HOT POTATO – GRANDMOTHER EDITION
Gather your family in a circle. Pass the grandmother around the circle to the music.
When the music stops, the family member holding on to the grandmother loses the game.
Avoid holding on to the grandmother. Avoid all responsibilities. Hot potato is a great game
for the family, this game puts your morals to the test. Suitable for all ages.
We often try to shift and push our responsibilities away in face of difficult times. Are we
willing to provide care for our parents when they are old or will we simply push them away
with the roles reversed? The main objective of this game is to pass the hot potato on to
your other family members and to try your best not to hold on to your grandmother or else
the responsibilities would now lie in your hands. This game of play demonstrates how people
try to shift and push the responsibilities of having to care for my the aged.
Just to give you a context behind this work:
Recently, my grandmother fell sick. Little did we expect this to happen as she was a really active lady and is always in and out of the house. Her sickness took a drastic turn on her lifestyle, needs, as well as her mentality towards life. She began to coop herself up in her room, storing her basic necessities the enclosed space and seem to lose that zest she took on her everyday with.
Also, with my grandmother falling sick and having to make trips to and fro the hospital, it took a toll on her children who have to juggle between their work and making time to drive my grandmother to the hospital for her sporadic medical checkups. Having to bear this burden, my ever so filial uncles and aunties decided that it was my dad’s responsibility to care for my grandmother fully. They stopped bringing my grandmother to the hospital and even avoided visiting her. My grandmother called them multiple times to ask when they would visit and they would not pick up the phone. 2 months and 12 days. It took them that long to come and see my grandmother after she was discharged from her latest stay at the hospital. To claim that they love my grandmother very much and how much they have done for her before she fell sick yet they could simply push her away just like that was so ironic and appalling to witness.
Till today, I still can’t spell out the emotions and thoughts I have towards this whole thing. Anger? Disappointment? Guilt? I haven’t too been the best granddaughter through this process. Michael suggested that I dont think too much and just go ahead and do this project and maybe through the process of making and with the final product, maybe resolve some of these negative emotions I had in my heart.
Oh my goddd it took me awhile before finally deciding on what to do. I was stuck and having an art block with my illustration book and finally decided to ditch that for I was not feeling it and it did not have the satirical quality I would like my work to possess. Hence after much (i mean a lot) deliberation, I eventually decided on making a hot potato. A “game” that manifests the idea of elderly abandonment and demonstrates how we shift and push responsibilities around when it comes to taking care of the elderly. We all want to avoid this burden.
I felt that this was a more apt in terms of the medium to convey the idea as opposed to an illustration book as I really struggled to portray this idea across in the form of still images. With this ‘game’ the audience get to participate and experience the act of passing on the grandmother which in this case is the responsibility that is passed on to their hands to the next family member. This gets them to ponder as they are confronted with this responsibility place upon them. Also this method of presenting this rather gloomy topic makes it more digestible as it is injected with the idea of play and is presented in a more light hearted manner.
Just to share a little on the Illustration book – Winter is coming.
Initially, I wanted to juxtapose my dialogue with my grandmother against a series of illustrations of a squirrel collecting and hoarding nuts in preparation for winter. Winter here is the lat season of the year and also the last stage. It represents ageing. The grey death of everything. Days are shorter, nights are longer. My grandmother finds it tough to fall asleep at night. Minutes feel like hours and her nights are tough to get through. Winter is also the coldest and most gloomy season like how ageing is the stage of live that we all want to avoid.
My grandmother would hoard food in her room as just living through each day and feeding herself becomes her priority in life. This is similar to how a squirrel hoards its food in its burrow in preparation for the arrival of winter. The main problem here was too come up with a series of visual strong enough to convey this idea and to have a powerful dialogue that flows with the illustration. I spoke to my grandmother but she just was not in the right state of mind to be conscious or to know of her actions. Hence, I did decided to write it based on my observation of how she lives her day:
In the morning, in the morning i get up.
What is the time now?
When will you give me my food?
I don’t know what I should be doing, I don’t know what I am waiting for.
What do you do everyday?
Just wake up.
Walk up and down, up and down in my room.
Wait for the telephone to ring. Wait for my friend to call me.
Just sleep in my bed.
Hungry eat biscuit, go toilet, up and down, up and down.
No one talks to me.
However, I was not feeling it deep down hence I knew that this was not working.
I was hoping that I could resolve some of the negative feelings and also the guilt of not being there for my grandmother as I did not take this whole ageing thing well. Initially, I did not want to accept this reality, how can someone so healthy just become like that. “Why are you like this?” “Why can’t you get better?” These thoughts ran through my head and I avoided talking to my grandmother and looking at her. I basically lived in denial.
I was afraid of crying, afraid of the pain and just afraid of this change. I didn’t want to break down. Till today, I have yet to fully accept this change but I am learning. The process of making this work did not make me feel better as I have hoped it would have. But it did make it easier to approach this topic and to talk about it to my friends. Maybe with time, things would get easier but it her time running out?
DISCARD YOUR UNWANTED PARENTS – PROCESS AND FINAL
Unwanted parents? Let us clear them for you!
Taking up too much space? No longer working like how they used to?
Fret not! Let us get rid of them for you. Simply leave your parents at
your doorstep in the tote bag provided. It that simple and fuss free.
Deciding on the rubbish bag–to go with outlines or a blue fill. In the end, I
went with the blue fill bag as the fill helped to weigh the illustration down as
it was visually heavier than the outlined bag which helps to balance the weight
of the man on the right making it more comfortable to look at visually.
Lisa suggested that instead of illustrating the red strip out, I cut and attach a red
strip onto my print like how they do on the Chinese lunar calendar. This helped to
add textural depth to the 2d print and made it more interesting visually.
– Poster ( put up at the HDB blocks to inform households of the happening of the event )
– Invite ( delivered to each household to inform and prepare them for the collection day )
– Voucher ( as a token of appreciation for each parent donated )
– Badge ( badge of (dis)honour “PROUD DONATOR OF YOUR PARENT’S NAME” )
To publicise and to inform the households of the happening of this event to they
can set aside time from their busy schedules to clear their faulty or underperforming
parents from their rooms.
Collaterals – invite, voucher, badge
To inform people of the collection day and the procedure.
Thank you for donating, Charles Lim! You will be rewarded with a 10 dollars
voucher for each parent donated.
Badge of (dis)honour
Proud donator of Chua Fong Fong. A badge that you can keep with you to remind
you of your noble contributions to your family and to the society.
DISCARD YOUR UNWANTED PARENTS – RESEARCH AND IDEATION
BAG OF LUDICKROUSITY
I draw inspiration from things I hear, observe and feel everyday, translating them into visuals. I would say that soft toys are rather intimate objects for we all attach unique memories to them. By collecting and stitching the soft toys together, I am stitching all these little stories together to tell my version of the story.
so absurd and silly that it is amusing
Looking back at my body of works, I found that they share this slightly absurd yet playful quality (definition of ludicrous) which is what makes my works entertaining. At first glance, this bag seems like a very cute and child-friendly bag, but upon a second look, you will realise like the existence of the pig man, the super puff and that the bears share the same eyeball. Just like my illustrations, they appear friendly but upon a second look you will realise some strange details.
The bag too doubles up as a pin the tail game, a game I used to play at birthday parties when I was younger. What makes this game so shareable and universal is that it requires no formal translation. The joy of the game can be translated to any language and culture, which is what I feel illustration has the power to do. Illustration is a universal language. Pin the tail is a game of play, where winning is only of marginal importance. Seeing the player stumble around trying to get the tail at the right position is where the fun of the game lies. Entertaining, at times exciting, the result is the most ludicrous. This organic process is similar to my creative process where I don’t work with an end product in mind but immerse myself in the process of working enjoying it. Lastly, this game requires the participation of people. It is only enjoyable and fun when you involve people in the game, like how I work, I find people very interesting and enjoy interacting with them and and having their input in my works.
NEVER-NEVER LAND [ PROCESS AND FINAL ]
never-never land | key-words
sort of like a utopia – an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect
Painted in vibrant colors on giant canvases and featuring laughing male figures with stylized traits,
they are mainly the artist’s self-portraits presented either as a single figure or replicated endlessly to form a mob of clones doubled over in hysterics.These unsettling figures appear in grotesque poses, creating a kind of tension straddling lightheartedness, absurdity and exaggeration, which, through repetition and variation, offer endless possibilities and have made his work both powerful and subtle. At first glance, his images look happy and amusing, but we can’t get away from an underlying sense of uneasiness – his blue skies and bubblegum-pink faces soon turn into something sinister and we realize that the subjects of his paintings are laughing at something they really shouldn’t be laughing at, like a mass execution.
Placed in ludicrous, improbable, comic or tragic situations, we find these figures grinning from ear to ear
The atmosphere may be celebratory, but Yue’s images often evoke the idea of war or death.
We are plunged into a cartoon-like world where anything is possible and absurdity is the norm. But Yue doesn’t provide any clues as to what is going on in his paintings featuring unusual image associations in which every sign remains open to interpretation. With their eyes closed and mouths wide open, the painted or sculpted faces display the rigidity of impenetrable masks, putting up a barrier to block any attempt at interiority, instead reflecting whatever the viewer wants to see in them: a caricature of Chinese society’s homogenization, a way of “grinning and bearing it” in an irrational world or a form of self-derision on the part of the artist.
The act of smiling and laughing to mask feelings of helplessness held great significance for his generation.
Idealised and glorified it borders on being slightly unsettling. The figures captured look flushed and healthy, often as the most perfect version of themselves.
never-never land | moodboard
never-never land | key-words
Capturing the essence of obsession as the perfect world you create in your mind. Obsession takes over your mind. It blinds you and all you can see and on your mind is that one thing you are obsessed about. Thinking and fantasising about it fills you up and you would find yourself grinning just thinking about it.
Obsession is a fantasy you make up of people and places as you like them to be. It takes over your mind and body and you start to lose yourself. Trapped in this idyllic state, you feel a sense of happiness but one that is intoxicating. This is obsession.
Masking this fake idyllic state with the huge grins plastered across the faces of the playful characters who seem to be in a state of euphoria, it evokes a sense of uneasiness leaving viewers question if what they see is actually joy or just a happy facade.
never-never land | colour palette
The saturated colour palette used and the rendering which involves the use of white highlights to suggest this gummy and glossy, fake world contributes to suggesting the idea of a fantasy that you find yourself lost and trapped in.
never-never land | process
never-never land | thumbnail sketches
never-never land | user profile
never-never land | mock-up
VAROOM [ RESEARCH ]
about varoom | what is it exactly?
Varoom is the globally leading illustration magazine featuring a unique combination of industry insight and critical analysis of the field of illustration.
Varoom is only published bi-annually?? by the AOI (Association of Illustrators) which is the professional body for illustration in the UK that actively advocates for illustration as a profession. Established in 1973, the AOI champions illustrators and the illustration industry with education, promotion and campaigning
to achieve a thriving industry for us all.
TheAOI provides contract and business support to illustrators. They champion the rights of illustrators, and run competitions and events, promoting and encouraging commercial and ethical standards within the industry, to improve the standing of illustration as a profession.
about varoom | having a place for illustration
Varoom magazine is changing the perception of illustration in the creative industries
Varoom is trying to clear the common misconception people have of illustration is that it is one-dimensional. However, Varoom subject-matter helps us understand that all wider-world ideas are equally as pertinent to illustration as other creative disciplines.
Olivia Ahmad, the new editor, explains that the definition of what illustrators do is expanding all the time. Whether the work is personal or commissioned, an illustrator’s unique voice is always embedded in the work, even a tight brief to advertise a product can tell us a lot about society and what is considered desirable Illustrators have a toolkit of largely unrecognised skills that are essential for coming up with the images for which they are commissioned.
There are infinite potentials for the application of drawing, illustration and illustrative thinking. However in the 1990s, the illustration industry took a bad turn with rapid technological advancements resulting in ubiquitous design software being used to create images that took space from illustrators. Nonetheless, illustration has remained resilient and commissioners are increasingly seeing the value of an illustrator’s distinctive visual language, especially “now that all our daily lives are flooded with photographs and other media competing for our attention.” It seems certain that there will be exciting progressions in the field of illustration and Varoom offers an essential platform where illustrator’s can demonstrate their abilities.
about varoom | the obsession issue
Obsession: an issue about obsessive practice and being obsessed with one thing or another.
Varoom’s Obsession issue – an issue about Obsessive practice, Obsessed with Neon, Obsessed with Ladybird, Obsessed with Outsider Artists who are Obsessed with One Thing or another. Writer Linda Scott observes that East End Outsider Artist Madge Gill would paint, knit and sew while in a delirious trance, whilst in possession of her spirit guide Myrninterest. While Barcelona illustrator Mr Mourao says in the We’re Lost In Pictures feature, “The main goal is to draw as much detail as possible so that the viewer gets sucked in and gets lost in the drawing.”
about varoom | association of illustrators
STYLISED SELF PORKTRAIT
PIGS! BAHAMAS! CUCUMBER! SWIMMING!
These were the few words that popped up in my head when tasked to fill up the word list.
BRING ME TO BAHAMAS!!! My dream would be to move to the Bahamas where I can swim
with my pigs in the Exumas, Pig Island. I will harvest cucumbers from my cucumber garden
and fish my own seafood and enjoy chirashi don everyday.
Okay, so with these few key words in mind, I began doodling and making some sketches.
As I have in mind for my self portrait to be humorous, I decided to play with exaggeration
and also worked around a rather warm and vivid colour palette.
Illustrator – Sam Drew – Cardiff, UK
One of my favourite illustrators. His illustrations makes you slightly uncomfortable yet draws
you in. Strangely appealing with a humorous touch.
I wanted my self portrait to exude the same feel–through the juxtaposition of things and also
the the exaggeration of certain features.
First thing I did was to get my face right. I wanted to include my face in my composition as
I think I have pretty iconic facial features.
I have three black holes on my face, erm four to be exact if you’d count my face in but wait
nope,my face is a square. My nostrils are really perfect circles and I can fit 3 gummy worms
in each hole. The biggest hoe is my mouth, which is able to hold 28 grapes. My friends say
that my face is like a loaf of bread as my left dimple–which I’d refer to as a cave (able to hold
two grains of basmati rice), squeezes my cheeks out making my face swell. Oh and my tongue
is the strongest muscle and perhaps the muscle I use most frequently, not sure if thats a good
thing. I can hold on to my chewed food while laughing and it does not budge, it’s just like a
Now I’m stuck. With my face done, I have no idea how to include the rest of the elements,
namely–the pigs, bahamas as well as the cucumbers and as I did not want to include entire
body in I decided to move on.
Here’s the next sketch (incomplete too) I did!
Working around the idea of “Pig in human suit”. I have here my pig head, my little soul and
my human body suit. As I detest toes and feet in general, I changed my foot into a hand. Also,
all my illustrations only have four fingers as I feel like the human hand looks better with an even
number of fingers.
However, I am still not satisfied with this layout as I felt that the elements still look very isolated
and there is something lacking that is not gelling this piece together. Also, the ‘monochromatic’
colour palette isn’t working here as it just appears rather flat and not creating any visual interest.
It’s not working outtttttt. I need another plan. I decided to go back to the Bahamas (i want to
go there), and created a scene so that my composition would be more cohesive.
So here’s my final self porktrait!
Working around the face I drew earlier, I morphed myself into a mother pig with my little piglets swimming beside my on the island. Behind, are cucumbers that I have drawn to resemble cacti.
I really enjoyed this assignment as I am given full freedom and artistic licence to drive the
direction of this project. I had great fun drawing some of my favourite things in the world.
Looking forward to the next assignment!
WO DE COLOUR