Category Archives: Inspiration

Jasinski

This is one of the artists around Deviantart that I watch.

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If You Love Them Set Them Free by `jasinski on deviantART

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Traditional Frequency by `jasinski on deviantART

I like his painting style, that isn’t photo realistic but kinda graphical. And his backgrounds are very painterly, with short, thick brushstrokes. Very Impressionistic, which gives me the “In-the-moment” feel.

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Progress on the Horizon by `jasinski on deviantART

There are a series of paintings that are based on the subject matter of robots. Now I remember, this is where I got the inspiration for the robot in my lino cut. I like how he portrays the robot in a really cute, almost endearing manner, which contrasts the destructive activity they seem to be doing. There’s a lot of irony in it. I think I like ironic stuff cause they make have a lot of mixed feeling, so that I have to think more about it in order to decide on how I feel about it.

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Home is Where the Heart Is by `jasinski on deviantART

He also uses bright colours that are very attractive, and the people depicted in his paintings often have his sort of vague feel, which I like. Their mouths are never widely opened in that forceful, expressive way that makes the paintings kind of peaceful and soothing. Like in the above painting, the two people are just looking at each other with a knowing smile on their lips. It’s a sweet image, and sometimes it makes you smile.

He inspires me to make me want to do things that can make others smile. You have this sense of satisfaction when you can make others happy. So that’s why I like whimsical, happy things (though Jasinski’s themes don’t exactly revolve around that.)

Go to his deviantart! It’s worth a look around. ūüôā

Jimmy Liao

Jimmy Liao is one of my favourite author-illustrators.

I really enjoy reading his books. The first book I read by him was ŚźĎŚ∑¶ŤĶįԾƌźĎŚŹ≥ŤĶį, when I was young and was instantly hooked. His colourful drawings really appealed to me. However I can’t quite seem to be able to find his books around Singapore. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

I love how he uses pictures and short sentences to create a story. And the stories are usually quite thought-provoking too. ¬†Last year when I went to Shanghai, I bought this whole stack of his books. ūüôā¬†I love the way he uses water colours.¬†I like to study how he paints and draws, and try to learn from there to improve my water-colour skills. His style is rather unique, especially when he juxtaposes all sorts of seemingly non-related objects together. It makes the story rather dreamlike/surreal, and you have to think hard about what he is trying to say, and link the image to the story. To me, this makes the reading really enjoyable because I like to be able to “understand” something. That kind of feeling when you feel… enlightened? Also, I like to note that instead of cross hatching, sometimes he shades by drawing short, choppy thin lines on that object. Then paints to add in more tonal values.

He takes on the theme of loneliness fairly often, so perhaps subconsciously I had been thinking about loneliness too, which led me to the theme of my coursework.

Influences, influences. I guess everything ¬†just falls into place sometimes, doesn’t it?

A painting, and Hundertwasser

Title: Singapore Landmarks

Medium: Acrylic

Size: A3

Date: 07/02/09

We had been tasked to do a painting learning the techniques of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser (more on him later). We had to do a painting of 12  buildings/landmarks/places of interest in Singapore. We were taught to use diluted layers of acrylic over the original solid layers of acrylic to create layers and layers of translucent colours. Also, we had to choose a base colour for the paper and use analogous colours (colours that are neighbouring each other on the colour wheel). These affected the overall turnout of the painting.

I took a neon green colour paper. Frankly, I hate neon colours. They blind my eyes (ok exaggerating) and are annoying. But unfortunately I had chosen to use orange-red, orange, yellow and yellow-green, and the other colours (of the colour paper) were dull/dark. Hence I ended up with the neon green.

This was an interesting activity. I learnt a new technique which I later applied to my¬†Sec 3 EOYs. Quite cool, actually. I don’t want to dwell to long on the goods and bads, so I’m just gonna go to Hundertwasser himself.

Blobs Grow in Beloved Gardens, 1975

This is one of his paintings. The translucent areas can help to change the tints and tones of the overall painting. And it also looks like a stained glass piece. I think that’s due to the bright yellows (the background?) ¬†and translucent whites on the middle stripes of greens and reds and more. According to Wikipedia, Hundertwasser’s common themes utilised bright colours, organic forms, and the idea of humans being part of nature. He rejects straight lines, and calls them the “devil’s tools”¬†When I read the part about him rejecting straight lines, I laughed right out loud cause he’s the total opposite of Piet Mondrian. If these two ever met, they’d probably have been¬†at loggerheads with each other.

But Hundertwasser was more widely known for his architectural designs rather than his paintings. the designs uses irregular forms and incorporated natural features of the landscape.

I think it’s quite beautiful. We don’t get to see buildings like this in Singapore. If we had such buildings, it would be really fun and makes the area much more¬†aesthetically¬†appealing. So far the only buildings that I can think of that are really cool and different from the normal buildings we have in Singapore would be Laselle and SOTA. Ahh if only we could study in such campuses! x) But it wouldn’t make sense if our school really became like that.

Coursework- ideas

I’m feeling a bit depressed after thinking about my prep work because I do realise that since it was completed over a period of ¬†31hours in which I had no sleep. So. This means that my prep boards could very possibly mean that they are incomprehensible. But Ms Yap did say that they wanted more of visuals to show the process, so in my semi-conscious¬†state, I was more aware of that. That’s why I didn’t put much emphasis on trying to link up the stuff using words. Hmmmmmm.

Nevermind. I can’t do anything now unless I can secretly find a time machine. I guess I only have Viva Voce to save me. :/

Anyway, the main point of this post was to talk about inspirations and how I actually got to the stage where I currently am now. Let’s start… at the start of the year.

I guess having done paintings and paintings and more paintings for the most of my art education, the initial response to the prospect of doing a piece of work for the next nine months would be do a painting. Yes. To remain “safe”.

But giving it some thought, I decided to make use of this opportunity to do something that I would probably never get the chance to do again. I was free to use any idea or medium. So I decided to do embroidery. After school at the bus stop one day, I saw a row of workers working at the canal. They were hauling this large, long tube in a very systematic way. It was a very visually striking image. This got me thinking about foreign workers, and somewhere along the way, I thought about the theme of Alienation.

Skip over to 1,2 months later, my idea wasn’t working out. It just didn’t click with me. So I scrapped the initial ideas, expanding ont he idea od alienation and eventually got onto “Grandparents” and there was this generation gap. It was further fueled by the elderly people I had observed around my block, as well as the Grandma incident. (Mentioned¬†earlier in previous post.)
Expanding on the Grandparent issue, I ended up doing the work based on my relationship with my grandfather because I don’t talk to him as much as I do to my Grandmother.

So I guess this is how I got here.

Love Planet Earth

This is a series of works done in Nafa around mid-August. We experimented with various printing mediums before using them to make A5-sized prints under the theme of “Love Planet Earth”.

My series are mostly based around the idea of Earth being really emo, angsty and angry at humans. Actually this was inspired on a huge outburst I had the night before, so basically the work below was my very first idea and it pretty much reflected how I was feeling. (Now I understand Van Gogh!) Not about having my trees mowed off, though.

The ideas personifies Earth, such that viewers would be more likely to connect with Earth and understand her. And having such a negative attitude in the works greatly contrasts the romantic theme of “Love Planet Earth”. And by this, I hope that it can shock people into thinking more about how we’re destroying the earth. (Although A5 sizes usually don’t hold a lot of shock appeal.)

Title: The Outburst of Earth

Media: Colour Pencils, Black ink, grey paper (with the little bits of white paper), acrylic paint.

Size: A5

I like this one because in a way, it helped me get some things off my chest (again, not about trees!), and made me reflect a bit. I like the white wave patterns at the bottom (inspired¬†by Japanese prints). I also like the rotten teeth of Earth, and the debris flying out of her mouth. It makes her seem like she’s really exploding. Like, “Look what you made me into, you people!!!!!” ¬†Though If I could edit it, I would make her mouth slightly wider, such that it would look like it was straining. And add more flying bits of debris around to make her look even more explosive. The thick white brushstrokes at the top are kinda like winds (think tornado). I also like how Earth refered to El Nino and El Nina like they were under her.

Title: Drown Me

Media: Paper, Acrylic Paint, Ink

This was edited in Photoshop as my teacher wanted the cards to be vertical. The previous one (Outburst) is the original cause it looks better that way). Note the little chick-like figure at the bottom left. It’s so… out of context. -.- It’s there because I needed to add more “water” falling down and the original didn’t have that much space.

I don’t really like this one. It was meant to depict Earth under a waterfall. When I’m feeling really angry/down/-insert negative emotion here-, I usually sit under the shower and let the water hit my head/back (it doesn’t hurt as much as it sounds, really.) It’s quite soothing and I get to think a lot. So I wanted to put Earth under a waterfall when she’s being sad and depressed. The semi-outline of Earth is to line out the¬†silhouette¬†of the Earth.

But in the end my product looked more like thick paint than water. It wasn’t diluted enough. If I had to do it again, I would definitely add more water.

Title: Airplane

Media: Printing inks (I forgot the name :/), Netting, Paper.

Date:  T2W9 Saturday

This isn’t part of the Love Planet Earth Series, actually. It’s from the previous set of experimental prints we did before LPE. It’s supposed to be an airplane in the sky. I used some netting for the clouds and added a bit of water onto the print to make the cloud textures more subtle. I didn’t have any reference pictures for the plane so it ended up looking like the kinds of planes I drew when I was younger. It’s just an experimental print anyway. But I think it adds a childlike element into it, which makes it a bit playful. Well, it’s a change from the previous two angsty works. ūüôā

Sandcastle

Watched Sandcastle with my brother one or two weeks ago. Was supposed to go with Nicole but I forgot that she has yet to turn 16. ):

Let’s just jump into what I want to say. Spoilers ahead, if you’re planning to watch it. (Go! Watch! Support local talent! Haha.)

I liked how Boo Junfeng introduced the old folks’ home with a shot of the sea beside it, such that later into the film, he uses shots of the sea through the windows to tell the audience that the scene is currently at the old folks’ home.

I also did not expect En’s grandfather to pass away. It provides a slight twist. En’s grandfather is a¬†likable¬†character. He is a more active person, and somewhat reminds me of my grandfather. A scene in the part when En just moves into his grandparents’ house for the next 2 weeks reminds me of how generation gaps plays a huge role in the lack of communication between the 1st and 3rd generation. In this scene, En’s mother explains to Grandpa that En wouldn’t need a telephone cable because he wants to connect the internet, not the telephone. But soon after, the grandfather holds the telephone and its cable and enters En’s room to ask if he needs the cable. En is annoyed. Ha. Ha. Ha.

That really reminded me of my grandmother sometimes when she comes to my house. You can never, ever, ever tell her that you like a particular food. OR ELSE. She would constantly buy/cook that same dish until you tell her that you’re sick of it. It’s a bit mean, telling her like that. But like I said, it’s like the generation gap thing. We love each other, but we just don’t understand each other enough.

I like the movie because I agree with and can relate to many parts about the grandparents-grand child relation.

Other than that, maybe I’m not quite ready for art films yet? I didn’t really understand the use of why the director needed to many shots of the choir singing national songs, and sometimes the injection of the national songs (not the choir singing it) seemed a bit too ¬†randomized. :/

Uhh, other than the previous paragraph, that’s what I essentially want to say, because it reminded me of my coursework.

Inspiration

So basically my coursework is about communication between grandparent and grandchild (or rather the lack there of). Here,¬†“communication” does not refer to the everyday talking and conversing with another. It is the understanding between two parties through the exchange of¬†information¬†and ideas.

My coursework was triggered by an event that happened at home. Well, not exactly an event but something I saw. My grandfather is an outgoing man, and now that he is retired, he often likes to go on frequent cruises with his friends, or trips to Malaysia. When I say frequent, it means as frequent as once a week for a couple of days each time! ¬†Meanwhile, my grandmother is the exact opposite. She is an introverted person, and does not like to go out as much, so she doesn’t go with my grandpa on his frequent cruise trips. During his trips, she would often spend the night at our house.

There was one day when grandma was here, and I was going down the stairs when I saw her watching TV. The thing was, her¬†favourite¬†show (one of those long million-episode Taiwanese dramas) was on, yet she was sitting on the sofa, staring into space. Yeah, just stoning. There wasn’t anyone else in the living room either. At that moment I felt really… stunned. It made me feel sad and pity for her. There are other people in the house and yet no one is talking to her and I felt really guilty. She looked so very lonely. I do not think that I spend enough quality time with my grandmother (or grandparents for that matter). Sure yes I do talk to her sometimes, help her with the cooking, but I never do TALK and understand her. After that incident, I also realised that when I talked to her, I felt bored and lost interest easily. She kept repeating things that she had said previously.¬†Replies would come in various forms of nodding, “Uh”s and “Mm”s,¬†accompanied by too-bright grins that falter.

It wasn’t because that I felt really uninterested in conversing with her that saddened me. It was that I could no longer talk to her.¬†In the past when I was younger I never did feel this way. But now I feel reeaaaallly bored talking to her. Always the same topics, always the same things. I panic, cause I am reminded of my mom’s own story with her own grandpa. Great Grandfather passed away before my mom could see him for the last time when she was studying abroad. I don’t want to regret not spending enough time or doing enough things for them when they pass on. We have to be realistic:¬†our grandparents are old. They will pass on one day.

I decided that for my coursework, I wanted to do something more personal, more close to my heart. I believe that in this way, the work would hold much more meaning to me, and in turn, it would be easier to convey and translate to the message to the audience. I also think that familial ties are important, cause whether you like it or not, they’re always gonna be there. And when that particular incident struck a chord in my heart, I decided on this.

An artist that inspired me to use the ideas of head busts is Janine Antoni, a contemporary artist whose works focus on process. The particular work that I saw was Lick and Lather, 1993.

Lick and Lather, 1993

An interview with her about the work can be read here.

It is really interesting to use a replica of a self, and forming a kind of “love-hate” relationship with it (the physical appearance). And how through the “loving” way to licking (the chocolate busts) or gently washing (the soap busts), the details of heads are slowly being erased. It’s a symbolic way of removing, or perhaps even destroying oneself. I think that it’s a beautiful process, in the sense of getting to know the replica of herself, the representation of her physical self.

I also liked the idea of using the head bust. The castings represent my granddad. I also thought of the idea of not seeing the bust as a representation, but seeing it as the Cast of my Gong Gong’s (as I call my grandfather) Head itself. Because these casts are not my grandfather. They stand as their own. They are Products of the process of casting my grandfather’s head. Otherwise, these casts be seen as¬†representing¬†of how I spent time with Ah Gong and Ah Ma.

I also¬†liked¬†Antoni’s concept of using the process to understand something.

So.

I guess this coursework is my way of dealing with the problem of the lack of communication with my grandparents. I use the process of the coursework to find out and interact more with them. Especially when I make the head busts. My grandparents live alone in a small flat, so sometimes when I go over to cast Grandpa’s head, it’ll just be the 3 of us- him, her and I. I get a lot more time with them this way, so I try to use this to talk more and understand to them.

This project definitely got me to understand and know my grandparents better. I wont’ say that I know them as well as the back of my hand now-¬†I don’t. But I have learnt a lot more about them and that’s a start.

“The process is what transforms it.” – Janine Antoni

the making of an Idea.

This was one of the assignments done in nafa last term for the Photoshop lessons. It was somewhat free topic, I think, and since I could not think of anything nice to do, I decided to make use of it to do some coursework prep work.

So basically this was one of my initial ideas after the whole do-a-painting/cross-stitch thing when I finally ventured into the idea of doing an installation.

I had wanted to make a large, large white box, with an open doorway at the side of the front. Large bubbles with head busts inside, along with a couple of tinier empty bubbles would be hanging inside. ¬†The inside walls¬†of this box would be painted with underwater textures, like when you are in a swimming pool. Gurgled mumblings and underwater sounds would be softly playing in the tiny room. On the whole, it’s meant to be somewhat surreal and calming.

This stemmed from the idea of having miscommunication and not being able to understand other people when¬†talking underwater. The heads represented the elderly. The entire feel of this room would be to give the viewer of being underwater, and attempts of people trying to talk underwater. (You can’t understand what people are saying underwater, hence the idea of miscommunication.)

Call me a romantic. Sigh. I had imagined that the installation would be in a corner of one of those large, clean, quiet, air-conditioned (not blindingly) white rooms sans NAFA exhibition rooms, where the viewer would be given the time and conducive environment to appreciate works. (It honestly is¬†embarrassing¬†to actually type this out here. Sense tells me that I am never going to get large air-conditioned rooms in school to exhibit my work. Now that I think of it, the SAC. the SAC is actually a place I might be able to work… HMMM. Nah it’s kinda late to changed ideas now.. But just a thought. Okgetgoingwithmonologuenow!)

But still, given that I was still in the stage whereby I’m still churning all sorts of ideas, this idea still stuck in my mind. So fine, scrape the air-conditioning, and the LARGE room. Maybe I could make one myself. But past observations (i.e. the Senior Who Made the Black Box) told me that I would take years to make a large box and leave me insufficient time to make the contents inside.

So.

I removed my box, and TADA!

I have the basis of my current work-in-progress.

So now my bubbles are floating in air. Hence inside of making the bubbles at eye-level, I plan to make the bubbles slowly lift up into the air, like they’re floating away. It emphasises the growing distance between grandchild and grandparent and how the younger generation is sometimes unable to understand the older generations, how we eventually drift apart.

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On a side note:

An ironic (contradicting?) thing is that my coursework is talking about the gaps between grandchild and grandparent, yet because of this very coursework, I work and interact more with my grandfather, gradually closing that very gap between grandparent and grandchild.

Graces logo

Graces original

This it’s the Graces logo I drew for… ¬†next year’s Graces. Sigh.

Anyway, I really like the idea for it. This is one of the few works I did whereby I immediately knew exactly how I wanted it to be when the theme was given (or rather, when I started thinking about it).

When I thought of Graces, I thought of a girl who was breaking out of her boundaries. Graces is about transforming from a girl to a young lady. It’s a very fresh, exciting thing. ¬†So I wanted to give off the vibe of¬†excitement, freshness, youth and gracefulness and roll it all into one. When I think of grace, I think of dance, I think of ballet (and also a certain friend of mine).¬†Water is cool and refreshing. I love splashes. Hence,¬†came forth¬†the girl bursting out of water in an air of gracefulness.

However, I feel that the water could be more um, explosive to give more energy. The girl’s skirt (on the left) could also be flying slightly higher to give a more energized look. And Mr Chang said that the font for Graces could be bigger. I guess I couldn’t let go enough to erase the splash and scrawl “GRACES” across it. I didn’t want to spoil it.

I’ll upload the final (with colour) when I get the file from the mac lab.

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I changed my theme! Well, kinda.

Initially my chosen theme was “Alienation”. I thought it would have been an interesting theme. Except that I couldn’t get any inspirations or ideas out it. Or else it seemed too clich√©, and I didn’t want to work with that. Eventually my stream of thoughts veered towards the elderly been alienated in a sense. So in a nutshell, I think my current topic is linked to alienation, the elderly and communication. Which. Explains my title.

I’m kind of attracted to the topic of the elderly. Somtimes I feel that they’re overlooked. There are 2 kind of old people I often see:

1) Those that give off the comfortable vibe. Sometimes when you pass by, they’ll smile at you if you smile at them. I like these kind. They make me happy. Even if it’s for a few minutes.

2) The kind that sits around at void decks and parks. When I go home from school, there’s quite a distance from the bus stop to my block. I will go through a row of shops, some blocks and a playground. The part about the playground is that i usually see grandparents/old people sitting around. Some are with their grandchildren, sometimes don’t have grandkids. There’s a table and some chairs nearby, and more old people sit there. Furthermore, there is a Corner not too far away (I can’t recall the name for the time being) whereby more old people gather there. You can imagine the scene I see each day when I return home from school. There never seem to be a lack of the elderly sitting around there. :/ I feel sad for them. They are people slowly reclining into their own world and losing connection with the world.

I think one of the reasons I’m attracted to the topic of the elderly is partly because I fear growing old and becoming like the second kind of old people. I feel sad for them. I often wonder if I would slowly age, my friends would slowly go off one by one, or perhaps we lose contact, my children will not visit me often (shudders), or perhaps I do not even have children at all. I will add to the number of grandparents hanging around void decks talking to other old people or not quite doing anything at all. I fear loneliness. I could be exploring this topic in an attempt to find ways to prevent such things from happening.¬†I probably like the first kind of people because they assure me that the future will be fine and I will be happy.

Another reason is because of my grandmother. I realise that she has aged. Of course she has. She repeats things, paraphrases things, talks to you about the same topic again and again and often talks of the past when we were little. Often I am annoyed, and I feel guilty for being so. I do not know how to reply her, and somehow I think she is becoming like the second kind of elderly. Except that she never does sit around void decks. But nowadays she is better and she seems more cheerful and does not do the aforementioned things. But her past behavior has contributed to my being attracted to the topic.

As for the communication part, the idea came from one of my dreams. (The previous night I had been¬†desperately trying to find a source of inspiration. I should have just slept instead. Ha.)¬†I dreamt that my grandma was talking to me, and I was annoyed because it was one of those repetition-of-things-and-I-don’t-know-how-to-reply-you sort of¬†conversation. When I woke up, I just thought of the concept of being unable to understand, which led to language barriers, which reminded me of attempts to talk underwater and prison glass walls (where the inmate talks across to his visitor). I find talking underwater hilarious cause you can barely understand yourself, let alone the other party. Haha. I can’t quite show you a visual representation of what I am thinking now for my coursework, but I have just briefly described the concepts/ideas behind it to you.

Andddd I have listed a couple of movies to watch to get more ideas for coursework!

1) Money Not Enough 2 (Hui Ci’s¬†recommendation. Watched an excerpt. Sounds like what I’m looking for :))

2) O Ano em Que Meus Pais Sa√≠ram de F√©rias (The Year My Parents Went On¬†Vacation) (A¬†Brazilian¬†movie about a boy and his late grandfather’s good friend. Sounds really interesting.)

3) The Straight Story (about an old man who travels in a tractor to make amends with his brother. May watch if I can find it.)

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