Here is my piece for "Homeroom." I'm glad I finished it (barely) in time, since I had started another one initially but didn't feel it was working. Under-pressure-working to the rescue! I excel at it, although it stresses me out to the max!
"Happy Now? -Shiawase-"
Mixed media on board, 18x24
The mixed media in this piece is a combination of digital collage (I drew the patterns in Adobe Illustrator and printed them out and glued them to the girl. I thought some digital work would be a lovely nod to my graphic design background.) There is also gold leaf and shreds of a Japanese newspaper.
The show, which opens 11/11/11 at Subtext Gallery in San Diego, is a collection of artists' re-interpretation of drawings they've done in their childhoods. My kid drawing is this:
I drew this when I was about 5 or 6, while I was attending a British school called St. Michael's in Kobe, Japan. Hence the British-looking school uniform. I have no memory of being so delighted about books (I was usually more delighted with toy weapons) but it's quite a good thing, if I was!
For "Happy Now? -Shiawase-" the reinterpretation piece, I wanted to use the book image, but have it ask a question. (The Japanese character written on the book in the girl's hair is "shiawase", which means blissful happiness.) Does learning, knowledge, degrees, etc truly make us happy in the end? We spend a ton of money on education, get into terrible student debt, define ourselves by one test or one promotion or a career... but is it really worth it? Of course, I believe staunchly that education is important, and one should always strive for intelligence and mastery of one's language (and others, as well.) But when do we take the quest for information too far?
I don't want to pose an answer to these questions in my piece. I merely want to get everyone thinking, and for viewers to arrive at their own conclusions. I'd like to hear what this painting makes you ponder!
And yes, I do realize that the title bears a striking resemblance to a certain song on a recent Take That album. That's my little nod for Take That, since that's what I've been listening to lately. I love Gary Barlow, although it has nothing to do with this!