About two weeks ago we posted a video of our Ironlak Family and Friends trip to China. I thought it was high time I shared a bunch of photographs – and a few tales – from the trip. (If you haven’t checked the video yet, then stop what ya doin’ and head here to watch it now!)
So anyways; since a couple of us had to head over to visit the factory and handle some business, we thought it would be fun to invite a couple of the ’lak Fam and a few friends to come paint and party with us.
While I’ve got nothing on the Fat Controller or Big Tuesy when it comes to China visits, I’ve been on a couple of trips now and this was by far the funnest one.
I arrived a few days earlier than the rest of the gang. The boss was already there so I met him at the factory and enjoyed the calm before the storm. Mostly we caught up on work and watched movies but we did go for one piece. Generally, Fatty likes to do quick stuff – since I was filming I was pushing him to spend a bit longer. He had a good spot picked out and we got stuck into it. After the initial excitement wore off, we both grew bored really quickly. Before he could finish, an anti-advertising government official showed up and shut us down. He didn’t really understand what we were doing, we just had to stop. He informed us – after some failed negotiating – that it was considered advertising and would be buffed the next day.
As is the true value of hindsight being a motherfucker, arriving early meant I missed out on some hilariousness with the others. At about 5am on game day, a couple vanloads of drunk, tired or cranky suspects arrived at the factory. Turns out the Australians had eight hours delay in Hong Kong before everybody else arrived. This meant, of course, that heavy drinking followed; along with a string of ‘video worthy’ incidents that I can only describe here as grown men behaving like children. I was bummed that I missed it. For me it was fun guessing who would find it the most difficult to adjust to the different culture and absence of Western luxuries; Baiju (in excess), shots of Tsingtao (in excess), wooden mattresses, Chinese toilets, bathing with a bucket and paddle, “too-wet noodles”, weird meats, lack of good coffee and chain smoking in small restaurants.
We handled our meetings and gave the uninitiated a factory tour, highlighting our constantly improving quality control procedures and demonstrating how Ironlak gets made.
In between the work shit, we were keen to scratch our itchy trigger fingers. These days I find myself behind the camera more often than the spray can, so on this trip I was determined to do both. I rocked my favourite piece of the year on a wall that had been ‘buffed’ with some kind of white plaster that was still wet and I had a lot of fun painting alongside the Chinese writers and the rest of the scallywags that had joined us from around the world.
One of the most memorable days was an impromptu jam we had. We showed up with nearly 20 writers and started painting a fence. Because it was on a semi-busy street, we quickly attracted a crowd of 50 or so excited/curious/confused onlookers. It became a bit of a community day with the locals hanging out. One guy even got his van painted.
Other notables include a drunken night of letting off fireworks at the factory. Followed by an even drunker night of letting off fireworks all over the neighbourhood. At one point TUES thought it would be a good idea to shoot fireworks sideways down the street. And after a local pushed in front of RUSTE at a McDonalds because he was taking too long to order, I explained to him that it was socially acceptable in China. From that moment on he had a lot of fun pushing in whenever he could.
After almost everyone else had left China, a couple of us hung around for a couple days of more painting, street food and go-kart racing in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
Shout out to Touchy Wong, Mok and the rest of the gang for coming through. Here’s a rollcall: SENK, MEGIC, KISH, SM 1, MOK, TAYE, PHRON, SMOGA, TOUCH, STORM, PHAT1, TUES, YESMA, RIFLE, RUSTE, DYMS, PALMS, MUCH and MEMOS. Hopefully I didn’t miss anyone.
That’s enough hot air. I can’t wait for my next trip to China, I’m in love with the place. Now onto the photos. -Dymskov.
Photographs: Luke Shirlaw.