Tag Archives: painting

Closer to Truth: painting or photography? 

Someone asked which one I liked more: painting or photography. I didn’t know the answer. It depends I said.

What I do know after investigating both mediums in my work is this: painting lies closer to truth than photography. Paintings (unless you’re merely copying, but that’s a another discussion) reach deeper into yourself, and who you are. It forces you to ask questions and sometimes does not give you a clear answer. It exposes your insecurities and strengths through your creation. You can analyse every action or reaction in a painting. Strong forceful lines and bold strokes versus tentative light actions. On how you go over a section of the canvas, repeatedly until you ‘get it right’, or whether you have the patience to wait for sections of the painting to dry before applying another layer. Believe me, you can end up with big lump of grey! I have seen it in some Philip Guston’s later work. It tell you something about his mindset at the time.  A painting can expose you more than standing naked in the gallery. Truth.

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Philip Guston, “Painter III,” 1963, oil on canvas, 66” x 79” (private collection, London).

Photography on the other hand can deceive you. The photographer can manipulate the image to make you believe what is in the image is real, when it clearly isn’t. Photography is only a partial truth. Fashion photography is a facade/fantasy, meant to inspire and convince. Sure there is a huge amount of creativity involved in fashion shoot and it involves creating illusions, whether it be of wealth, power, coolness or a pure distain for life. I think, even in documentary photography, there is a huge opportunity to distort the truth, to give false claim to what is really happening. It is however probably the strongest case for truth. I think of the young Vietnamese girl Kim Phúc running naked; it is as it is.

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Napalm Girl by Nick Ut

Nude photography attempts to bring one closer to the beauty of the human form. It’s close to truth, but equally close to a lie as well. It is presenting an aesthetic based on the author’s own interpretation of beauty within the human body. So what about portrait photography? Yes it must be the truth right? I think very few portraits does truth justice. They’re rare ones that reach to that level of openness. I can think of one such portrait that come to mind that reveals an inner truth, which is Annie Leibovitz’s photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

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John Lennon and Yoko Ono by Annie Leibovitz, December 1980.

… to be continued.

Painting: a symbiotic process of constructing and destructing in hopes of something new and refreshing. 


Above: Work in progress: a detail from my latest painting using acrylics and pencil on canvas. It’s highly experimental and filled with gestures and markings that I have never done before. I believe painting is the most difficult medium to do really well. In my recent discussion with another artist, I said that painting this way was a process of first constructing, and then deconstructing. If it’s too obvious, it’s boring. You build something up, then obscure it. You create it, then effectively destroy it, yet in an unconscious methodology. And hopefully after several iterations, some new and exciting is born. The frightening thing is that in the destroying/deconstruction, you risk ruining the entire thing. It sometimes freezes me. Should I? Or shouldn’t I? That is always the question as one is making marks. You put yourself on the line. One wrong move and it might be I unsalvageable. 

This is reason why some paintings sit on the side, unfinished, for many months or years. Because you’re afraid that if you work on it further, you’ll ruin it. I know this for a fact. This is why you hate (loathe) it when someones asks you how long it took to paint a painting. How do you explain yourself to ones that just don’t know? In the end though, I have found that doing nothing is usually the worst thing to do. It is far better to face the fear of failure, than to let it sit idly by. The risk of failure is worth it. Movement is better than non-movement. I have thrown away canvases thick with paint from hours of agony.

I don’t want to end on sour note. Knowing the risk, there is always the chance that the painting will turn out better than you thought it would, that in the process of adding and messing it up again, that something utterly beautiful will appear. The law of the unexpected, the law of accidents has worked for me many times, far greater than the safer route of doing something repeatedly over and over again. People who have come to know me find that I do many different things, and the reason for that is because I hate being bored. I rotate and evolve my mediums of interest from one thing to another. And in that rotating is new energy, new life, and best of all, beauty.

http://normyip.com

The Making of Pulsation, No. 8

High speed video clip of me creating Pulsation, No. 8, a painting akin to the work of the Abstract Expressionists and perhaps some of the ideology that were suggested by the Surrealists Automatism. Throughout the creative process, there is a balance between perceived chaos and definitive control. My colour selection is thought out and nearly calculative, yet the application of paint to canvas is somewhat arbitrary and gestural. This gestural movement is learned, but from the point of letting go, versus detailed formalism.

Credit is owned to the background music, of which I have borrowed from a podcast which inspires me to do the work that I do. Playing is Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy, No. 157.

To see more of my paintings: http://normyip.com
Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/normyip
Instagram ID: normyip
I welcome enquiries on the work that I do.
Namaste.

Pulsation Exhibition by Norm Yip

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TREE OF LIFE presents: 

PULSATION by Norm Yip | 葉灃

Recent Paintings & Drawings
Opening on 12 August 2016, 7-10pm
Live Demonstration* at 8pm
Exhibition continues until 31 August 2016
Venue:

Tree of Life, 36 Eastern Street,
Sai Yin Pun, Hong Kong

Open daily 10am – 8pm
T. +852 9220 0803

Information:
nwy@normyip.com
T. +852 68388948

PULSATION is the beat of the heart; pulsation is the beat of the city; pulsation is the beat of the Earth; pulsation is the beat of the universe. It is the dance of negative and positive energy in synch with each other. Ever since Norm Yip decided to pursue his interest in art and creativity, his investigations in art and consciousness has brought him closer to the work of the Abstract Expressionists. Pulsation is part of the ongoing evolution of Norm’s art: organic, yet mediating between control and freedom in the traditional form of painting and drawing.

 

*Norm will demonstrate how he creates one of his vibrant ‘Pulsation’ paintings, a task he says, is both challenging and easy at the same time. “Life is a journey, not a destination.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tree of Life: http://treeoflifehk.com/
Norm Yip: http://normyip.com/

When you don’t give a fuck, paint!

I thought back to the many times while working in Hong Kong getting really depressed about my career as a photographer, publisher and creative director. I would get really down on myself for not making things work. And where did I turn to? It was painting. I recall feeling completely liberated and free when I approached the canvas, yet at the same time scared, fearing that if I make something I hated, I would just loathe myself even more. But every time, I went to the canvas, something resonated inside of me. I never really like my own paintings. I always felt I was doing something sub-standard.

Then about a month ago, I met this strange eccentric man 3 years short of 70, and he told me something very interesting: I can see you are painting to sell. Don’t do that. Just paint! Express what you want to say! So with that in my mind, I did just that. I said to myself Just fuck it!

So there you go. Below what you see are my latest creations. And believe me, I don’t mind saying so myself. I love them! More to come…

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Rapture, No. 4 (left) and Rapture, No. 3 (right). Artist: Norm Yip. Yup that’s me. http://normyip.com

Evolution of a painting: from start to completion

Painting to me is really the most difficult of all the three mediums I have worked with. There is a huge amount of fear as I approach the white canvas. I recall the first time I started to paint, I bought 2 bottles of red wine to help loosen me up. By the end, I finished the 2 bottles and looked at 4 small paintings that I quickly decided was garbage (the next day). It was so hard, but it broke the edge and fear in me. My largest pieces at the time were around 3 x 4 feet, and then I moved onto larger works. Every time I move to a large canvas I get nervous, because I am feel like I have to make something ‘great’, and that is a lot of pressure. This is why many times, I will put anything onto the canvas at the very beginning. Anything. Crap. Just put something down on that canvas, cause nothing can be worse that what I’ve thrown down. Then work from that stage. At some point during the process, I will return to the same feeling again. It’s very normal to do so, but I just keep going. This is the hardest part because I literally HATE the artwork in front of me. And luckily, for this artwork, something came out and gave me direction as to what to do, and I worked on it longer. Even last night, I was really unsure of the piece, and I told myself. Wait until I see it in the daytime; it might look different. Well… there you go. Windows of Memory, No. 3 is complete and dare I might say, it’s pretty good.

My website: http://normyip.com
To buy the artwork: http://saatchiart.com/normyip

My blogname has changed: from ‘theasianmale’ to ‘normyipart’ and why the change….

Today, I decided to change the name of the blog name from theasianmale.wordpress.com to normyipart.wordpress.com. The move for this was churning around in my head for some time and finally, I changed it. I felt that ‘the asian male’ was slowly becoming a secondary element in the work that I do, as I will now focus more on my fine art, which includes painting, drawing and whatever I choose to use as my choice medium. [I will of course be still injecting whatever shoots I take on with beautiful Asian men, so don’t worry, that will all come at the right times.]

For those that are on my newsletter mailing list, I sent out the following image and words:

Norm-Yip-Art---flyer

This is going to be a long newsletter with more words that describe the events that have happened in the last while, and my re-positioning of priorities. Please bear with me….

Every now and then I have to go through my own personal satori, my own path of awakening when I have diverted from my true nature. And when that satori hits, it hits very hard and the circumstances leave me devasted inside. You see: I have enormous fear in me. I have several times pushed myself away from art and sought to have refuge in other places that do not resonate with me, and I end up paying the consequences.

Two years ago in 2013, I moved my studio from one suite to another in the same building where I am now. It was physical change that resulted from a change in mindset, a change in attitude towards my existence. Strangely, my fascination with science lead me to a youtube video about what is reality from the viewpoint of quantum physics, and that led me to Eckhart Tolle and the Akashic records. This all reminded me of something deeper within myself that I had touched on in 1999, when I had my first satori. It is not an error for when things happen.

My website http://normyip.com will now contain my most recent work in fine art. The artwork contains most importantly, my work in painting (acrylic and mixed-media) and my graphite pieces. My photography takes actually a secondary role (although many only know me in this capacity). The website will serve as my portfolio for galleries to approach me, and for me to showcase my work to them. [Yes, I am seeking representation from galleries outside of Hong Kong/Asia. If you know of any gallery that I should approach, please let me know, or forward my newsletter to them with a short message.]

Furthermore, I have also created a profile in Saatchi Art, at http://saatchiart.com/normyip. There, you will see my current list of paintings for sale along with the pricing. I have been fortunate enough to see one of my paintings sold within a few weeks of being posted. A nice little perk that tells me I am going in the right direction.

Chatting to a new friend today, he asked me: What would you say your happiest moment to date as an artist?

I replied: Every time I complete a new artwork that I find complete and whole. Now, I have happiest moments all the time.

Take good care, and until the next newsletter.

Norm Yip | Visual Artist