last thursday, we began installing the first piece for small spaces. i worked with a friend of ours, dr. goh ban eng, an artist from singapore. she brought her family, who live here in town, along for part of the installation.
dr. goh created all of the fish in the chinese traditional ink painting method. in singapore there has long been strong support for the traditional arts of calligraphy, ink painting, and watercolor. the rigid methods and techniques are not dissimilar from the rigid western academic style, following and building on that which came before without deviating from the method and the spirit. it's not exactly what one would expect to find in street art, but rather something one would find in a frame. but in breaking with tradition (eeeeeek!), we collaborated to transfer this idea to street art.
after dr. goh had created a too-many-to-keep-count amount of fish and i exacto knifed them out of their rice paper fish bowls, we set out to get some paint on the wall and some fish in the river. i painted a wash of river flowing from an existing piece of metal hanging from the edge of the building, working the rusty wash down the wall into the drips of the paint. i added in some waves with spray paint. we let it dry and went for lunch.
when we returned it was ready to paste. and everyone helped out. dr. goh's family had met us for lunch, so they came along to see our progress and make some art.
the kids had fun putting stickers on the wall, and we built a solid looking piece pasting the fish into the water. it's an homage to the native fish species of our area.
there's little schools of fish scattered within the lilies which create the foreground. there's catfish patrolling around the bottom and bigger fish jumping around. there's even a couple of ducks floating on the water.
we talked through the ideas of putting this installation together, discussing meaning and relevance in the narrative and the method. it is strongly an east meets west piece in terms of the fusion of the opposing styles and methods. dr. goh's expressive ink and wash is of a different type of discipline and control, than my expressive, but more free-form roller-strokes of wash and spray paint dripping down the wall. her methods with a chinese brush contain a sense of restraint and balance in my expressive and chaotic river. beyond the narrative, it creates an incredibly interesting contrast between generational aesthetic difference in a strongly collaborative work. it is also a certain metaphor for this project in general, in that it is a fusion of seemingly opposing ideas coexisting in a single story.