Dear OSS,
The project “My Line is Emo” is over.
(The process taken to create the piece can be found here)

This post is about

discussing the final product I have created and to go over the evaluation I was given as well as evaluating myself.


01. Fear (Apprehension)
Represents the apprehension I had as I was packing to head to this mysterious new land. I had no idea what to expect. The curvy looped lines stretched along the strip represents not only the confusion but also the writhing feeling in my stomach. The randomly placed rectangular marks gives more dimension. The range of values in each rectangular marks illustrates how I would move back and forth from either thinking confidently “I got this” and nervously cooking up nervous scenarios such as “But what if”. The contrast between the straight lines of the rectangles and looped line also helps exaggerate the confusion.

The marks were created by
the use of string and the angle of a lithograph. At first I placed a thin piece of sewing thread on a lithograph. Afterwards I unevenly applied ink onto the surface of the lithograph. This created the imprint of the curvy looped lines and rectangles with different values.


02. Anger (Frustration)
Represents the frustration I felt when I first arrived in the unfamiliar country. Starting from my arrival at 4AM Singapore time I was stranded alone to solve things on my own lugging a bag half my height. My problems did not end at the airport. Even simple things like having a hard time memorizing names in an unfamiliar language as well as getting used to Singlish was hard for me “sia”. Aware of the fact that the same actions can represent different meanings in each culture, I decided to choose actions that all humans regardless of culture can relate to as a way to represent frustration. I chose the action of crumpling objects and scribbling To me, the crumpled folds and messy lines shows the let out of heat and felt appropriate to represent frustration. Thus, I used the two actions to create the marks for this strip. After several attempts I was able to attain a strip dark in value to show the low sunken feeling of being angry.

The marks were created through three steps. First, crumpling plastic bags. To capture the texture of the crumpled surface, I crumpled the bag and then flattened it. After doing so I applied ink on each flattened side. One side will allow the plastic bag to stick to the lithograph while the other side’s ink will be imprinted on the paper. Second, once the paper was placed on top of the lithograph that had crumpled plastic bags on it, I pressed the paper down by using a scruffy brush. This helped give more texture to the marks. Lastly, I took the bottom edge of a toothbrush and dragged it across the back of paper and scribbled. This created the messy scribbling shown on the strip.


03. Surprise (Surprise)
Represents the initial feelings of surprise when I arrived in Singapore. I felt like I was dropped onto an island unprepared. This thought was exactly what surprised me the most because I did prepare prior to coming to Singapore. I printed out maps, took notes on my phone, marked dates on my calendar, and on and on. Thus, I was further taken back with the fact that I was still lost when I arrived in Singapore. Things did not go according to plan. There are two main components I used to present this feeling. First, the blank organic shapes. They represents the lost me in Singapore. I chose to use shapes that are organic instead of straight lines because that would give a feeling of order and structure. In other words, the opposite vibe of what I intended. Second is the diagonal lines. The diagonal lines passing through represents the fast paced city of Singapore where everyone seems to know what they are doing. This is in stark contrast with me who is quite lost. The contrast is reaffirmed by the value and thickness of the shape of the two subjects as well. The first subject of organic shapes are light in value and lumpy. On the other hand, the second subject of diagonal lines are thin and dark in value. Overall, it helps create the feeling that the blank spaces are stationary or slower than the background where diagonal lines are swooshing by.

The marks were created in mainly two components. The first was ripping out the notes I have taken down to help me navigate Singapore. These were placed on the lithograph and ink was applied over it so it creates a blank space. The second is creating the diagonal lines. Once the paper was placed on the lithograph with ink applied on it, I ran the edge of a toothbrush against the lithograph to create the lines.


04. Sadness (Homesickness)

Represents the infectious characteristic that sadnesses like homesickness possesses. Like how one small crack can lead to another bigger one, one depressed thought leads to a trail of them. I showed them through series of lines intertwined and connected to each other to emulate a crack. The strip as a whole is bland because to me homesickness is feeling empty and missing a part of  yourself.

The marks were created through trials. To create the lines that emulate cracks I used sewing thread. I realized when I placed the string soaked in ink on the paper the marks were too clear and not fit for the hazy bland look I was going for. I realized by flipping the paper I was able to use the back of the paper were the ink seeps through the achieve the mood I wanted.



05. Joy (Delight)

Represents the feeling of joy that I had as I discovered and learned more about Singapore and started to find my place here. While I related my personal experience and situation for the rest of the emotions, I decided to choose a comparatively generic way to express delight. This is because compared to the other emotions which could be felt in different ways depending on the individual, I felt like delight could be felt in a common way. I decided to choose a generic expression that is used to describe delight; “burst of delight”. As a result, I attempted to illustrate the bubbly explosive feeling of delight. The long ink trails that starts from the left top corner helps emphasize the active feeling of delight.

The marks were created by spraying ink mixed with water. Water was added to the ink to making it more flowing. This allowed more splatters to be created. In addition, to give the feeling of ‘bubbly’ I placed the cap of a green tea bottle (which I was delighted to find a drink I used to have back at home in Singapore) in the center of where I was spraying the ink. To create the strip, I sprayed a strip of paper at least 5 times bigger than the assigned strip dimensions. I intended to crop out any random area as delight is sudden rush of emotions.


06. Love (Fondness)

MY LINE IS EMO / Process

Dear OSS,
for Foundation 2D Week 1 my class will be working on “My Line is Emo”.

The project is about
creating 6 strips where each represents a different emotion in the primary emotion categories that consists of love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, and fear. Emotions will be presented through the technique of mark making.

I want to
have a constant theme that ties all the emotions into one story. The story I chose is related to my personal experience and the movie Lost in Translation (2003) directed by Sofia Coppola.

Growing up I had to be constantly on the move. Every 2 to 3 years I would move to a new area and sometimes even new countries due to the characteristics of my father’s occupation. Whenever this happened I had to go through the phase of being “lost in translation”.

To me Lost in Translation (2003) accurately captures the alienation and slight discomfort it causes you when you are dropped into the middle of no where.

Thus, for project 1 I would like to walk the viewer through the emotional phases of moving and adapting to a new environment based on my experience of coming to Singapore for the first time.

Experimentation #1: string
I used strings to attain continuous curved lines. To me it seemed fit to present the emotions of fear or anger. Whenever I get nervous or frustrated I would get a wriggling sensation in my stomach. I felt like strings could represent this feeling. While experimenting I found that the amount of ink applied to the lithograph significantly changes the amount of texture that will be imprinted on the paper. So for the picture shown above, I lifted up a certain amount of ink in the area where I will place the string with scrap paper. Not only did this create a interesting block of grey in a black background, the curves of the string became more visible. I think curves would have been even more visible if I was able to get yarn instead of sewing thread.

Experimentation #2: tissue, choice of pressure tool, lines
I wanted to capture the texture of my mark making tool as well so I chose tissue that has a bumpy surface. I wanted to show the emotion of surprise. One of the things that surprised me was that the canteens in the school do not provide tissues. As a messy eater who only been to food courts where tissues are provided this was surprising and hard to get used to.  I created marks that cartoons use to show their characters shivering around the tissues to exaggerate the surprise. In addition to the shiver marks I drew straight diagonal lines to give a sense of movement to my piece. I wanted to emulate that feeling of being alone in the city not sure where to go to while everyone around me are rushing on with their lives. 

For my second try I tried folding the tissues. To me being surprised is a sudden reaction that leaves an impression on me.So I wanted to use straight lines in contrast to the curves used for fear and anger through string.   At first I was unable to capture the bumpy surface of the tissue as shown in the photo. So for the second try I lightly rolled my roller soaked in ink over the tissues so it would create a mark on the paper.


Experimentation #3: plastic bag
In addition to the trying to capture the texture of tissues I wanted to capture the rough texture of a crumpled plastic bag. I chose plastic over tissues or paper because it would be easier to press down and thus the crumpled marks will imprint better. I found it was easier to apply bit of ink on both sides. One side will imprint the ink on paper and the other will allow the plastic bag to stick to lithograph. Compared to the tissues, the plastic bag creates a more grungy impression on the paper as it has sharp angles.

Looking back
through the combination of experimenting, talking to other classmates, and critique from our professor I realized I was overly focused on my theme of “Lost in Translation”. Yes, sticking to the theme is important but as I have the freedom to choose whatever mark making tool I want and can make a tool as well if I want, I should be more considerate of what tools I can be using. The tools could also be related to what emotion I am trying to show. For instance my plane tickets or the forms I had to fill out could be incorporated to give a further personal touch.

In addition, my original plan was to decrease the value of the black and white strips as is moves on from fear to falling in love with Singapore. However, I found it difficult to execute this change in value. Due to the different sizes and textures of the mark making tools as well as the difficulty in controlling the right amount of ink applied I was unable to do so.

Lastly, as I was putting this post together I realized I should have taken more pictures. It would have helped me remember how I got certain marks and would have supplemented this post with visuals.