As an artist, I always enjoy exploring all the potential ideas and ways to work on my project. While this allows me to fully unfold different parts of my works and learn from the experiment experience, it also makes it hard for me sometimes to figure out an integral and finalized project from all the raw materials and thoughts I had.
For this research, I was closely focusing on the outbreak of coronavirus and people’s reactions to it in China at the beginning of the spring semester. Then as the virus affected more areas and people and became a global pandemic, my attention also shifted. Even though the general idea remained the same as I wanted my works to be the witness of what’s happening around the world, I was overwhelmed by the complicated information and controversial issues. It was difficult for me to form my ideas into works that could be put together as a whole project because they constantly changed as the event was changing. There were a variety of materials that I created in different techniques but all focused on the same topic. On one hand, I was stressed because I couldn’t find a way to coordinate different ideas and works to make them fit in with each other as a group. On the other hand, I felt I was too close and related to the topic I was working on that I was losing some perspectives. Therefore, after talking with my mentor Barbara Weissberger, I decided to stop worrying about what the final project will be, instead, I put all the ideas and works I already had on the wall and started to find connections and the sparks between them. It took a long time for me to just experimented with everything until I found what felt excited and right for me to stick with, yet most of the previous works were the inspirations for the final project.
There are two important things I learned from my art practice process which I found practical in my other works as well. First of all, it’s necessary to step back from what I am working on sometimes during the process. Pushing myself to move forward and stay on track is important, but taking a break and looking at what I’ve done bring new perspectives and refresh my mind. It gives room for me to reflect on what I did and then develop the work more. The other thing I learned is to be wise about other people’s comments. One of the most efficient ways for me to improve my artwork is through critiques. When my work is open for audiences with different perspectives and approaches, it allows me to have a more complete view of the work. Some of the critiques hit the point and help me to further develop the work, while some feedbacks are the opposite of my opinion or are less useful than. Listening and learning from what people said wisely are important, but I think to accept and to understand the different opinions are as necessary as well. This skill helps me to open myself for opinions but stay with my original plan at the same time.