Street Life 2

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General:

This Artwork is titled “Street Life 2” and was created by Quan Pham Tung, working out of Hanoi, Vietnam. I initially found the image on his website, but at the moment it’s offline. If interested though you can find more of his portfolio on ArtStation. The artwork here depicts a scene on a busy street playing out in front of an elaborately decorated building. The major themes are how an organized kaleidoscope of colors and symbols create feeling or being.

 

Background:

Beginning at the sky and descending The background of this image features large clouds drifting through a bright sky. Beneath are a series of silhouetted building that rises from a brick white concrete terrace, which itself stands slightly above a main street built from yellow cobblestones. 
 

 

Figure:

The primary figure in this image is the elaborately decorated building, that features a wide variety of shapes and symbols. The largest of these shapes is the chicken head that sits at the top of the building. Directly beneath are a series of awnings layered one beneath another until they reach the front door of the building. Descending down the other face of the building there are other recognizable symbols including a heart shape, a hamburger sign, and a bear face. At the bottom of this side of the building is a single large awning that sits above two wide windows. Even still there are more designs that color the building including a symbol that kind of looks like a Pokeball (a mysterious symbol that pops up in a lot of Quan's work) that takes two forms. One is the drawn symbol, and the other sits as a material object above the front door. There’s a wave pattern that appears a few times (one is drawn, the other material), the numbers 7 and 2, lots of cylindrical shapes, even a sort of mezzanine. All of this in the one building. 

On the street below are a variety of characters engaging in different activities. The most odd is the bear-suited man (or maybe it actually is a bear) standing in the open doorway of the elaborate building. Standing to the left of him, there are people dressed in long white tunic like clothes, and standing outside the window there are two children looking in. Beside them is a little white dog. And on the street, there's a person pushing a carriage. And probably the characters that are the easiest for us to relate to are the two guys to the right side of the picture looking curiously at the building like “What is this”
 

 

Color:

In terms of color, the image can be divided between the large swaths of white and the punctuated uses of primary colors like yellow (or yellow-orange) blue and red. The huge white clouds are drifting past a blue sky. The Chicken head atop the building is white, accented by the red comb on top of its head. Most of the Tunics the people are wearing are mostly white if not all white. Some have little designs near the bottoms hems. And other people have the white of their tunics accented in other ways, for instance, the lady on the street is pushing a red stroller. The building as a whole obscures the large swathes of white at as many points as possible, in that the colored accents dominate its design. Almost like there is so much vibrant graffiti covering it surface, the white layer beneath has been all but completely obscured. One interesting deviation of the color theme in the picture is the little girl looking through the window. Whereas every other character is wearing a hard white, she’s wearing a patterned grey shirt. 
 

Meaning and Being: A Dimension just Left of Here

 This is my favorite kind of style. Because there is so much going,  it kind of transcends a specific meaning and pulls you into the realm of feeling. Particular how this place feels at this specific time. And for me, it feels vibrant and busy. Rich in culture and hospitality and at the same time strange, like an alternate reality. The Bearman in the doorway is a key figure. He (or maybe it) seems welcoming and wholly consistent with the strangeness of the world around him. But it also seems like if the reality we live in was just an eyelash different, a half step into the dimension left of us we could be walking through a world like this. Into elaborate storefronts where bear men hawk wacky chicken headed trinkets.

Most of the scene going on is analogous to the world we live in, children are looking through window panes, and adults are walking about, a mother is pushing a carriage and it’s all happening on a city street. All these things we recognize, it’s just the way Quan has manifested them in this picture and the coherence with which he did it makes it feel possible. 


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Crew

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General: 

The title of this artwork is Crew. It was created by Quan Pham Tung working out of Vietnam, and was posted on the site artstation sometime in 2014. The image is of community of people, standing shoulder to shoulder in the foreground. standing tall Behind them is a machine, and Off to the side a bird is soaring upwards.

 

Background:

The background of the image is dominated by the clear and bare sky, that descend into the equally featureless earth.

Figure:  

There are two primary figures in the image and the first is the community of people who stand in the foreground. There are a few animals that appear alongside the people - to the left of the image you can see one person handling a few of the white dogs - but for the most part the foreground features a variety of people in various shapes sizes. Some are tall and thin, others are short, and other still are rotund. Some of them are wearing overalls and others are wearing helmeted jumpsuits, and others are wearing stockings. Most of the people are standing in the foreground shoulder to shoulder with one another, almost like they’re lined up for a picture. But some people are working on the giant mech behind them. To the left a few people are clinging to the the machine with ropes while  on the right others are standing on top of scaffold.

The second primary figure is the mech itself, towering above the people in the foreground. The shape of it is like a round hull, with cannons equipped to either side, sitting on top of a pair of inverted legs. Throughout the mech a variety of symbols have been painted. A few are recognizable like the number 5 and two little skulls. But others are more abstract, like the V shape and M shape, and a symbol that looks a little like a poke ball on the right side of the machine. There is also another minor figure, which is the bird ascending in the left side of the picture. It’s no quite apart of the group of people below and it’s also not a part of the mech, so it has some significance in its own right.

 

Color:

One of Quan's best traits is his skill with the use of color. Most of this image is just white. The ground is completely white - although two shades - and the sky is a near white blue. The primary color most of the people in the foreground are wearing is white and the same for the mech. To a lesser extent the same can be said for the bird. But where the the image shines is how Quan uses vibrant primary colors to accent the hard whites. Each of the characters on the ground is wearing a unique combination of either blue, yellow or red (with one notable exception). Some wear blue overalls, while others wear jumpsuits accented by blue and yellow. The mech is also like this, except in some capacity or another it features each of the three primary colors used in the image. Some uses of color are abstract accents, like the red that outlines parts of the hull, while other times the color is used for the symbols that dot the mech. One of the skulls is yellow, and another skull is blue, while the  5 painted on the mech is red

There are two really interesting deviation to this theme. One is the bird, who features all of the three primary colors unlike the people, and like the machine. It’s wings are a combination of red and blue, white it’s beak and feet are yellow. The other notable exception is the guy in the the center right of the picture wearing all black... what could that mean...



 

Being & Meaning:

A crew of individuals becomes powerful but they also gain something greater.

  Like most of Quan's work, and maybe this one more than any other, the feeling of this image is bright. It’s not bright in the sense of an explosion of joy or an exuberant moment. But it’s bright like the feeling of working towards a positive goal. In an interview with quan he said "I am setting up a new world where wars do not exist. In there, violence is something very strange to humanity, all of human resources are used in some bigger missions such as art, science or space exploration.”

  That is partly the message of this piece. A community of individuals (as shown in their unique designs) combine their efforts to create something that transcends all of them, but also is imbued with the spirit of each of them. That’s the mech that stand above them but carries everyone's individual colors and symbols. But there’s also the bird that carries each color. It’s not huge, but it’s the one thing in the picture that’s flying. Where as the mech is what we could create if we combined or intellectual and mechanical efforts, the bird could be an analog for the spirit of a community in harmony. If you try to build a better future with your crew then you become powerful but you also become graceful.


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