“Into the Woods” it is!

by on Dec.23, 2010, under photography blog entries

Into the Woods XII: Rapunzel

Into the Woods XII: Rapunzel

Into the Woods XIV: Adam and Eve

Into the Woods XIV: Adam and Eve

Into the Woods XV: Earthquake

Into the Woods XV: Earthquake

Into the Woods…

Walking deeper and deeper into the darkness…

You see a man and a woman relaxing on a tree. You see a baby, wrapped up like a cocoon, hanging off a tree. You see a man being crushed by a tree. You see a girl swinging on a deathrope off a cherry tree…

After extensive discussion with fellow artists, I have decided to change the name of my working series to “Into the Woods” (formerly “Just Hanging Out…”) I was convinced that the former title is  informal to the degree that it puts the series under a light too light-hearted.

So next was the thinking process.

What should the new title be?

The trees symbolize the Tree of Life, and the various figures and objects interacting with the trees are the context in which I ask my endless questions. The concept of trees is important, so is that of life. However, alluding to both too literally would kill the delicacy.

Here is a selected list of potential titles:

In Between Falling Dust

Snow Falling

The Broken Forest

Falling in Space

Into the Woods

In Between Falling Dust almost became the title, as I enjoy how it refers to the Buddhist psalm–“何處惹塵埃.” “Where does the dust come from?” The gist meaning is that if one can see beyond earthly desires, no temptation (=dust) should leave a trace on one’s mind.

I like how the phrase reflects how many problems are self-inflicted and self-created. However, the meaning of the verse doesn’t quite match with the Chinese title which I LOVE–“遊戲人間.” The literal translation is “playing in the human realm.” There is a romantic sense of ease in the phrase. Think life is but a dream.

In the end, I went with “Into the Woods.” Not only does it refer to the musical bearing the same name, but by associating with the musical, the name also begs for a hint at the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales. I have been interested in fairy tales forever. Honestly, I grew from reading fairy tales to reading adult novels. I never read adolescent literature. (Well, not as an adolescent. I did as an adult.)

My first series of drawings was also about fairy tales. I still have a whole whack of critical literature on fairy tales on my shelves! My works are still steeped in illustration influences, particularly that of fairy tales.

As an added bonus, the title also reminds me of a beloved poetic line “The woods are lovely, dark and deep.” The verse comes from Robert Frost’s The Wondering Minstrels: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Of course there’s snow in the poem. And it’s my favourite element in the world!

All the future drawings will have a word or a short phrase at the end of “Into the Woods.” (See the above images.) This hopefully gives my collectors more hint of what I was trying to convey, and also it’s selfishly easier for me (and my collectors) to identify each drawing.

The two I am working on are “Hiroshima” and “Nanking.” Yup, you guessed it. It is about WWII history. I will share in the blog as soon as they’re finished!

17 of “Into the Woods” are available as affordably limited edition art prints. Check out the online shop and fb page for the 20% discount code!Only 9 more days for the 20% discount!

Oh, and no shipping until 31 Jan 2011!

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Michelle Kuen Suet Fung 馮捲雪

Animals and their relationships with humans are a long recurring thread in her works.