Bridge 2 Composite Portrait

The Second Project I had to do for my Studio class was a composite portrait. I was paired with a partner and we conducted a 15 minute interview where we got to learn about each other’s goals and dreams. From there we had to create a piece that displayed aspects of ourselves and our partners in one composite image. Right from the start I knew I didn’t want to do the conventional drawing of both of our combined portraits.

My initial idea was to focus on our fathers. They would represent different sides of ourselves but, since we both looked up to our father’s CEO positions, they would also reflect our drive to be bosses one day.


Then I had this abstract idea of creating a nature scene that had symbols and words incorporated in it that reflected our similarities and differences. The image had a peaceful tree in the background with the official Taiwanese flower growing in it, which represents where my partner, Karen, was from. Then I was going to include butterflies to add to the serenity and an eagle to represent America which is where I was born. Towards the forefront I was going to put a dark, ferocious looking snake coming out of the picture. Written in it’s skin was going to be some of our more negative similarities, including our character faults and greed center goals. This imagery was supposed to compare the good and bad sides of us.

After our first critique for this project I was incredibly unsure of what I was going to do. I wasn’t in love with the snake idea because although the concept was different from my peers, I was simply going to draw it which I thought was boring. Then I decided I was going to create a short film.

I was going to visit different Taiwanese restaurants, cafes, and art installations and famous American sight to compare how Karen and I had grown up in such different environments yet we shared the same city now. I was going to create a narrative between me and her, flowing back and forth between my English and her Mandarin. The project proved to be too ambitious though. The script wasn’t coming out how I wanted it to and I didn’t have enough time to visit all the different spots. Plus I hadn’t had a lot of practice with video editing and I didn’t want to do all this work then do a sloppy job on the editing.

I returned to the snake idea and decided I would embroider it onto a t-shirt. I had had lots of experience with embroidery but the t-shirt material I chose was too flimsy and was going to require hours on one section to make it look how I wanted it to.


Next, and finally, I decided I would use fabric paint to translate the snake imagery onto the t-shirt. The image would be of a beautiful tree with Taiwanese state flowers growing in it and the Taiwanese flag imbedded in the bark. I then incorporated an Eagle to represent where I’m from, America. I included butterflies to add to the peacefulness and because they are one of my favorite animals.  Then I added a tiger in the background because that’s Karens favorite animal. In the forefront I drew a snake coiled around a branch to represent the negative traits that Karen and I share that we wish we could overcome. I chose a snake because it acts as an artistic signature for most of my artwork.

First I used pen to sketch the design onto the fabric and then I traced the images with black fabric paint. I brought that in to my second critique ready to explain that it was incomplete however my classmates and teacher really enjoyed how it looked. I decided that for the final critique I would put the design in color and let my classmates and teacher decide which one they liked better. I personally like both equally however the colorful rendition is stiff because of how much paint is on it so it’s a little uncomfortable to wear.




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