Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Innocent Bullet" & significance in art

On paper, the human form becomes malleable. To be able to sever limbs, split open mouths, stretch the delicate features without consequence—a privilege that exists within this two-dimensional plane but is not transferable to the realm of actual human flesh.

Finally finished this:

It’s one of the few things I sketched out during the AUSA 2010 weekend—a pretty nostalgic time. :) After finishing a bigger piece, smaller drawings like this are almost a refreshing breeze even though they sometimes seem to sit around forever on the back burner. There’s an empowering realization of: “well, if I finished that project in time, something like this should take no time at all.” There might always be obstacles, big or small, practical or mental—but after a while, you learn the small tricks and triggers that seem to help.

The idea/mental picture I originally got was of an onion-like (or matreshka-like? XD)  contraption, with alternating layers of visually pleasing and gross faces split down the middle, one layer revealing another. As I started drawing, it turned into something a little different than what I originally pictured.
I hope this is not taken the wrong way, but this is kind of a bs drawing. XD What I mean by that is: it carries no inherent meaning that originally sparked the drawing, even if it could be interpreted that way.

It could be simply a freaky-looking monster, a nightmarish apparition, or it could be something representing the different masks we wear as human beings, the different facades we put up, the use of the innocent as a shield or defense tool, the shedding of disguises, etc etc. Take it whichever way you will—to me it doesn’t really matter. Not with this one, and not with many of my other drawings. Meaning is often so ambivalent, so ambiguous—sometimes it simply doesn’t make sense to label or stamp.

In the past, I’ve been stumped when people have asked: “What does this mean?” or “What’s your inspiration?” The latter of the two questions is much less frustrating (as much as I hate trying to find an answer to it when put on the spot), but the former is almost too straightforward. Straightforward without being really penetrating. An “outsider” question. There doesn’t have to be explicit meaning or symbolism in something in order for it to be significant. Significance can be drawn from the aura, the atmosphere, the emotion, the different elements that may potentially form some kind of meaning, but do not dictate it.

While I don’t want my drawings to be absolutely meaningless, I also don’t want every piece to embody something specific. A picture book of symbolism is not what I’m out to develop, and neither is a collection of illustrations devoid of any real personality or soul. Ideally, I’d like to be able to strike a good balance between the visual qualities of the work (“horizontal” significance) and the possible interpretations it carries (“vertical” meaning). It’s something I’ve been paying more attention to recently, at least with the slightly larger projects I start.

1 comment:

  1. "Picture book of symbolism"...I like that. Well, I like that you're NOT out to do that, but I like your wording. XD