Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Mo- 4/8 Updates

For this week's updates, I wanted to focus a bit more on messaging in thoughts. In particular, I was thinking about my personal various topics that are being discussed throughout this pandemic and the how that has influenced my thoughts and actions. 

In this drawing above, I was thinking about the terms I've frequently searched throughout the past few weeks. COVID-19 has dominated the news and social media, so I find myself frequently searching various topics to keep myself informed. For instance,  I've searched there term "nytimes coronavirus map" everyday and tracked changes throughout the states and different countries. It's become a habit and I find this type of searching comforting in this current state of uncertainty. 

One of the biggest pieces of news that has been on my mind the past few days is the CDC's messaging about how talking and breathing also spread the virus. This comes along with the recommendation that people should now wear when going outside, but all I could think about when I first saw this news was a literal lost of speech and breathe. How will this limit our voluntary interactions and basic functions with our mouthes? Or will a face mask become the solution to this issue? I also drew two version to see if the my message conveys more in the whole face or part of the face. 

April 8th Update - Gloria Kim

It took me two weeks to get over my art block, but I've finally figured out how I want to portray my feelings and experiences. I think I'll keep double exposure technique in mind, but I think that will not be the main theme.
What I mostly want to portray is 1) interconnectedness and 2) barriers. It's sort of paradoxical, but that's exactly the essence of how things have been. I have two serious sketches done, and the general ideas for all five pieces now.

First piece: "Separate but connected." This piece is all about social distancing. These hands aren't touching and are quite spaced out from each other, yet you feel that they are interconnected through the strings that they are wound around by. The strings represent the digital connections we all use to keep in touch during these times. I want to stylize the string a way to weave in common motifs of social media, but I'm worried it ruin the elegance of the piece. That's the one part of it I need to think about, but aside from that, this is how the final piece will look and I could start on this soon.

Second piece: "overshadowed." This is a revision of the crude double exposure sketch I had last week. I also want to make my pieces more personal, so my reference is a friend I've known since middle school who's Chinese. I plan to actually draw the portrait as normal, but I'm going to cut out a clear sheet (like a sheet protector?) and write the "VIRUS" in sharpie all over it. It's going to be be like a layer you can lift up from the physical piece to see the normal portrait. My intention with this is that Asian-Americans are currently experiencing these blanket labels of the coronavirus. We are more than that. Lift up that label and you will find that we are people, and we share the same fears over the uncertain future.

I have decided upon the topics my remaining three pieces will be.
Piece 3: "what could have been." This is to express my extreme disappointment I've felt when my Mayo Clinic fellowship was cancelled due to COVID-19. My senior friends have had their post-grad jobs rescinded as well. It's lamentations over what this summer could and should have been. I'm looking to include some motifs of wet lab research experience I would have had with a juxtaposition to me being at home this summer now.
Piece 4: "fragments." Dedicated to the losses I mentioned last week. The loss in my daily structure, of our student community with the two Duke students, and the S.O. I parted ways with. Each of these were a part of who I am, and I feel like COVID-19 has stolen those fragments of myself that I wanted to keep. Hoping to be a self-portrait of myself with a surrealist take.
Piece 5: "paranoia." I found some portraits that used neon paint and handprints on the subject's face. I'm looking to use those as references to talk about the paranoia over how easily germs and the Virus can spread, especially since I saw a video two days ago where a nurse used green paint to show how easily germs can spread even with gloves. It'll also be irony against the advice "don't touch your face."

All five of these pieces address different aspects of my COVID-19 experience, but I hope to incorporate that string throughout all of them so they're still connected as a theme.

Kevin Boyd - April 8th Update

For the second of the five pieces, I want to play with the idea of isolation. I did not have as much time as I had hoped to work on sketches this week, but I luckily had an idea in mind already. The picture attached shows two thumbnail sketches of a woman figure in the fetal position or curled up. Both are very similar in that they would be B&W, most likely with graphite, with a negative space background meant to further convey the loneliness and isolation of the protagonists. This piece will most likely employ dynamic and strong shading to contrast the black and white.

Thanks :)

April 8 Update - Bree

So, this week I sketched out three of the ideas I had previously in a bit more detail and decided to drop a couple of ideas/am working on other ideas.

Here are the first responder ones. I like the concept of the first one still, but it isn't clear to the viewer what exactly is going on here. The figures could be anyone with the lack of detail, although I was working in a size about half the paper I would use in the final piece so maybe I'd be able to render them more clearly there. I also don't know if it really matters that the viewer can't tell because I certainly can, and that's probably fine. That being said, I think the second sketch is probably the clearer one to go with. With that one, I would theoretically do the whole thing in the pink/dark blue that I usually do, but maybe use a different color to highlight the details that are unique to these circumstances.

Also, now that I see the papers we will be working on, I decided to flip this vertically to make the scene as big as I am able, making the figures as small as I am able. Again, I don't think I'll be able to show them in the detail I would have liked and the viewer won't quite be able to understand what's going on down there.  I think I might do the entire environment in the pink (with more detail and stronger lines than is shown here) and leave the little guys in the dark blue if I can't come up with a better idea.

I'm still deciding which of the window drawings to do.

For the fourth drawing, my little sister is considered an essential worker. She's 17 and works at a sub shop. She is super grateful to still be employed, but lately she has been getting actively criticized by customers about hygiene and customer service. Some woman made her take off her gloves several times and wash her hands in front of her the other day. She used some impolite language in the process of doing so. I get the frustration and concern, but my sister is ultimately a child working at a sub shop and is doing the best she can. She isn't there to serve as an outlet for people's frustration. I've heard similar stories from retail workers. Her boss recently bought them all branded bandanas to wear over their faces, so I might do an image of her working the cash register in her gloves/bandana with several people yelling at her over the counter.

I don't have any ideas for the fifth, yet.

April 8th update

I am still trying to explore new possibilities for my final drawings. Recently when I ended my quarantine days and went home, I heard of lots of touching stories brought by the virus. The first is the amazement about the adaptability of nature. Pictures of seals roaming in Singapore, swans and dolphins in Venice, wild animals invading empty streets caught my attention. Even though some photos were then testified as fake, they brought up a reflective point of view on how human is changing the world.
Another shocking news I saw these days is about the condition in Chinese college dorms. Like us, most students left their belongings in their rooms before they are allowed to return to campus. Three months passed and when some RAs went back, they found molds and bugs taken place. Some rats even made home in quilts. Yes, this another picture of nature returned.
Recently a game called Animal Crossing went wild. When people could no longer visit their friends, they could do so in this game and enjoy every piece of its serenity. One feature of its mechanism is a variety of emotion and postures. I built a scenario of some who mock at real-world situation but set self apart and indulge in illusionary pleasure.

Settled on a new theme

I've settled on a theme for documenting the virus. I'm going to make a series of portrait sketches each of which is an impressionist work copied with the video-conference face of people I've interacted with. I aim to play on perceptions viewers of a video conference hold of the unshown surroundings on the other side. I also want to communicate the fantasies that climb out of boredom.

My attempt to show the virus as gross, intimidating texture was interesting to me. I like the result, but it doesn't reflect what this pandemic has been like in my life since the first few days when I made that piece. What started as great fear about the great monster virus has transitioned to the malaise at the boredom of pseudo-isolation. That boredom is certainly less fearful, but no less dark. Boredom is because of the isolation of avoiding a virus suffocating my family to death. But boredom is also less scary. When we are bored we either focus our minds or they wander to more emotionally safe places. That to me has been the sketches of the impressionist movement. Whimsical sketches of happy times with dark undertones. Lautrec sketches a fat man in a suit topped by a silly fez, but the man is pouting and alone. Van Gogh paints beautiful bright sunflowers, but they're all dead; he actually paints wilted leaves and dry seed heads. This combination of ultramodern video conference people surrounded by fantasies seems like an apt description of my life during the pandemic. However privileged that is, it is true.

This series is a return to some other recent portraits I have done. I'll continue in the use of mark-making but use it as a means of shading instead of texturizing. I'm looking forward to seeing 6 or 10 of these sketches that speak to my time in social distancing.

4/8 Update - Charlie

I've decided to go forward with my idea of the bat holding the globe as the main part of my drawings. I've combined the pages together to make it a larger drawing, and am playing with ideas of how to make them more standalone pieces as well that combine to form the full piece. I am still deciding how to individualize each panel. I tried burning the bottom of a page to see if that would work underneath the globe to represent the chaos in the world, but it was impossible to control the flame and get it how I wanted to look. Other ideas I have are making the panels a timeline from the first case to today -- month to month with some of the most shocking articles written over the drawing of the bird/globe. 

Image is of the larger drawing as it currently stands.