Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pick of the week: rendered in an artistic mind

      Rather busy this week so apologies if I haven't got enough annotations. University works are stressful, but I am having a real good time. I get to read and watch a lot this year as reference works, which is amazing! Anyway, here are some inspirational notes I have come across:
  1. Quote: “Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exists by observing it. And his hope for other people is that we will also make it exist by observing it. I call it “creative observation”. Creative viewing.” (William S. Burroughs)

  2. Short film: “Le Ballon Rouge” (“The red balloon", 1956 French short film by Albert Lamorisse)

    If you're a fan of Up, the 2009 Pixar animation, here is the short movie where the inspiration for Up was taken from. A charmingly magic realist story of a little boy who befriends with a massive red balloon, as he grows attached to it and discovers that the balloon itself also has emotions.
    A lovely, captivating short film of innocence, friendship and the love towards things around you. Pascall, the little boy, treats the balloon as it is a real person, with care and respect, untils the ballooon actually chooses him to be its only friend, and follows Pascall around after school.

    Beautifully filmed with subtle colour sets and lovely music, Le ballon rouge made me giggle for hours. I love the contrast of the tiny, litttle kid with the massive red balloon - so powerful and dynamic. Albert Lamorisse just blows a fantastically fresh atmosphere into this Oscar-winning short movie.

    An exellent watch! It was, is and always will be a great gift for children generations, and for me exclusively, who is absolutely hypnotized by the inspiring art direction and the poignant symbolization appearing in this movie. 

    3. Photography: Just discovered Erwin Olaf, a terrific photographer who captures emotions through surreal interpretations. His photos harbour so much hidden melancholy, while still maintain the monotonous tone on the surface. Isn't that what we are like? Tons of ripples or storms screaming in peoples' souls, contrasting to the calm and peaceful masks we try to put on. 

    "Grief" series

    "Marie Antoinette"

    Enjoy your Sunday, everyone! Take a walk and wander around in charity shops 
    always make me feel relaxed and inspired, hope that will help you as well :) 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Ripples in my morning coffee: a prelude to nostalgia”

Haunted by A hundred years of solitude, I was in eagerness to express my admiration towards the amazing Nobel-winning author. His pages are filled with life and emotions, despite the monotonous narration that is like slight ripples in the wind. The eventful town of Macondo, the metaphoric Colombia, brought me to wondrous adventures of forbidden love, inevitable combats, tragedy and even incest.

If this were series of paintings, I'd say they are like the Water Lilies collection by Monet. Each character, each couple are depicted in varieties of realistic personalities, challenging situations- in which, hope and despair superimpose and lead to evenful of sequences. Just like Monet's water lilies, they are called similar names (all the characters are named after their ancesters) yet reveal different beauties- some pure and innocent, some fireceful and some simply unforgetable.

The illustration above depicts the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez burst out with adventurous events that happen in the novel. The Beauty Remedios with her innocent yet lustful eyes has caused deaths to several men who are bewitched by her beauty, and the tragically illicit love between Aureliano and his unknown aunt- which leads to the tragic extermination of the Buendia family.

I was completely blown away reading this novel. Currently reading his other book called Love in the time of Cholera, which has been a pleasant read as well.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pick of the week: "A pocket full of sweet and bitterness"

Every week from now on, I am going to write about some art pieces or writing that I find inspiring. This will bring myself and readers closer to the inner depth of my artistic inspirations, as well as help me improve myself and nurture my flaming passion for visual art and literature . Like the Bible says: 

"Turn your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. 
Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures."
(Proverbs, 2:2 to 2:4)

    a true artist will always opne his mind and heart to beauties and whatever it is going on around us. We are stuck for ideas only when we stop observing around and searching for inspirations that are all surrounding us.

Anyway, here are some of this week's inspirational pieces:

Self portrait by Delacroix, 1837
1) Quote: “It's a cruel thing in this sad world that one cannot enjoy happiness without, by contrast, experiencing some painful feeling. In this way one spends the whole of one life's possessing nothing completely, and in perpetual pursuit of a stability which is beyond man's reach.” 

This quote by Delacroix simply summarizes what I have been experiencing in life in order to find deeper inspirations. I have been requested to take some medicine which might help balance my moods and control my anxiety during menstruation as well as my final teenage year, yet I refused it. I want to “taste” life the way I am facing it- bitterness and sweetness mingled with each other. I don't want to run away from reality, from my 'constantly unstable mood', or from any inhibitions that sets boundaries for reaching happiness. This way, once happiness truly knocks on my door (in every single way, even in the simplest way like receiving some flowers from a friend), I can cherish it with all the most cheerful notes in my heart. I will enjoy that moment better after undergoing certain pressures or womanly downhill emotions.

After all, an artist isn't just someone creating or enhancing beauties in life, but who reflects life the way it is. Even if I could stay away from these painful emotions in life, my artistic skills would go down with my withering heart as well. It's difficult to be human, nonetheless, it is beautiful to live through life as an artist – tasting and sharing your life to others in every single way.

"I think the happiest man is he whose soul is well filled and whose mind is occupied. The soul indeed is forever reaching out, unsatisfied, longing for objects as boundless as itself: but its enjoyment are all sweeter...” (Eugene Delacroix's letter to Felix Guillemardet, translated by Jean Stewart)

2) Film: Closer (2004)
A charming as well as dramatic montage about two dangling relationships; it will give you goosebumps about the realistic aspects and bitterness throughout the film. I have always loved Mike Nichols's intelligent execution in film making, especially with impressive angles and evocative dialogues, and Closer did not let me down.

Beautifully filmed, memorable performances given by Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen – it captures life so real it hurts. I fell in love with Natalie's eyes in this movie, and her tears just fill up the whole atmosphere with grief and sympathy. Oh, as if you had no choice? There's a moment, there's always a moment, "I can do this, I can give into this, or I can resist it", and I don't know when your moment was, but I bet you there was one.”, her line after her boyfriend confessed     cheating on her just gave me goosebumps from head to  toes.

Another memorable line from the film: “Not everyone wants to be happy. Depressives don't. They want to be unhappy to confirm they're depressed. If they were happy they couldn't be depressed anymore. They'd have to go out into the world and live. Which can be even more depressing.”

3) Music: A treat for everyone, a lovely soundtrack of the movie Somersualt (2004) performed by Lenka:

PS. A piece from my sketchbook work, just a simple fashion illustration, in which I explored the use of newspaper for the peplum dress. The idea is originally inspired by Jennifer Tran (a Vietnamese girl, who also comes from my homeland!) wearing her handmade newspaper dress when visiting the Newseum, which made herself the headline in US that day. About the tomboy look with a purple hair, hmm, must say I was haunted by Natalie Portman's role in Closer - well, guess I have to 'ease my poison' into drawing :)

            Enjoy your weekend everyone! And don't forget to live your life and be creative :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How about an unfunny joke?

"Je ne suis une clown pas!" (July 2012)
Watercolour pencils
Close-up details
Close-up details of the card 
on the right: This was drawn two-sided, 
when you look at him now,
he's smiling; 
but when turning the page 
upside down,
it becomes a crying face.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Imagine there was no Imagination

“When my imaginations get to work and, unlike sight, it makes things seem larger - the further away they are. I reproach myself for not having fully enjoyed the moment the chance had granted me; I build fantastic castles in the air, and go off roaming and wandering on the 'boundless and shoreless sea of illusion'.” (quote from Eugène Delacroix's letter written for his friend Achille Piron, Paris, 1815)

      " The betrayal of reflection" (May 2012) 
Graphites on paper

    When I woke up one day, I saw my Imagination sitting one the bed, looking at me coldly. It had decided to leave my Mind the day before, as I was insulting it with my feeble soul, saying that I was never good enough to be an artist, I was never fully creative to produce original ideas, etc. I dilated my eyes, looking at my Imagination in its white robe and empty, soulless eyes. Why did you leave me? Don't you feel weary not to have an owner? I mumbled... Who is gonna execute you on the page without my help? It does not say a thing. Yes, without me, Imagination will never live its life nor fulfill its destiny, as every imagination belongs to a specific person's, both heart and mind.

   I started to get annoyed as I left my bed and went to the toilet.

   And I saw no reflection in the mirror. None. As if someone had taken my whole body and thrown it away, except for my soul, my mind. Utterly speechless and frightened, I turned around looking for Imagination, as I saw it staring back at me, in complete weariness. Imagination is not a state of mind, some voice uttered in my head, it's you! It is as how you shape it, how you take care of it and indulge it, even. Without Imagination, a body disappeared and left in emptiness. Without it, an artist would just be a blank page without pencils, without any colour mark, without value... Whoever does not treasure their imagination does not know how to be human, or a soul alive.

   Imagination grants you with both despair and ecstasy, it brings back memories and helps you find the way to your future. Whatever the imagination is, it's yours! It's important, as for an artist, to fondle with your imagination- on a page, on a receipt, on a blank wall, etc. Write it down, fill it up in your diary, don't block it your head with negative thoughts or any prohibitions.

   Imagination is like Characteristics, they are actually best friends! Imagination leads you to discover who you are, what you are like and what dreams you are harbouring. It's like a staircase taking you to somewhere you have yet known, but “What is the point of painting something if you already know how it's gonna look like?”(Picasso). However, at least, it brings satisfaction, it gives you the happiness of sharing and knowing your own persona.  

Ps. Picked up a very erudite quote from the Bible, so true:
"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own product." (Galatians, 6:4)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A fresh start for September

 "Streaming in fragments of memories" (August 2012)
Watercolour base and colour penicls on Bristol board

Greeting my upcoming year in university with this illustration, inspired fromThe Artist (2011 silent film). For full interpretation and details, please view the previous post here.

Peppy Miller in my wildest dream

        Utterly speechless after watching the beguiling silent film L'Artiste (The artist, 2011), I was ecstatic to discover one more favorite for my monochrome, vintage movie collection. It will be a waste of time to talk about how fascinating and mesmerizing the film is, as it has been raved by professionals already.

        As for me, an illustrator of capturing frozen moments, the film grants me wondrous snapshots with clever execution. The scene in which Peppy Miller gets intimate with George's jacket for example, the desire of love pours out like waterfall, without a word spoken. 

     The way Peppy puts her arm through it and embraces herself gives me goosebumps.  Isn't this what Art is truly about? About visual interpretations that speak out for you, about imagery that helps to express your feelings, and about 
exchanging conversations through the eyes... 

    This scene, together with the scene in the hospital (in which Peppy holds the film strips that recalls her first memory with George), have inspired me to create this illustrative piece below.

                          "Streaming in fragments of memories" (August 2012)
      I say “inspired”, because I don't exactly “depict” the movie scene, but use it as a medium
to manifest nostalgia and clandestine desire.

     While away from home, I have once experienced the overflow of homesickness when discovered the family album Mom hid under the wardrobe for me. It was like a waterfall full of tears bursting out from my eyeballs, all the memories steamed out as it they were buried for too long – fulfilling me with nostalgia and happiness.

     This illustrations is executed in Surrealism merged in with Art Deco, just as the way I view my overflown emotion at that moment. “Peppy” in this picture is captured in the midst of frozen memories, where George and her used to share the dance happily together...

     The idea of identical outfits in dancing movements scattered in the picture is inspired from my favourite Renee Magritte's “Golconda”(1953).

                                                                    Close-up details

PS. When I mentioned my favourite “monochrome, vintage movie collection”, I also meant All about Eve (1950), A Streetcar named Desire (1951), 
It's a wonderful life (1946) and Control (2007).

Have a great week everyone! Don't forget a Friday movie night:)