Eternal Conflict Picture

For my A-level unit 2 we were given the title ‘Encounters, Experiences & Meetings’. From this title I decided build upon different styles and techniques that could be used to express the ‘encounter’ of different cultures; styles such as street art and calligraphy where essential aspects to my final design. The street art side of my work was mainly influenced by the work of ‘Banksy’ which I decide to research due to its relation to British culture/society. I feel that the themes of ‘Banksy’s’ art differs from the message of my work but has been an inspiration to my progress in this unit. It has shown me that the message portrayed in the art can stand out a lot more than the complications that are made into making the image. Culture was a subject that stood out to me as it is an eternal theme that relates to all observers; whether it’s our own culture or somebody else’s, it all effects the way we see ourselves as something different to the other. Through my final piece I wanted to show that even cultures that may appear similar can be split by views created through culture rivalry.

For my canvas I decide to match it similar to the map of China and Japan to relate to the theme of my project. Due to the gap in my design I chose to work on a large scale board; this would allow me a big enough surface to work on after the cut was made. An adjustment to the design was made as the shape of Japan on its own would have been too small to work on effectively; the board would also have to be split which I felt would over complicate the design.

Through my development I decided that my colour choice should contain a limited pallet. When observing the artwork of ‘Yang Liu’ I discovered that keeping colours simple works better at conveying a message to the viewer; too much colour can make the viewer oblivious to the arts meaning. In my final piece of artwork I used a simple pallet of white and black along with a primary “red” for contrast. I used red in my pallet due to its effective relation to danger, anger and other bad karmas. This pallet choice was partly inspired from ‘Shepard Fairey’s’ ‘OBEY’ movement which uses these colours/tones well to show his anti-authoritarianism. This pallet is also used in some of ‘Banksy’s’ more serious related work on society. In my final piece of artwork I placed the red in two separate blocks of my board – one on each side – to balance out my composition and to more importantly clarify the spit between the two cultures.

After looking over a range of different media such as mono-print, acrylic, brush ink, water colour, web design etc... I decided that the media’s best suited to my concept would be a mix of spray paint and liquefied traditional ink on top of an overlay of black and white poster paint. The spray paint was used as backing to my foreground images; I made these the more dominant colours as they worked to enhance the contrast of the black ink. Adding this media gave my work a street art style that would relate to my two street art influences. The association this style has to the streets is in-itself a relation to the encounters every culture face in their urban community.
To add to the urban style of my image I decided to create grunge look for my background; to stay true to my colour pallet I created this using black and white poster paint. This media worked well for me because it’s cheap yet effective water soluble liquid meant that it was able to dry quickly, allowing me to add several layers; creating an aged effect on the wood which worked strongly as a background in contrast to the glossy red and white spray paint. I applied this using a sponge, paint brush and roller.

The use of black ink in my final piece of art was used in relation to traditional Chinese and Japanese artwork; I specifically used this media for the two figures and the calligraphy as both are key symbols that I use in my image to represent the two cultures.

The calligraphy placed in the middle of the board is the Chinese and Japanese symbol for culture; this word is one of few symbols that both cultures write the same and works ironically with the fact it is one of the key aspects that make them different. In terms of the shape of the map, Korea has been specifically placed at the centre of the board behind this symbol. Korea is one of the main stretches of land between the two countries that both claim to have right of ownership too. This land has over the years and even today stood out as a symbol of the countries rivalry which is why I found it well fitting for this part of the board to be the in the place that splits the two central images apart (relating to culture separation).

The Chinese concept of the ‘Dragon and the Phoenix’ was an important visual that I used to send a message to the viewer. Although this imagery has been repeated throughout Chinese history, my design is original as no traditional painting has ever manipulated these mythological creatures into people. I incorporated these two idols into my final piece of art to establish the idea of separation – in this case between cultures. This is associated with its reference to ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ which generally refers to male and female but also refers to good & bad Karma. In addition to symbolising the separation that is created by culture; the two mythical creatures are there to represent how culture adds a balance of good and bad karma to our lives; though culture may splits us apart race it also unites us as a country; it is one of the main causes for conflict and rivalry causing countless death, destruction and suffering. Equally, culture is our main cause for celebration and is what unites us as a country. Our way of life thrives around it and without it we would be nothing.

On the top right side of my painting I added a statement in calligraphy which translated to ‘Culture is the eternal conflict’. This statement is the main meaning behind my work and simply implies that Culture will always co-exist with conflict.
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