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Kathe Kollwitz! September 28, 2009

Filed under: inspirations — chiammy @ 16:39

Kathe Kollwitz is regarded as one of the most important German artists of the twentieth century, and as a remarkable woman who created timeless art works against the backdrop of a life of great sorrow, hardship and heartache.Kollwitz

Hunger, 1925

Woodcut

Before i start, did you know that Kollwitz knew Lu Xun? hahah it’s a random fact I found out at the Lu Xun museum during my 3 month immersion last year.

Nevetheless, this is a woodcut depicting people in hunger by Kollwitz. I came across this painting when searching Kollwitz. Well personally, I like artworks that are especially emotive as i like the relation between literature and arts. anycase, in this woodcut, Kollwitz uses strong lines to bring about the idea of the emotional suffering in which her subject matter is going through. The faces consuming the lady in hunger emphasises on the torture in which she is undergoing. This idea of an object consuming another influenced me quite alot as can  be seen in my coursework under the theme Results Centred Happiness. Here’s the short write up from my prep board.

In this piece of work, I endeavour to depict how most Nanyang Girls place too much emphasis in the attainment of good results. The overall concept of this linocut was inspired by a movie that I watched entitled “Drag Me to Hell”. In the movie, the woman never escapes the arm of the evil spirits. Similarly, students of our school never seem to escape the notion of the need to attain straight As. Thus, I decided to depict an anguished girl being engulfed by flames and trying to reach into infinity for her grades. I also decided to make many copies of this picture, file it in a file and then mark them using very harsh remarks.. This was possible as linocut allows for rapid reproduction. Therefore, not only does the print reflects results- centered happiness, the file also shows everything a student never wants to hear or see, thus stressing the idea of the importance of good results to a student.

 hr_drag_me_to_hell_poster

Indeed, I admit I was more influenced by the movie than Kollwitz initially, however, Kollwitz’s style is rather notable in her way of cutting to present the idea of agony. She uses harsh lines across her canvas to make the viewer identify with the pain the subject matter feels. Though i ultimately did not employ these harsh lines in my work, i tried to use a different way, which was to overwhelm the viewer with neater strokes. I admit that I am not daring enough to use harsh strokes like Kollwitz as I do not really have the guts and confidence to make such strong decisions on my lino. so perhaps this is an integral learning point for me in that I really need to learn to be less reserved.

In addition, there is an unequal amount of positive and negative space in Kollwitz’s Hunger. This could possibly be because she wanted to show how the black and darkness of the entire situation is more overwhelming. I tried to include this in my own linocut by including more negative( black) spaces in my artwork.

I also feel very inspired by the movement of the lines she uses, which would be a good reference for me when I was trying to portray smoke engulfing my student.

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by the Olympic Fervour

Filed under: inspirations,Uncategorized — chiammy @ 11:14

so i went to china for three months and i watched the olympics on my television. so i could not help but feel a little inspired by many designs generated for the olympics. i mean do you even remember the mascot of the previous olympic? or do u even remember how its symbol looked like? i tink i definitely wont forget the fu was and the pictograms of the beijing olympics.
beijing-olympic1

beijing-olympic2

beijing-olympic3

beijing-olympic4

these four pictures are common jokes found online as to how the beijing olympic emblem was created. though amusing, it actually shows the artist’s design concept. if you were to google on the story and the intended message of the emblem, you would get the idea of how every emblem of the Olympics tells a story. This emblem is the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games emblem “Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing” is filled with Beijing’s hospitality and hopes, and carries the city’s commitment to the world.

Milestone

“Dancing Beijing” is a milestone of the Olympics. It serves as a classic chapter of the Olympic epic inscribed by the spirit of the Chinese nation, calligraphed by the deeper import of the ancient civilization, and molded by the character of Cathay’s descendents. It is concise yet deep inside, bringing forth the city’s gradual changes and development. It appears dignified yet bears a tune of romance, reflecting the nation’s thoughts and emotions.

In the lead up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the emblem will attract more and more people from around the world to Beijing and China to join the great celebration with the Chinese people.

Commitment

“Dancing Beijing” is a Chinese Seal. It is engraved with commitment made to the Olympic Movement by a country that has 56 ethnic groups and a population of 1.3 billion. While witnessing the advocacy of the Olympic Spirit by a nation with both ancient civilization and modern culture, it also unfolds a future-oriented city’s pursuit of the Olympic Ideal.

It is a symbol of trust and an expression of self confidence, standing for the solemn yet sacred promise that Beijing – the host city of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games – has made to the world and to all mankind.

“Complete sincerity can affect even metal and stone (literally meaning sincerity smoothes the way to success).” The inception of our ancestors’ wisdom and the image of a seal made of metal and stone allow the emblem to present Chinese people’s respect and honesty for the Olympics.

The moment we earnestly imprint the emblem with the “Chinese seal”, Beijing is about to show the world a grand picture of “peace, friendship, and progress of mankind” and to strike up the passionate movement of “faster, higher, and stronger” for mankind.

Image

“Dancing Beijing” serves as the city’s foremost appearance. It is an image that shows the eastern ways of thinking and the nation’s lasting appeal embodied in the Chinese characters. It is an expression that conveys the unique cultural quality and elegance of Chinese civilization.

With inspiration from the traditional Chinese art form – calligraphic art, the character “Jing” (the latter of the city’s name) is developed into the form of a dancing human being, reflecting the ideal of a “New Olympics”. The words “Beijing 2008” also resembles the vivid shapes of Chinese characters in handwriting, voicing in concise strokes of the countless feelings Chinese people possess towards the Olympics.

As people ponder on the rich connotations and charms of these Chinese characters, a “New Beijing” has thus been brought forward.

Beauty

“Dancing Beijing” is a favorite color of the Chinese people. The color “red” is intensively used in the emblem, pushing the passion up to a new level. It carries Chinese people’s longing for luck and happiness and their explanation of life.

Red is the color of the Sun and the Holy Fire, representing life and a new beginning. Red is mind at ease, symbol of vitality, and China’s blessing and invitation to the world.

Hero

“Dancing Beijing” calls upon heroes. Olympic Games functions as the stage where heroes are made known, miracles created and glories earned, and where every participant constitutes an indispensable part of the occasion.

The powerful and dynamic design of the emblem is a life poem written by all participants with their passion, affections, and enthusiasm. It is an oath every participant takes to contribute power and wisdom to the Olympics.

The emblem cheers for arts and for the Olympic heroes, who pass down the essence of the Olympic Spirit, which well connects sports and cultures.

Spirit

“Dancing Beijing” extends the totem of the Chinese nation. The form of a running human being stands for the beauty and magnificence of life. Its graceful curves are like the body of a wriggling dragon, relating the past and future of one same civilization; they are like rivers, carrying the century-old history and the nation’s pride; they are like veins, pulsing with vitality of life.

The intrinsic values of sports — athlete-centered and people-oriented – are well defined and upgraded in an artistic way in “the dance of Beijing.” We sing if words fail to explain it all, and we dance if the singing does not explicitly tell the meaning.

Vigorous Beijing is looking forward to the celebration in 2008 and the Olympics wait all mankind to dance together.

Invitation

“Dancing Beijing” is a kind invitation. The open arms in the emblem say that China is opening its arms to welcome the rest of the world to join the Olympics, a celebration of “peace, friendship and progress of mankind.”

“Is it not a joy to have friends come from afar?” The idiom portrays the feelings of friendly and hospitable Chinese people and expresses the sincerity of the city.

Come to Beijing, take a good look at the historical heritages of China’s Capital city, and feel the pulse of the country’s modernization;

Come, share every piece of its joy, and experience the vigor of the country;

Come, and let us together weave a peaceful and wonderful dream.

I feel that this was a very effective piece of work as it successfully made use of culture and applied it to the modern society. Another great example of how the Beijing Olympic designs use old artistic concepts in modern day artworks is its use of the seals.

beijing-olympic-pictograms

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) also released the Pictograms of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on the occasion of the 2-year countdown to the opening of the Games.

One of the basic image elements of the Olympics, the Olympic Games Pictograms are widely applied in areas such as Olympic directional instruction system, advertising and communications, landscape and environmental arrangement, TV broadcasting and souvenir designs. The Pictograms play an important role in identifying the Olympic sports as well as in Olympic marketing.

Named “the beauty of seal characters” and with strokes of seal characters as their basic form, the Pictograms of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games integrate pictographic charm of inscriptions on bones and bronze objects in ancient China with simplified embodiment of modern graphics, making them recognizable, rememberable and easy to use. Skillfully using the effect of sharp contrast between the black and white colors which the typical Chinese traditional artistic form of rubbings have, the Pictograms of the Beijing Olympic Games display distinct motion character, graceful aesthetic perception of movement and rich cultural connotations, thus arriving at the harmony and unity of form with conception.

The Beijing Olympics Pictograms comprise of 35 sport icons, namely those of athletics, rowing, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, canoe / kayak flatwater, canoe / kayak slalom, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, wrestling, swimming, synchronized swimming, diving, water polo, modern pentathlon, softball, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing, volleyball and beach volleyball.

In March 2005, BOCOG invited four professional design institutes and organizations to the solicitation campaign of Pictograms of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The design based on “seal characters” by China Central Academy of Fine Arts and that on “string” by Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University were shortlisted after experts’ appraisal.

A joint design working group between China Central Academy of Fine Arts and Academy of Arts and Design constantly improved and perfected the design in accordance with the suggestions of BOCOG and experts home and abroad.

In December 2005, BOCOG submitted the Beijing Olympic Pictograms to the 28 International Sports Federations (IFs) for approval, and all of IFs had endorsed the Pictograms by April 2006. And in June this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted the set of the Pictograms.

Thus in my coursework, I tried to use the idea of the pictograms in my work.

Here’s the short writeup about my theme of Trapped on my prep board:

In this piece of work, I endeavour to show how students in our school are all trapped within the cycle of work and stress. Like a plasma ball that has all its energy trapped within the walls of the ball that holds it, the students often try various ways and positions to escape, but many fail. I researched on simplified forms like those used to make the Beijing Olympics and ParaOlympic logos and thus decided that it was the best way to depict my figures. The figures in my installation are all faceless and have simplified postures. The postures are postures of ways to escape, which are namely reaching out, digging into the ground and jumping. The fact that it is a linocut allowed me to reproduce them in large amounts, thus significant of the large quantity of people who have tried or are trying. I also printed them on coloured paper to signify how all of them are actually lively and vibrant. However, as can be seen in the installation, many have tried to escape but have failed and thus lie on the grounds of the cage which hold them. Those who are still hanging remain coloured on one side and blank on the other to symbolize how in the process of reaching out for one’s aims, many have become mundane and single- sided. Pasting white paper also serves as a practical purpose: to make the figures tougher. I decided to hang them in a cage with a lock to show how they are trapped and are unable to escape.

 

On communist poster art

Filed under: inspirations — chiammy @ 10:45

My coursework is basically split into four main themes, bicultural, trapped, multitalented and results centred happiness.

The following is the short write up on my prep on the theme of biculture:

In this piece of work, I endeavour to depict what our school appears to pride itself in-biculturalism. I intend to make use of communist poster art to bring across my message. Nanyang is often deemed to be communist because of our strong emphasis in being bicultural and thus I felt it would be apt to mimic communist posters. Also, red and white which are predominant communist colours are also the colours found on our school uniform. In addition, I also included a loud haler as it is a symbol of speaking, encouraging people to speak out and be bilingual. I also decided to ultimately install my print as the coverpage of an English-Chinese dictionary as it is a literal embodiment of biculture.

so i decided to make use of a common perception of nanyang being communist in my artwork. Thus i started researching on communist posters, trying to find a common point, mainly trying to answer the question of : what makes communist posters communist posters?

so i googled communist poster art and found the following pictures rather representative of my perception on communist art.

Common characteristics of communist posters:

communist one

communist two

    communist three
    communist four
    and so i concluded that the following five points can almost be considered to be applicable to any successful communist poster. It must have:

  1. an uprising centre figure that takes up majority of the picture frame
  2. directional lines leading out of the picture frame
  3. red
  4. white
  5. a characteristic figure of the country/group as the main figure

I also quite liked this website http://www.iisg.nl/landsberger/ as it provides a comprehensive number of propaganda posters collected by the creator of the website.

I think communist poster art is a rather effective way of propagating an idea as it just screams what it is trying to mention right in your face.

 

inspiration for coursework-trapped September 16, 2009

Filed under: inspirations — chiammy @ 13:49

IMG_2997

what do you see when you look at this photo?

I see energy trapped within a ball, without any way to escape. Yep it is a plasma ball .The energy is vibrant. The energy is strong. Yet, it is TRAPPED. so how do we escape?

es·cape (-skp)

v. es·caped, es·cap·ing, es·capes
v.intr. 1. To break loose from confinement; get free: escape from jail.

2. To issue from confinement or an enclosure; leak or seep out: Gas was escaping from the vent.3. To avoid a serious or unwanted outcome: escaped from the accident with their lives.4. Botany To become established in the wild. Used of a cultivated species.5. Computer Science To interrupt a command, exit a program, or change levels within a program by using a key, combination of keys, or key sequence.

v.tr. 1. To succeed in avoiding: The thief escaped punishment.

2. To break loose from; get free of: The spacecraft escaped Earth’s gravitational field. 3. To elude the memory or comprehension of: Her name escapes me. The book’s significance escaped him.4. To issue involuntarily from: A sigh escaped my lips.

n. 1. The act or an instance of escaping.

2. A means of escaping.3. A means of obtaining temporary freedom from worry, care, or unpleasantness: Television is my escape from worry.4. A gradual effusion from an enclosure; a leakage.5. Botany A plant that has become established away from the area of cultivation.6. Computer Science A key, combination of keys, or key sequence, used especially to interrupt a command, exit a program, or change levels within a program. es·cape (-skp)

v. es·caped, es·cap·ing, es·capes
v.intr.
1. To break loose from confinement; get free: escape from jail.
2. To issue from confinement or an enclosure; leak or seep out: Gas was escaping from the vent.
3. To avoid a serious or unwanted outcome: escaped from the accident with their lives.
4. Botany To become established in the wild. Used of a cultivated species.
5. Computer Science To interrupt a command, exit a program, or change levels within a program by using a key, combination of keys, or key sequence.
v.tr.
1. To succeed in avoiding: The thief escaped punishment.
2. To break loose from; get free of: The spacecraft escaped Earth’s gravitational field.
3. To elude the memory or comprehension of: Her name escapes me. The book’s significance escaped him.
4. To issue involuntarily from: A sigh escaped my lips.
n.
1. The act or an instance of escaping.
2. A means of escaping.
3. A means of obtaining temporary freedom from worry, care, or unpleasantness: Television is my escape from worry.
4. A gradual effusion from an enclosure; a leakage.
5. Botany A plant that has become established away from the area of cultivation.
6. Computer Science A key, combination of keys, or key sequence, used especially to interrupt a command, exit a program, or change levels within a program.
So many definitions of escape when you do a google on the internet. Yet how many actually offer you ways of how to escape? so in this piece of artwork, i’m actually inspired by the trapped energy and i aliken this to nanyang students, of how many of us are trapped in this never ending rat race and how we keep trying to escape this system (or at least i do) and yet never seem to be able to get out of it. So i examine five ways of trying to escape, with positions of climbing and reaching up and positions of digging downwards.
Ultimately, im trying to overwhelm my audience with the amount of “dead” people at the bottom of the bird cage, showing how many have tried and failed. And the fact that those who are still trying to break free are only coloured on one side and blank on the other shows how in the case of trying to break free, we often lose ourselves and our personality and become one who is flat and has a two-dimensional character.
*thank you to my best friend for helping me with the concept of this entire thing!
 

zena holloway April 25, 2009

Filed under: inspirations — chiammy @ 16:43

ahhh! i feel super inspired! 😀 so i shall come and talk about my source of inspiration. was talking to my friends from CHIJ TP and RI AEP. so we were randoming about photography as they are really enthusiastic people. and i got introduced to  ZENA HOLLOWAY.

a quick search on the internet would tell you the following few facts:

1. she’s and underwater photographer

2. her main subject matter is on babies

i guess there are a few reasons as to why i quite admire her artworks, but i think the main reason is because i like the feeling of the freeze frame moment. hmm how am i to explain this? it’s like in any ordinary picture that is taken on land, sure. it is indeed a capturing of that instantaneous moment, but somehow when you take a picture in water, the water gives the whole idea of a freeze frame a deeper meaning. maybe because the water makes the fabric on the bodies look more like they’re moving and in suspension than ever. so you can say that i am rather mesmerised by the still movement that the water creates. The water coupled together with the subject matter makes everything seem all so peaceful and quiet. however, if you look at her works which are of other subject matters, they can seem peaceful, quite and yet haunting at sometimes.

so somehow i think her style is rather unconventional and it inspires me as it makes me want to explore new ways of doing things that i have sometimes thought of but thought it was too lame/whacky/crazy to carry out.

and i really think that it captures the splendour and simplicity of  her whole subject matter. one that i really like in her collection on babies is the one below 😀 it is a really simple composition but yet it really reminds me of the simplicity of life form that we often see in babies (: like their abilities to accept, their lack of fear and so on. and so yes. i think zena holloway is indeed an inspiration. and if any of you are interested, you can also check out her collection on mermaids which i think is really cool too.

check out this website for more pretty pictures : http://www.zenaholloway.com/zena.html zena