Last weekend finally saw the open studio that I had prepared for months. It was wonderful to see old and new friends.
I had conceptualized the open studio months ago in Iceland during my residency. When this body of works is finished, I plan to have an exhibition–somehow I doubt whether it would take place in Hong Kong. (It may be! Who knows?) Anyhow, it is still wonderful to share my experiences and artworks from Iceland with my friends here.
Thank you everyone who has contributed to the open studio–my lovely students for the beautiful bouquet, Carol for taking care of the everything and using an unfamiliar camera to take photos, Diana for helping me set up and the cookies, Auntie Sef for the glasses and the plates, Lee for the champagne and the snacks, GeeGen for the marshmallow and JC for the drinks and snacks.
And of course for everyone who has decided to spend an afternoon of their lives in my studio.
I feel so lucky and loved. Now I am ready to move onto my next projects.
Open Studio Special
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When I was in Iceland, I was already conceptualizing a piece of wearable art to launch with the open studio.
After extensive discussions, I decided to make a T-shirt of the whale shark, questioning the delicacy shark fin. Shark fin’s sale has dropped dramatically since the public has become aware of the fishing method.
Since the price of the fin (USD 28/lb) is significantly higher than that of the flesh (USD2/lb), the shark is often dumped into the ocean again having their lucrative fins cut off. Unable to swim or hunt, it is not hard to imagine the shark’s ending.
This painting highlights the fins that are sold. Although I have stopped consuming shark fin, the painting is not a condemnation of the food or fishing industry, or even the consumer.
Yes, the cruelty of this bowl of soup is undeniable. However, given the cruelty of the animal farming, is it kinder to eat beef than a bowl of shark fin?
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The past months have seen a lot of profound introspection about my practice. Various in-class discussions and critiques (am taking a part-time Master of Visual Arts at Hong Kong Baptist University) made me rethink everything I am doing.
So, here are just a few questions I began asking myself:
Why am I drawing?
Why am I painting?
Why am I making representations instead of using the actual animals?
Why am I producing works?
How come I am so bad at what I do?
Do I want to remain a gallery-oriented artist?
Where do I want to take my practice?
The more I think, the more I hesitate to produce. The more eager I am about arriving at the enlightenment, the more I am anxious to produce, then the more I am unsure what to produce.
Perhaps I have to settle with a perpetual dilemma an artist always faces between the ideal and the reality. Perhaps the day when I stop thinking about these questions I cease to be an artist.
This morning at dawn I woke up crying from a dream.
“A professional couple goes away on a romantic getaway. In the hotel room, she is constantly on her laptop answering work e-mails.
On the second day of their trip, when they are both in bed (her on her e-mails of course), his heart suddenly stops and he passes away.
She is devastated. While she is crying in disbelief, an angel appears and says, “I can’t undo his death but we can go back in time. You can relive the past two days knowing what you know now.”
On the same trip, she packs her laptop away and engages in every conversation and focuses on every moment she has with her lover. He is a bit taken aback but relishes her undivided attention.
On the second day, right before the fatal moment, she puts her arms around his torso and rests her head on his chest.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing. Just want to hold you.”
Her tears are already running anticipating the time her love will leave her forever. She has her ear against his chest, listening to his heart’s pounding gently come to a halt.”
If you could relive your life knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently?