East meets West

East Meets West: Injecting personal stories into your artwork.

This is a piece called East Meets West that I did in my fashion class, our prompt was fashions that clash taught by Marcos Chin. I chose to illustrate this idea with tattoos through the ages rather than clothing or hair styles. Tattoos have steadily become a fashion statement rather than the symbol of those living on the fringes of society, such as gangsters and sailors.

I personally love tattoos and find them fascinating beautiful pieces of art (on the human body no less!). The two styles I love the most are perhaps the oldest Traditional American, and Japanese hence the title 'East meets West'. To recreate 'East' I used different Japanese printmakers including Kuniyoshi and in recreating the 'West' I used Sailor Jerry's iconic flash (changing things slightly such as color but staying true to the style and design).

Sailor Jerry

But this piece ended up encompassing far more than the juxtaposition of tattoo styles. Being mixed half Caucasian and Asian has affected my work, and my personal philosophies in life. My father is Scots-Irish, born and raised in Oklahoma and my mother is Chinese, born and raised in Taiwan. Two very different lives that by the miracle of life came together, which is baffling on its own. My parents married, moved to Dallas, Texas and had 3 daughters. Years later my mother converted to Tibetan Buddhism, which I recognize as my own religion. 
Growing up in a culturally diverse household in Texas has its ups and downs, its definitely made me stronger as a person and more confident in my convictions. It opened me up to discovering new things, including different artwork and different styles but it had its downsides as well.

Sailor Jerry

I often felt that I was being pulled in different directions, and having to choose which style I wanted to do. Do I want to pursue the more linear style of Asian art or do I want to pursue realism prevalent in western art? This is a question I still ask myself, a problem that I'm solving with each new piece.
Many Americans who have foreign origins or parents from foreign countries understand the feeling of having to choose between your heritage as a culture and American life as a culture. More often than not its easier to abandon your heritage for American pop culture, but I find that many people, myself included, hold tradition dear to their heart. Which may be why I'm so drawn to the two traditional tattoo styles above. 


On a personal level this piece represents my background, the melding of styles I love, and the conflict I feel being mixed. On paper its very simple, both styles are beautiful and so vastly different but in a way they compliment one another. In their conflict with one another there's harmony too. Embracing the opposing aspects of your life as compliments of one another is as natural as the opposing elements of fire and water. It was therapeutic putting all of this on paper, and having it tell my story for me. 
On a lighter note this piece was done almost entirely by hand, with the background and a few color touchups done on the computer. By far my favorite part was doing the hair, simply because it was so much fun letting ink and brush do what it will. 
I hope you enjoyed this post, I really wanted to share the more personal aspects of this piece rather than the breakdown of how I did it. 
That being said next week's post will be a breakdown of how to make patterns! Yaay! 

Farewell Danielle! See you soon!

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