Ego in Different Settings ~ Project 3

As the last third of this semester approaches, our final project requires us to create a total of 12 compositions. We were given the freedom to use any 2D medium that we wish in order to portray our “egos in different settings”. The 12 compositions will be split into 4 rows of threes and amongst each row, we had to represent ourselves, a setting and our reaction in that setting.

Since the style of this project was entirely up to us, the one rule we had to follow was to match our use of colours with various colour theories. Hence, I started this project with research on colour theories. 

Research on Colour Theories

Image result for colour wheel

Monochromes Harmony

In the monochromatic colour scheme, the lightness and saturation of a single colour are altered. Derived from a single hue, a variety of shades and tones are achieved by adding a darker colour, grey or black. It can also be lightened with the addition of white.

Analogous Harmony 
Image result for analogous colour scheme

Colours in the analogous colour scheme are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. Out of two colours, one is the dominant colour while the other is used to enrich the scheme. Since the colours are rather close to each other on the wheel, they do not create much contrast.

Analogous Harmony Warm and Cool 

The warm and cool analogous harmony are differentiated through the warm and cool portions of the colour scheme. The range of colours from red to yellow can be paired together as warm analogous harmony while colours ranging from violet to green can be paired together as cool analogous harmony.

Complementary Hues

Made of two colours that are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel, the complementary colour schemes offer a great contrast between warm and cool colours. Its high contrast draws a lot of attention and is eye-catching.

Split Complementary  
Image result for split complementary color scheme

Expanding on the standard complementary colour scheme, the split complementary uses a colour and the two colours adjacent to its complementary. It provides high contrast but is not as strong as the complementary colour scheme. It is harder to balance in comparison to the other colour schemes.

Image result for triadic colour scheme

The triadic colour scheme essentially involves the use of three colours that are equally spaced on the colour wheel. The use of colours that falls under this scheme will look create contrast and look harmonious simultaneously. To allow for a nice balance, normally one colour will dominate while the other two will be used as accents.


In the midst of missing many aspects of Hong Kong after having lived there for the majority of my childhood, I decided to incorporate these feelings into my compositions as an overarching theme. After mind mapping on things that I am reminiscent of in Hong Kong (which can be found in my visual journal),  I decided on the top few and came up with 4 equations.

First plan

  1. tired me + in my bean bag = relaxed (digital)
    • base colour = blue
  2. cozy me + during autumn = at peace (embroidery on felt)
    • base colour = orange
  3. walking home + at Ap Lei Chau/Hong Kong = safe, comforted and homey (colour pencil)
    • base colour = purple
  4. hungry me + eating home cooked food = comforted (watercolour)
    • base colour = blue

As for the colour scheme of each row, I decided to stick with a base colour and use it to work with various colour schemes for each individual compositions.

artist inspiration ” Mireia Ruiz

Mireia Ruiz was the inspiration for the last compositions of each of my four rows. During the planning of my compositions, I struggled with coming up with ideas for “me and my reaction to the setting” as I didn’t know how to express my emotions through the application of objects. Having stumbled across an interview with artist Mireia Ruiz in a magazine, I was intrigued by her abstract creations, especially her use of colours.

Although all her works were abstract pieces, the variety of form, colours, lines, negative and positive space present in her work really gave each painting its own unique quality. Thereafter, I was inspired to create abstract pieces to express my various emotions of me in my comforting setting.

first row

My 1st row of compositions portrays the reunion of tired me and my beanbag which I use to always take naps on after returning from a long day of school. The layered placement of the eye mask was executed in order to convey the deterioration of my energy during school; further emphasised with the monochromatic scheme that creates a depth within the piece. As for the setting, my beanbag is ‘personified’ in the sense that I had given it arms as a way to show its openness and invitation for me to join it. Coloured in a dark greyish blue hue, its dullness shows the absence of a companionship which in this scenario is me.

Tired Me Beanbag  Feeling relaxed
Colour scheme Monochromatic Complementary Spilt complementary (blue, red-orange, yellow-orange)

Eye Mask trials

After deciding on the second version amongst these two, Joy and I discussed during our first consult that the eye masks could be portrayed more clearly as eye masked and hence I added the straps for a clearer image.

Bean Bag trials

After my consult with Joy where she suggested I could try including features that related to the context of Hong Kong such as dim sum basket texture, food textures, etc…, the piece on the right was my attempt for that which didn’t work out quite well. Since I wasn’t able to capture the texture of a dim sum basket, I decided to go with the paper below steamed buns and dim sum dishes instead which is present in my final composition.

First Attempt // Final

The last composition for this row was the first abstract piece I tried to create. The piece on the right was my first attempt at it whereby the colours did not match well with the split complementary colour theory. Since I felt like the placement of lines and shape were also not as concise, I redid this piece which turned out to be the one on the right, that I choose for the final.

second row

This second row portrays my cravings for home-cooked food since living in hall at university. The distressed looked on the spoons in the first compositions represent my longing for home-cooked food and the placement of it also resembles tears of desperation. As for the second piece, the image of home-cooked food has been pixelated in attempt to show that although I still have memories of it, it is currently not present in my life and hence blurred.

Hungry Me Home-cooked food Feeling Comforted
Colour scheme Complementary Triadic Triadic

The triadic scheme adopted in the majority of this row is blue, red and yellow. Specifically because blue and red to me are iconic colours that represent Hong Kong. To allow for the presence of both these colours, I had to include yellow for them to fit as a colour theory. Hence for the paleness of yellow.

third row

Working with autumn as my favourite season out of the four seasons, I wanted to portray the cosiness and comfort that this weather brings me. Specifically for this row, I decided that I wanted to work with embroidery because it was suitable for portraying the theme of warmth and thicker clothes. The first composition is of myself being wrapped in a blanket as I do during the majority of autumn. Secondly, I conveyed autumn as my setting through an image of autumn being in a cozy cup of a hot drink.

Cold Me Autumn Feeling Cozy
Colour scheme Spilt complementary (orange, blue-green, blue-violet) Spilt complementary (orange, blue-green, blue-violet)  Analogous

Orange used as the base colour to represent autumn, while the other two colours were used to create depth and shadow.

Photoshop sketches before embroidery

Digital draft of the third composition before embroidery

Before starting to embroider straight onto my felt, I created digital sketches and drafts of the compositions that I wanted to sew in order to get the measurements right and have a clear idea of what I was embroidering.

fourth row

Lastly, my fourth row of composition encompasses my feeling of comfort and safeness on the island of “Ap Lei Chau” in Hong Kong where I have lived all my childhood. I portrayed myself being lost, which could be interpreted mentally or physically, with darker hues of purple to express a sense of mis-belonging. In the second piece of this row, the use of lighter purple was intended to express a sense of nostalgia.

Lost Me Ap Lei Chau Feeling Safe
Colour scheme Monochromatic Complementary Spilt complementary (violet, yellow-orange, yellow-green)

First attempt

During the process of creating my abstract pieces, I actually found it quite challenging to piece together lines and forms that would somehow look neat yet random. This process resulted in many half-completed pieces as I redid them.

final presentation

To end of the first semester of foundation 2D, I really enjoyed implementing a style of my own into this project as well as experimenting with a variety of mediums. Although it was time-consuming and stressful at times, it was a great experience and I had a great time admiring the amazing work that my classmates created 🙂

“Forrest Gump” ~ Project 2

My mama always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump, 1994

Tasked to pick four movie quotes and create a visual narrative that expresses each quote using found images, project two challenges us to break away from translating literature into visuals that are too literal. The artist influences for this project are from art movements such as Surrealism, DADA, and Russian Constructivism.

Research on Surrealism

Surrealism is an art movement involving visual art and literature that grew out of the earlier Dada movement. Its emphasis was on positive expression and revolves around hyper-realistic styles. Art created in this art movement was a reaction against what people saw as a destruction wrought by the “rationalism” that had guided European culture through the horrors of WW1.

This surrealistic piece by Rene Magritte represents a fictional scene whereby day and night exist at the same time. Although portrayed in a very subtle manner, this piece allows me to appreciate surrealism.

Another artist that I referenced for this project was Joe Webb. As an artist who works with collaging, the play on colour and scale in his works were very inspiring when creating my compositions.

Picking my quotes

The first movie that I looked at for my quotes was Mission Impossible Rogue Nation (2005). Although I gathered a total of 5 quotes initially, I realized that it was more challenging to interpret some of them rather than the others visually. Hence, only two out of four of my final quotes were from this movie. An example of a quote that I struggled with was “Sir, Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny, and he’s made you, his mission.” – Alan Huntley. When trying to develop ideas from this quote, I realized that not only was it a little too specific to the characters in the movie, the words had too broad of a spectrum that I struggled with visuals that could interpret it best.

“Human Nature, my weapon of choice…” – Soloman Lane, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation 2005

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate” – Cool Hand Luke, 1967

The approach that I took in creating my compositions was through dissecting various words in the quotes and piecing them together visually.

“Human Nature, my weapon of choice…” – Soloman Lane, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation 2005

Composition 1

Final Tote Print

For my first composition that I had printed on my tote bag, this design portrays the ‘control’ in the first quote through the use of a vending machine as the main subject as well as a repeated pattern of joysticks in the background.  Inspired by Rene Magritte’s Golconda, the inclusion of joysticks in the background creates depth. With the vending machine portraying choice and control over what the person wants, the context of ‘human nature’ comes into the content of the machine. Replacing the typical items such as food and drinks, I decided to work with elements of human nature which include emotions, senses and the physical human body. Emotions portrayed through the use of emojis, senses through the use of eyes, nose and mouth, and the physical body portrayed through the use of limbs.

Initially, when the application of halftone was compulsory, my composition looked very flat as a whole due to the lack of contrast. However, after we had the option of removing the use of halftone, I decided to only apply it in the background so as to not take too much focus of the vending machine.

Composition 2

In this next composition of the same quote, I wanted to portray control in the setting of a gamer playing a game. Using an image of a person holding a console to convey the control that they have in their hands, the weapons that are available to them on the screen shows imagery that reflects control over humans. The first one being a puppet master controlling its puppet, followed by images that represent mind control in the other two. The rippling background adds additional effect and focal point to the tv screen.

During the critique, it was brought up that the words within the ‘weapon’ frame were too distracting and it would have been better visually if I could find a different image to replace it.

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate” – Cool Hand Luke, 1967

Composition 3

The first composition for this quote was rendered through the exploration of communication which includes verbal and signs language. I decided to bring in a blender as the main focus because I was inspired by the use of a quirky object such as a vending machine in the first composition. Out of the many household objects, the blender was also one that produced a lot of noise which I thought was fitting since verbal communication is normally a failure when the environment is very noisy. Going against the norm of having hands pressing the buttons of the blender, I placed hands that form letters of sign language inside the blender. Although the five hands spell out the word ‘hello’, the messy blended motion jumbles the letters up to show a failure in communication. Another play of scale is shown in the smoke clouds that are placed by the wires on the bottom right corner.

Forming ideas that involve placing random everyday objects into a quirky context reflects a part of creativity that I really enjoy and hope to incorporate more into future creations.

Composition 4

Through this last composition, I portrayed the idea of realization that communication has broken down between two individuals in a relationship. Unknowingly, they are drowning each other literally and figuratively. Ironically, the person on the left is a lifeguard who is blind to see that he is drowning his friend. The weight towards the left of the composition portrays him as the dominating figure. The structure of the lifeguard house was also strategically placed to symbolize the form of a human body.


Compositions of the first quote on the top and second quote at the bottom.

Silk Screening process

Ending off this digital project manually, we experimented with the process of silk screening. Although long and tedious, the process was still very fun and receiving an outcome felt rewarding. Unfortunately, since a large portion of the process took place in the darkroom, I was unable to record as many process pictures. I do however have an image of my exposed silkscreen. Exposed at 18 seconds, my second attempt with fewer halftones was more successful as the contrast turned out a lot greater.

Exposed silkscreen

After washing our exposed silkscreen, the next step was to create prints with it. This involved the process of applying ink to one end of the silkscreen and using a squidgy to glide the ink over evenly by applying even pressure.

Ink on silkscreen before print

Since this was the first time I had tried silk screening, I learnt a lot about a new process of producing art 🙂

Improvements to be made 

During the critique, it was mentioned that the outcome of two of my compositions was better, the vending machine and blender. Unfortunately, the other two did not portray the quote as well and it could have been because I kept going back to make changes hence losing the original meaning. Since the majority of some compositions were in greyscale, I could’ve contrasted them more to improve on its visual components. In conclusion, although I did struggle quite a lot in creating my compositions and making sure that the meaning of my quotes came through, I was pleased with the final result.