Define the Problem
For this assignment, I had to create a gift based on my partner’s “I remember” reflection and an art project that she chose in the Whitney Museum. At first, I didn’t know my partner very well, however by reading her, “I remember,” I started to understand her background and her personality through the small things that happened to her. Since Kore was a small girl, she starts to influence by her mom, she copy her mom’s action, I see growth is a very important element in her reflection of “I remember.”
I chose the mask as the particular design for my partner because my partner’s favorite project in the Whitney museum is Tomashi Jackson’s “Third Party Transfer and the Making of Central Park”. I asked her opinion of this project, she talked about how she loved the color and material use. In this project, Jackson uses different material to make a collage. Tomashi Jackson studied the “Third Party Transfer”, and the history that linked black people as a public. Looking forward into Tomashi Jackson’s interview, I recognize she is one of the artist that use humanism and ethics as a part of her palette of materials and ideas. She said ”Whether it is though figuration or though abstraction that history has shown me our public narrative is actually embedded in all that we do.” I understand her idea of people using different ways to remember things, and that memory builds people’s own identities of what they want to be. In her work by using words on the foreclosure house and people’s faces in printmaking, she creates a story of black people’s property in New York. All of her printmaking photos are based on historical pictures that she collected from library. I see Tomashi’s art project show the memory of foreclosure that black people had, at the same time, she is asking for fairness and equableness back.
After this I went back home and reread Kore’s “I remember” several times. Trying to catch up how Kore’s childhood stories shapes her identity. I highlighted her stories into two big parts, adult and childhood. By collecting the objects that she remembers the most in her childhood, I collaged it into the mask. I transferred the idea that I want her to see herself. In Kore’s “I remember”, I only see how she paid more attention to her childhood, and there are no events that she wrote about after she went to Parsons. But at the beginning of her composition, she wrote down how happy she was to be accepted by Parsons. After I interviewed her, and asked about what kind of people she wants to be, I saw her unsureness about herself. I felt I had a lot of responsibility as the client for Kore’s project, I felt she asked my opinion of color choice and preference it, I always have a hard time choosing. I felt I had to give her a very clear answer, but it is very challenging for me. At the same time, I am very excited about the final project, because I want to see how she sees me through the project as well as to encourage her to walk through her confused and unsureness. I want this project to tell her that she is a butterfly.
Designing for someone else is a new experience, I never tried to design things for other’s before. This project pushed me to communicate deeply to someone I just met for one month. At first, it was very strange and embarrassing. But during the interview and more conversation, I found similarities that we have. For example, both of us have little brother, so we can share the stories of our brothers. Also, I will ask more questions about her. Even though it is a self project, I still feel it is a group project. She made her life, I made her how I see who she is by making an art project. When I am a designer, I challenge myself to make things that I never tried before. For instance, I tried to sew things by hand, make things using the materials that I never used before. This time I used pearl, fabric sewing. These elements were so different from past project, but I enjoyed challenging myself. I failed many times, when I start this project, I have failed three times on doing Kore’s plaster hand. Also, there were few times that my hand got hurt during sewing and using glue guns.
In this project, I made a mask for my partner as the final version of the gift. Her butterfly tattoo inspired me. In her “I remember”, Kore wrote that she saw herself as a butterfly, so she used a butterfly sketch as her first tattoo. I used the mask as the final version because Kore used to be scared by her mom’s skin cares sheet mask when her mom walked in her room wearing it. But now Kore uses the skincare sheet mask in her room. I see masks represent her growth.
The left side of the mask represents the pupa of butterflies. On the left side of the mask, there are fireworks, the moon, stars, a covered eye hole, a flower, red lipstick, cucumbers and a cotton nose. All of these elements represent memories from Kore’s childhood. I see these objects as representing young Kore’s confusing wanting to grow up and relying on the family that made up her childhood memories in her “I remember”.
The right side of the mask represents the butterfly. On the right side, there are pearls, a butterfly, big diamonds. These elements represent Kore, shiny and dazzling nowadays. I used diamonds and pearls is because Kore’s aunt’s wedding ring is enormous, and Kore wished she could have a big diamond wedding ring. So, I see Kore as a shiny diamond.
Behind the project is Kore’ hand; the hand placed in this position is because it is the hand shadow of the butterfly. I see when I remove the alginate from the plaster butterfly hand, it represents the movement when a pupa becomes a butterfly. So, I left part of the alginate behind the hand. Also, on the alginate, the holes represent the difficulties and frustrations that Kore had in her childhood. I broke her right ring finger because I wanted to transform the idea of “You don’t need a big wedding ring to prove or judge your brilliance. You already shine and are brighter than a diamond.”
I photographed this project, and chose the filter in this way is because I hope Kore can go back to that era that she wrote her “I remember” when she sees the photos. The filter that I used has the Chinese style of the early 20th century. It seems like I photographed this using a film camera.