Hope (noun): a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.


Materials: ink on paper, powder


For me, hope is more like a glimpse of light in the darkness. It is telling you to not give in to your troubles, to the darkness inside you. From that, I had the idea to make the paper pitch black and add a strike of white.

At first I tried white paint mixed with water, but since there was too much water, it didn’t work out very well. It puddled instead. Then I tried using powder, which was quite difficult since it wouldn’t stick as I wanted to to the paper, but it turned out quite well in the end. I wished the corner could be brighter, though. I tried to add more powder, but they wouldn’t stick; and I didn’t want to use other materials like paint or correction fluid because I didn’t want to make it seem as if there were different “ideas” for hope. I tried putting some correction fluid on paper and spraying powder around it, and they looked like two separate entities.

I chose to position the white part at the bottom corner since I was inspired by the Greek mythology, Pandora’s box. In the myth, when the box (actually it was a jar called pithos and not literally a box) was opened, evils came out, and hope remained inside. My idea is that hope was “left” at the bottom of the box inside the darkness, all alone, yet still glimmering.




Longing (noun): a yearning desire.


Materials: tissue paper, glue


I had a difficult time trying to portray longing. For me, longing is the feeling of wanting something and reaching out to it. After researching more, I found out that unlike desire, when someone longs for something, he or she doesn’t necessarily do anything actively to achieve their wants.

Another difference is that longing might be a want for something that cannot be achieved. Going by the second definition, I put nothing at the end of the “tentacles” reaching out, because people might long for something that might not even exist in the first place, or something they already have.

I chose tissue paper due to its transparency. By putting it against gray paper, the tissue can be barely seen. The same thing goes for longing; not everyone knows what other people are longing for, or even what they themselves are longing for. I actually tried using transparent keyboard protector, but after I cut them into pieces, their shapes looked very controlled and that wasn’t what I was going for, so I just discarded the idea.




Frustration (noun): the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.


Materials: pencil lead, glue


I chose to make up-and-down, zig-zag lines to represent frustration. In my opinion, frustration is when you are trying hard to find a solution to a problem that bothers you, and trying to stay calm at the same time; hence the line looks calm and normal at first. However the lines gradually get messier since you keep trying to stay calm but you can’t. In the end, when you can’t hold back anymore, all the lines just meshed up, disturbing your thoughts.

At the end part, the change from three lines to one huge line might seem very rushed; but I want to show the “snap”, the sudden trigger that makes someone lost calmness all at once.

At first I tried making this using ink and plastic knife, and it actually turned out very well. However I wanted to experiment with materials, and I felt that pencil lead was a good choice since it was easy to break and could form lines. They weren’t easy to manipulate as the glue kept sticking to my fingers, so I spent quite some time on it, but I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out – although I feel like I could still improve it.




Surprise (noun): an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, etc.


Materials: ink on paper, straw


Surprise wasn’t easy for me to portray either. For me, surprise is when something doesn’t go according to your plan or against your expectations.

I was just trying out things for fun when I made this; I mixed ink with some water, sucked them using a straw, and dropped the mixture from a height. They created a nice splatter effect, and I liked it, although they weren’t so special. When I was about to carry it back to the table (I did it on the floor to reach greater heights) (it wasn’t intended to be a pun), I tilted it and hence, they flowed sideways.

After that, I actually made another one where the spillage flowed downwards, but the splatter effect wasn’t as nice, and I felt that the first one was more “surprising”, simply because it is unexpected for the ink to spill sideways – against the gravity.

I wanted to make the paper all black and create a white splatter in the middle at first. However, I thought that would be very similar to my “Hope” piece, so I dropped the idea.




Anxiety (noun): a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.


Materials: ink on paper, water bottle cap


I am a very anxious person, so anxiety is actually one of the easiest emotions for me to portray. Anxiety, to me, is the presence of “but”s in your mind. It is when you overthink a problem so much that a simple 1+1 question can lead you to think of quadratic formula, driving you away from the answer.

At first I tried using the other type of bottle cap (the one with teeth), but they didn’t come out nicely. So I used the water bottle cap and it actually gave me the anxiety idea. I dipped the side part of the cap in ink and rolled it with the help of my hand. It is interesting to see how the lines don’t go straight although they can reach the end of the paper quickly if they just go straight. Moreover, the ideas of the lines intercepting each other also represent how overthinking a problem leads to another.

The circles were actually an accident; the bottle cap stumbled sideways as I rolled them. At first I was anxious about it (yes, I said anxious on purpose) but then I decided to let it be, because the circles represent distractions well. When you worry about something, you got distracted from the original problem; you don’t know what started your racing thoughts anymore. You just know that you are worried, and that now you’re worried about something you’re not even thinking about in the first place.

After my first time making “Anxiety”, I actually considered making it more 3D by using other materials; but then I thought that the “flatness” of the piece could represent “inactivity”. When you spend too much time worrying, you spend less time working on the problem.




Isolation (noun): the process or fact of isolating or being isolated.


Materials: pepper, glue


The idea for this actually came from a song – Starlight by Muse. It’s one of my favorite songs.

This is the idea that I worked the longest with. At first, I just made a black circle in the middle of nothing, but I didn’t like how it turned out. So I tried making some black circles on paper, but they didn’t capture the idea very well also since it cannot be seen whether the circles are touching or not.

For me, isolation is a situation when someone is completely alone. It’s not exactly a feeling of loneliness because when you’re lonely, you’re reaching out for other people; but when you’re isolated, you’re just alone. It’s more like an observation.

Since I related this more to human interaction, I wanted to use something like grains or seeds to represent humans, and separated one grain or seed from the others. Since I didn’t want to buy anything (I was scared I would waste them since I don’t cook in hall anyway), I took packets of pepper from… McDonalds. I took a few handfuls of them and went home as if nothing happened.

The pepper stuck pretty well to the paper, although if you touch it, some will definitely come off. However if you shake it, little to no grains will come off, so it was enough. I thought it would be hard separating a grain of pepper and making it obvious enough to see, but it was not as difficult. In order to emphasize the “isolation” of the grain, I made a larger empty space around it.


I learned a lot of things from this project; that research is always a good idea, that expressing emotions is difficult, and that different people can portray the same emotion differently. Above all, I had a lot of fun.