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I only paint my friends or family members who have a significant relationship with me. I’ve witnessed most of their tipping points and undergone a change after each setback and frustration. I ponder over each of their emotional conflicts and picture them individually because everyone is unique and their life experiences are indeed different. I do enjoy the process of uncertainty. "Half Empty, Half Full," is my current portrait painting series which represents two opposite emotions which then conflict with each other simultaneously. This concept was inspired by the challenging moments I noticed my friends struggling with. Everyone has experienced turning points and dealt with dilemmas at some point in their lives. My first painting in this series was inspired by a good friend of mine named, Lucky Lu. She is a photography student who struggled to create her own unique style in the photography field. She was criticized and doubted by a friend for being a copycat of another artist. She chose to defend herself by hiding her sorrow secretly. Once she exposed her sadness in front of me, I felt her confidence quickly collapse and destruct. Thus, I wanted to mark down this moment on my canvas in my own point of view. I depicted her standing in front of an intersection and having no clue whether to go left or right. Her pride protected her dignity so she could put on her mask and fight back. Nonetheless, her confidence was already destroyed and dispirited. This is a tug of war between strength and weakness. Likewise, we would never know the results until the last minute. This ambiguous moment is both optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. There must be times in life when you have a crossroad of life. Any kind of decision you make can change your life completely, but there would be no turning back once the choice has been made.
In this series of portraits, I’ve asked my friends to be my models. The only request I had for them was to just look straight at the camera, and countless photographs were taken. The photo shoots were simply plain without any special settings, makeup, or hair, but pure and natural portrait. Sometimes only one out of a hundred photos could fit into my ideas. In this work, I paint bold strokes and smooth transition with big palette knife and brushes. The contrast of hard edges and refine detail represent both positive and negative emotions that I've decided for each individual friend. The surface of my painting is rough with thick paints as if there were a tug of war battling on my canvas. The vibrant colors I chose for two emotions can sometimes be too competitive with to each other; therefore, I have to merge colors with abstraction and distortion in order to balance between the two in harmony and also enrich its mysterious looking. My concept embraces when two opposite emotions exist at the same time and could be either sanguine or depressed because they both exist evenly and compete with each other. Therefore, the outcome of each painting stays mysterious and unpredictable.
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