I am an integrated design major. I have a special aesthetics/visual language in most of the works I create, although I have a vast range of interests and I like to experiment with larger spectrum of art forms and media, I keep a subtle undertone of the gritty and unrefined visual qualities in my works, which also features a lot of colors inspired by the neon lights in Hong Kong. I believe that artworks has so much more of an influence and impact than it is already perceived, but not everyone would understand, hence I try to keep in mind that I have different aspects that are also enjoyable in my work to reach a larger audience, to make sure they can take something away from it.
I definitely see that I am starting to develop a more clear set of visual language I use to accurately depict the topics my works mostly touch upon. As mentioned above, I like the gritty and unrefined qualities. This visual language that I am starting to develop has close relationship with my cultural identity as well. I have several works that sparked my attention and interest in exploring more about my cultural identity last semester. e.g. some Time class videos that I have done that talks about me missing home, and racism me and my asian friends have experiences, these are all explorations of identity in a more general sense.
At the same time, open ended experiments from studio class of collaging digitally also started to help me build not also my skill, but my visual language that I mentioned earlier on.
The photos above showed a very pre-mature stylistic qualities I have on my later works as I gained more skills on how to execute the exact imagery I want to depict.
As I moe on to second semester, my focus narrowed down and drifted into explorations of a more personal version of my cultural identity, in a sense that even people from the same culture might not fully relate, but mostly depicting the community that I grew up in. And two favorite works personally from the first year, are both from integrated studio 2, a set of collage and a video titled Cliché.
When making collages, I often associate it with creating a moodboard and that is also a common practice of mine to start of a project with making a moodboard to have an idea of the aesthetics and concept or idea that the certain project is going to tout upon. With that in mind, I set off with the two rules as listed above, as I look for inspiration from instagram most of the times as it is a media that stays most relevant to us. With this process of making collages daily for a week, I gathered the images I have saved on my instagram account and put them into different collages each day to try to break down my own visual language by doing visual association of images that resonates or has an impact to me of some sorts. By doing so I hope to trace back my train of thought during my creative processes to see how I actually group images and come up with ideas in my head, to have an even better understanding of my own “style” or visual language.
Bridge #4 explored and decoded my personal interest in the “High meets Low” culture and my utilization of this visual language in my works. From discovering reasons behind my interest in this certain movement, I found out my cultural background and my placement of myself of my cultural identity plays a very important role. Through these supporting works, I try to express a sense of belonging and pride of my own identity, from the experience of rediscovering my identity in a foreign place, I try to piece together the most cliché (hence the title, Cliché) representation of my cultural heritage, that I use to repel and avoid, to show embracement of such ideas, bringing out a sense of pride. To appreciate the beauty that could be found in the “low”, and avoid glorifying the “high”.
Others might not know but there is a huge divide within Hong Kong kid’s identity, as it is a “international city”, the big contrast between western and eastern culture is really prominent, but to me it is nothing like the cliche western depiction of simply just the “east meets west” clash in culture. It affects kids in a very personal level. Being raised under that environment kids would think that being westernized, studying abroad, speaking in English means superior, where international school kids, even ethnic Chinese would speak ONLY English to each other, and to us “local” kids we would find really disturbing. But at the same time, under the facade of being reluctant to “white wash” community we would really want to fit in and “be superior”. With the comparison we as “local” kids would often feel helpless, we wouldn’t dare to be ambitious or to dream about being successful like kids here, I’ve seen a lot of my peers with true talents just giving up and choose to settle for mediocracy as we often has that misconception of us being born average would never get anywhere. This might sound cliche but it truly affects our view on our own cultural identity or even feel ashamed of ourselves, it gets worse when being in a city like Hong Kong where everyone is to busy trying to be like others, especially western communities, would left us with no identity of our own as everything is more or less homogenized, leaving me with this question of “who am I as someone coming from Hong Kong” or what my true identity is, building on to that reluctancy of being “local”.
I once called my mom during the first semester in parsons, after coming to NY for the first time and really living here and be immersed in this art community of parsons or even NY, I have that intense fear that I would have to go back to Hong Kong after my education and all these education would just go to waste, because if we are middle class mens and we are locals we would not have a single chance getting into the circle of that microscopic art scene in HK, I told her I’m afraid that I would just go back to my Hometown where I can’t even fit in and would have to choose to settle for things I hated for all of my life. But my perspective completely switched after the first break when I got back to Hong Kong and coming back to NY again. I put aside the miss conception I had for my hometown and contemplated for a long time about what it is that one would need to accomplish things they truly desire. I realized a lot of potentials that I have oversaw when I was too busy trying to chase after things others are doing and didn’t realize there are people that aren’t as fortunate as me who can go abroad, that are stuck in Hong Kong and still trying to make the best out of the “local” community with their craft. I would always think that there is no audience in my hometown for what I have been exposed to and love to do, but I realized that we shouldn’t look for our audience, but instead, we are responsible to make our own audience. With that in mind I started digging deeper and looking for more exciting things happening in my hometown. I had this thought that if we enjoy all those cultures an exciting things we see from other places and keep hating on our own because we have nothing as exciting, why not make some ourselves. I guess seeing beauty in the “rougher” parts also reflects from the music and all the subcultures I am interested in, and explains why I like it so much.
I am basically saying, ironically only after I left my home, I found out more about that place and myself. And I would like to celebrate that and push that further so we could be proud of what WE have, and stop the negativity that we have been feeding back to ourselves.
The theme of cultural identity would still be able to be expanded and developed in a lot of different ways, I have have started another project on the same theme, so I think I would still work around the same topics in the near future.