Ka Yan Tam

IMAGE / TEXT Portrait/Self-Portrait, Peer to Peer assignment

Class of: 2025

Major: Illustration BFA

Medium: Charcoal

Faculty: Kate Teale

Prompt: "To make a piece that incorporates image with text from Seminar, using 8x 18x24 sheets of paper, based on information, conversation and observation of your in-class partner. The piece should, in some way, be a portrait or your partner and a self-portrait and must be in gray scale (black, white, grays – not color)."

When I was interpreting my partner visually, I wanted to keep in mind of the boundaries that we set out at rst. Sekwanele does not like to be perceived and when I envisioned the piece initially, I knew I wanted to do something that was less recognisable appearance-wise since I think that just by producing a drawing of her wouldn’t be representative of the things that we discussed. My creative intention was to create an abstract version of both myself and Sekwanele- and I tried to use symbols and collage techniques to make the subject less recognisable. I ‘merged’ Sekwanele with a rose because to me, she is blooming in her new life in NYC, but she could also be interpreted as being closed up and ‘swallowed’ by the ower petals around her. It depends on how the viewer chooses to view the piece- just like how some people see a glass of water half-full or half- empty. The text that was in the piece was chosen and written by Sekwanele herself in Integrative Seminar. I based a lot of the overall feeling of her portrait around that piece as well.

For my own portrait, I wanted to capture myself at the present. I was inspired by “Portrait of A German Ocer” by the modernist artist, Marsden Hartley. I have been doing a lot more works recently that are inspired by cubism and modern art and I wanted that to also be reected in my self-portrait. I wanted to use charcoal because I felt that it would best enable me to create value in the different geometric shapes and would allow me to constantly manipulate my work.

I created the pieces simultaneously next to each other to make sure that there are parallels between them to show that we are connected.