Type of Thesis
Art & Art History
I construct digital images to represent my identity as an American-Chinese artist. My work interprets the practice of fashion and present day environmental concerns in China. My current project, My Identity (2014), is a discourse on everyday outfits with the focus on what the individuals wear and how they can change the observing viewer’s perception. I use clothing and makeup to blur the lines between various invented personas and myself.
My Identity (2014), deals with identity by manipulating and combining various unique personas. This project communicates to viewers that unique personas do not change one’s true identity, but demonstrates how appearances can change while personality remains the same. The artist who influenced my work’s direction is Nikki S. Lee, whose Project series (1997-2001) also deals with identity in a similar way. Lee transforms her appearance to gain access to specific American sub-cultures without changing her ethnicity. I also transform myself with different personas but base my transformation on my own perception of beauty.
My research project for the honors thesis, Parts (2015), is inspired by Annie Leibovitz’s Disney series (2007-2014). Leibovitz’s Disney series creates fantasy style photographs using a mix of photographs and a digital painting background. In this body of work, I will investigate the idea of how each image becomes its own separate story and how each story is a part of me. Each image is a fragment of my fairytale persona. The new developments in my concept will elevate my art practice to another level. While my previous work dealt with unchanging identity in the midst of an ever-changing persona, my honors thesis uses photo manipulation to create an interaction between my different ‘selves.’ The backgrounds in each composition consist of painterly digital fantasy and surreal imagery. The fantasy style imagery in the background of my photos will also document my personal story. The dimensions in Parts 2015 are 27 ½ inches x 39 ¼ inches; they will create an optical effect for the viewer as they become closer to the images. My new series of work includes two large photographs. There will be over ten to twenty of my personas in each work.
Su, Helenayu Biying, "Parts" (2015). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 916.