My theme revolves around the idea of a "mask" — such as disguise, concealment, and hypocrisy that exists among people in society. During the process, I have been considering the question of how and why people create masks, and gradually elaborated my answers and ideas. In the beginning, simple cosmetics and self-portraits, like #1 and #2, introduced the idea of covering. Subsequent images reflected some of the phenomena of disguise in real life, such as in social media #3 and in bullying #6. Then, as time goes on, the mask became bondage and began to be restrictive and bind me tightly. The process of breaking out begins to appear as the wolf beside me in #10 and the dragon in #11. Of course, there are also periods in each day when I am relaxed and happy and my true self comes out without being covered, as shown with the teddy bear mask in #12 where I feel comfortable and stopped trying to fake my emotions and personality to fit in with my surroundings. In the end, combined with the current epidemic, masks in #14 and #15 become a form of protection, covering cities and covering people's moods from the complex world.
My investigation was to explore different moments in American history through the art style popular at that time. Each piece describes a specific decade, starting from the 1920s to the present. For each piece, I had to learn and adapt to a different style of art. This experimentation with these various artists not only taught me different ways and styles to make art, but it helped create my own style. Also, with the experimentation of these styles I was able to see how art has evolved. Starting from art deco, to cubism, sculpture, and digital art. In #1, I referenced the artist Aaron Douglas to depict the Great Migration. He uses shapes to create a sequence of shadows going from light to dark. #5 combines Cubism and WW2. In #6 and #8, I used a comic book art style popular in the 50s and 60s. In #12, I referenced Kara Walker’s silhouettes to emphasize the O.J. murder in the shadow. In #14, one side is digital art and the other is painted on canvas showing old vs. new technology. In #15, I depicted the 2021 symbol revival in graphic design utilizing the infinity symbol. This helps answer my second question, does history repeat itself? The answer is yes, it does.
This is an analysis of my childhood and how my perception of it reshaped. This led me through a journey of self-discovery and a study of trauma. When did trials and tribulations of society/life become more important than the delight of discovery in doing the things I loved? As my theme progressed, I was able to identify a loss of identity I originally possessed as a young child. In #1, I discover a new world under a rock. #2-6 continued my question of what was my childhood built of, and where was my peace invaded/restored? #7 responds to pressure of conforming in school/society. #8-10 provided a deeper analysis of realization, rejection of previous ideals, and loss in my image of childhood. #11-12 examined the poisoned feminine identity enforced from birth. #13 asks what do I do now that I’ve broken from these hurtful standards? #14 acknowledges my move to the rest of my life. #15 shows what peace looks like, and how my journey of childhood helped me find it. Toward the end of my work, I explored rebuilding myself and re-embracing my joyful youth. It is clear that I have sought to rebuild my character, seek closure for my past, and dedicate carefully spent energy towards my inner peace.