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An interview with Dave Persue | WET PAINT Exhibit Shanghai | 2019

In 2019, through the Generation UK programme, I was able to work with an amazing online lifestyle magazine named Shanghai WOW! While I was at the Wet Paint exhibition in Shanghai I ran into the one and only Dave Pursue. I was able to interview him about his latest exhibit and his time in China. This is that interview.

Get transported into the mad-genius of Street artist Dave Persue and his fantastic character BunnyKitty, when you head to the Wet Paint Exhibit at The Cool Docks.

The Wet paint Exhibit has freshly opened this August 13 at The Cool Docks in Zhongshan Nan Lu, and will be there until October 6.

This is the first, and biggest, exhibit of well-acclaimed Graffiti artist and writer, Dave Persue, in China. It comes to Shanghai at a time when the art scene is booming and many young creatives are looking for inspiration.

Dave Persue went from branding for Skateborard companies and DC shoes as their artist, to the founder of WET PAINT.

Whilst growing up as a street artist in the late 80’s to early 90’s he witnessed the Media versus the Graffiti artist, as sting operations arrested future brilliant minds. In New York, Persue saw the wet paint signs placed by the MTA and decided to take them home and personalise them with his own designs. This led to graffiti legends across the world doing the same, together, adding art to the urban environment.

He states that his well-known character, BunnyKitty is a way to show that something positive can come out of street art, something that he can connect to family and children of all ages.

We came to check out the Wet Paint exhibition on August 13 and were pleasantly surprised to run into the Creator and Curator of ‘WET PAINT’ himself, Dave Persue, so of course we asked him some questions.

[Alexia Barrett, ShanghaiWOW] How did you go about getting this exhibit in Shanghai?

[Dave Persue, WET PAINT Creator] Well, I think it took about thirty years. It just kind of came to be. I was doing the Wet Paint shows, I had done a couple in New York city that were well received, and I was gaining momentum.

I already had BunnyKitty, I had been painting this BunnyKitty character and her universe on the streets for 18 years already, and she’s been refined through the years. And I’ve released a children’s book “The Origins of BunnyKitty”. So BunnyKitty kind of already had a cult-like following, and it seemed like the perfect guide for people that were maybe foreign to graffiti, or maybe even intimidated by it, to be guided by a very cute character that was non-threatening.

[Dave Persue] That’s how those two things merged, and as far as getting the show out here, it was the two New York shows and then we had a big show in Tokyo, and then Philadelphia and now this one. This all happened this year.

[Alexia] All this year, wow!

[Dave Persue] Yep.

[Alexia] It must have been a busy year then; have you been travelling a lot?

[Dave Persue] Yes, I’ve been going to all the shows.

[Alexia] I heard that you were here in Shanghai when the Typhoon was occurring, how was that?

[Dave Persue] Well, you know everyone was batting down the hatches. By the time it got to us it wasn’t as dangerous. It had kind of mellowed out a little bit, but it was cool. It was exciting to experience a real Typhoon in Shanghai, since it’s Typhoon season.

[Alexia] Were you worried that the Typhoon might push the (exhibit) date back a bit?

[Dave Persue] You know we were originally going to do the 10th(of August) but we decided before coming out here that we would open on the 13th, and just by chance it was the best thing for it, it was meant to be. The big storm was on the 10th and that could have really messed things up. But because we decided to do it on the 13th it worked out fine. Looking at the forecast I thought, yep it will be alright.

[Dave Persue] It did rain yesterday though.

[Alexia] Yes it did, I got caught in it.

[Dave Persue] We did too. Despite it people are here, we are really happy that people came to the opening.

[Alexia] Why did you decide to do your first Exhibit here in Shanghai, why not somewhere else in China?

[Dave Persue] It was WaveMaker, our partners for the event. They’re based here, and they wanted to kick it off here in Shanghai where there is a big art scene that is happening now, that’s flourishing. They felt that introducing my work in a city like Shanghai was probably the best move. There are talks of moving this show to different cities and different parts of China, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Chengdu. So we’ll see.

[Alexia] Do you believe it’s going to be a hit, that many people will love it?

[Dave Persue] I go into everything thinking I’m going to be a complete failure. I’m really hard on myself. But we’ve evolved, and we’ve done really great things through the years. But yeah, I don’t know, we will see. There are no promises in anything we do, right?

[Alexia] That’s right.

[Dave Persue] But we are here now, and for me to see all this, in this kind of light with all the sculptures. This is the first time for me to see all of this, and exhibit BunnyKitty like this at this level. This is really big for me. I’m really excited about it, I could probably be fine if it never happened again, because it happened.

[Alexia] I’m sure it will happen again, before you realise it there will be tons.

[Dave Persue] Thank you I appreciate that.

[Alexia] Is there any message that you have for our readers?

[Dave Persue] I think that if you want to know more about our art, you can do some studying about Graffiti and the history of where it comes from, so you can have an understanding of the evolution. As China embraces the movement, they should know more about our Forefathers, and the children that started the movement in America that have caused this to become such a worldwide movement.

So, see the artists that made the style and evolved it, and come out to the show and see some of the original art that is inside it. I have some real OG artists in this show, some of the guys that date back to the 70’s are in the WET PAINT show, and some of the hottest street artists of our time are also in the show. It’s a very diverse group, but one that tells the story of where it starts and where it’s going. And this is what this show encompasses, it’s a nod to the past whilst showing what will happen in the future.

Well you heard it here first, if you want to experience the evolution of the Graffiti movement, check out Wet Paint.

The exhibit was located at:

Creative Park 1, The Cool Docks, 505 Zhongshan Nan Lu, Huangpu Shanghai

Dates: 8/13/2019 – 10/6/2019


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