Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Eating her is honoring her. Otherwise, it's just murder." #Hannibal

I guess I could say that I was artistically inspired by the character and NBC TV series of Hannibal Lecter. Yes, I’m talking about the show that is centered on an ingenuous serial killer who works in law enforcement as a psychiatrist by day and eats humans at night. The man who often hosts dinner parties, serving meticulously prepared food (comprised of human organs). I will not go further into the details of the series for I fear that if I spoil anymore content than I’m about to, you might hate me. But I definitely recommend watching this addictive, creative show anyway if you haven’t already.

You should stop reading here if you don’t want me to ruin a couple of episodes for you.

Beauty of Destruction
MUA/stylist - yours truly
Photographer - Dan McCarthy 
- Models - 
Meghan Hornblower
Taylor Forst
Nan Localio
Elizabeth Stief
Cindy Chen

See, in the show, one of the initial predators said that if one does not honor every part of the fallen, it would simply be murder. My models represent innocence, purity and unawareness. Their beauty is captured in the essence of fully bloomed flowers placed atop their heads.

In one memorable scene, the ‘Chesapeake Ripper’ (a gruesome serial killer) hung a corpse on a blossoming tree. Stripped of clothes, his chest was cut open and his vital organs were replaced by a collection of poisonous flowers with the exclusion of the lungs, which had mysteriously been left intact. 

In another episode, a sociopath creates a color wheel of victims by chemically preserving their post-mortem bodies and then positioning them in an eye-like arrangement according to their skin tones. 

Both these images, in all its sick and twisted theatrics, inspired the painted visuals of my artwork. In the ‘color wheel’ I had just mentioned, Hannibal found the perpetrator red-handed before the FBI did and decided to complete the piece by putting the artist in his own ‘artwork’. Because I dared to embody the serial killer’s personality (as the protagonist did by empathizing with Hannibal’s mentality), I decided to put myself in my own artwork as well. 

Except I think I came across as an obsessive flower sniffer, since that’s exactly what I’m doing in the photo. I tried to reference Hannibal in the slightest, didn’t want to be too literal as the implications behind the pose is already borderline disturbing. Notice how I don’t have flowers on my head, but instead the flowers appear on my face. What you eat is what you are, right? #cannibalism

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Hey, what's the wifi password?"

How many times have you seen a family sitting at a restaurant, and no one is talking because each member is preoccupied with a different notification that popped up on their phone? Heads bowed, mouths zipped shut and eyebrows furrowed in concentration, they are completely unaware. Adults are checking emails or sending texts, teens are surfing social media sites and children are enjoying a video game under the table.

Completely. Unaware.
iHuman 2.0
Model: Angel Jehng

Human interpersonal communication has met a barricade. A wall that is no longer just a metaphor because now we can actually write on such walls, sending public messages to friends instead of engaging in physical contact. No, it is now the medium that facilitates interaction between people. We text people that are in the next room because it’s way too much hassle to get up from bed, open the door, use our voices, meander back and sit our butts down. 

So tedious.

I don’t think this will change. Actually, it’s bound to get worse as the age when kids start holding these addictive devices in their wee hands lowers. New innovations are compatible with increasingly younger audiences. Phones and computers grow up with us like pets; they are part of our daily lives and they eventually become either a companion or a tumor. Sometimes both?

For this photoshoot, I imagined technology as something so embedded into our identities that we use it to shape how people perceive us. Beneath it, we expose only a crack of truth from what flesh is left of this generation. Quite literally, I thought of how a barnacle sticks permanently onto a hull of a ship or a rock and if you attempt to peel it, it rips off parts of the surface. So you leave it be. There is no problem. We continue to advance. Well, this thought married a memory of how empty I felt when my parents took away my phone after I refused to stop texting a boy I liked in middle school. Thus, I produced a baby that looks like a cyborg. (clap)

Using technology isn’t bad. It’s got its many perks, but we do tend to abuse it and forget the essentials of traditional communication. If we can afford the technology, we use it. I do it too. We are all guilty. I give and get the 'disappointed look' when someone is not so subtly shooting a text in a midst of an actual conversation. We should know what we sacrifice. We should know the amount of time we spend online instead of improving the quality of relationships in person. Don’t let a date feel like a third-wheel because you’re more in love with your phone than who you’re sitting across (…awkward). Appreciate what you have, but don’t let technology become a tumor in your life.