My name is Ryan Lee, and I am currently majoring in fine arts. For my freshman year, I took the following courses: Integrative Studio I & II, Integrative Seminar I & II, Drawing & Imaging, ESL, Space & Materiality, and Sustainable Systems. I was born in Korea, spent my high school in California, and went to New York for college.
In general, the overarching theme of my Learning Portfolio posts is the multicultural identity. As mentioned, I spent time in both Korea and America; as a result, my identity is composed of characteristics of both countries. For example, such theme was the primary influence in my Memoir and Peer-to-Peer Project from my first semester, which was based on knowing yourself and another individual. Similarly, when I was working on the communal self-portrait, Personal Tile Project, and Alteration of Clothing Project from the second semester, my designs showed some of the multicultural factors. Nevertheless, while the first semester courses focused more on actual drawing and two-dimensional painting, the second semester courses were more about crafting and three-dimensional structures. Although I was initially got excited on trying new things I have never done before, I soon realized that those simply-looking tasks were actually very challenging. Still, getting better at making wood joinery and sewing was enjoyable. I think if I had better ideas on how some of the machines worked, I could have faced fewer difficulties. Sometimes, I had to go a long way around just because I was not aware of a simple tip that could have saved much of my time.
Peer-to-Peer Project for my partner
Sketches for my Personal Tile Project
My two highlights are communal self-portrait in wire and long life design project. I prepared for the communal self-portrait by researching the necessary sources that would help me using wires and making sketches of my portrait in multiple point of views, including the bird’s eye view, side view, and front view. Originally, I was going to create my whole body out of wire in 3D including the symbols of both Korea and the United States. For example, I tried to include the Hanbok, the traditional costume, tiger, and a luggage, which was to describe my immigration from Korea to the United States. I also planned to add the Declaration of Independence and business suits as well. During the critique, my professor and classmates suggested me to simplify it as it would be too heavy and time consuming. With that said, I then decided to make my self-portrait showing my double identity, where the half of my face has Korean and the remaining half for the American identities. On Korean part, I was wearing a traditional Korean hat called gat, Hanbok, and one side of glasses with taegeuk symbol. On the other side, I was wearing a hair garment of the Statue of Liberty, American tuxedo, and the other side of glasses with stars and stripes. I think it could have been better if my self-portrait was a bit larger, which would have made it easier for me to handle the wires for detailed parts. For the long life design project, I spent much time researching for available materials and drawing several sketches to figure out how I wanted to create my lasting objects, which were a case for my bible and a wallet for my passport. I carefully measured the length, width, and height of the box and the wallet I designed, how and where to connect the joints and corners to maintain stable shapes, and additional treatments to make it more sustainable. I also made a systems map showing the entire list of necessary materials and their possible effects on greater issues, such as Anthropocene and the climate change. Crafting was rather challenging and took me extra time to finish, which could be something that can be improved for the next time.
This is called the saekdongot, a specific type of Hanbok worn by children. Various colored stripes immediately grabbed my attention, and I used it as one of my main references as I tried to include the traditional costume.
Sketches for the Communal Self-Portrait Project
Systems Map for the Long Life Design Project
Final Products of the Long Life Design Project
These highlights represent who I am, in terms of my interests, hobbies, and identity. They are important to my learning because while the wire self-portrait helps retain my identity, the long life design project allows me to make a connection between my interests to a larger issue. For the communal self-portrait, manipulating the wire to create the shape I want was very interesting. I also liked how I could experiment with the wood and screws to create a new structure different from the original materials. Researching for the best yet affordable materials was challenging but fun as well.
As I head on to my future career, one possible question that I would like to pursue is finding the connection between the two seemingly unrelated factors. Throughout my first year, I realized how so many things can be related or connected outside of the common perspectives. With that said, going through one project provides a new idea that can allow one to see something that could not be seen in the past, which leads to another project. I hope to have such widened viewpoint to break from prejudice and restriction.