Art has always evaded clear definition, meaning and method. It can convey a message, express an emotion, serve as an experiment or be an enjoyable process. Two years ago, I felt that art must be two-dimensional, that art could not be considered as such, unless it had a deeper meaning behind it. However, after researching different artists from Salvador Dali to Merijn Vrij to David Hockney, after being exposed to different movements from cubism to surrealism to pop art, I have grown out of this thinking. I now appreciate the diversity within the broad idea of “art” and can also understand that art can be created for art’s sake, without a specific message in mind. It was with this realisation that I decided to focus on human form. Trying different methods of presentation, I rearranged the human form, creating “Monsters”, and depicted it as it exists, creating the portrait “Woman.” I enjoyed the simplicity of creating art without communicating an idea. This is not to say that my art has been created all for enjoyment or experimentation. I created “People” as photomontage to experiment with the style but also because I felt that montage, several images creating a whole, reflected the fact that a person is made up of each past experience. My “Gender” animation resulted from my interest in animation but also explores the definite yet ambiguous physical qualities of gender and the perceptions surrounding it. Over the past two years I have tried different styles, used different media and approached art with different aims in mind. In this, I feel I have developed a better understanding of art, and of what role it plays within my surroundings and myself. In the future, I hope this serves as a strong basis for further personal development and exploration.
During the two years of the IB visual art course, I feel I have grown and developed both my abilities and artistic understanding. The theme of my art focuses on my identity. I feel as an artist the most special way to create art is to embrace a fragment of yourself in your work, whether it is in your beliefs, identity or emotions. I related all my works to this idea and although at the beginning I felt it would be challenging due to its broadness found that I could create art with ease since it related to my personal qualities. I have developed my painting skills, my editing skills on Adobe Photoshop, illustrator to create my propaganda images. I have experimented with materials such as foil, pins and tape to create sculptures. This use of media has allowed me to expand my view of art as being more than just painting and drawing. My artistic influences come mainly from my research on artists such as David Hockney, Shephard Fairey, Gary Hume, Salvador Dali and others. But I am also inspired by where I live. Shanghai is a metropolitan location where identity is diverse because of its modern atmosphere intermingled with the old and traditional. Past experiences from my childhood have been used to inspire my animation. Events in history like Mao’s Cultural Revolution, cult of personality and how politicians manipulate the people by using emotive images including Obama’s presidential campaign, led to my cult of personality pieces. My process of making art varies from the straightforward to the more complex and intricate. My first self portrait was basic. I attempted to reproduce Cindy Sherman’s style but with my pin piece more thought was needed to create complex patterns and a sense of movement. At the end of these two years I can say that my view and passion for art has changed and developed to a point where I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Pablo Picasso once said; ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal’. This quotation can be related to my pieces in many ways notably in my collages depicting Pop Culture. As a young adult of the 21st Century, I feel that I am truly able to relate to this quotation. As an international student traveling across the world, I have been exposed to different points of view, constantly being reflected by the people and surroundings of each city. Coming to Shanghai, the city that never sleeps, I have been mesmerized by it’s culture, notably the youth. London, again I could not help but notice the overwhelming power of youth culture within the city, young people were slowly emerging as a new wave of pop culture. Therein, gave birth to my theme of Pop Culture.
Within the theme of pop culture, I looked intently at the idea of movement in art. From this idea, came my focus and interest on Optical Art, having been inspired by Bridget Reilly. Op art was developed in the 60’s and became greatly popular within a short amount of time, notably the younger generations, ultimately forming part of popular culture. Although the patterns used are conceptually simplistic, as a whole, it creates a final complex and paradoxical conclusion. For my Op Art pieces I used only Adobe Illustrator to create each individual pattern. I used various mediums such as stickers, card, creating 3-Dimensional cubes etc.
For my other pieces I was greatly influenced by Robert Rauschenberg and Nikki Farquarson. I tried to relate Chinese culture within my pieces looking at different Chinese artists. All of my pieces depict the main theme of Pop Art, portraying the influences of Andy Warhol but also Russ Mills.