I am always motivated by the things I saw and experienced in real life. The definition of “things” is really broad. It could be a call I made with my grandma where she said something interesting, a piece of political news I saw on TV, or just something I imagined in my mind. Regardless of the content of these things, I am interested in thinking about the interrelations between them and how they affect me and potentially other people in society. Sometimes I am also motivated by my impulsive feelings and strong emotions. When I have a strong opinion or reaction to something, I find art is the most effective way for me to articulate my thoughts and responses as there are countless ways to talk and to express myself through different media, techniques, materials, etc. It creates the object (sometimes experience or concept) that could not be represented in any other way. In general, I am particularly interested in topics that are related to culture, politics, and society. For me, I think it is a part of the artist’s responsibility to create work that somehow builds a connection between individuals and society.
I have a sketchbook I called “trash can”, and I used it to record all the ideas I had. These ideas are really about anything. Some of them are about an interesting material I found, some are about an experiment I want to do, and some are well-developed plans. I found this useful for me to think about ways I could make a work. It’s like an idea deposit bank. When I am creating a work, I usually allow myself to bear with the idea(s) for a while, and I think for me this is more important than actually creating the work. In this step, I will do a lot of experiments to visualize the idea(s) and also to convince myself whether the idea(s) is “good”. I will also let my strongest emotion guide me, and these emotions could be either positive or negative. There is no time when I decide on a plan, I know exactly where I am going or what I am doing. I always feel unsure about some part of my making process or the final work, so I always try to ask myself what is it that makes me feel unsure. Sometimes I can answer it and it helps me in developing my work, sometimes I can’t, but it still helps me in keeping think about my work. Another important aspect for me when creating the work is to be self-disciplined. I try to make every decision based on how it might affect the work, rather than thinking about how it might affect me.
An artist quotation I found resonate with is from photographer Stephen Shore. He talked about “art is made to explore the world and the culture, the chosen medium, and one’s self”. I really agree with it. I think that art could be personal, universal, and often times both. The formal qualities of a work are just different art languages, the meaning comes from how people understand it and interpret it, and how the work exists in the world.