Month: April 2016

Project 3: Zine

Final Work:

1. covers pages234. page34 pages67

Concept / Process:

At The Water’s End is a zine in which I look back on my experience of jungle navigation and survival training during my army infantry days. I did a lot of sketching whilst I was in there in the jungle and I wish to curate these sketches, reflections and poetry into a simple zine for people to see my drawing style and read my thoughts and feelings during those times.


The title is translated from a famous poem by Tang poet Wang Wei. This particular verse means that “if you reach the water’s end, the end of your resources, fret not, because if you look to the sky, you’ll see the clouds and with it the rain that will fall to the earth again”. For me, the jungle training was really pushing me to my limits, be it physical or mental. Hence these drawings  and poetry were an expression of the longing for home and my motivation to keep me going, as such they became in line with that belief that “the clouds will bring the rain again”.

I chose to go for black and white as my drawings were without colour to begin with. Did think of using maybe muted greens or browns but I felt that it still conflicts with the sort of attention I wish to draw unto my drawing style which plays a lot on the texture and form of the pen strokes. Also, I chose a paper that would have the texture to carry the feel of my drawings across. All in all, I was aiming for a simple and clear design to convey my intended message.

The pages have been divided into clear sections.

  • Cover page where I showcase the drawing I think can best represent the journey which is a stump on which I drew the contours of the map.
  • A spread on the feeling of navigation which I feel is a highly disciplined task and a little narrative about getting lost in the woods.
  • A spread on survival, the kind of structures we built and how it was to be responsible for your own roofing and your food.
  • A spread on the contemplation in the quiet night and the poetry I wrote.

On the back cover, I gave my zine a tagline which reads “A few falling leaves in my sketchbook”. This is because pages are sometimes referred as leaves, as in leaflets. In Chinese, the connection of the 2 words a more apparent. We have pages which is 页 (ye4) and leaves 叶 (ye4). Both have the same pronunciations. My idea of connecting these two was because to me the inspirations from the jungle (leaves 叶) actually falls onto my sketchbook (pages 页) and thus became the drawings I drew and poetry I wrote.


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An original page from my Brunei sketchbook as well as the title calligraphy style.


Cover Page ideas and layout.


Mock up of the zine. Pages and layout for the navigation part.


Pages and layout ideas for the survival part. Was also thinking of making it interesting by introducing an extra flap to put the longer drawings. However realized that that will complicate things and conflict the simplicity of my zine.


Poetry page ideas and layout.

Project 2: Point of View

Final works for project 2:


The pen from the point of view of an astronaut is a useless blob.


The pen from the point of view of an artist is the dance across the paper.


The pen from the point of view of an enemy is a lethal weapon.


The pen from the point of view of a love story is fountain of emotions.


The pen from the point of view of an ink-replacement administrator is a blood transfusion patient.


The pen from the point of view of an eraser is an indelible mistake.

Concept/ Process:

Initially I had a few other crazy ideas but as I wasn’t able to arrange those disparate ideas into a series, I turned to something which was more readily available.

In my final work, I attempted to use the Pen as a main subject because it is a medium that I work with frequently and I thought it would be great to explore different views of it.  I used a variety of pen for the concept wise, including ball point, fountain, calligraphic, etc. And what I wanted to do was to imagine scenarios or the weirdest things people say about the pen and see how that can play out.

For example the one about pen in outer space was because I hear a lot of stories about how astronauts have tried using the pen in zero gravity and obviously it wouldn’t work. So scientists and product designers got together to design one that does. The most famous is the Fishcer pen. So in that particular work I was showcasing what I think it looks like to go all the way out there to find out that the pen doesn’t work.

And in the work about pen being a lethal weapon, I was interested in visually depicting a quote from David Handler who wrote the famous children’s series “A series of Unfortunate Events” . He says that “Anyone who thinks the pen is mightier than the sword has not been stabbed with both.” And I thought that was a really intriguing twist to the common saying.

Most of the work are digitally done as I thought it would be easier to convey through digital means as my drawing on such a small surface might not be detail enough. For the drawings I kept them minimal as well because from the previous project I realized that working on a small surface area it is best for me to not be too detailed as things get way too cluttered.

Sketchbook explorations:


Process for “Pen in Outer space” and the “Fountain pen love story”


Process for “Pen vs Eraser”


Process for “Pen as Dance”


Process for “Pen in Bloodtransfusion” and “Pen as a weapon”



Sound Art Research

Tate Museum defines sound art as “Art which uses sound both as its medium (what it is made out of) and as its subject (what it is about)”

Since the advent of the digital age, sound art has certainly evolved into an interesting medium of endless possibilities. Artists are currently able to generate visual imagery in response to sounds, employ sounds as a means of interactivity as audience control the art through motion sensors, pressure pads and voice activation. I feel that traditionally, art has been very focused on light. So it is intriguing to ponder what does sound reveal that light doesn’t or is unable to?

Upon doing my research on sound art, I found an artist that certainly amazes me. Although he is still by far a traditional sound artist as he did not live in the digital era, I think that his works are a great answer to that question I was thinking about, about the possibilities of sound.

Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) is an American artist, sound art sculptor and modern furniture designer. Fascinated by sound since his childhood and he went on to fascinate the world with his sound art. In fact his sound works are still so popular that thousands them are in high demand at auction houses.

Bertoia was very much inspired during his childhood when he observed Hungarian gypsies using pots and pans to create rhythms. It was the vibrations from these wares that left a deep impression. So in the 1960s, he started to create the series of works he would name ‘Sonambient’.

“Sonambient” are a collection of uniquely crafted sound sculptures, including gongs and “singing bars”. These are sound sculptures that mostly work from the reverberations of the materials to create ethereal sounds. The artist arranges tall tonal wires in a certain fashion such that the pieces will strike each other to create a wonderful sound.

The fascinating thing is that his sculptures are like snowflakes, no two pieces are alike, as he was interested in exploring the endless possibilities of a different or richer sound with varying size rods. This is an artist who is truly obsessed in the medium that he has chosen to venture and create in.

Bertoia also did interesting works in collaboration with others to record his “Sonambient” music into eleven albums. These tracks created are haunting and mysterious. The chime of the rods and bars are contrasted with the thunderous clasps of the gongs.

Hence I find that this is a great example of sound art that can achieve what art is unable to with just plain visuals. Bertoia ability to go to great lengths to engineer such exquisite works has certainly captivated me and deserves the greatest admiration. I believe his works will continue to reverberate in the artworld and live on.

On a side note, relating back to my 4D class, I have seen how my classmates have used sound in their 4D projects and it is really great to see how sound can make the communication all the more effective. Especially so in the library installations as there are quite a few works that use sound and I see that as a good choice of alternative presentation of an artistic experience because the library already is very ‘visually noisy’. So those works managed to reveal the subject matter, the artist intention, etc, in a way that plays out well amidst the visual clutter of the library.

Book Return Paranoia

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Installation work; color-printed zine, 8 pages, double-sided, 14.8 x 21 cm; wooden holder, 7.5 x 19 x 5 cm

Artist Statement 

Book Return Paranoia is a visual response to my multiple misadventures with bookdrops. These are times when items I returned are not registered properly. I then face the irony of having to explain why I should not be fined for not returning items that I have indeed dutifully returned. Hence I become increasingly paranoid when I approach a bookdrop. There is a strong compulsion to prevent such misunderstandings and protect my integrity as a decent library user. This has culminated into Book Return Paranoia, an odd read that I created to warn others and share my peculiar experience.

But the questions still surface incessantly.

“Is it returned? Or is it not?”


Details of Pages

1 23 4

Concept / Process

The cover page was really just for entertainment purpose and to grab attention, I just thought about the frustration of receiving the library fine and my newfound uneasiness with the bookdrop and just made a face. Added the extra silhouettes that emanate from around me to attempt to create a sort of ‘wave of my paranoia’.

I went really simple in terms of colors and layout as I wanted the zine to be easy to read. Used simple pictures or vectors to illustrate the points. Everything was done in Photoshop where I used an A4-size canvas to format and adjust the layouts. After which, I had to arrange the pages in printing order (covers, inside-covers, page 2 & 5, page 3 &4) then I used two staples to do a simple saddle stitch binding for the zine. I went to Daiso to find a simple holder for my zine to be placed in (budget installation 😀 )

For the tips and tricks, they are things I actually will do except for the sound recording but maybe I should try that too because like that will have more evidence! Hopefully this will soon wear away because after going through the process of this installation project, I find that I kinda overreact on this issue and it will certainly become a self-joke in the future.

Yeah so this is my simple installation, placed in the place I thought was most interesting to work with at the library.