Thursday, December 20, 2007
This piece is about the need for survival, for self-expression and responsibility to the audience that comes with a creative profession. By responsibility to the audience I do not mean giving them what they want, but the realization that visual communication, or perhaps, any mass communication that relies on emotion, in its technique is no different from propaganda. The same techniques allow open sharing of ideas and manipulation of thought, except the techniques that demand the audience to question and make their own judgments... although those can be mimicked as well of course.
I'm not sure that I was actually trying to relay all that in the image. That was just kind of the bundle of stress factors going through my mind as I painted it.
Hmm... now that I think of it, not only is hair always a signifier of free thinking in my book of symbols, but it is very very possible that a ponytail is a marker of responsibility. If that doesn't make sense, look up ElfQuest comic books. In them, the ponytail is a mark of a chief. And I grew up on ElfQuest.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I do hope that this piece is clear enough to not need explanation, but I'll explain it, just in case. The assignment in class was an illustration on any article related to the current debate about illegal immigration. I went through a number of ideas relaying the inadequacy of the legal system in meeting the reality of immigration: the generations, the families, the ties to the new land, the mistreatment. But instead of focusing on the problems of the system, I chose to bring attention to the contribution of the illegal laborers to our society that plenty of people consider negligible because it is a convenient thought.
I wanted to celebrate the physical act of making a city, in a way as a symbol for the life physically lived there--perhaps a life without rights, but an undeniable life.
The original version of the image had businessman-looking boots on the right side, indicating in one dimension the people who own (by standing on it) the city others built for them, and in another dimension--the juxtaposition of the immigrant hands to the city-owners' boots, that exposed the body language of social classes. Who hasn't got the right to own has got to kneel, even though they spend themselves to make what is owned.
This element was eliminated under the direction of my teacher, Sterling, who said that the boots standing on the city would destroy the credibility of the transformation of bricks into buildings. He is probably right about that. So this piece, rather than being about the contrast of classes, became mostly about the act of making, the physicality of maintaining an environment that makes you attached to it, whether you wanted to be a part of it in the first place or not. I attempted to bring that out by roughing out the texture of the bricks, bringing their physicality into focus.
I am not sure if I succeeded in delivering all these thoughts through the piece, but I hope that the thoughts gave it an emotional validity.
Any comments are welcome, as always.