The Hexacoto

Listening to the sound of one hand clapping

Category: Art

Experiencing Darshan?

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I went to the exhibition “Darshan” at the Clampart gallery. The word “Darshan” means “sight” in Sanskrit, but it is used in the context of receiving “spiritual vision,” or the moment of theophany. It is a way of being able to see the divine directly through a medium, be it art, sculptures, landscapes, or great people. Some call it “divine inspiration,” but I like to think of it as the moment of being in awe  in sublimity in the presence of great spirituality.

It can be akin to being taken by the Holy Spirit in Catholicism, a sort of event that happens in the consciousness.

I went to the exhibit hoping to receive that experience, where it claims to recreate that connection one gets in a Hindu temple through the images, incense and invocations, but sad to say I was sorely disappointed.

The pictures on the wall were highly masterful, that’s for sure. All but one of the pictures was not photoshopped or digitally touched, and every element in the frame was the result of real people posing and the arranging of props. That was highly impressive, and the attention paid to detail was delightful.

However, it failed on delivering anything close to any experience I’ve had physically stepping into a Hindu temple.

There were incense urns but not incense lit, and the gallery room was sterile and too white. There was not even anything of the sounds one encounters in a temple, and the gallery felt claustrophobic. Temples are usually designed to impress by vastness of scale, with high ceilings elaborately decorated and such.

Image credit to Wikipedia

Very often, it is the gopuram of a temple, or its monumental tower at the entrance gate, that begins the process of darshan for me rather than just the idols itself.

To think that the darshan of a Hindu temple is received solely through religious images is highly lacking — it involves the sights of the images and colours, the smell of incense and the age of the temple, the sounds of other devotees and occasionally prayer but also the sound of tranquillity, and especially, the touch of cold stone against the bare feet, the grind of dust against one’s foot.

Also, I think that using that faux-devanagari (Hindi) script was a let-down. It’s like using faux-Asian scripts in Chinese restaurants or something.

The Poké-Kiss

pokekissI combined two of my favourite things — Pokémon, and Art Nouveau. The result is The Poké-Kiss, from Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss and featuring generation III Pokémon Gardevoir and Gallade.

If you look closely, you’ll find that the flowers are actually all the berries that exist in the game, and that there are Pokéballs woven into the cloak of Gardevoir.

To match nature

bluefields

There lived a man in Utah, who loved for things to match.
He had a picture of his farm, and in the photo, there he was,
clad in his Sunday best:
right in front of his prized wheat fields,
in a striking blue suit and pants.

But as he loved for things to match, and this picture was no exception:
the fields in the background matched the smiling man’s suit
for he had painted them blue.

Wild broccoli is a lie

wildbroc1

Did you know that there is no such thing as wild broccoli? They were bred from leafy cole crops in the Northern Mediterranean in the 6th century BCE. Other vegetables that are man-made include the cabbage and brussels sprouts.

No wonder they look so weird.

As a kid, I have always wondered what wild broccoli might look like in their natural environment. I thought they looked like miniature alien trees. I once even made illustrations of it.

wildbroc2

Landscape of a rice harvest by the river and mountains

rice harvestMany know that Chinese characters began by looking like the thing they describe, and even today, many of the characters still do. For example, the character for man (人) looks like a man with two legs.  Other characters, by combing, form other characters, such as the character for forest (森) which is a composite of three wood (木) characters stacked together.

I can’t be the first one to do this, but since Chinese characters are pictograms, why can’t they just be used in a picture wholesale? Thus this illustration, Landscape of a rice harvest by the river and mountains.

On the top left is the rice field, where bushels of golden rice (米) wait to be harvested by the farmer wearing a hat (农) and wielding a sickle. The already-harvested rice simply turn back into fields (田). His field is irrigated by the river that flows (川), and there is a boat (船) that is floating on it. The river is lined by the mountains (山), covered by forests (森).

The path leading from the field leads to the farmer’s home, It is but a simple house, with a single door (門) flanked by two windows (窗) and topped by red tiles (瓦). The house is by a forest, build out of large trees. A tree is essentially wood (木) topped by leaves (叶), yet the difference between wood and leaves are the little circular mouths (口) that feed the tree without the roots.

Alternate Uses of A 100-Hand Slap

hondahands

Introducing Hundred Holy Hands (alliteration win!), protects player from seeing, hearing or speaking evil.

A Pinch of Me

hexcharsheet

The Daily Post at wordpress.com posted a weekly writing challenge, titled A Pinch of Me. There, they asked bloggers to write a recipe that described who they are.

However, I think recipes are too boring (even though I cook a lot) and decided to come up with something geekier: a Dungeons and Dragons character sheet!

I generated my D&D stats with this site: What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus.

It was fun time-waster, doing this. When I play table-top, I seldom follow official rules, and I had to look up some of the terms and stats a little while making this.

Le regard neuf de l’enfant sauve même les trottoirs de l’usure

enfantThe fresh perspectives of a child will save even the sidewalk from attrition — Romain Gary

I learnt this phrase from a friend from France who turned up at my weekly circus. We talked about haiku and I mentioned about the naive perspectives of children being one of the most beautiful things about it, and he told me about this quote. I found it poignant and decide to illustrate it.

Every day I wake up less and less sure of myself — I open my email inbox with my breath held, expecting to be disappointed. Expectations were met. No response from any of the jobs I have applied at.

Every time I write I become less and less sure of my ability — I used to think that being capable got you places, and I was sure that I was pretty capable. Now am I less confident that that is the case, or that maybe I’m not that capable after all.

And then I realise that perhaps what I need is a fresh perspective to stop this attrition of the self and of the mind. I left college with a font of hope and optimism, and thought that sufficient to last me till I transition into the next phase of my life; where I start working. I guess I did not consider that this transition might take longer than I expected, and hoping to merely brave this foray with what I had would not be sufficient.

I will need to renew my view on how I take each day that does not bring me the news I so fervently wish.

Illusory Flowers

hana&chouI don’t know how to paint. I just hack away with pencil and brush and call it ‘fauvism’. I never took art classes, learnt how to correctly apply shades and lighting to colours. In the end, I just lighten where I think light should be and darken where I think darkness should be.

I made this painting (acrylic on canvas) a while ago, with an aim to create beauty from my mind. I think of the two most beautiful things in my head: butterflies and flowers.

There is beauty in budding, blooming, and withering. The idea of growth, blossom and death fascinates me, and perhaps in part inspired by the lyrics of one of my favourite songs.

狂い咲き命を燃やす 揺れながら
The life that blooms off-season burns as it trembles

お前は夢見る
You are dreaming

この世界は美しいと この胸に
This is world is beautiful  in my heart

きっと咲いてる
It is surely blooming

True, the lyrics don’t make much sense, but the beauty of the image in which they conjure is something I’ve enjoyed for a long time, and it has helped me see beauty in many things, because things are surely blooming. It’s been a source of optimism for me, to see beauty amidst blight. Even if things are ugly on the outside, you can always count on the world to be beautiful in your heart.

Timmy the Grape

grapewine

 

Timmy the Grape was always under a lot of stress, so much so that one day he turned into wine and cracked under all that pressure.

This is the last of my illustrated short stories for now. I can’t believe this took me 12.5 hours to make from start to finish. Then again, I had planned to draw this for nearly over a year now, and now that I’ve all the time in the world (ahem) there’s no reason for me not to do it.