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The patterns were all printed on tracing paper and transparency, and the motifs coloured in white by hand on the back of the tracing paper. The purpose is to be able to see the different base patterns layered on top of one another to give different looks based on the level of transparency of each layer. Layering the different patterns gives a complexity to the end product, though the individual patterns are nice on their own.
For this assignment, I want to explore either organic or illustrative work. Organic because I’m fascinated by how intricate and eye catching patterns and shapes can come about through randomness, almost like they were created supernaturally, and illustrative because I don’t consider myself someone who can draw, and would like to push myself.
Personally, dealing with the theme of the seventh month makes me uncomfortable, and as such I would like to focus more on something like mental illness (the idea still seems pretty taboo in our conservative society from my perspective, and it can feel pretty supernatural experiencing these illnesses from both the inside and outside), or perhaps something to do with mythical creatures from around the region.
For this theme, I was thinking along the lines of something more expressive to encompass the feelings of the supernatural. I personally find paranormal activity to be extremely unnerving and creepy, and cannot be exposed to any material of such nature. As such, my chosen colour palette would consist of dark, muted tones, to convey these emotions.
Artist reference: Joan Mitchell
“Joan Mitchell is known for the compositional rhythms, bold coloration, and sweeping gestural brushstrokes of her large and often multi-paneled paintings. Inspired by landscape, nature, and poetry, her intent was not to create a recognisable image, but to convey emotions.” Source
Mitchell used her paintings to convey emotions, and I would like to use this as a point of inspiration for this theme.
Cheim & Read, New York.il on canvas triptych, 13 × 25 inches. Courtesy of
With relation to mental illness, I find that the experience can feel quite supernatural in how the illnesses are experienced by the person affected and the people around them. In many instances, it could feel as if there are supernatural beings within you, manifesting as voices in your head or as another agent of reason altogether, willing you to do things and feel emotions against your own logic.
Artist reference: Bryan Charnley
“Bryan Charnley was a British artist whose popular series, “The Self Portrait Series” captured and reflected the effects of Schizophrenia. Bryan Charnley’s Self Portrait Series intended to portray the ‘humaneness’ of the sufferer and to depict the traumatic experience of the victim through a universally common visual metaphors.” Source
Charnley painted to portray his humanness, but his paintings also send out a disturbing vibe. This juxtaposed with the level-headedness of his corresponding diary entries make him a compelling artist for me. In this series, all of the paintings are oil on canvas and measure 20 x 20 inches.
Bryan Charnley. 23 April 1991.
I had originally had the idea for a series of self portraits from Louis Wain’s series of portraits of cats that changed strangely as he became more and more psychotic. They seemed to show a disintegrating ego. I expected something similar, that is the reliance on a sort of hallucinatory geometry but instead found that I was almost completely unable to concentrate so the painting takes on the crudeness of bad graffiti. I ascribe this to the fact that Depixol strengthens concentration and so its removal means that the power of concentration breaks down. However I would mention that this, as in Louis Wain’s case was not my problem when I originally became ill but seems to have resulted from Depixol dependency. Still on one tablet of Depixol plus sleeping pills. I had come to the conclusion that most people around me had some extra sensory perception ability which gave them access to my mind. In this respect I was like blind man. Hence the crosses on the eyes. They also let me know verbally what they had pi ked up from my thoughts. I was like a dumb man in this respect and hence the cross over the mouth. The crossed out dates are because I was becoming obsessed that I had taken two sittings rather than one on the first self portrait.
Bryan Charnley. 8 June 1991.
The spiders legs seem to be my central condition. I attempted to suggest that they radiated out and became less potent as they departed from my brain. I found that this idea that they sort of dissipated as they removed from the core comforting. The flaming darts of E.S.P. made vocal and right a the point of the birth of the thought too in this case. The white parts represent my thoughts. The triangles meet to produce the discharge of a rational thought that feels like truth and a flaming dart from someone pierces it at inception. The spiders legs represent inhibition, social and otherwise. Is this is truth of my condition? I was to find out otherwise but it was certainly part of the truth.
Reference Images: Christian Sampson
Perhaps the most beautiful of creatures are not those of the land, sea, or sky, but those of our imaginations. These wonderful animals usually originate from folk tales or mythology passed down by mouth through generations of people. I think mythical creatures are absolutely fascinating, and the many differences or quaint similarities between those from around our region can be discovered through this project.
Artist reference: Cathy Zhang
“To appreciate watercolor is to truly embrace its unpredictable nature. The organic movement of color bleeding into each other is intoxicating with each drop. I am naturally drawn to an expressive style because it gives me room to experiment and push my own artistic boundaries.” Source
Watercolour was my favourite medium when I was still doing traditional painting, and I would love to delve into it again. The look of watercolours on paper is calming and yet exciting, and I really appreciate how Zhang manages to add splashes of colour to her animals.
I chose to use my Project 3: Ego works for this zine, and all of the pieces were achieved using watercolours on paper. Since the pieces have a hand painted, organic style to them, I found that many ways of arrangement do not work for this; the pages just looked too cluttered. So instead of going for something elaborate and fancy, I decided to go the other way: simple and elegant. With only one (maximum two) pieces per page, I’ve managed to allow the art to stand out against the white background.
Another problem I encountered was the readability of the text bodies in my zine.
For some reason, it looked great to me in InDesign, but printed out spotted and thin. I thought this was just because my printer is bad, but the good colour printer also showed this result.
I changed the font opacity and thickness and the problem was quickly solved.
I’m so glad we got the chance to learn some functional skills like using InDesign to make a zine. I never even knew about zines until this project, and this opened up a whole different world for me. So many uses for zines!
I’m also really appreciative of you, Shirley, and my classmates who made lessons super duper fun and happy 🙂 hope to see you guys in the next sem and beyond! 😀
In the previous project, I went with more of a different approach from this project. My artworks didn’t look like they were from the same series. I tried this time to make a series of pieces instead of 6 separate ones, using a running theme of cool tone backgrounds with warm subjects, making the ‘electric’ item in each piece the brightest part, using oranges and reds. Most of my pieces also have scenarios that cannot happen in real life.
Electricity from the point of view of paramedics is resuscitation; deliver a shock to the heart and pray.
Depicted are the paddles of a defibrillator, a device meant to deliver shocks to a patient’s chest to aid the heart in restarting. The paddles are orange, and as a special touch I added some special tape to the middle of the piece:
Glow in the dark tape! This stuff is pretty strong and can be visible even in daylight (thanks Shirley for the suggestion!).
Electricity from the point of view of an engineering student is his syllabus; a student holds open his textbook to reveal, instead of study material, images of lightning and bolts of electricity.
I struggled a fair bit with this idea, getting constantly stuck at translating the words into an image. I concentrated too much on thinking out of the box, but finally went with a (to me) cliché book-in-the-hand.
Again, the book stayed blank for a long time, until I thought of making lightning the content of the book, to represent electricity. I tried at first to draw the lightning in with pencil and pen, but it just looked like cracks in plaster. So I used my trusty masking fluid to mask out the shape of lightning, and applied a blotchy wash of blues to mimic the night sky. The result (and peeling off the masking fluid) was highly satisfying.
Electricity from the point of view of electronics is blood; it is what flows through them, what gives them life.
Without electricity, the electronics would be useless. Here I have painted a broken keyboard with blood flowing out of it, in a rather gory fashion. I considered putting in the lettering onto the keys, but thought that would be too distracting. Quite proud of this one, and it was the first one completed.
Electricity from the point of view of water is a murder weapon; it may be suicide to the person, but from the water’s perspective it has involuntarily murdered someone.
I’ve used quite a common understanding here, of people sitting in a bathtub with a hairdryer to commit suicide. At first, the gun trigger was not present, and that seemed a little boring. So since the hairdryer is technically a murder weapon, and the added bonus of it looking like a gun, I thought the trigger would be quite fitting (thanks Jeremy!).
Electricity from the point of view of an office worker is a dead end job; either live through quitting your job or die trying.
Here I’m depicting a white collar worker at wits end, trying to rip out the cable that supplies his work station, his source of meaningless tasks, with electricity (or blood!). The bones show death, representing the endless (well, until death) stream of work coming in.
Electricity from the point of view of Earth hour is not complete darkness; the meaning of the day is forgotten when the phones are not plugged in.
We get the sense that we are not consuming electricity when we turn off the things in the house that use electricity, but what about our phones and flashlights? Here I’ve painted a figure in complete darkness, but still using their phone. The soft, ambient light casts a glow on their face.
I painted in the first layer of black just with the two light bits left out, but it seemed slightly ambiguous, so I added another layer for the figure to stand out more.
What’s a complete project without the instagram post 🙂
Achieved using a mix of colour pencils, permanent marker and watercolour wash.
Looking much better after defining!
Achieved by creating letters in a game called Terraria using blocks of different ‘material’, and then taking a screenshot. Or multiple.
Here’s a better aspect ratio!
Achieved by folding and scrunching scrap fabrics into letters and gluing them onto more scrap fabric. I also added some clasps and fasteners to decorate the empty spaces, as well as a bow.
The wrinkles and folds of the letter ‘I’ are very obvious here. I used one side of a snap fastener for the tittle of the ‘I’ too.
The final piece! But wait…
It’s too big (ﾉಥ益ಥ）ﾉ ┻━┻
Achieved with 0.05 and 0.1 diameter micron pens on paper. And many many hours. MANY. Hours.
References from Instagram
Pencil work for the text!
And so the end of my Chinese New Year Break begins!
Many years later, I’ve inked in the text as well as penciled in guides for the ornaments and flourishes 😀
Finally good LORD and now I am 84 years old. And very OCD.
Three blind mice, see how they run
They all ran after the farmer’s wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife
The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed to see such a sport
And the dish ran away with the spoon
There was an old man whose nose
Most birds of the air could repose
But they all flew away at the closing of day
Three blind mice
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do
Here is my handle, here is my spout