Work of / 2020
The Little Big Picture-Spray Paint
Researching a subject by zooming in and out based on generalization and unexamined information makes the design process likely to yield little more than the familiar.

My subject is spray paint. During the research period, I researched a lot on how street art has been used by commercial developers as part of an overall gentrification project to create a creative city. But finally I switched to another angle which seems unimportant but is interesting to me. It’s the ephemeral nature of spray paint.

In recent decades, much spray paint and graffiti art has been commercialized or utilized for profit. Although its social acceptance has reached new heights, in my opinion, the original spirit of graffiti art has disappeared, like many music forms from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Over time, it has drifted away from its original intention. It’s no longer the symbol of rebellion, of voices under oppression. It’s already become a symbol of memory, or a symbol of history.
Even in the past, spray paint artworks were easily replaced, whitewashed, or even dismantled the next day. So, regardless of its physical medium or form, it is not destined to remain for long. It’s kind of a fleeting art. It reminds me of social media which has changed the way people express themselves in a digital public space. With Snapchat and Instagram Stories, people can post whatever they want to showcase, however their stories can only be viewed for 24hrs before they are deleted and disappear.It also reminds me of fleeting art like fireworks or the Tibetan Buddhist Ritual “Sand Mandala''; although these artworks disappear in the end, for a moment they leave space for people to think. I think it’s kind of a philosophy, that everyone or everything has its own history. But when everyone's history is only a personal history, these "voices" or “traces” will quickly be buried or smoothed out. 

Only by leaving traces within a larger context and history that goes beyond the personal can these "records" or “moments” not disappear. So, as a fleeting art, the contribution of Spray Paint is to leave space for us to think, to remind us of the easily forgettable voices of rebellion that are a vital part of history… 

I made a video clip which combines several motion pieces I made during the process of my research. To mirror my topic, I posted it as an Instagram story, and it disappeared within 24 hours.

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