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Heather Yun

graphite pencil and white charcoal on cardboard
16″ x 24″


Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu
Art Prof & Partner

Artist Statement
“I first began drawing about 14 years ago when I was three years old. Anime heavily influenced me as a child, thus my style was more cartoon oriented. I only started taking art more seriously around a year ago. This year has been an exciting experience as I shifted from a cartoonist to a more fine arts artist.

‘Plugged’ is an independent study that I did of a still life. I was inspired by my love for music boxes; their twinkling sounds and intricate structure always made me feel like I was in another world. The music box in the drawing represents older and more traditional music while the earbuds represent the advancement in technology and how most music is listened electronically instead of in person. The earbuds are plugged into the music box to represent how technology can mimic instruments and their sounds, but cannot make any kind of music by itself without being plugged in. Therefore, most music cannot survive without relying on its origins.

As an artist and a musician, it makes me sad that people don’t realize how different it is to listen to music in person. Thus, instead of listening to recordings, I encourage others to hear music live.”

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Video Transcript
“There’s so much action in the headset wires; you’ve accentuated this by putting cast shadows underneath the wires. They appear as if they’re in motion, almost as if they’re alive.

I really like the ambiguity of the square contraption; it really piques my curiosity. I’d work on really pushing the contrast. Pencil’s a medium that’s inherently grey, you really have to work to those blacks. Get an 8b pencil, that will really be soft, it will get you some rich deep blacks.

The horizon line is quite static and distracting, I actually think this piece would be a lot better off without the horizon line. What I would do is I’d push the wires off the edge of the page more. You do this the right hand side but nowhere else. And if you were to push this off the top and the bottom of the page, that would get our eye to circulate around the page a lot more.

Watch out because the lower left seems quite empty; think about a way to place the wires so that they fill that space. I think it’s a really engaging piece because while we can recognize the headphones, I think that it’s actually a little bit ambiguous in terms of what this contraption actually is, it gets us sort of thinking about what its use could be.”

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4 responses on "Heather Yun"

  1. This piece is really wonderfully handled in the application of the medium, and I think the composition could be taken further. However, this is one of those pieces where you are the best example for how to move forward! The curves and changes in contrast that you’re showing in the headphone cords, the way they guide my eye through that part of the drawing, is incredible!

    The composition of the piece as a whole, however, is a little too straight forward. The background is divided by a simple line, and all the information for the piece is delivered to us directly. If you take your future work in the direction of the compelling cord in this piece, your wonderful hand and eye for detail and form would really be strutting its stuff well!

  2. You’ve done a great job of creating a really striking piece, especially with the play on shadows and the movement in the headphone wire. I’m craving a bit more specificity in the music box itself, because of its importance to the overall concept behind the piece. My eyes seem to only briefly glance at this area and then get so consumed by the exciting headphone wires. Perhaps this is solved by pushing the contrast in this area, and adding some extremely dark values, therefore really drawing our interest there.

    usic boxes are already so curious and delicate that I think some more detail here won’t take away from its other worldliness, but rather make us more aware of it. I think by pushing this area a bit more, you’ll be able to take this already exciting image further along.

  3. This is a really exciting and engaging piece! The wires and their cast shadows are certainly a strong compositional element, but I’m personally most compelled by the music box and how it connects to your concept. Although you’ve achieved some remarkable realism in the object’s shadow and reflection (which is very specific and tricky!), the music box, itself, could use more clarity. In a piece like this, with such a strong surrealist aspect, I tend to think that every eclectic element needs to have a same high degree of naturalism, so that what is being warped or made bizarre by your artistic intentions is totally clear.

    You might think that this would undermine the mystery of the piece, but in fact it has quite the opposite effect. Instead, that ambiguity and intrigue comes from your handling of the material, whether it’s through composition or technique – both of which you have a tremendous talent for!

    I would agree with Prof. Lieu that your drawing needs more contrast, but I actually really love the sort of hazy, subtle value changes in this piece, which to me give the impression of a kind of dream-like atmosphere. Instead, I think the issue is that your darkest darks are relegated almost exclusively to the cast shadows, and if you distributed them more evenly throughout the piece – but just as sparingly – this would take an already compelling image to the next level.

  4. One thing I’m really interested in that I think you could play up is that it looks like the headphones were drawn in a very sleek, sharp, high contrast way, very modern, while the music box is a little fuzzy and muted, like an old photograph. I have no idea if you did that on purpose or not, but I love how the rendering of this strange hybrid object contributes to your concept of archaic/contemporary, analogue/digital.

    I also am so into the shadow doppelganger of the earbuds, that I am totally imagining a scene where you had two or three different directional light sources on the same earbuds to create a crazy tangle. I think the table is a little in between right now. It either needs to have more blending and less noise, or more texture and personality. It doesn’t know what it wants to be yet in relation to your subject.

    But I think you did a wonderful job expressing a pensive few of the transitions of music.

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