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The art piece I’m presenting today has a deep back story.

During my senior year of high school one of the final projects for one of my art classes (I took six that year…) was to do some sort of self portrait collagey thing. Here’s the poster-sized piece I created for that. Then, during my junior year at college I had a big “open house” type thing in my dorm room and gave away all the artwork I had lying around to anyone who wanted it. (I was just trying to get rid of the mounds of art I had.) My good friend Leah took a couple of pieces, including that self portrait. She hung the self portrait directly above her bed and from the positioning of it, it looked as if I were creepily watching her as she slept.

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Then, in 2010 we both went to Korea. I was there for a few months, but she had a year long contract to teach English at a kindergarten. She was having a lot of difficulties when she arrived, with her school, apartment, and boss. Since I was leaving soon and I knew she wasn’t feeling awesome about staying in Korea by herself, I decided to do a drawing for her influenced by the piece she’d had of me in college. I went over to her apartment and had her keep her eyes closed as I tacked it above her bed.

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When Leah got engaged I knew I wanted to make her a drawing as a wedding gift, and after the two ridiculous and creepy portraits of me she already had, I knew I wanted to do something in a similar theme. Giving her just another self portrait though would’ve been just a tad too creepy, so I came up with this idea instead:

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The happy couple make up the large center of the piece, and for the creepy “I’m watching you” theme, I not only included myself staring at them, but the entire wedding party circling the couple, looking down at them. Then, to add a bit more personal-ness to the piece, I added elements of the three Asian countries we’ve both visited together: The green flower pattern on the left is taken from the Buddhist temples in Korea, the green triptych pattern on the right is taken from the Shinto shrines in Japan (I did a semester abroad there and Leah visited me), and the blue boarder around the couple is taken from the Muslim mosques in Turkey (we both went to Turkey for a Mayterm semester together). As you can see, a lot of thought went into this piece, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Here are close-ups of all the bridesmaids and groomsmen:

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And here’s Leah & Phil (the entire thing is done in watercolour & ink):

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Also, since the wedding was all 1930s themed, I decided to take the ridiculous to the next level and hype up the wrapping paper for the gift by making a stencil of Jean Harlow’s face.

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This was so much fun to make, and I’m really happy I got to do it.

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