have to squat for long hours under the scorching sun, and so they have to deal with the weather and tiredness in their limbs. He also said that you cannot rely on conventional theories of perspective, and that you have to go against them to create the 3D effect. The brothers employ techniques such as the control of contrast and the principle that the closer something is, the smaller it appears, and the further, the larger, to depict a sense of space and three-dimensionality.