April 2005アーカイブ

Queen's Day 2005


Hello Kitty (Kitty-chan)

At the end of April, I received one book from Japan. It is a textbook called ‘A Compound Expression: A Discovery through Paintings,’ produced by Department of Painting, Musashino Art University. The book had one of my works which I made while I was still studying there: drawings of Snoopy, made into a file.
I worked on Snoopy persistently because I could not draw Hello Kitty – or I should say because Hello Kitty was not a subject for me to draw. I started to work on the drawings of Snoopy when I realized the difference between the two.

I remembered the film I saw at Rijks toward the end of March (there is a film screening every week at Rijks), called Disco Ceremony (2003, b_books, Germany). It was about a Chinese American guy, a charismatic DJ in New York. The film uses the music he played as DJ, and that is in a way the focus of the film. The images of him, him in the car, his conversation with his friends, the scenery of New York – these images are all made to match with the music and they flow together – a film very pleasant to watch.
What I remember most vividly is how he ‘prepares’ himself for work in front of the mirror. How many buttons of his shirt be buttoned or unbuttoned? Should he roll up the sleeves or use cuff links? Should he wear sunglasses or hung it on the collar? He checks his hairstyle, sprays the perfume, and he poses for himself in the mirror, a hand on his waist, another hand pointing to the mirror. This sequence of his preparation was something fun to watch. It was not something that needs to be filmed; but, rather something nice to be filmed, I thought.

Back to Hello Kitty...
Why I could not draw Hello Kitty – it was because Hello Kitty is not a subject fit for the process of painting. In whatever way you draw Hello Kitty, it will only be a commercial icon. Snoopy, in contrast, is a character. Even when Snoopy is cut away from its original context, he remained as a character brought into life by Mr. Schulz (the cartoonist). He will not be a commercial icon. He is free and pleasing to the eyes. The paint brush follows him and the painting is made. I don’t feel comfortable to see a story attached to a mere ‘icon.’ I think the painter of such a work is ignoring the process of how the painting approaches us. I am not happy with such a work.
It is a world of capitalism... but I am not satisfied unless the work is interesting.

These images are nothing to do with what I have written... the images from the Queen’s Day (the birthday of former queen; the biggest and craziest festival in the Netherlands), and of La Sainte-Victoire.


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