Monday, March 9, 2009

Illustration Friday: Intricate

My submission to the Illustration Friday topic: Intricate. The setting and costumes are native to central China, but people still refer to this painting as the "African Girl." I purposely tried to create this confusion by mixing up ethnicity and culture, and wondered how viewers would interpret it.


  1. Wow. Beautifully rendered and interesting comments.

    But if someone didn't know the Chinese customs or didn't realize they were Chinese, how would they be able to make that inference? I've actually never see these kind of accessories before, so I could have just as well have presumed they were African or West Indian. Though the length and heaviness of the jacket is confusing in that sense. And many culture have traditions that are very similar. So it's seems like a trick on the audience, rather than a point of ethnicity versus culture. I think it would make more sense if the articles were more icon of a certain culture, that people would automatically identify.

  2. You're absolutely right. Mainly I was just curious ... I didn't intend for it to be a "gotcha" type thing, but my comments above certainly make it sound that way.

    It's probably worth another shot at another time with stronger cultural cues.

  3. First of all I see it as a stunning portrait. I have to admit the costume and the young man had me wondering because he does appear African to me. Certainly not Asian.
    Again, lovely work.

  4. Can I just say, it's simply, beautiful, thought provoking and that's enough for me! Great job!

  5. so strange: i never saw the african (only when i read your explanation). actually in guizhou or other southern china provinces you could find dark-skinned faces like this young woman's ... anyway: the miao costume and jewelry is perfectly executed :-)