"黄山：'前世与今生一直从事插画绘图工作，认真负责，目前致力于研究图像如何影响人类命运。' 现居住在佛山。" 文／黄河
哈哈，这职位通称"美术"，我们可以自嘲自己是美工，不过讨厌被称为"美工"。我曾经所在的是难得有双休的正规公司，工作形式有些像流水线，人际关系单纯；辞职两年后我依然会和前同事交流碰面，让人珍惜。具体的感受与经历在这次的作品《无生命体众生》 Inanimate Sattva中有描述。实际上这份工作比较艰苦。
Rate of Progress, the Enemy from the Virtual World
"Huang Shan: 'I have been in the illustration industry from my last life to the present. Diligent and conscientious, I have now committed myself to the study on how images affect the destiny of human beings.' Lives in Foshan, Guangzhou." Text / Huang He
Q: Huang He
A: Huang Shan
Q1: Describe a little bit about the focus of your artistic creation and interests, please.
A: I'm interested in uncovering the motives behind images, and locating the influence they have on their makers and viewers. Such images come from not only the well-known popular commercial TV shows and films, but also shapes and decorative patterns found in various kinds of historical articles. Consequently, my experiments mainly focus on visual arts, sometimes covering electrical network, street arts, performance, installations and etc. All in all, I prefer adopting a relaxing and humorous approach to probe into historical and humanistic issues.
Q2: Is your birthplace also your current residency (Foshan)?
Q: Out of financial reasons, I moved from my birthplace, Guangzhou, to Foshan. In this way, I became further away from my active social circle. Guangzhou, a city of thriving economy, creates tremendous job opportunities, at the same time, more hustle and bustle. By comparison, Foshan is much quieter, the benefits of which are money-saving and better concentration on work.
Q3: How are your recent art works related to where you live?
A: Compared with the situation in Guangzhou, the traditional culture of the Lingnan territories is more dynamic and widespread in Foshan, also much better preserved, which I find extremely fascinating. Art forms, regarded as civil and individualistic by modern people, were in fact collective behaviors under official planning. All the articles, however seemingly purely decorative, were actually the results of collective spirit and of vital practical value in their times. It makes me wonder: Is there any modern "civil arts" in such an digital age that can be valued as the symbol of "the wisdom of skilled craftsmen".
Q4: Why are you interested in "cartoon", a visual art form full of drafting and drawing? How did this happen?
A: For our generation, especially those who grew up in regions where the film and TV industries have highly developed, "cartoon" is the food for our souls (or pollution to our souls). Good cartoon characters are the embodiment of authentic human emotions, and even complicated feelings. I enjoy watching and copying them. However, it'd be quite a problem for me if I was asked to draw cartoons following the strict commercial standards. It takes years of hard work and accumulation before one can develop his/her own sophisticated style (hats off to those anime painters and the American comic style). The general public's preferences to styles often change overnight, as a result, painters could easily and ruthlessly become obsolete. The more popular commercial styles they pursue, the more cut-throat competitions they'd confront. As for me, I am under no restraints of any cartoons or their styles.
Q5: Would you please tell us about your experience as an "art designer" in the game company?
A: Haha. The job is generally known as the "art designer". We can mock ourselves as "art designers", but we hate to be named so. The company I worked in was a formal corporation with the uncommon weekend holiday policy. Working there was somehow just like working on the assembly line, with simple interpersonal relations. Even two years after I quit my job, I'd still hand out with my former colleagues, which is cherishable indeed. As for my specific feelings and experience related with this job, you can find them in Inanimate Sattva. Actually, it was a hard job.
Q6: What is your view on the fact that young employees in cities have to do things against their will in the job market?
A: I once had a conversation with Nikita Chou (Cai Yingqian), a curator, who said that compared with artists in Shanghai and Beijing, artists in Guangzhou have to take up a full-time job due to the tiny art market, consequently, the numbers of their art works are small and unsystematic. It's an extremely cruel reality, but I am not going to work around it. Instead, I'd work at it by getting a job that supports my life. The reasons for me to do so are, firstly, the ideal form of "art" in my mind is real. Secondly, my attitude towards a life-supporting job is I should be fully responsible to it, and then try to find out (squeeze out) a sense of achievement out of it. To some degree, just like any other occupations, art is also a form of "work" which requires skills, experience and income. I don't approve of the idea that "art" should be totally separated from "work".
Q7: After working as an art designer in the game company, have you changed your understanding on "cartoon"?
A: Before I reached my adulthood, animation and games were recreational consumer goods to me. A grown-up now, I'd look at them as role models and fruits of diligence and wisdom. My job right now doesn't involve too much of the cartoon industry, therefore, they have again become recreational consumer goods, and evolved into objects of study.
Q8: Can you talk about your understanding on the marketized visual style?
A: According to the regular patterns, the aesthetically-pleasing and complete style is most easily accepted by the public. There are certain visual styles that have withstood the scrutiny of time and survived, such as the well-known so-called Japanese Cutie style, American Si-fi style, French Literary style, Chinese Retro style, and so on. From my perspective, any visual style that can be categorized at first sight is commercialized and popularized. In order to master a skilled style, one must undergo severe training and hammering.
Q9: Are your works angry?
A: My Kabbalah Numerology reading is 1. The offensive style suits me well, yet I have never quite figured out whether I have tried any offensive creation or not. Probably not. Having lived a depressed life over a long time, I have somehow got used to suppressing my emotions. According to my understanding, a lot of artists are more of the angry type. Their works are full of power, such as A. Abdessemed. As for my musical preferences, I love the straight-thinking old-school punk and metal, which is like a subconscious way to vent my emotions.
Q10: Which piece(s) of works of yours do you want others to know of most?
A: Inanimate Sattva from this exhibition and the Electronic Amulets series from my previous works.
Digital Amulet-Be an obedient computer, gif 750×1334pix, 2016
You could save this picture in your computer or mobile as digital amulet.
It can ensure your computer work well and never break down.
Digital Amulet-Be a stand-up woman, gif, 750×1334pix, 2016
In this digital amulet, the Xx chromosome could empower you to be a powerful woman!
Digital Amulet- sleep like fossil, digital image, 1200×829pix, 2016
It can cure insommia and make you sleep like fossile.
Digital Amulet-Back Pay Will Be Awarded Easily! , gif, 750×1334pix, 2016
This digital amulet can ensure that your back pay could be awarded easily.
Since this Mythical Animal can summon related departments to solve your problem.
Digital Amulet-Get off work on time, digital image, 1200×829pix, 2016
You could save this picture in your computer or mobile as digital amulet.
It can ensure you get off work on time and never work overtime
Q11: If possible, what questions would you like to raise to your audience?
A: Few years back, when several acquaintances found out that I was working on a pixel painting project, they popped out, "Isn't it too simple to draw such paintings?" This is the kind of question usually raised by amateurs and consumers. I told them, "Not at all. Every pixel must be well-placed and carefully-colored. Besides, I have to make the best of the limited space and colors to demonstrate the shapes, materials, and textures of each role and prop. No mistake is allowed in the pixels". I fixed one of the props almost 10 times in a day. At that moment, I was so nearly out of my patience that I kept striking the shortcut key angrily, paying no attention to my self-image at all. At that time, I was busy moving to a new house. While my family were packing, I just couldn't leave my computer because I had to catch up with the rate of progress. If there's any question I'd like to raise, I'd ask my audience this, " Do you have any idea the years of hard work and hours of efforts a painter has to pay to finish a presentable work, be it a character prop or setting?"
本次展出作品 Works on exhibiting
Inanimate Sattva, video (7'46"), installation
To some extent, traditional folk imagery reflects collective consciousness. Nowadays, people are used to digital images. Behind the scenes of art in games, the personal experiences of the designers, their development in the entertainment industry and the exploitation of their labor during that process, shine through. The artificial liveliness of cartoon characters is squeezed from their producers. The more lively cartoon characters are, the less personal time that CG designers have and the worse their overall health conditions are. This statement reflects my own past working experience.
Huang Shan (b. 1985) lives and works in Guangzhou. She has been focusing on how image affect psychological hint for years. Huang's practice mainly concentrating on visual art, at the meanwhile including digital art, conceptual group, street art, performance, installation. She likes to discuss historical and cultural issue in a humorous and modern way.
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