Plaster, bronze powder, printable fabric, and resin
40'' (H) x 40'' (W) x 10'' (D)
Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, once said in his book Wealth of Nations: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” However, nowadays, people are enslaved by the profit-driven society, consumerism, and the downside of social-economic inequality, which are believed the driving forces to keep the capitalist system running: some people have to work for several jobs to receive basic human rights like housing, education, and healthcare. Some may get lost in conspicuous consumption. Self-interests become a privilege, and this pandemic only makes the discrepancy larger.
In this body of work "21 Grams-The Weight of Souls," where I interview and photograph the artists who had left their previous job/professions for being an artist. I intend to create an exhaustive catalog of the faces and untold stories of the middle class– especially with those who are battling between having a stable income and pursuing their dreams. This series aims to reflect their internal struggles throughout their transition and life experiences of being an artist in one of the most prosperous areas with outrageous inequality.
I digital print the portraits onto pieces of fabric and make photo-sculptures from them. The combination of digital photography with the softness and mesh-like texture of fabric creates a novel visual language that represents this distorted world.
With this platform, I start the dialog and respond to the questions that always haunt me: What pushes us away from pursuing our own dream? What should we sacrifice to live a good life? What makes humanity distorted in this profit-driven society? What causes us in pain but, at the same time, being part of the root in our culture? What is the American dream we believe in now? What does this capitalist system become to? What is a good life?