2D Project 1 My Line is Emo — process

Here are some documentation of the process I’ve been through for mark-making. I realise I’m not a person who can multitask very well, and so I kept on forgetting to whip out my phone to record down my experimentation process.

Initial emotions research:

I wanted to get a clear idea of what each emotions represented. Hence I did several small mind-maps for each emotion category and researched on each specific emotion to ensure that my understanding of that emotion is correct.

Experimentation for melancholy:

The feeling of melancholy is something that I believe everyone can instinctively understand as the wrenching throb in the heart but troubles to eloquently put the emotion into words.  And so when I tried to express melancholy in my marks, I tried to keep the the marks to a minimum so that the empty space (the paper) gives a more pervasive feeling of hollowness and emptiness.

I made this by spreading glue around the paper first, and then sprinkling charcoal crumbs previously crushed. When the glue dries, only the charcoal is left behind, obediently following the trail of glue. I thought the idea was interesting, but I didn’t have any use for it in my final 6 emotions

To see more of my process, please refer to my visual journal :DD

This was what I had after a week of experimentation:

Consultation with Mimi

  • Mimi said that my works were too symmetrical (I agree!!!). I actually did try making some strips that were asymmetrical but I discarded them because they looked too bad. But I should really experiment more with having asymmetrical designs or having the idea of gradual up of emotions in order to make my works more exciting
  • Mimi also mentioned that I shouldn’t be working on newsprint alone. I took her advice and experimented with canvas, watercolour paper and newspaper later on :) I also tried to vary my medium by using acrylic and watercolour (wanted to use oil but it wouldn’t dry in time)
  • Can try collaging the works! See if anything interesting comes out of it!
  • There has to be an overarching theme that can hold the separate emotions together (can be in the form of songs, stories, phenomenon, or just anything)
  • Even though Mimi said that I have a wide variations of line work, she said to be careful when choosing my final 6 strips to prevent having the works looking too similar (especially since I seem to have the tendency to product mark-making that fills up the entire page)

Working on my learning points from the consult, I continued experimenting with more emotions, specifically working on points raised during the consultation.

Working with asymmetry

Working with different medium:

Initial idea was to simply roll a roller over crumpled paper

I decided to work on this idea by introducing newspaper as a medium to create a paper mache effect.

I brainstormed for a suitable theme to make my emotions cohesive and coherent when seen in a certain sequence. I had a few ideas off the top of my mind but they were somewhat random. At the end, since we are dealing with emotions in this project, I started to think about what emotions themselves signify. I felt that emotions are something very ‘raw’ and very ‘unique’ to humans. Yes, some animals can feel emotions as well, but they’re not as varied nor can they reach the same depth as human emotions can. Along this line of thought, I decided that I wanted to do something that ties in very closely to what makes a human human, which is how I arrived at my theme “life”.


With this as my starting point, I started to narrow down emotions that I want to deal with. I identified the different stages of life and the emotions one most probably would have felt at that point in time:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Teenager – Adulthood
  • Mid-life Crisis
  • Illness/ approaching old age
  • Before the final end

(Check out the journal for the full description for each stage :> )

From my huge pile of emotions, I picked out 6 emotions most representative of what one would have felt at the six identified stages of life:

  • Infancy — Amazement
  • Adolescence — Exasperation
  • Teenager – Adulthood — Lust
  • Mid-life Crisis — Melancholy
  • Illness/ approaching old age — Mortification
  • Before the final end — Bliss

I went on making the final emotions used for submission. However, I realised that the same marks can never be replicated. Even subtle differences can make a big difference to the general mood the marks elicit.

In particular, I couldn’t get ‘Lust’ the way I wanted at all even after multiple, numerous, countless number of tries and kilos of paint wasted (just kidding). In a spurt of frustration, I folded a strip that I was doing halfway, intending to discard it. However, when I opened the strip, it dawned on me how perfect Warhol’s Rorscharch technique can be applied. I started experimenting more with this technique, constantly being pleasantly surprised whenever I open the folded paper.

And so, one day before submission, I changed “Lust” to “Affection”, an emotion I thought best described the ink blot I made.

In the end, my final six emotions were:

  • Infancy — Amazement
  • Adolescence — Exasperation
  • Teenager – Adulthood — Affection
  • Mid-life Crisis — Melancholy
  • Illness/ approaching old age — Mortification
  • Before the final end — Bliss



My Line is Emo — Research on Artists

I am rather fascinated by how non-representational mark making is able to express so many varied emotions. This means that the marks must contain some form of inner significance – one that is able to trigger our thoughts, transport us back to a memory, and resonate with us.

On second thought, however, it makes sense that non-representational marks are able to express our feelings. Emotions are not thoughts after all. They are not literal, not tangible, and not exactly rational. It follows that expressive mark making is indeed an apt medium to portray them.

To learn more about mark making as well as to source for inspirations, here are some artists whom I have researched on:

Ed Moses

Accessed from http://www.laweekly.com/arts/ed-moses-on-new-work-the-poet-and-the-jabberwocky-painting-in-four-dimensions-alice-in-wonderland-and-marilyn-monroes-butt-2372658

Ed Moses is an American abstract artist. To him, art is about “exploring the phenomenal world”. Since the phenomenal world is so diverse and impermanent, it comes as no surprise that Ed Moses’ approach to art is highly experimental. It is quite obvious from his works that he refrains from being limited to a certain style.

Ed Moses does not consciously dictate what to do in front of a canvas and is happy to accept whatever ‘accidents’ and mistakes as part of his artistic process.

Some of his works:

Accessed from http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-ed-moses-at-90-20160501-story.html

Love the subtle use of red!

Accessed from http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-ed-moses-at-90-20160501-story.html
Accessed from http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-ed-moses-at-90-20160501-story.html
Accessed from http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-ed-moses-at-90-20160501-story.html

The bright red stripe is so bold and striking!

Accessed from https://newamericanpaintings.com/blog/ed-moses-greenbronze

Personally, Ed Moses’ paintings are really enchanting. He varies the transparency of paint, fracture lines abruptly, and smears paints across the canvas liberally, allowing the elements to emerge from and sink in the canvas –  just like the ebb and flow of waves

Andy Warhol


Andy Warhol was an American artist and a leading figure of the Pop Art movement who played an influential role in contemporary art and culture.

Accessed from https://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/september-21-1996–andy-warhol

Rorschach is a series of paintings that Warhol made in 1984. These paintings are essentially ‘ink blots’, with inspiration drawn from “The Ink Blot test” created by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. Patients had to interpret ink blots presented to them, while psychologist would help to decipher their mental and emotional states based on what they perceive.

Interestingly, Warhol misunderstood the clinical process and thought that the patients were supposed to create their own ink blots for the psychologist to decipher – which led to the creation of the Rorschach paintings.

Warhol used the pour-and-fold technique, which helped him to achieve symmetry.

Accessed from http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/andy-warhol-1928-1987-rorschach-5621967-details.aspx
Accessed from http://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/pghinsidersguide/ae/hidden-gems/
Accessed from http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/2009/10/andy-warhol-the-last-decade-at-milwaukee-art-museum/warhol_10/

The paintings are huge!!

Sol LeWitt

Accessed from http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/portrait-of-artist-sol-lewitt-in-his-studio-late-1960s-or-news-photo/532614795#portrait-of-artist-sol-lewitt-in-his-studio-late-1960s-or-early-1970s-picture-id532614795

Sol LeWitt was an American artist who played a leading role in the Conceptual Movement. He placed great emphasis on the concept or idea of his work, rendering inherent narrative and descriptive imagery to be unimportant. As seen from his works, they are all non-representational.

His artistic explorations were systematic: they generally dealt with geometric elements and patterns – visually appealing nevertheless. Interestingly, as he stresses on the importance of ‘concept’, for large part of his wall drawings, LeWitt only conceive and plan them –  the actual works are usually executed by draftsman.


Accessed from http://www.centrepompidou-metz.fr/en/sol-lewitt-wall-drawings-1968-2007
Accessed from https://jewishcurrents.org/september-9-sol-lewitt/

LeWitt believes “each person draws a line differently and each person understands words differently”. This is one of the reason he chose to let draftsmen carry out his plan:

Draftsman inject their own interpretation of the plan into the actual work, allowing the final work to morph into something elusively different from the original plan, yet it is still the same artwork. Any misinterpretation or error made by the draftsman are accepted as part of the work.

Accessed from http://ex-chamber-memo5.up.n.seesaa.net/ex-chamber-memo5/image/1sol-lewitt.jpeg?d=a0
Accessed from http://urania-josegalisifilho.blogspot.sg/2012/01/sol-lewitt-paragraphs-on-conceptual-art.html


I have a curious observation, that is – although these three artists differ greatly in style, all three embrace mistakes and ‘accidents’ as part of the artistic process. They do not eliminate them, but rather generously and happily incorporate them into the final work. This is something I should learn from them and not be fearful of committing errors. I should always keep an open mind and be willing to continuously experiment with new ideas.