My Polytechnic Final Year Project (FYP) Journey
This series of emotions narrate my journey through my FYP during my Year 3 of polytechnic. It has been one of the most significant ones in my life so far, so hop on board as I bring you through it!
My ‘fear’ emo strip comprises of 2 layers, a piece of tracing paper on top of a black piece of paper. The marks on the tracing paper are few and simple – a seed made out of modelling paste and thin white streaks of lines falling downwards. The seed represents fear and the white lines represent negative emotions that rain down, allowing the fear to continue growing. As the tracing paper is translucent, viewers can have a glimpse of what lies underneath. Underneath, one will find that the fear has already taken root, negative emotions become stronger, and things will probably go downhill from here on.
This ‘Anger’ emo strip is made out of plastic bags that have been melted using an iron and fused together to form a thin sheet. The plastic bags melt and distort when heat was applied, hence it is very apt in representing the very nature of anger. When I am angry, my judgement and thinking are clouded and distorted. In this state of mind, I am most susceptible to making bad and rash decisions that often brought strains in my relationships. Painting this plastic sheet with black acrylic paint brings out the texture of it, which is chaotic and messy. To make this strip even more menacing, I used wire dipped in white acrylic paint to slash the strip. The act of slashing represents the explosiveness that anger can bring out in me. Hence the marks left behind by the wire are strong and sharp.
Fast forward, after many ups & downs and disappointments, my FYP partner and I were pleasantly surprised to find that we actually managed to do well for it! We were already mentally prepared for the worst and did not expect this unexpected result at all. The feeling of surprise was one that liberated us from all our worries and burdens. Hence, using a piece of twine, I lightly dabbed paint onto the black paper to create small speckles. The act of lightly dabbing the paint and the marks themselves suggest this light-hearted feeling that I had. I’d like to think of surprise as a positive explosive emotion and I likened this to a balloon popping, this explains why the speckled marks explode outwards from the core.
The lighter background in ‘Joy’ is a stark contrast to the dark backgrounds of other emotions. The technique used to make the background lighter was bubble printing. I personally feel that bubbles are one of the few things on earth that can instantly cheer one up and hence I find it appropriate to use bubbles to represent the feeling of joy. To me, joy is a weighty positive feeling, one that you’ll get to experience precisely because you have been through a lot. Therefore, the more difficult a situation is, the more joy you’ll get to experience eventually. That is why for the elements in the foreground, I used the back of a spoon to dab paint into big circular blobs. Despite being big blobs, they float around effortlessly against the bubble backdrop. This was how I felt when I finally successfully graduated from polytechnic. It was a very fulfilling 3 years and I cannot imagine being anywhere else during that period of my life.
The print in the second photo feature many circular patterns made by ice cream sticks. My first impression of them was that they looked like clocks ticking away. Each clock can represent a memory and the lifespan of a memory. Recalling these old and sometimes fuzzy memories can spark a sense of sentimentality in some people. The darker parts of the strokes can represent recent memories that are still clear, while faded strokes can represent those that are older and almost forgotten. Research has also shown that our memory distorts each time we remember them, therefore remembering a memory often causes it to be less accurate. I can testify this because as I was preparing for this project, I can only recall a few clear moments during my FYP period (of which I had written down in my mountain map), there were plenty of other moments are getting fuzzy already. By tearing the print apart and reordering them again, I want to convey the idea that our memory will never be as strong as the first time we experienced it.
Last but not least, ‘Love’. Sandpaper is perfect in representing the rocky and rough road that my FYP was. In fact, it can represent any journey in any point of our lives because life is just not easy. As an art and design student, I often struggle with self-doubt and I’m sure that many of my classmates can relate to this too. Put all the competition and grades aside, I realised that at the end of the day, it’s more about challenging myself than anything else. The fulfilment lies in the fact that I’ve already given my all and I’ve produced the best work that I can possibly produce at this point in time. This way, I can counter self-doubt by comparing my present self with my past self. If I have shown improvement in my technical or conceptual skills, it means that I am a much better artist/designer now than before. Why then should I doubt myself when I have clearly proved that I have the potential to become better?
From here on, my ADM journey is only going to get tougher, but at the same time I will get better than what I’m doing. I certainly hope that my passion and love for art and design will continue to light the path for me.
I did a little bit of mark-making back in polytechnic but I barely scratched the surface back then. This assignment has taught me to view random every day objects in a whole new light. I am sure that even after this assignment, I will still be subconsciously wondering if a particular object can be used for mark-making.
I feel that mark-making is a very unconventional way to make art. Often times we think of precision and perfection when it comes to making art, hence we invest in good quality brushes and paints, etc. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that of course! But mark-making taught me that art need not rely on the conventional ‘arty’ materials. Anything can be used to make art! That doesn’t mean that art is just mindlessly using any material to make random strokes here and there, but there is still a need for a meaning behind it.
Overall, I enjoyed experimenting and exploring the different ways of making marks in this assignment. The most exciting part is that I don’t have full control over how the marks turn out, which is liberating since I am more relaxed and not so uptight about making sure that things are perfect. Often times, it is the ‘accidental’ marks that are the most interesting and beautiful.
The critique session was useful and I got to know about my classmates’ opinions of my works and I received some constructive feedback too!
Some of the constructive feedback from my classmates:
- Sadness can show variation in tone through the line.
- Fear might be a little too neat. / Fear can be better.
- Explore more white space.
- Love can vary in tone (from light to dark).
For Fear, perhaps I can use transparency or cut holes in the tracing paper to reveal what’s underneath instead of flipping it up.
Constructive feedback from instructor:
The ergonomics of Fear can be improved, as now the tracing paper is being lifted up (intentionally or not) and is quite awkward. Need to work on how the tracing paper can be lifted to reveal what’s underneath. Perhaps there is no need for it to be lifted up at all. Good overall concept.
Now that I look back at my works, Fear is definitely the most problematic one and I appreciate all the feedback on how I can make it better!