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 My senior friends have had their post-grad jobs rescinded as well.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.