My practice explores a visual language that investigates loneliness and humour by exchanging intimate stories.
Humour is subjective. It has been a work in progress in tailoring it. I am particularly interested in self mocking and taking the piss out of the near-pathetic events in our lives. In my work, I constantly use text as a caption to add to the drawing. This text is often a response or a comment to the events. The drawings often situate in a minimal space, staged with a nervous-looking human character. By doing so, the drawings suggest the vulnerability of the protagonists and ridiculous-ness of being in the event.
Prompting and engaging with the audience are essential in my practice. I have explored different ways in prompting the audience for creative input. These iterations include asking the audience for a text message in emojis, asking them for a short piece of writings, prompting them to write a caption for one of my drawings etc. By iterating and engaging with the audience, these strangers and I started to connect through prompts and drawings.
Since then, I have decided to combine these intentions and create work that is both meaningful to both me as an illustrator and my audience. The year of 2021 started off lonely and isolated. It has been particularly important to ease the loneliness by taking things lightly. In project “I’m Fine.”, I collect stories that trigger loneliness from strangers and I would draw them. I often approach these stories by taking only a part or a prop from it and reimagining when things are taken slightly out of context. What would happen if the participant views the story as an outside, like watching a tv show? This approach often changes the focus of the narrative, making a joke but not making fun of other’s pain.
The project also proposes the idea of empowering people to make meaningful connections. The audience receive one of the drawings based on other people’s stories. The exchange of stories brings a moment of joy or some laughters, which makes this connection with strangers meaningful. From reading stories from strangers and drawings that take things lightly, we get a peek at someone’s life. Although the authors of the stories are strangers to us, we connect with them in the moment.
“I’m fine” is a phrase full of denials and self-affirmation. It seems like a default response to incidents that triggers sorrow. We say if often because we want to believe that we are going to be fine. By incorporating “I’m fine” in the stories, it suggests some closure to the loneliness. It is the perfect sentence that summarise the attitude of my practice – “I’m fine