You, You, You

Monday, April 4, 2016
by Jameson Ngo
A painting of mine from grade 12. Grey skinned person with white/grey hair. Eyes/nose/mouth bleeding primary colours?

In high school, I took visual arts every year, and I loved it. Weirdly enough, I’ve always had one art teacher (hi, Mr. Simpson!). I loved the amount of freedom I had with my projects, and the exercises we did every week; the class was liberating (especially compared to the AP STEM courses I took).

However, my own art pieces were another thing. I didn’t find them consistent in style, or done in a way that I liked. I’ve always had that issue; there would always be other works that were more polished or refined or realised. And it was frustrating, you know? Especially when a lot of my friends did seem to have their own realized style and aesthetic.

So what did I do? I tried different styles. Looked at different artists, gained inspiration, mixed styles, thought up of my own, etc. It didn’t really change anything. Still very frustrating.

One day in grade 12, I handed in an assignment to Mr. Simpson and he said:

“I can always recognize your works. They’re all distinctively you, even your realism”.

Drawing of Amandla Stenberg
Drawing of fullbody person wearing hoodie. Drawing of headshot of a person with short hair.

(Some of my drawings now; intentionally small).

And it was weird? I didn’t see anything consistent. And I still don’t (look at all the comics I’ve drawn; they’re not very consistent). So what did Mr. Simpson see?

Well, he saw me in my works (that’s literally what he said), but what about me did he see? Was it the way I drew faces? Hair? My aesthetic in general? I never really had the chance to ask him.

But like writing, every little detail gives the audience an idea of who you are as the producer. Sometimes, it's just hard to identify that with your own work.

Just something to think about.