Couture Fashion Week New York closed its Spring 2013 season with a unique twist: a collective mural painting celebrating the event’s growing global reach. The painting was kicked off by famed artist Zhang Wenxiang who flew in from China for the occasion. The artist was introduced by Jeniffer Young, founder and president of UNESCHAF (United Nations Education Science Cultural Health Advancement Foundation). Mr. Zhang painted his own interpretation of Couture Fashion Week’s distinctive logo along with other fanciful images. The audience, designers, models and staff joined in, brushes in hand, in what became a collective mural: a mix of fine art and graffiti art.
“We were delighted to have the interactive participation of the audience in this spontaneous project,” said Andres Aquino, founder and producer of Couture Fashion Week. “It fits perfectly with our philosophy of creating accessible fashion and art. It has always been our goal to break down the elitist barrier that has long existed between the fashion industry elite and consumers, who after all, are the ones buying and paying for the art of fashion.”
Zhang Wenxiang is widely regarded as one of China’s most outstanding living artists. His fresh and chic style is a combination of China’s North and South Schools and fuses the strength of the ancestral painters of the East and West. His paintings are well-known for their rich poetic content. His work has been exhibited around the world at prestigious exhibitions and collections including Zhongnanhai, People’s Great Hall, the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao, United Nations headquarters, and the Xu Beihong Memorial, to name just a few. He has received over 50 top awards from art exhibitions over the years. His masterwork, Overlooking Old Hometown, which was included in the 2008 Olympic International Collection, was auctioned for RMB 2.3 million (US$370,000). Mr. Zhang has been received by many world leaders who collect his works, including Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaopeng, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jiantao, Ronald Reagan, Vladimir Putin, and many more.
In 1998, following the call for increased Western development by the CPC Central Committee, Mr. Zhang led a team of artists for 7 years completing a 1,000-meter long painting entitled The Change of the West, the longest painting ever created in Chinese history. In 2008 his artists organization donated over RMB 12 million (US$1.9 million) for the Wenchuan earthquake victims in Sichuan earning great public recognition. A further RMB 1 million (US$160,000) was donated to support relief efforts for victims of the drought in southwest China in 2010. Also in 2010, Mr. Zhang was named Most Socially Responsible Artist at the NPC Forum, among other distinguished honors including International Friendship Ambassador and the Gold Award and Peace Contribution Award during the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.