The weather is in it’s most volatile stage. Leaving the cooler days of spring and entering the humidity of summer leaves the skies open to a sudden down pour. Storms are always rolling in the clouds above. Today the rain is at least consistent. The skies grey since the sun attempted to rise. Lingering in a capsule hotel can bring on cabin fever. I’m not in the mood to shop. I read about an artist village on Treasure Hill and decided to walk in the rain until I found it.
Minutes in my shoes are wet through. I glance into shops in case I spot a very light weight waterproof coat. Traveling in rainy season when the climate is sub tropical means being as light as possible. Taipei has an amazing public transport system so do not be fooled into thinking the only way to this village is on foot. Regardless of the weather I always prefer to walk. Seeing the ‘everyday’ can only really be done on foot.
The artist village is slightly tucked away. Although a spot frequented by tourist it is not like other commercial art scenes and so not sign posted. I decided to follow the graffiti. After a few uncertain wanderings down alleyways that lead to nowhere I saw the familiar gates to a temple. Having read that a temple resides close by I followed the route. Ascending a narrow path I entered a deserted collection of small buildings. I’m unsure as to how this area would look on a sunny day. It may be bustling with art seekers climbing up and down the many levels but today I’m surrounded in silence.
The silence eerily suits the first sculpture I come across. A house of blades with a picture of a married couple. The structure is neatly composed of meat cleavers. There are a thousand messages a couple could take from this. The back drop is graffiti on the wall. Strange characters from the minds of creatives. This abandoned village is quite in contrast to its industrial surroundings.
I freely wander the alleys. Although it’s often my preference to wander alone, I’m slightly disappointed that the artist studios are all locked behind closed doors. Maybe it is just the weather or there are certain days that are better to visit. I would still recommend anyone looking to be inspired outside of the usual gallery to find themselves here, in rain or shine. Taipei has a few culture and art parks but this is one place that is unique against the rest.
The artist village, although resembling a forgotten place today, is actually a revamped area. Once being home to a community of squatters it is now a collection of studios for artist in residence to occupy for a period of 8-12 weeks. It is like walking through a nature maze intertwined with a haphazard collection of buildings, stacked upon each other and held in place with vines. The site itself is beautiful ground for photographers to walk and capture its quirkiness.
Making my way down the staircases that occasionally end on rooftops, I find a platform overlooking a park. The small bridge crossing is unfortunately closed due to collapsing. I observe the walls of graffiti instead before heading out of this artist oasis back into the city. Although its raining and I haven’t seen a soul for at least two hours, Treasure Hills Artist village has been a perfect break from the bustling city. The area combines history with art and won’t disappoint to inspire anyone with a spark of creativity.