WOW! I won an award for my giant fish painting this year! This is definitely a fresh start of 2022 to continue my love of art. As an upperclassmen recommended to me for giving a try at the 8th Seoul International Illustration Competition, I was not confident about whether I could secure my place on the winner's list. Although I am not an art major, I have enjoyed art since I was 5 years old, so I had thought I should challenge myself. Taking more risks and not being afraid of fears were one of my main goals in life.
Unlike my other paintings, which were mostly A3 size, this one was even bigger than an A2. It was the most challenging piece I have ever done; because of its large size I could barely move the canvas around. The area I had to fill in was two times wider than me, and my head went blank when I saw the white empty canvas. I couldn't even think what message I wanted to convey to the audience who would see my painting. Not until I suddenly thought of the fish paintings I've been doing at school for my IGCSE coursework. My theme was the free and abstract texture of fish. While finding a way to make my painting not just 'meh' but a wow factor, my favourite painter came into my mind: Frida Kahlo.
Frida is famous for her self portraits which represent her suffocating and restricted life, as she injured herself severely in a car accident which led her to continue her life in a hospital bed, and being born as a woman during the Mexican revolution. My theme of free and abstractness was completely contrasted to Frida's restricted and hopelessness. What if I combined these elements together in my painting as a juxtaposition to create contrast?
I homaged Frida's self portrait and replaced my fish into the place where Frida was sitting. I left the monkey and the cat besides the fish, and the thorn vine that was winding around her body. Instead of human clothes, I painted water ripples for the fish, since water serves as a habitat and a protecting layer for the fish from other non- fish beings. The painting took approximately 7 days, and I had to spend all day long at my art studio. It was a long and tiring process, but I 100% liked the outcome of my effort. Thanks to the Seoul Art Association for giving me the Seoul Mayor Award! Next time I want to challenge myself by doing a larger painting and a larger competition, worldwide- scale.