Ting Lau – #portraitoftheartist

In #portraitoftheartist, ART & FASHION, Features, HOME by Hannah Beer

#portraitoftheartist is a feature in which we ask an artist or designer, aspiring or established, to tell us about themselves, something they’ve created and what inspires them. The idea being to dip into the psyche of the creator. That and to look at some nice art/fashion.

My name is Ting and I’m currently studying Fine Art at Parsons the New School for Design in New York. I’m training to become a practising contemporary artist and would like to be based in New York and London. My work is varied, ranging from video art to performance to drawing, because conceptualisation is a huge part of my process and I believe that different intentions need different materials to be delivered to the viewer.

My work:

Ting's portrait of the artistOne of my favourite pieces I’ve done is actually a collaborative work from early 2014. I was studying the theme of voyeurism (the act of watching others engage in sexual activities – an especially prevalent motif in artwork in the Neoclassical period) and connecting it to social media.

This project was an homage to the painting: La Grande Odalisque by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, an iconic image that many art folk know by sight. I had myself photographed in a modern pastiche of the painting, then made several versions of the image, in which the original image is only seen through three windows, each approximately a square inch. Different versions were then given to my fellow designers and artists to complete, without ever having seen the original image.

The finished product was hand bound into a book, which builds on the idea of information distortion. A book is a piece of time-based media, because you need time to go through it. The cover is the original image but as the reader flips through the book, new connections are formed on your mental impression of the image.By the time the viewer finishes the book, they may even no longer remember the original image. The viewer can see how differently the designers process the same amount of minimal information.

This project relates to social media in illustrating how an output of information that is potentially sensitive or private to a person can be extrapolated or warped as it travels through different outlets and people – think of a cyber-version of Chinese Whispers.

To view the full project full project visit this link: homage.

My inspiration:

My most constant source of inspiration for the past six years has been the xx. Inspiration is probably the wrong word to use as they don’t catalyse my concepts, but their music is very effective in shifting me into the best mind-set for creating work. To create my best work, often I need to have a degree of detachment or aloofness to the outcome. The music of the xx keeps me very grounded and calm, which allows me to make better decisions and minimise emotional turmoil when something (99% of the time) goes wrong.

Another source of inspiration, which is rather more important to me, is real life. Anything I come across in my daily life serves as an inspiration – the trick is in recognising it. Any event/object/person etc. that triggers an emotional response in me is an inspiration.

For example, I’m planning a photography project in documenting children accompanied by parents on the subway, simply because one time I saw a rather weary-looking father pull out a tupperware container of snacks for his children and it made me cry. The ideas of dependency, innocence and journey all came to me in a rush as the children snacked on their biscuits, unaware of how they were getting from A to B.

It’s all out there. You just have to look.

Ting Lau

Ting is currently studying Fine Art at Parsons in NYC. Her life is split between making art, pole dancing and feeling angsty as she listens to music. Her dream is to see the old Guns N Roses reform (basically impossible), have a successful practice as an artist and live with a whole menagerie of cats and exotic birds.

To see more of Ting’s work, head to: www.tingteal.com.

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