In order to pass the time, veteran Huang Yung-Fu decided to beautify the dull, grey Taiwanese village that he called home. Huang Yung-Fu’s neighbors—also fellow veterans—were beginning to leave in droves. Huang Yung-Fu had settled in his neighborhood after fighting in the Second Sino-Chinese War and the Chinese Civil War. Several neighborhoods in Taiwan were swiftly being modernized and rebuilt. Huang Yung-Fu’s neighborhood appeared to be next on the list. After Huang Yung-Fu’s last neighbor moved out, he began to paint the walls of his drab village pink, red, blue, and green. Soon playful figures appeared on the walls. Huang Yung-Fu painted a little each day. It wasn’t long before the entire village was lined with expansive, vibrant murals.
Despite Huang Yung-Fu’s ever-evolving art project, local developers still wanted to demolish his village’s colorful buildings so they could erect new, trendy buildings in their place. A group of university students stumbled upon Huang Yung-Fu’s vibrant murals, and petitioned to save his work. The student’s conservation efforts were successful. Huang Yung-Fu was dubbed “Grandpa Rainbow” and continues to paint daily as he approaches his 100th birthday.
Grandpa Rainbow’s painting journey began with a single bird painted on the wall of his room. Colorful depictions of bears, cats, dogs, and all manner of bright, surreal figures that look as though they belong in a trippy 1960s-era rainbow dimension line the walls. Grandpa Rainbow has even painted the ground. Rainbow Village’s floor-to-ceiling paint job gives it the appearance of a three-dimensional alternative version of the kid’s board game Candy Land. Rainbow Village even features a few painted objects that are propped up against the trippy buildings, such as a collection of multi-colored ukuleles, and a series of helmets that look as though they belong to the Power Rangers.
Rainbow Village has become a popular tourist destination that draws countless visitors each year. Rainbow Village features a gift shop that offers mugs, umbrellas, and other items that feature Rainbow Grandpa’s lively artwork. There is also a small cafe that sells various snacks, including ice cream. Grandpa Rainbow has a special table and chair reserved just for him. If you’re lucky, you may be able to chat with Grandpa Rainbow, and have your picture taken with him.
Grandpa Rainbow adds a little bit of paint to Rainbow Village every single day. Sometimes Grandpa Rainbow adds to existing figures, and sometimes he paints over certain areas entirely and adds a new scene. Thanks to Grandpa Rainbow’s creative ingenuity, you will never see the same Rainbow Village twice. There is an effort to preserve Rainbow Village for all time, and transform the area around it into an arts district. In the days before Grandpa Rainbow picked up his paintbrush, no one could have imagined that a collection of non-descript grey buildings could be transformed into a bright, beautiful tableau. Rainbow Village is a testament to the transformative power of one person’s creative vision. If you’re looking to save your neighborhood from greedy developers, pick up a paintbrush.