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Frank Bowling


Collecting idea for reference from Sawyer, R.K. (2000). Improvisation and the Creative Process: Dewey, Collingwood, and the Aesthetics of Spontaneity.The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 58(2), pp.149–161.


Fiona Rae



Magritte's drawing


Georgiana Houghton


My memo in June

I am confused with defining things and fixing meaning.

What I want is just to find out the key issue of my works. But I tend to find and fix things. For example, I tend to verify whether my idea and painting match or not.

What if I embrace the ambiguity? Maybe it can be the way I make but also the way people look at the works. I agree that the process of my painting depends on each moment I paint- also depending on my emotion- so it is so true they seem alive. I feel they are breathing by itself with me. In this way, <Role of Chance> could be one of the keys.

Looking up the motivation and starting point of mine is helpful to think of the key.

<Cecily Brown- Take no Prisoners>

"I trust the role of chance. It is always boring to me to work out composition before I start painting. I just paint. "

James Jean is a Taiwanese-American visual artist based in Los Angeles. He explores the phantasmagorical dreamy world through painting, daily drawing on a sketchbook, and digital art. He is well known for the sophisticated line and ambient tones that make us think of bright hallucinations. He previously worked for DC comics in 2001, where he started the career as an illustrator of American comic books. However, he left the company in 2008 and started to concentrate on large scale painting so as to build his own pictorial world and to work what he was interested in. Rather than trying to fulfill the expectations of someone else, he tries to look into the internal stories of the works, which have been visually revealed in the sketchbook pages about himself. The otherworldy fairytales are both affiliated to fine art and pop culture, making the intersection of commercial art and fine art. As an Asian-American identity, His work bridges the past and the present by incorporating traditional techniques and manga-style. Japanese manga, anime, ukiyo-e, and American comic books, as well as childhood dreams, have influenced him to establish the enthralling fantasticism. Especially, his interest in the image of the ocean, which has a powerful waveform, is embodied within the reinterpretation of Hokusai’s <The Great Wave Off Kanagawa>. He emphasises to draw every day, showing that his consistent drawing practice turns into a final work. As he said, he believes the body as a mechanical vehicle for emotions, so, he keeps trying to that vehicle operating on a daily basis. In addition, he mentioned that the distinction between an artist and a non-artist depends on consistently making. Particularly, his sketchbook is used for the final place to create art and the lab working on ideas that become larger paintings to him

I am mesmerised by the fact that the traditional elements in his painting do not seem to be conventional anymore. To describe in more detail, he transforms the natural subjects such as birds, flowers, water, which are ordinary in oriental painting, into the unusual vision. It seems to me that he deals with the harmony of human beings and nature, which is the main motif in East Asian painting. In other words, the subjects amid waveform that connect to nature are the main motif in oriental painting, and he makes the world into an unfamiliar fantasy. Thus, his art with the semi-realistic manga style connects to the oriental world but also opens the psychedelic fantasy. In addition, the use of complementary colours evokes the strangeness and the gorgeousness at the same time because it makes the contrast but also the connection. It is also interesting to find that his artwork composes a lot of narratives even though he looks shy and quiet.


* quoted from interview*

Everywhere I see you, you’re carrying your sketchbook, filled with the most intricate and complicated drawings. How do you know where to begin? And where to end? Frequently, I’ll start something with no plan or idea of where it’s going to go. These drawings are done in pen, so there’s no erasing, no retreating. The drawing ends when anything I add feels like mere decoration.

What kind of stuff did you like drawing and/or painting as a kid? I never painted; that didn’t happen until college. But I always drew and doodled in the margins. Faces, twisting bodies, abstract motifs. When I was 13, I read my first comic book, and I was mesmerized by the anatomy and the way artists could describe different surfaces and materials with inked lines, from the way veins would course over stretched ligaments through spandex to the way an underboob would catch reflected light.

A Korean artist Dong Gi Lee is well known for his Atomaus. This creation is made through his combining practice of culture between Mickey Mouse from USA and Atom (astro boy) from Japanese anime. The name is a makeup word of the two characters. He represents the influx of international cultures to South Korea associated with his childhood memory. Although his painting imagery is different from the form I pursue, I have looked up the motivation and the concept of his development of Atomaus.

When he got motivated to create Atomaus is back to his uni days. While he was painting as usual at college, he noticed that some of his gestural marks resembled the face of Atom, the Japanese Astro boy by Tezuka Osamu. Indeed, a lot of Japanese anime was broadcast in Korea when he was a child and he was the one who enjoyed the animes. In other words, his discovery of atomaus comes from a piece of his childhood memories as if I have found wide pupil and shining heart form in my painting. It is interesting in that it connects not only with this artist’s memory but also with the memories of the public who grew up watching Astro Boy in the 70s and 80s. It seems that his Atomaus shows that it is more related to retrospective and romanticisation based on childhood memories than just a connection between Japanese and American culture. Actually, the combination of fragments of Japanese culture and the wave of American culture reflects Korean society in the 1990s. Especially the fact that the character is also similar to Dooli, a Korean anime character, reveals the contemporary cultural hybridity. He is still playing with Atomaus and continues to work on cultural convergence.

Virtual Insanity/ acrylic on canvas /190×190cm /2004

Atomaus Eating Noodles/ acrylic on canvas /120×160cm /2004

The Crucifixion/ acrylic on canvas /130 x 190 cm /2009

He has made different versions of Atomaus - eating noodles, repetition of the face, smoking atomaus, etcetera. I like the way he uses a piece of childhood memory. Like me, he is the one who gets stimulated by Japanese anime, which is a starting point of work as well. I think he is a good artist who extracts the clue from the deep memory that is always with his mind.

The meaning and symbol of pop culture is fluctuating as time goes by. When he invented the hybrid character in the 90s, Atomaus was treated as an artwork for kids. Indeed, he had been requested to participate in the exhibitions for children. Also, the beholders were not familiar with his bold outline and simple colouring. However, he is now famous as the pioneer of cultural hybridity. I am wondering how the symbolic meaning of atomaus will be changed in the future.

Artist Painter Sooan Shin's contextual research

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