Hammer Chen is a graduating MA Visual Arts: Illustration student from China. We caught up with her during the MA Visual Arts Summer Show last week, she told us just how she made her final pieces.
My subject is about Maladaptive Daydreaming: “Maladaptive Daydreaming is a psychological concept to describe an extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning.” So the series of works are exploring fantasy, struggle, and disconnect between mind, body and self.
The main reason I choose the subject is that I realised I’ve developed Maladaptive Daydreaming in the last two years and therefore feel the need to explore this in my work. Also, I realised lots of people are suffering from it, but don’t want to share the bad experience of daydreaming, because they are afraid of incomprehension. I do feel it’s necessary to let people know the problem exists and we should pay attention to it.
I started my final work by recalling a lot my previous experiences, then I began the sketches. It was hard in the beginning, but after I started to open myself up and express my real feelings it became a process of self-curing. I made many sketches before I began etching; even when I was etching, I still kept sketching. I picked the ideas which were expressive and then made them into etching pieces. I choose to do etching for the final project.
Before I started printmaking, my works went through several different stages, and they pretty much all stem from my interest in making marks and textures. The reason I am so keen on working with textures is that they can give an image a strong atmosphere, provide a different quality and build space for sensations and for the imagination to run wild. So when I got into the printmaking studio I realised that printmaking is such an ideal way to produce works with great quality, at same time the works can still have a narrative.
A challenge may be the uncertainty of the final results and the long process. Sometimes you wouldn’t know what is going to happen on your plate until the last minute you see it. But actually, I really enjoyed the waiting and appreciated all the failures and surprises that happened in my works.