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Curiosity Journal: Seminar

“We’ll be in full bloom at the end of these hardships.”

Personally, I am very into Korean music, especially Korean R&B. These words were lyrics from the mixtape of a member of the K-Pop group I follow the most. This phrase really stuck with me, because it gave me a sense of hope whenever I was in a bad mood, or whenever I felt like I was failing the people around me. Knowing that good things come to people who wait, really helps me endure the impatience or pain that I feel when I fail a test at school, or when close family and friend relationships are being threatened. 

Moreover, there is something about the musicality of Korean R&B, and sometimes indie songs, that really soothes my whole body. Because, the artists that I listen to have a constant type of style that makes me feel more up beat and lively; there are also slower, ballad-like songs that I really like to listen to whenever I am in a relaxed state, or whenever I am sad and in need of some type of comfort.

The reason why I listen to a lot of music, is because it is the only way for me to really be in my own world, without any distractions; music calms me, and whenever I want to be alone, I listen to music so that the noises from the outside “world” doesn’t enter my mind. It is a way for me to fully immerse myself into my thoughts, because I do overthink a lot, and try to sort out how or why these thoughts are stuck within my mind.


Nature Girl by Jane Kelley

Nature Girl is one of my favorite books to read, because within the storyline, there is a teenage girl named Megan, who in the act of selfishness, decides to leave her home in Vermont to travel to Massachusetts, where her best friend, Lucy, went to for the summer holiday. I related to the protagonist, Megan, a lot, because during the long trek she had with her dog, Arp, she faced many challenges and reflected on who she was in the past, and who she wants to be in the future. Similar to the “journey” I like to call my life, I sometimes ask myself if I am selfish, and if I have a negative impact on the people around me. It’s like a sort of reflection that I do in order to prove myself as a better person, both to my family and my friends.

When I read this book as a child, I really wanted to question Megan on her decisions, because my younger self had wanted to leave my house a few times due to my family’s quarrel. I was desperate to know what was so prominent in Megan’s thoughts, that it made her pack her bags and leave, because I wasn’t confident enough to do the same thing. It was very childish of me to have thoughts like this, but I wanted to escape whatever was happening around me.


Digital Art

There is something about a certain style of digital art that is intriguing and pleasing to the eye. The beauty that the illustrations show through the natural world and physical beauty expresses the aesthetic value of humans, and how we view beauty. Personally, the digital art style that mimics minimalistic pen or pencil art, overlapped with watercolors is a favorite of mine. I prefer neat but detailed works, because everything seems to be in the perfect place, and no smudges are evident.

The use of a darker color or shade to accentuate the nose, eyes, cheeks, fingertips and knuckles in the artwork on my studio curiosity journal really captures my attention, because in my opinion, it make the face look softer and more natural. It adds more depth and shape to the overall structure of the face and limbs.

Whenever I do digital art on the human face, I try to follow a more realistic style of illustrating; however, I would like to learn how to produce better fantasy-themed digital art, because it is a bit more challenging for me to put down something that is not close to realistic on paper. I want to self-teach myself by watching videos online and practicing the composition of where everything should be. Furthermore, as I always focus on the details more, I want to decrease the time it takes for me to draw something that has more features.


Gaming & Animated Videos

Whenever I have free time, I game; gaming is something that I like doing for leisure when I don’t go out. It relieves stress and allows me to meet people from around the world who might have the same interests as me. The game that I play the most is League of Legends, because the mechanics behind playing the game well or winning depends on strategy and skill. In addition to that, I also really admire the art style that the character designs have in the game, and the theme songs of each champion are also varied and compelling.

Moreover, gaming companies nowadays produce exceptional animated music videos, or introduction videos. The animated cinematics I have posted on the studio curiosity journal depicts storylines of in-game characters, and the music in each video is inspiring. In the two League of Legends music videos, the lyrics in the songs are full of perseverance and hope. Every time I listen to any of the two songs, I get a rush of confidence, as if I was ready for a battle of some sorts, because the build-up in the song gives me adrenaline.

The Overwatch cinematic evokes emotion, as it is about two brothers, whose relationship was broken due to conflicting perspectives of their family’s honor, leading to the older brother murdering the younger. The whole animation, along with the music, depicted the relationship between the two brothers really well, as it switched from a more traditional style of Japanese art, to three-dimensional animation similar to the gameplay.


Traditional Art

Another style of art that I love is traditional Chinese art; the watercolor-like paintings are carefully painted with brushes, however, they also have a quality of messiness to it, as you can sometimes see stray brush strokes, or blotches of ink. The contrast between the two gives the artworks a nice balance.

The colors that are usually used in traditional paintings of natural elements are also quite dull, in the sense that the whole color palette blends well together.

The technical skill that is required to paint traditional paintings is also interesting, because my grandpa used to teach me how to write Chinese calligraphy with a proper brush and black ink, on tracing paper-like sheets. The secret behind using the Chinese calligraphy brush is that when writing or painting, the wrist or any part of the arm should not touch the paper, and it should almost be parallel to the surface of the paper; there is also a specific way to hold the brush.

Ultimately, I really like the oriental and expressive style of traditional Chinese art, and I would like to learn how to paint in such a delicate way.


Blue Earth

Animal documentaries were something that I liked to watch to pass time when I was younger. I had a huge interest in animals, and wanted to achieve a profession that had to do with animals.

Furthermore, my older sister also had the same passions as me; she also loved animals when she was younger, and now she works as an animal science researcher in a lab at a university in Chicago, Illinois.

Although I really adored animals, I decided not to take a course within the same field as my older sister, as there was more scientific research than I can handle, and it would have become a sort of competition between me and my sister. Therefore, I decided to major in something art-related, as I excelled at the arts, including music, above all other subjects.

However, I will never stop loving animals, because they are very interesting to learn about, and the anatomy and appearance of each species is unique unlike humans.


Chinese New Year

This festive holiday is when families get together to celebrate the lunar new year; during Chinese New Years Eve, the whole family gets together to enjoy a feast full of foods that have intriguing backstories. For instance, there will always be some type of fish dish that is eaten during the eve before Chinese New Year, but here’s the catch: you cannot finish the fish, because in Chinese, the word “fish” is pronounced the same way as “rich,” so if you finish the fish, that would mean that there would be no money for you in the new year. But, if u don’t finish the fish, you will be wealthy the whole year.

Furthermore, during this holiday the older generations of a family would pack red envelopes full of money, known as Hong Bao, for younger children in the family. This is to wish the children prosperity, longevity and wealth.

Personally, this was one of the few times I would get to visit the rest of my family in Taiwan, because my grandmas would always cook up a large feast, and everyone would get together and make food, or catch up with each others’ lives. It gave me the most precious sense of harmony. We would also watch the older family members play Mahjong, which is a traditional Chinese board game; I never understood how to play the game, as there are many different types of patterns that mean various things within the game.

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