Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Jumping into the number 13!

      This is my last post for 2012, dedicating to my family and friends and supporters who have made my year eventful. So we didn't go extinct after all; the last day of the Mayan calender passed by rather peacefully, til my partner pointed out to me that we had gone beyond the 21st  December (happy jump!).

      Huddling up in a kaleidoscope of this year's memories, I was reminiscing through all the happy moments as well as the rough patches I'd gone through. Months living separated from home and my partner kept haunting me under the shadow of forlorn loneliness. Having the tendency to a slight pessimism also adds up to the hindrance of  my complete concentration on art creation. However, things seem to work out fine, as they always do. And I have grown so much within the last twelve months, both keeping myself in practice and developing my own viewpoint towards the art industry. 

  • I am not trying to define myself among other artists anymore, as I realize how hard I try, my style will always, always encounter (or reminiscent of) someone else's. And art is not about how your works look aesthetically, but rather the executions and the ideas hidden underneath it. Take film directors for instance, my colleague had sometimes moaned about how many directors do the same thing just in order to attract mass audiences. But don't forget, most people do it! Numerous directors exploit digital visual elements in their movies, but Tim Burton still stands out among them as an extraordinary artist who blows a sense of quirkiness and bizarre visualization in his works. Or lots of directors choose romantic comedy as their goal, but is there another Woody Allen- who distances himself with extremely intelligent dialogues and filming techniques in Annie Hall and Midnight in Paris?
    Follow this point, I am confident that I have my own development of thoughts and artistic approaches. And I believe we all do.
    And remember, shock value isn't considered a mark of originality, but your personal viewpoints are.
  • Through out my artistic practice, I have found it very essential looking out for various references around the art scenario. Although limited myself as an illustrator at the moment (which sometimes can be a bit overwhelming already), I never stop being nosy around other art events. Watching ballet, flipping through fashion magazines and photographers, visiting conceptual art museums and digesting a whole lots of movies have given me so much awareness, as well as inspirations in creating my own illustrations.
    Spend more time in the library, or have a book next to you in the toilet, or look out for show you are interested to watch will offer you so much more than you ever wish for. The feeling of accumulating knowledge is a great pleasure, and everyone should deserve to experience it.
    Lastly, I have found some of my most inspiring sources:
  • Toni Morrison, lately I have gone mad with her novels, simply poetic! (The Bluest Eye and Beloved are highly recommended)
  • Shaun Tan's books still capture every bit of my heart, both aesthetically and emotionally
  • Tracing back time and finding out these tremendous movies: Mankiewicz's All about Eve, Benigi's Life is beautiful and Hitchcook's Rebecca.
  • Whatcha mean? What's a zine? has introduced into an unconventional activity for writing diaries and noting down random things. Gonna start to do that next year!
  • Amandine Alessandra and Abba Richman are two typography installation artists with innovative approaches to creating letters.
     Anyway, have a fascinating start for 2013! I shall ask the dandelions to carry out your wishes and make them come true :)

My colleague Elliot 
sketched a quick portrait of me:) 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the ballerina alphabet

      As promised, here is my outcome:
The Ballerina Alphabet
Selection of graphite drawings on paper
December 2012
      Each letter is a delicate A5 drawing on paper, depicting ballet movements combined with stage set and atmospheric elements. The alphabet is inspired and drawn from the beauty of ballet, various from classics such as Swan Lake, La Bayadere, The Nutcraker, Sleeping beauty,etc, to modern compositions, Afternoon of the Faun and Alice in Wonderland for instance. This alphabet was continuously drawn in 2 and a half weeks, much to my efforts, I am glad I have finally expressed my affection towards this tremendous physical art. 

      Be welcome to have a closer look at each letter as their individual:

b for Balcony,
the classic scene in Romeo and Juliet

F for Flame,
the passion for dance

O for Odette, my favourite drawing :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

b for Balcony

       Recently working on an illustration of a creative alphabet, which my mind subconsciously led me to my favouite art scenario of the ballet world. Turning dance movements into letters is sure a hard job, henceforth enjoyable :)

       The B for Balcony is one of my favourites so far, probably because I just watched Romeo and Juliet in the Royal Opera House recently. Here are some other letters in progress:

      The Alphabet is expected to be finished by Wednesday, so wait till then! 

PS. And during this short-term project, I have relived some fascinating ballet montage through these movies:
The Turning Point (simply classic! This is a not-to-be-missed piece when it comes to ballet films, visually astounding and heart wrenching performances from the leads)
The Company (elegant and sweet, with the gorgeous James Franco)
Black Swan (no need to discuss:D)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Series "I generate a silhouette of childhood"

Finally I can present my finished pieces for the "Sense of belonging" project. My illustrations embrace the magic realist beauty and nostalgic feel towards childhood, where we all live in a kaleidoscope of impossible dreams and radiant happiness. 

I generate a silhouette of childhood
        Medium: graphite and acrylic on paper, Photoshop retouch

        Dimension: 10x12 inch (25x31cm)

* Visual art: Marc Chagall, Michael Parkes, Albert Lamorisse's The Red Balloon, Hayao Miyazaki's My neighbor Totoro and Spirited away, Tim Walker's photography and Naive Art movement.
* Literature: Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Le petit prince, Anderson's fairy tales, Johoanna Spyri's Heidi, Carol Ann Duffy's poems and Shaun Tan's picture books. 
      as well as Tchaikovsky, Yann Tiersen and Aldophe Adam's music compositions that took me through those sleepless nights. 

        Unused sketches:

      You're also welcome to view this on Behance and help me 'appreciate' the project. 
Many thanks :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

"She whispers with hope, transcending above and away"

     The second piece in my series "I generate a silhouette of childhood", coming with a cut-up surrealist writing piece about childhood memories. 
"She whispers with hope, transcending above and away"
(Graphite and acrylic on Bristol board with Photoshop retouch)

December 2012

The finalized series as well as my process will be updated very soon. 
And enjoy your new week everyone!

Friday, November 30, 2012

drawing in melodies

   Some tunes for this weekend:
(click on the names and they will bring you directly to the songs on Youtube)
  1.  The Path of Wind (My neighbor Totoro's soundtrack)
  2. Pure shores (with a montage of the gorgeous Leonardo diCaprio in The beach)
  3. You never can tell (Chuck Berry)
  4. Comptine d' un autre été (Amelie's soundtrack) 
  5. Jump (The pointer Sisters)
  6. Always with me (Spirited Away's soundtrack)
  7. Wonderwall (Oasis)
  8. One summer's day (Spirited away's soundtrack)
  9. Rock around the clock (Bill Haley makes me wanna dance!)
  10. Itsi bitsi petit bikini (cutest French song I've stumbled across)

Listening to those lovely tunes while working on my storyboards 
and upcoming surrealist illustrations.

   Apart from that, my favourite photographer Tim Walker is presenting an exhibition in Somerset House, London, running till January, really worth a look. Richly coloured, as much sensual as it is surreal, each of his photograph speaks so much for their own (some of my works are influenced by the stylish and unconventional looks in Walker's photoshoots). Here are some gorgeous examples for his rich narratives and dazzling visual storytellings: 

   Hope you enjoy the recommended music and feel free to pop to London for this tremendous exhibition (it's gratuitous!)

Friday, November 23, 2012

More sneak peeks

Still need a bit more refined modification :)
          A very busy week, reported from Cambridge. I am still working simultaneously on two projects. Finished pieces will be revealed soon.

PS. "The Color Purple" took away bunches of my tears yesterday, although I had already read the book. Such heart breaking moments with sentimental soundtrack! Here is a treat for my supporters, a piece of music from the movie: 

"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the colour purple in the field and don't notice it." (Shug Avery in The colour purple, written by Alice Walker)

Anyway, enjoy your weekend full of joys and productivities!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

reading and movie time

Recommended graphic novels for this week:
  1. Skim (Mariko and Jillian Tamaki): Just like watching Juno or Somersault on pages, that's all I would say. A bitter fragment of an teenage outsider whose strangeness and isolation simply remind me of my horrid puberty.
        I fell in love with Jillian Tamaki's  
       artistic techniques after reading this
       book and started following her blog,  
       which made me admire her even more.
       Her blog is a roller coaster adventure 
       filled with interesting events, random 
       sketches as well as thoughts, shared 
       experience and lovely comments of
       Tamaki for her students. As a artist, she 
       is inspirational for her flexibility 
       with various approaches and mediums, 
       who is never tired of trying out new
       things– a work ethnic and an 
       unconventional mind that are worth 
       taking example from. 

  1. The Nao of Brown (Glyn Dillon): I finished this book today after 2-hour reading straight and closed the book with a smile on my face. Nao in the story reminds me so much of myself; first we are both Asians and enjoy wearing red coats (ha!), then a hidden suffering from insecurities and self loathing covered by constant smiles in presence. Moreover, Nao also struggles with her severe OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) that even puts her into more of a challenge to live a normal, happy life... Dillon's artworks also enhance the sharpness and poignancy of the book, panels merged in subtle watercoloured images and fine pen outlines.

       Another doodle from my sketchbook:

      Apart from reading good stuff this week, Sleepy Hallow by Tim Burton really disappoints me as it's just merely a slasher movie with lots of pretty costumes and fantasy backgrounds. In a way, I guess Burton's stunning art direction (as always) really saves this movie from being rated as a sheer cheap piece of horror.
      Woody Allen's Annie Hall is a lovely film though, truly saved my weekend from watching the movie above. Such joys listening to delightful, witty dialogues as well as enjoying the ride of love found-love lost roller coaster!