Tamsui old Street (Subverting nostalgia)

One of my favorite places in Taiwan is the Tamsui old street (淡水老街). Right off the main street, there is a path where you can walk by the water. On that street there are great hidden, little cafes, carnaval style games, and delicious Taiwan small foods. Nostalgia is the only reason for my love of that path. The water is dirty and the taiwanese summers are very hot, but the air was filled with friendship, love, possibilities and youth. 

My goal this time is to get fucked up and walk that path again. I want to destroy all the innocent memories I created when I first went there at 16 by getting blind drunk. A testament to my gone-by youth. I'm a good person.

 

 

Seu Jorge and the black narrative

Seu Jorge is one of my favorite Brazilian Artists for the reason that he makes very considered decisions in his choice of covers. Despite being a great original music composer, the choice of his covers creates a narrative of oppression, Brazilian history and black culture. 

In this appearance at a Portuguese radio station, he sings, Leçi Brandão's "Zé do Caroço", a song about a retired police officer who attaches a loudspeaker to his Rio favela home in order to relay alerts, news, and announcements to the favela's inhabitants. The song alludes to the people's mixed reactions of Zé. Some despise the noise for interrupting their television novelas while others wish they had someone like Zé in their neighborhood. 

The second song is from Brazilian 90s rap group, Racionais MC's. "Nego Drama" is a song that narrates the history, injustices and perception of black people in Brazil. Seu Jorge transforms the clunky flow of Brazilian rap and turns it into a poetic recitation, a flow much more flattering for the Brazilian-Portuguese language. 

The transition of the first song to the second is seamless as the chords do not change. The themes from the first song carry over beautifully into the next. I don't know what else to say, I just really love this video. 

One person in the comments section said, "Marry someone who looks at you the same way red-shirt guy looks at Seu Jorge."

 

Rickson Gracie on dojo hunters from Japan (Joe Rogan Experience)

Rickson Gracie: So he came into the ring and we start to fighting. Immediately I felt his intention to hit me. Immediately I clinched, put him on the ground and started to punch, and he turned back. But different than a normal event, where I’d put him to sleep or whatever, in that particular case I have to showcase his punishment. 

So I was not happy to just put him to sleep. So I punched him in the face, broke his nose, make him bleed all cut up. And at that point when I felt like he was just smashed up, he gave me his back and I put him to sleep. And then I let him sleep in his own blood, and then I told them to let the press in.  

 

Contradictions, symbolism, and Freud

Before, I stated that I avoided using any form of allegory and symbolism in my work, however, since reading more into Freud's interpretation of dreams, I realized I’ve contradicted myself. 

Freud theorized that dreams are the unconscious' way of hinting to one's suppressed desires (with Freud, usually sexual desires). These desires manifest themselves as symbolic representations. 

If dreams are representations created by the unconscious, then the foreign, subversive elements that I introduce to my paintings are in fact symbolic representations that allude to the subject’s (or my) internal struggle. If I consider my canvas a dream sequence, then every element in the dream represents an internal conflict. 

Although I'm not trying to create any kind of cohesive message or narrative, in the end, representational work will always invite the viewer to question and assign meaning to what they are seeing --Regardless of my intentions. 

 

Pushing boundaries (Feeling lost and helpless within the canvas)

I'm going 40x30in. I'm getting tried of painting small. There's something about small paintings that feel extremely intimate and comforting —almost nostalgic. I want to achieve the exact opposite effect. I want to feel like I'm stranded in the ocean with no visible land around. I want to see the painting and feel isolated, engulfed and inconsequential to its presence. 40x30 does not achieve that yet... but it's about as large as my studio will allow. Should I make a life change and move somewhere new? I think I might. 

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Detachment from subject, notes to self etc, ... (Rambling again)

Whenever I fail to make a successful painting, it is because I wanted to make something beautiful. My expectations with the painting's outcome sabotage the piece in the same way that when a person betrays my expectations, the only outcome is disappointment and frustration. 

When painting figures, I always have to mentally prepare myself before starting. I have to treat the figures like real people and take them at face value. I have to emotionally detach myself from the subject, and impartially take in visual information (planes, value and line). Figures are beautiful just for being figures, not because they are imbued with an artist's emotions. Just like any interpersonal relationship, I avoid creating a mental, finished and idealized version of the piece. 

That's why, since I started painting, I found that it's no use trying to make a perfect piece. I make so many mistakes that in the end, the image becomes a sum of it's faults, and cannot live without them. 

 

It is a sad day when you forget your earphones Ep. 1

It's a sad day when you forget your earphones and you're quietly trying to get work done in a cafe when a couple sits next to you and performs public display of fervent religion. Initially, they seemed like very normal people, but when their food arrived they held hands across the table, closed their eyes and began thanking the chef, waiter, their god, jesus, and other seemingly out-of context things. They were speaking normally before their food arrived, but suddenly changed their tone and rhythm to a chant-like incantation with no variation in pitch before saying amen and reverting to a normal, human tone. 

I immediately closed my laptop and never returned to that cafe. Religion freaks me out. 

 

A quick thank you

Hello all,

I've noticed there is a good handful of returning visitors to my website that primarily check out my blog. I thank you all for taking an interest in my boring, and self-indulgent affairs. I know I do nothing but talk a bunch of shit, but I'm happy to know my shit has some value to some people. 

Honestly, I started this blog out of complete boredom, and frustration. It was a way to work out my own creative thought process. Since thinking things out has never created tangible results for me, I resorted to writing down my thoughts. I wanted a platform where I could be the sole administrator of its content. I get frustrated with blogging sites such as tumblr and even instagram as I feel there is a subtle pressure to follow the ways things are done by people who do similar things. I don't want to feel pressured to curate my posts in a way that conforms to the stereotype of an artist's blog. Since this is my own website, and I don't have the pressure of knowing anyone will pay attention to me, so I feel very free to post anything and whatever I want.

So far this blog has become a collection of my messed up, and fragmented mind. I don't know where it will go but I'm certain I'll keep posting, if only to track my own thoughts and ideas. 

I'm happy to hear out what people want to see from me although I make no promises that I will grant any of those said requests. I'm just content just having my own blog and doing everything my own way even if there is no one paying attention to it.  

Thank you, 

Hugo 

 

Dear Mr. Chiang

Dear Mr. Chiang, 

Lately, you are been making multiple appearances in my work. I don't use you in my work to make any kind of political statement. Nor do I use you for any kind of personal agenda or to make some bitter commentary on how Taiwanese history has unfolded. I don't even care how many times they change the name of that damn park in Taipei. Mr. Chiang, there is something about your image that commands a powerful presence, creating an instant and apparent tension in my work. That is why you will probably keep showing up on my boards as an old, haunting apparition, instantly challenging all other elements in the composition. 

 

Hiking, Skiing and...

Despite living in New Hampshire for 12 years, I feel zero attachment to the place. Yeah, it's an alright place if you like hiking, skiing and heroin, but nah, I don't feel much. Although I'm not sure New York is home, it's certainly a step closer. Here I was able to meet many weirdly displaced people like me. It's very comforting in a way. I could build my own gang of rebels. In NH, I still feel like an awkward guest. 

Is it weird that I really relate to Caesar from "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"? Like my mom would call me from NH and be like, "So when you coming home to visit?" and I'll be like, "Hugo IS home." 

 

A Shakespearian Tragedy in Taiwan

 

"In 1964, the young man Tseng Kuo-ying, sentenced to ten years in the Navy Taiwan Independence Case, was a trumpet player in the New Life Correction Center’s entertainment team, regularly appearing on stage with the Green Island women. He fell in love with a local woman called “the Green Island Lily,” a Miss Su, and they decided to spend the rest of their lives together. Unfortunately it was discovered by a political warfare officer, who was also romantically pursuing Miss Su, and he had Tseng Kuo-ying locked up in a watchtower until he won Miss Su’s promise to marry him. In order to save Tseng, Miss Su had no choice but to comply. Not long after the marriage, however, she went to Taitung for medical treatment, and, while staying at a hotel in Chihpen, drank a large quantity of pesticide, and she was beyond rescue. Green Island had not only political prisoners willing to hold out for their ideals, but also lovers who were determined in their love."

Source: Green Island Human Rights Memorial Park

Original Post Here

 

 

Dream Journal - 7.20.17

On my way out of a large building, I notice a large, black case in the middle of the lobby. The floors and walls are made of marble and were over-polished, making me tread carefully with every step. I walk up to the large case and I open it without hesitation. Inside is a mahogany colored instrument. It looked like two, double-bass sized mandolins joined at the body, making its outline look like a monarch butterfly. I try to strum the strings but they are all loose. Suddenly, two white guys with beards came out from the elevators and start yelling at me. I leap through the air, and before landing a kick to one of their heads my vision goes white, and I wake up.. 

 

People I look at (Ongoing)

An ongoing list of artists I look at. Decided to start a list for myself so I always have a database on-hand. I always forget names, so hopefully this helps.

Painters:

  1. Edward Hopper
  2. Gerhard Richter
  3. Kaye Donachie 
  4. Alexander Tinei
  5. Adrian Ghenie 
  6. Kerry James Marshall
  7. Antonio López García
  8. Justin Mortimer
  9. Seongjin Kim
  10. Alex Kanevski
  11. Francis Bacon
  12. Lucian Freud
  13. Phil Hale
  14. Marcin Cienski
  15. Francisco Goya
  16. Lars Elling
  17. Diego Rivera
  18. Willem De Kooning 
  19. Picasso (Periodo Rosa)
  20. Magritte 
  21. Caroline Walker

Directors:

  1. Hou Hsiao-Hsien
  2. Edward Yang
  3. Denis Villeneuve 
  4. Werner Herzog
  5. Nicolas Winding Refn
  6. Satoshi Kon
  7. David Lynch
  8. Akira Kurosawa 
  9. Krzysztof Kieślowski
  10. Andrei Tarkovski
 

Rauschenberg, peers, and collaboration (More ramblings)

Two months ago I met an artist who has now become somewhat of a mentor figure for me. Whenever we meet he does his typical wise, old man thing and lectures me of the intricacies and secrets of the changing contemporary art world. He recommends me dozens of films, books and articles to study as well as share anecdotes from his career. 

It wasn't until after these encounters that I realized the value of having a reliable foundation of peers around you. Having been graduated for what feels like a very long time, the concept of critique and contribution was almost non-existent, making it surprisingly difficult for me to move forward with my work. 

However, everything clicked after seeing the Rauschenberg show (Among Friends or something like that) at the MoMA. The exhibition focused on Rauschenberg’s collaborative nature and how he drew inspiration from working with other artists. After walking through that show, it was evident how his contemporaries pushed and inspired him to create the sensational art he is so well known for. 

During school, we had a platform that allowed us to have an active self awareness of our own work. Whether I disregarded someone’s opinion (which was often) or not, just the fact that my work was constantly being reviewed kept me very self aware of how my work was being perceived, and subconsciously indicated how I should proceed. 

After graduating, I felt like I was lost in the dark. It wasn’t until that old, wise man told me, “You’re the talent. You’re the artist. You have to build the community around you”. And that’s when I realized it’s my own fault I’m lost, and that not having critiques is no excuse to not seek feedback. The energy of reliable peers pushes the creative mind beyond its present state. 

 

References

There's this place in Williamsburg where you can buy photographs people throw away. People are strange to give away their history like that. Imagine giving away your photographs just so a grimy art school grad can reimagine its context in the the most sickening and perverse way possible. Oh wait, that's me. 

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An annoying transition period

I have to apologize for the lack of new artwork on this site. I've been going through a weird transition period. 

I've been reconstructing my thesis from scratch. I don't want to create images from the sole basis of aesthetic or any dumb reason like that. 

That being said, In one month I've gotten more done than I have for the past year. I feel I'm hitting a good stride. Even though I've only made failures this past month, I feel they were necessary for me to advance to a better mental state. 

JULY IS MY MONTH. EVERY MONTH IS MY MONTH. 2017 IS MY BITCH. I AM THE CHAMP.  -or at least that's what I yell to myself in the shower.