Developing a Liking to Tainan’s Street Art and a Fondness for Her | Taiwan

My memory of this vibrant neighborhood of Tainan revolves around the pleasing smile of Emily—the EVA Air manager who traveled with our small media group to Taiwan. Mirroring the captivating cobalt art installations at Blueprint Culture and Creative Park, her stares rapid fires into me with invisible arrows arresting my full attention. To save myself from (an expected) heartbreak, I remember ignoring her as we crossed the street by focusing my eyes on the vibrant wall paintings adorning the side of the buildings nearby.

Said to be inspired by the art scene thriving in nearby Kaohsiung, the ones here in Tainan instantly arouses fascination street visuals—ranging from neat lines to sketches depicting everyday life—all in its flamboyant magnificence. A minute into our exploration and I already see comparisons with that of the street art culture of Penang, Malaysia.

Blueprint for Creativity

First opened in 2015, the present site of Blueprint Culture and Creative Park was once a block swarming with abandoned houses. Pulling inspiration from the technical drawing method of blueprint design, each home was restored beautifully to its current appearance—most of which are now operating as souvenir shops and quaint cafes.

This part of Tainan’s neighborhood known as the Old Judiciary Dormitory (where employees of Tainan prison used to reside) now takes a different form highlighted by kaleidoscope lines, animated patterns and interactive paintings. Nestled amidst a bustling commercial district, the brightly painted small establishments fringed with equally colorful wall murals, expands to a couple of blocks. Most of the artworks are easily visible while others remain hidden in plain sight—so better be on the lookout behind every plant boxes, roofs and walls.

There, let me take a photograph of you”, I always command Emily, as the sight of her behind my camera lens doesn’t betray her prettiness as seen from the naked eyes. She would let out a small protest but would eventually pose with a simple flair that would still put a lot of those ‘Instagrammer models’ to shame. I could only imagine what its like exploring the world with her.

Symmetrical Charm Attack

The bare house standing at the entrance of the park is turned into an eye-candy attraction by the 3-dimensional white lines that create an illusion of additional space inside the ruined house. At first glance it quickly summons a symmetry of a room leading to a parallel world, as the lines interacts with several furniture installations.

As the various architectural lines plays tricks with the mind by creating optical impressions, Emily’s charm attack remains true to form—captivating and a magnet for fondness—that I try to dodge to no avail. I once again to concentrate my mind on the beautiful art around me rather than the beautiful soul nearby.

Despite being confined to a smaller place compared to that of Penang’s, Tainan’s street art culture is showing a lot of promise as it slowly expands to other neighborhoods.

It took us more than an hour exploring the park’s every corner and looking for unique finds inside the numerous independent shops. It also took me half of that time to be furtherly enamored by Emily—especially each time she’d look at the camera with that lovely smirk of hers.

Come nighttime, the park takes into a different groovy appearance as the lights creates a more stunning 3D effect of every mural painting. Similarly, my keenness for Emily takes into notches higher but desperately remaining in friendship level. Something I wished I’ve nurtured and not lost grip on.

As they say, life imitates art—in this case, its art appearing as majestic as life. Even if it was for a fleeing moment only.