Perfidious Experience

In the School of Thought, don’t think

There’s this gallery here, at Publika called Segaris Art Centre, that had invited many schools to take part in their exhibition “School of Thought”. And among the many schools, my college was invited. So that means I too.  I was excited. I asked them if I could showcase all of my Execution series and they said yes. I was surprised. I had a total of 9 artworks (I’ll make a new post to compile them all).

Before the exhibition…
They e-mailed me the invitation on the day that was the deadline for the submission of artwork itself. How could they have expected a speedy response? I responded anyway. I had to tell them a few times what I want, what I meant. I think it’s a language barrier thing, if not that they are too stressed out because deadline approaches. If they don’t want to rush, I don’t understand why they couldn’t have started on it sooner? Another thing was that the person I had to contact didn’t seem like she was even listening to a thing I was saying. She was friendly sounding, yes, but also rude to not let me finish my sentences.

We had to sign an agreement, saying that we give them permission for them to display the work, that our work should be ready to hang, we pay for frames, etc. Thankfully I already had them all framed because of the graduation exhibition. Then I gave them all 9 artworks. (Yes, I had to ask help from my father, whom by the way, I don’t live with. He had to drive an hour’s drive to get to where I am, and another hour to get to Publika, while carrying all 9 artworks in the car. It was difficult but I thought it’d be worth the hassle.)

Nearing the exhibition date…
Suddenly… When the opening night drew near, they said they’ll only choose 1 artwork to display in the main gallery and another to display in their second gallery. My artwork included my Perfidious Thoughts (poems) printed on foam board to be displayed together. I had to reprint them all because the first foam board printing from my graduation exhibition was damaged and ink went weird. I gave them these and told them about it. Still disappointed that they didn’t say earlier that they only needed 2-3 artworks only. Don’t they know how much easier it would’ve been to ferry just 3 artworks, instead of 9?!

The exhibition itself…
On the opening night, I attended, only to find that my artwork was displayed WITHOUT my poem. They basically said it would look better that way. That isn’t the worst of it. The worst is that they got my artwork title wrong! And all the dimensions, medium… I’ve expressed my discontent to them to which they responded without much concern. And all that re-printed foam board costed me RM135… and for what? They don’t even display it.
Oh, by the way, if it matters, the VIP guest was the crown prince of the state.

[Hover on the images to find out which one is my work!]

School of Thought… I wondered what they meant by that when they didn’t allow my Perfidious Thoughts to be displayed with my artwork. Are all galleries like this? I’ve heard good stories about galleries elsewhere. Does that mean I’m just unlucky enough to have to deal with this?

The exhibition will end in a few days but I will take a few months to recover from this disappointment.


I Forgot

Hi. I actually didn’t want to write about this, but I figured I might as well do so just for records. And because the exhibition is a distant nightmare now…

On the 10th of January was the opening night for my class’ graduation exhibition (Aether Exhibition) which lasted 2 weeks. In my class is just 2 people, my classmate and I. We had a theme named “Aether”, which was decided on after we made all of the artworks. Where’s the sense in that, right?

In short, my artwork focused on execution methods and the feelings of the criminal themselves upon their execution date whereas my classmate’s work talked about layers of thoughts and its processes.

What I thought would be the happiest day in my life has somehow been the most stressful and depressing. There were some good parts, like people complimenting my artwork but then it was overwritten by the shameful speech I had to give (completely unprepared, because while one lecturer said we didn’t have to, the other forced us to) I’m usually fine with all these speech stuff, but the moment I saw cameras aimed at me, I just couldn’t do it anymore. That, and my friends couldn’t come on the opening night itself so the place was filled with people I don’t know (friends of my classmate)

During the exhibition period itself, we had to take shifts, between my classmate and I. That does sound fair, but… I live so far away and have no other means of transport besides troubling my sister who has to go to work at another city. It was difficult but being “the amazing Liya Perfidious” I could overcome any obstacle! I joke.

Anyway, main thing. Pictures. See these:

Cool? Maybe! But the jazz song playing killed me.

What I learned from all these:
– If possible, avoid doing group exhibitions, unless the group has similar taste in styles/themes. Mine and hers was just too different.
– Don’t simply put jazz music (wasn’t my idea) for everything. My idea was to put on space music/ambience because it would suit the theme and the artworks shown. But my idea was turned down as it was too “weird”.
– Music choice during an exhibition is very important to build mood and amplify the vibes you want emitting from your work.
– Don’t prepare the set up last minute unless you get a rush from making mistakes at crucial times.

I apologise if this was written very unfeelingly, but let’s face it…this was a failure to me and I don’t treat failure well. Don’t get me wrong, I can be fairly nice to others, but very harsh on myself.

First Timer in Printing Books

I realise that I haven’t posted anything in a while. Here’s why.

For the final assignment of Computer Application class (aka Computer Graphic Printing Procedure) we had to design a book cover with a dust jacket for a storybook. (It could be from an existing story or a made up one) I chose “my own”, created within a short period of time.

I was rushing to finish this assignment since I first got it. I faced some difficulties because my initial design, not these, were “too abstract” and the lecturer wanted it to be “less Fine Arts”. Lol, his words, not mine. He wanted something that can be easily understood, since it is a cover. Because I was still in the process of moving houses, everything was so chaotic and I didn’t have any materials to draw on. Thankfully, because I was moving house, there were some cardboard boxes. So I drew on that.

The story I made up was titled “Devoured, Deflowered”. It’s basically about a rape victim who will be executed because she was raped. And it seems she was related to a crime in the 14th century. She has to prove her innocence somehow or she will die.

Before showing the actual cover, I will show the process first.

Devoured Deflowered Process

As you see, I was a stupid kid, I drew the book cover with the “imagined” dust jacket first, with the red portion of the cover in a separate piece.
(WHY. I guess I was panicking too much)
I was supposed to draw the red silhouette with the picture and background, and have the brown silhouette as separate, but I did the opposite!

Anyway, first picture was drawn fully with watercolour pencils and the second with ball pen. For the third picture: I then added a sky digitally using my own photos, and made the cover how it should be (with the red silhouette instead of brown). I also cleaned up the shapes and the silhouette where the die cut would be. Last image shows how it would be theoretically with the dust jacket.

You will understand what I mean by this by seeing this final product image:

Book Cover Dust Jacket

The first image is with the dust jacket and the second, without. As you see, the brown silhouette is the dust jacket. Requirements for dust jacket: Must include a die cut shape of any kind.

Going to a print shop to ask them to print is a serious challenge. Thankfully for me, I had a classmate follow me so that we can both derp derp and print together. (With whatever little knowledge we have on printing.)

The guy at the print shop actually taught us a little bit about printing, papers, and binding types. For this one, my cover was Sandgrain Diamond 250gsm and the dust jacket Mapple White 140gsm (which was, in the end, still too flimsy for a jacket.) The binding is perfect binding, which is common for books!

The book cover was cut shorter at the width than where it should be, making everything seem more to the edge. (printing shop people problems) Somehow the dust jacket flap (inside the book, not shown) was much longer even though the digital file was precise. I cut the die cut (building silhouette) on my own by the way! 😀

Inside the book is actually just a preface, followed by empty white pages. This is just a “mock up” or “prototype”. I spent RM45 for the printing and binding. Because my book spine is thicker than most other people’s it’s more expensive (by ~RM8) For a spine of 1.7cm, it’s about 156 pages.

Here’s the original cover art:

Devoured Deflowered Final Cover

What I learned from all of this:

  • When printing, equip yourself with basic knowledge (like the keywords, preparing your work in CMYK, adding bleed and crop marks) and also cash.
  • Know the measurements of the thing you want to print, in cm and inches! Because they can’t seem to stick to one unit! Pick “easy” measurements, don’t manually size it according to how it looks on screen. Choose easy stuff like “20cm” rather than “18.764895cm”
  • Choosing paper types. Some papers end up making your work more saturated. For mine, I didn’t use that one because it’s not suitable with my idea. Some papers are more difficult to cut if you’re cutting them up with a normal scissors like I did. Also, don’t get too excited with textures on papers. If your design is detailed, printing it on textured paper can be risky and may look chaotic.
  • Link images in Adobe Illustrator (File>Place) so that when you edit the images, it automatically updates.
  • Avoid Serif fonts because it’s hard to read if the font size is small.
  • The title of the book is also part of the design, arrange according to focus. Don’t make everything too grand or too bland. When sketching, put in the text as well. Don’t be like me! I relied too much on my artwork and forgotten the text completely.

That’s all I can think of. Those may sound basic, but I didn’t know any of that when I started working on this. That’s how bad my knowledge in this field was.

2 Years, comes with TL;DR

It took me a while to finally be able to sit down and write here.

I mentioned I’d talk about my earlier moments in college.
Before I begin, it’s imperative that I mention that I come from zero legit knowledge on art. I never had art classes and neither have I practised it intensely. My entire primary and secondary school life was just doodling things using pencil and paper, nothing else. Art is considered for the rich, so being lower than middle class, why bother, right?

Oh wait.
Now let’s roll back to January 2014, where I was still under the impression I’d take up Illustration course rather than Fine Arts. To be clear, these are an assumed chronological order. My poor memory restricts me from recalling things precisely.

I drew things.

I drew people to be exact. I was on the “right path” if I wanted to choose Illustration.

I guess you could say that I loved making “figurative” works in a doll-inspired style. And to tell you the truth, I still do. But then… this happened:

I chose Fine Arts. We had to do a lot of imitations and live paintings. It was fun at first, but when you do so much of it it just loses its significance. I had little to zero connection with most of the artworks, but somehow in the past I still managed to do it.

Besides imitations, we also started off with doing some portrait drawings for God knows what reason. Here they are:

(Logically, I assume it is to find out our identity, if portraits/figures is our thing and/or so that we have a grasp on the basics, in this case: figurative drawings. Master the foundation and then go our own ways.) I admit that portrait drawing was one of the more fun parts because we could choose whoever we wanted to draw so I drew my favourite people.

And then there was watercolour class. Never had I found a subject I despised so much (at the time). We had to travel a lot and paint under extreme conditions. (Sun or rain)

And worse is that we had to pay for the bus fees to get there. Sometimes around RM15, if I remember correctly. And watercolour as a medium, to me, feels weak… like my passion in art. Lol. Sometimes I skipped class because I didn’t have enough money. It was either attend class or have money for food. Rationally, I chose the latter.

We had to do figurative imitations at some point too. I thought that these turned out pretty good, considering that I lack knowledge and experience, and I hate oil paint.

It was only for Visual Language class (pt. 1) I believe that we first were allowed to experiment with any medium and any topic. That was quite enjoyable because there were no restrictions.

I started developing my love for triangles at this era. Why triangles? Mainly because triangles seemed to symbolise glass and frailty. And also because of the game Deus Ex:


You guessed it. Illuminati.

Back to Visual Language… in part 2 was where we had to do more “3d” or sculpture-type artworks. We even had ceramic workshop, which I call “dog-shit class”. My apologies if I offend any clay/ceramic lovers, but it was termed as such because of the location (and my exact sentiments towards it). It was in the middle of nowhere with some dodgy factories and equally creepy security guards, with many stray dogs roaming about and… surprise, it smelled like dog shit. Also, I hate ceramic class. The tutor was not from our college and she was the overly friendly and optimistic type. I felt like I wanted to crush all her dreams (not just the ceramic ones). I really went through that class “just to pass the subject”.

I hated doing that because to me, knowledge should be valued. I was always one who loved learning, in all honesty, but somehow I couldn’t accept that class. Was it that my allergies didn’t allow me to enjoy it? It was really dusty (no kidding) and hot. I had to take a bus and walk with a fellow classmate to attend a class I hate.

Besides that, there were subjects like Art History, Southeast Asian Art and Culture, Malaysian Studies, Aesthetics Studies or whatever it was called, Malaysian Art and Artists… the reading type! I was excited at first since I thought: “Hey, reading subjects, I could succeed in that!” Think again. Art school. We didn’t even have text books (except Malaysian Studies. I actually enjoyed that but I wish it was more in depth and if only we learned more.) Most of the “textbook-style” art subjects was just on the Asian art styles, all of which didn’t appeal to me. It talked about how we should embrace tradition, culture, freaking BATIK and paintings of villages, and that we should always incorporate Malaysian elements in our artworks. Not happening for me. I like an artwork that isn’t tied to culture and tradition. Those are just superficial.

With all that said, what is it that I don’t hate? I’ll get back to you once I find out.

(Probably just notes to self:) Some few things I did learn from all these 2 years of very *what* moments is that it’s much easier to make an artwork when you don’t think about selling it, or publishing/exhibiting it. Just think of it as a hobby, something that you “don’t mind doing”. It helps if you have even just a little interest in what you do. No feelings means no “art”. (Unless you are somehow able to manipulate your skills and talents to show an “unfeeling” art. This requires a lot of mental strength I’d think. But even so, superficial art is also an art form on its own, albeit not a desirable one to me.) Have money… or at least, starve so that you have some money… or just “steal” unused goods (papers, boards, etc.) … salvage what you can and push aside pride while doing so. Another thing is that you need a friend, at least just one, otherwise if you miss out on what the lecturer said, you’re doomed… lecturers can be pretty hard to get to. At least they emit that sort of vibe. Alternatively, you could just pay attention so that you don’t even have to approach anyone to ask anything. Sometimes “stupid questions” are not considered questions and you get dissed instead. Painting outside means bring umbrella, newspaper (to sit on or to put bags on so it’s not dirty or wet) and loads of plastic bags to store your paintbrushes/water containers. It does not mean pouring watercolour into lakes or ponds. (I have witnessed the sad state of humanity.)

That’s that. I just summarised 2 years of art college in this little post.

– I started off drawing cartoon-like doll people.
– Then there were more “realistic” paintings.
– I hated most of the subjects because they weren’t my thing.
– To be fair I liked Visual Language classes where you can do anything you want.
– I wish I knew things before I started doing them.

Up next… ???

Fine Arts, Fine Deceit?

A part two of introduction.
Some of my old art before college (2010 – 2013). Adding images to arouse interest, hopefully. My art has changed greatly since then.

Let’s begin with the fact that I am currently in my final year of Fine Arts.
(Fine Arts that I speak of is visual arts only)
Why did I choose Fine Arts? In Malaysia (or perhaps other parts of the world), this is a very unknown territory. You see, this was my initial plan in life:

1- Get good grades in primary and secondary school.
2- Take Foundation in Science > Degree Medicine > Psychiatry
3- Contribute to society by helping emotionally troubled people like me.

I did the first one. I got straight A’s for all the major exams. I was just starting number 2 when I… basically had an extreme burnout. I won’t go into the details but let’s just say that the university that I started the Foundation course in, is… well, not as friendly or comfortable  as I thought it would be. I still have some interest for Medicine, but… the way my life is, it’s just not meant to be. I’m not smart enough I guess, despite what others say. After thinking and considering the many options, here, I am, in college studying Fine Arts, battling with the feeling that I don’t want to continue, every day.

At the starting of the Fine Arts course, everything seemed interesting. The idea of being able to “freely express myself” appealed to me. I felt like I had a lot to say about myself and the world. But as the course progresses, I realise the hypocrisy in art.

When we were young, we drew things and didn’t care about composition, technique or colour choice. It was a hobby, we loved it, we’d stay up late at night just to draw. The feeling is just magical. I always imagine myself giving life to my characters as I colour them. The moment I colour their hands, I imagine them being able to move their hands, while the uncoloured part remains “unalive”. And people praised me for my talents and of course, that felt great!

But as life goes on, suddenly, art becomes something you need to be good in, in order to survive. Why? Money. If it’s the only skill you have to make a living, art becomes a chore, work and thus, stressful. You could argue that it’s all worth it in the end. But for what purpose do we make art? What is our true intention? Not for enjoyment anymore? Both work and fun perhaps? Depending on perspective and personality. For me, I like to make art just for art, not for commercial purposes.

Honestly, I don’t think art is something you should pay for. Wait! Before I get murdered by a bunch of angry artists, I say this because besides fun and aesthetics, what purpose does it have? “Raise awareness” to the public? The public doesn’t know much about art in general so how could we do so? And to raise awareness you first need to have fame and influence. Rather than spending thousands on a landscape painting for a living room decoration to out-posh the other, I’d say that we should spend money on… let’s say vaguely, helping the environment. Most organisations would need some money to start doing anything but yet I don’t see people wanting to donate to such causes. (Ignoring the climate change deniers.)

The concern here is art is as though a “distraction” to the real world and all its problems. If it were only as a “temporary escape”, that’s fine but in fact, it brings more problems – jealousy, dishonesty, greed. It’s alright if people only appreciate it but don’t waste their money on it. Artists spend so much on material itself, most of which are not exactly environmental friendly… like oil paint (since everyone loves this old medium) and acrylics. The worst part is that most artists (or shall I say, students too) don’t know how to properly dispose paint. They just wash away their acrylic paints into the river, drains, etc. Some dried acrylic paint should actually be disposed with normal trash because it is, essentially, plastic. It’s similar to throwing plastic bags into the ocean. Although not as bad, accumulated it will be terrible, as with most human activity. I won’t even start talking on wastage. That’s enough there.

I guess you could say I’m against art made for money because it’s basically adding more trash to an already damaged planet. It is “fighting a pointless battle”. Don’t count on finding other planets like Earth to “move” to. That, and the nonsense gallery commission thing that overprices artwork and all the possible slander that comes with.

I joined Fine Arts because I had to.  I thought it would be fun since I like drawing but then I learned the truth of its hypocrisy and now I despise it. Yet, I still have to continue because I have 2 semesters left.

P/S: I’m not saying ALL of Fine Arts or Arts is bad. But what I imagine would be ideal and good is if we do art, only if we like it, and for ourselves, not to impress others. That is the truest form of art. I don’t hate my artwork. I just hate doing it “because I have to”.


How Strange

How strange indeed that the world I chose to leave behind has somehow caught up to me once again.

As an introductory post, I will mention the purpose of the creation of this blog. It is to document my meaningless and obscure artwork, my thought processes and similar things involving art. I could only hope I’d be able to keep this up until whenever necessary.

I used to write blogs when I was much younger, always to talk about things that mattered to me. It felt great at that time. But soon, I became more paranoid and afraid about what I post online. There is no taking back of what has been posted. Even if I deleted it, if someone had saved that post, I am still not safe. As such, I stopped writing blogs (or rather I am very picky and careful as to what I upload) and instead, I had written traditionally, in a diary made up of extra papers bound together. But again, being me, I was afraid that what I had written would somehow be found by someone and they would expose to the world all my insecurities. Additionally, my “physical” diary caused me so much fear I had to hide it from myself… which I did, but I had to find it again for various reasons.

Why am I so afraid of such things? Because it has happened to me. Someone once took my diary and read all of it. At the end of that, he claimed that I was a fake, that I was pretending all along and that my whole life is a made-up story in order to gain attention. That is the worst memory I’ve had so far. Coincidentally, the name “Perfidious”, meaning “cannot be trusted”, was used shortly after that. I was looking up for interesting words in a dictionary to be used as my stage name and the moment I saw the word “perfidious”, I took a liking to it and now I am just too synonymous with the name. It’s ironic, mostly, since I always strive to be honest in all ocassions.