An example of efficiency in painting taken to an extreme can be found in the art factories of China. Sixty percent of the world’s mass produced, cheap oil painting copies come from one small town (1.5 square miles) in China, called Dafen. A worker there can produce a couple of dozen copies a day by hand and it is estimated that 5 million paintings are produced in Dafen every year. There are assembly lines too, as described in The Economist:
Dafen—and other villages like it—are bringing the factory assembly-line into the artist’s studio. In a dimly lit hall on the outskirts of Dafen, “painter workers” stand side by side dabbing colours onto canvas. Liu Chang Zhen, a 27-year-old, works eight hours a day to complete more than 200 canvases a month—painting several copies of a picture at a time, methodically filling in the same patch on each before moving to a new part. At other factories, painters work on the same product, but specialize in different parts—in ears or hands or trees. They work from art books, postcards and images from the internet. Sometimes they just paint inside an outline copied electronically from a photograph, enlarged and stamped on the blank canvas.