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Painting

String Theory

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String Theory

String Theory

Oil on wood panel, Aurasma augmented reality platform
16 in x 12 in
December, 2018

At the heart of string theory is the thread of an idea that's run through physics for centuries, that at some fundamental level, all the different forces, particles, interactions and manifestations of reality are tied together as part of the same framework.
— Forbes article “What Every Layperson Should Know About String Theory”

Now at the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution, we have created technology such as artificial neural networks, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in order to do our bidding. To create these automations, these puppets to do our work and make our lives easier, we feed them our information and our data to give them knowledge to learn and grow. However, is this price too great?

In recent years, events such as Facebook’s experimentation on users’ emotions and the social media hacking of the 2016 election by Russia have shown us just how malleable our own memories and emotions can be. Our reality is not our own anymore. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, recently said that “our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency”; that these little bits of information collected from us is creating a world in which companies and their machines know us even better than we know ourselves.


Now we live in a world where data has become ammunition in a war against ourselves, from changing our decision and opinions to even changing our thoughts, and one day even performing a kind of mind control on us. As our information controls us, who is actually the puppet? The human or the machine?

Augmented Reality:

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Initial Public Offering

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Initial Public Offering

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Initial Public Offering

Artist blood, ink, glass, and metal on wood panel
18 x 24 in
December, 2018

As microchips become smaller and the lines between technology and humanity become blurred, are we truly exceptional, as artists? Will there come a day in which we must quantify our actions, our worth, and our very sense of self in order to survive in a data driven environment?

In this piece, I present our environment as a universe unto itself, with galaxies and orbits of ideologies, artists, collectives. It is flat because this is what we have always been, and will be, after the collapse of our current stage of technology. We, and our values, can perhaps be reduced to flat, cartesian projections of data points against a quantified, market driven world. However, one variable still stays organic: the concept of human will and self-worth, painted in blood on glass. It is the single variable that can never be truly mechanized, digitized, or quantified.

This quasi-infographic is tied with International Associated Art Index, a side project I am currently exploring. With technological disruptions to the market,  traditional business models are forced to transform to survive — including art markets such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s moving into internet business, or individual artists selling paintings through services such as Etsy without the support of traditional institutions. This painting is also a manifesto to take this new market structure even further through a digital transformation of art and artists alike, to become entities to be listed and traded as stocks for greater accessibility to the general public.


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Return on Invested Capital

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Return on Invested Capital

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Return on Invested Capital

Oil on wood panel
33 3/4 x 30 in
November, 2018

This piece talks about the problem of education in the world today pertaining but not limited to art majors. Growing up in the so called “millennial” world, we are taught to believe education is everything. You study, you get a good grade, you get a good job.

Is that still the case?

Graduating from UCLA and looking for work, I realized a degree no longer guarantees a job. In fact, people around me seem to be a master’s / phd candidate. Volunteering at the Mattress Factory Museum, I realize many of my peers working as shop attendant pertains a masters degree. Yet there are people like Jack Mac, rejected by Harvard 10 times, becoming China’s richest person.

Yet education is so expensive. So many students graduate with these degrees, yet still cannot find work.

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In Money We Trust: Creation

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In Money We Trust: Creation

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In Money We Trust: Creation

Oil, acrylic, ink, and American currency on glass
14 1/2 x 11 in
October, 2018

In the course of human history, currency has shifted from precious metals to fiat (paper). This past century has seen a further shift from physical currency to systems of credit and debt. At its core, this intangible system is based all on our trust in each other. Now, money is not gold, but trust. However, trust can be manipulated. It can be made fiction. It can be distorted. Trust can be created just as it can become destroyed.

Art has told a parallel story to economy. Painting has never been without identifications of value and worth. Just as money only has value when it flows, paintings gain value when collected and resold. In many ways, art has been as much an intangible construct as economic systems.

At the beginning is creation, and at the end may not be destruction, but re-creation. As we have ventured into an era where art has become self referential, it may be appropriate to look into the past.

In ancient times, there have always been theories of creation, as well as debates regarding whether the Earth is round or flat. In modern day, it is generally accepted by science that the earth is round. However, a new theory has emerged that the universe is simply a two-dimensional hologram that we as human beings interpret as three dimension.

Therefore, I present this portraiture of Da Vinci by combining panels of glass to create a layered dimensioned anachronism from a time when art was not self-referential, but a facsimile of the world and its symbolic figures.

In pop art, works have acted almost as facsimiles by including symbols such as Andy Warhol’s silkscreens of Marilyn Monroe or Marcel Duchamp’s readymade of the Mona Lisa. These works have borrowed these symbols not only as a vehicle of expression, but as a giver of value. In many cases, the facsimile may obtain more value than the original.

Are there certain symbols in our cultural memory that automatically imbue value to their facsimiles? Does a reference to an old master accord worth into new works? Is there still value in being an original as opposed to a counterfeit?


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In Money We Trust: Fiction

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In Money We Trust: Fiction

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In Money We Trust: Fiction

Oil, metal, currency, glass, and linen on wood
22 1/4 x 20 1/8 in
September, 2018

In the course of human history, currency has shifted from precious metals to fiat (paper). This past century has seen a further shift from physical currency to systems of credit and debt. At its core, this intangible system is based all on our trust in each other. Now, money is not gold, but trust. However, trust can be manipulated. It can be made fiction. It can be distorted. Trust can be created just as it can become destroyed.

Art has told a parallel story to economy. Painting has never been without identifications of value and worth. Just as money only has value when it flows, paintings gain value when collected and resold. In many ways, art has been as much an intangible construct as economic systems.

Fictions can be found in the space between creation and destruction.

When it comes to the fictions in the construct of art, Jasper Johns may be its symbol in the contemporary world. Through semiotic play of seen and unseen factors of life objects, Johns shows us that it is our human touch that imbues value to objects. In other words, it is through certain fictions that we create value.

Despite the rise of other powers like China, the US dollar is still believed to be the strongest and most valuable currency in the world. Painting, like paper currency, is nothing more than a symbol of worth. Without symbols of identification, money is simply inked cotton linen paper. As the creator of one of the most expensive paintings ever sold, Flag, which is also a symbol of patriotism, Jasper Johns is almost as a patron saint of belief and prayers in the name of value.

Without an artist’s name, or a demand for the work, a painting is no more than colors on a surface. Art may be a higher truth, but its value in the market is only fiction.


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In Money We Trust: Destruction

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In Money We Trust: Destruction

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In Money We Trust: Destruction
“Just Buy It Already”

Ink on paper, chrome plated plastic orb
25 x 38 in
August, 2018

In the course of human history, currency has shifted from precious metals to fiat (paper). This past century has seen a further shift from physical currency to systems of credit and debt. At its core, this intangible system is based all on our trust in each other. Now, money is not gold, but trust. However, trust can be manipulated. It can be made fiction. It can be distorted. Trust can be created just as it can become destroyed.

Art has told a parallel story to economy. Painting has never been without identifications of value and worth. Just as money only has value when it flows, paintings gain value when collected and resold. In many ways, art has been as much an intangible construct as economic systems.


The first piece created for In Money We Trust series, Just Buy it Already depicts Christopher Wool representing one aspect of the manipulation of trust. If we use currency as a measurement for value itself, Christopher Wool may be the most valuable artist, having sold one of the highest priced paintings by living artist in this contemporary world.

Creating an alternate universe for art, Metzinger’s command of formal principles of surface fragmentation and plane of shape led me to ponder on the reality of space. In it, I presented this piece as “du spherism” by reflecting the true flat world of a distorted and incomprehensible drawing, and making a reality through the puzzled globe. Only with this globe positioned in the certain position and imagination piecing together the puzzle can this world be represented coherence.

Like this illustration, we have become a society that gives meaning and definition to the absurd. Christopher Wool uses hand-drawn monospaced lettering to subvert commercial ideals by, as if given by guidelines to the border of a stencil. This idea of trying to make it look like Christopher Wool, yet still unlike one due to the spacing, I strongly fucked up this mimic up.

The piece also involves the audience taking out their phone and trying to inspect on the things reflections on the globe. Sadly, the more money you have to buy a better phone with a better camera, the more you can see. For example the words inscribed on the dollar bill: In Money we Trust.”



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The Spectators

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The Spectators

The Spectators

Oil on Canvas
4 ft x 5 ft
August, 2018

This painting explores the concept of vulgarity through a portrayal of dog fighting. Through role reversal, it calls out the loss in empathy and desensitization caused by internet and social media. Furthermore, the painting also alludes to controversial news about Guggenheim being forced to take down Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other by Peng Yu and Sun Yuan an artwork that analyzes dynamics of dominance and submission.

The reactions of the dogs in the painting are as avatars of internet commenters: some may encourage this violence, others may be deeply disturbed by it. The humans depicted have lost their humanity and identity under pressure and duress. Internet slang words LOL and WTF juxtaposed over this scene of violence bring an almost absurd black humor to it, subverting the seriousness of the event. These words “erase” parts of the painting, showing an alpha channel underneath. Is it one-dimensional, as layer of pixels in photoshop? Does that even matter?


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When Will the Rain Stop?

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When Will the Rain Stop?

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When Will the Rain Stop?/In Hope for Some Sunshine

Oil on wood panel
16 in x 20 in
July, 2018

As an artist in this world, we often question our own roles in society. When will it be the day we can feel like we “made it”? Or even what happens to our work after we die? Where do we belong? A lot of people say artist only become famous after they die. But the truth is most of the time that doesn’t happen.

We are as munchkins scattering in the rain to find a niche to belong in. Some artists find themselves under the shelter of well known institutions, while others are still out in the rain searching for their own sanctuaries.

These characters are protected under their vibrant umbrellas; however, what protects them also obscures their vision as they stumble through this harsh terrain. Unfortunately, some get trampled over, broken, outdated, like a corpse left in the harsh terrain to rot. This world is not easy for most creatives because there is no direct formula or guideline to successful. To do what others do will only make you a follower, but innovating may also risk nobody believing in you.   



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Pari Passu

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Pari Passu

Pari Passu

Oil on Canvas
8 x 10 in
April 11, 2018

Pari Passu is a piece created in dedication to the coffee shop Chang has spent most her time in during the early half year of 2018. She saw the coffee shop start from zero to the day it establish and open for business. With such a close connection to the establishment of this entity, she has portrayed it into this surreal painting her feelings toward this location. 

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Conquest

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Conquest

Conquest

Mixed Media on Canvas
20 x 42 Inches
December, 2017

A clash of genders and a clash of cultures.

The phallic characters on the right are dressed as Western monks. The vulvic characters are dressed as concubines. Having monks depicted as phallic characters infers that inside a facade of purity, are still impure thoughts. The vulvic personas devouring their counterparts symbolize that females can be dominant even from a place of submission.

Throughout history Western conquerors proclaim foreign lands their own, in the name of Christianity. In additional, the color of the background subtly brings up the modern phrase Yellow Fever — a term usually applied to white males who have a clear sexual preference for Asian women.

This dichotomy is not only genders, geography, but ideas first depicted as war. It is hard to tell who is winning, who subjugates who. But sexual activity is not a battle. When opposites come together, perhaps it is not for destruction, but procreation.

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De-flower

De-flower

Oil on Metal and Mirror
27 x 27 x 2.5 Inches
November 2017

Human beings are born good. It is in our nature to love and care about one another. However, when we begin to love things over people, when the materials we own end up owning us, that we lose our innocence.

Young women often become focused on the pursuit of luxury, forgetting their innocence. Sometimes they might sacrifice their body or integrity for that lifestyle. Few people will admit to this behavior; most are guilty of it.

Here, viewers can quietly reflect upon themselves as the fractured mirror pieces reflect on them.

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Love Is a Four Letter Word

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Love Is a Four Letter Word

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Love Is A Four Letter Word

Oil on Canvas
24.5 x 36 Inches
November 2017

The formal qualities describe the nature of difficulty in a relationship. Partners often question what is real, or what is right. The composition also shows a reversal of the traditional treatments of gender in Western art. Instead of the woman’s body on display, it is the man’s. The inclusion of a pig’s head evokes similar imagery from Lord of the Flies, expressing a criticism of primitivism. The apple symbolizes a loss of innocence.

Symbols of gender dominance are also juxtaposed: while man may be in a submissive position, he is holding a white lily (the woman’s virginity). The woman is holding grapes in her hand, emasculating the man.

The table is laden with Chinese food, some phallic in form. To Eastern people, dining together represents not only intimacy but family bond. However, the nakedness of the body on the table turns that idea on its head by appearing uncomfortable, almost perverse.

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After the Storm

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After the Storm

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After the Storm

Oil and Pastel on Canvas
24.5 x 36 Inches
November 2017

(Mortal Ascent Series 3 of 3: Love)

The third piece in the series was painted meditating on the idea that love is the destination.

After overcoming fear, leaving our cages behind, and weathering the storms inside of ourselves, it is that we can love ourselves, and eventually each other better. Paradoxically, we cannot weather these storms without first loving ourselves and each other.

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The Divine Harmony

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The Divine Harmony

The Divine Harmony

Oil on Glass Tile and Mirror
30 x 30 x 1 Inches
October 2017

Man and woman, existing in perfect harmony, is a difficult yin and yang dynamic.

In the past, men have often dominated women in many societies. However, in modern times, human are finding more balance and equality.

Following the ying and the yang, in keeping with fengshui dynamics to create harmony, the man faces south and the female faces north. Together they find their own form of purity, represented by a lotus flower.

To see this delicate balance in relationship is true reflection of our inner selves.

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T.ildeathdouspart

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T.ildeathdouspart

T.ildeathdouspart

23.75 x 17.75 Inches
Oil and Shellac on Canvas
October 2017

“Like flies to honey” is a Taiwanese saying describing schoolboys lusting after the opposite gender.

A woman is indeed like a fragrant flower, and a carnivorous one at that; and the man, a fly.

But in this case, death is not necessarily a bad thing; death is rebirth. Through commitment, we leave our old selves behind and become two new symbiotic selves together.

All work © 2016 Anko Chang. Please do not reproduce without the written consent of Anko Chang.

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Red Moon's Call

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Red Moon's Call

Red Moon’s Call
Oil on Canvas
24 x 20 Inches
July 2017

According to Taoist tradition, on the eve of the Gods, the night of the red moon, roles are carried out by male dancers with painted faces symbolizing transmutation and change. Females are excluded from this tradition due to the so-called impurity of their menstruation.

This painting portrays a reversal of this, a female painting her face, about to accept her divine transformation on the night of red moon, in defiance of social customs. The aesthetic is also a reversal of traditional Chinese painting, with white on black instead.

I hope to express a sense of empowerment for women in conservative cultures to not be held back by the old ways, and transmute themselves, under the red moon.

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Rooster's Jewel

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Rooster's Jewel

Rooster's Jewel

24K Gold Leaf and Oil on Canvas
24 x 36 Inches
April 2017

Collection of Central Committee of the Communist Party of China located in Xi'an
Painted to celebrate Lunar Year of the Rooster.

A gift of appreciation to the City of Xi'an for inviting us as their honored guests, this painting shows the cross-strait friendship between China and Taiwan. 

In a painting style that uses Western and traditional Chinese brush techniques, the piece represents our arrival to beautiful land of Xi’an and their hospitality toward us, by depicting a rooster (2017 is the year of the rooster) resting in a beautiful spring surrounded by pomegranate blossom, the flower of Xi’an. The rooster sees its reflection as jeweled and shining, showing the limitless potential we have discovered through our blooming, flowering, friendship, in hope for good relations between the two countries for years to come.

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Story of Formosa (福爾摩沙的故事)

Story of Formosa (福爾摩沙的故事)

24K Gold Leaf and Oil on Canvas
4 x 5 Feet
March 2017

Award of Excellence, Taiwan National Exhibition Committee for the Arts Painting Competition

The painting portrays Taiwan through its history from Dutch occupation, the Eastern Ning dynasty, the Qing dynasty, all the way to the fall of the imperial government and the transition to democracy. The painting uses a surrealist, whimsical style to tell the story of the lively attitudes and cheerfulness of the people on the small little island and portrays how many different cultures and backgrounds can come and move forward together to become a leader in both agriculture, science, and technology. Through this spirit, Taiwan can continue on making wonderful progress, like how a plum blossom (the national flower of Taiwan) blooms in winter.

台灣從被荷蘭佔領,東寧王朝,清代時期,日皇統治,到今民主國家,這塊逆風島仍保有著福爾摩沙的風範。這畫是以超現實主義來呈現住在這寶島上的人民在經過不同文化洗禮後亦能保有開朗,活潑的態度,努力向前的精神。也造就了台灣成為水果王國和世界科技重鎮。這樣認真堅忍的精神就如梅花在寒冬仍能綻放,連101都飛舞著與住在這塊土地的人們勇往直前。

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