Growing up surrounded by urban areas, those blocks of buildings and fields of skyscrapers have been ordinary scenes of my life. Since I made the decision to study abroad, summer became the only time of year to go back home. However, things have become unfamiliar since I have gone. Every time I fly back from half a world away, I notice there are often old structures disappearing into ruins and dust. At the same time many new cranes and noises overwhelmingly catching my senses. But after just weeks, there they stood so perfectly straight right up to the sky, new groups of shiny skyscrapers!
At first I was just amazed by how peculiar it is to witness the whole project going so efficiently and organized. Then I heard the city government had citizens relocated to brand new households to make room for the skyscraper projects. Things turned oppressing as more and more news reported “skyscrapers cause global warming,” “skyscrapers cause light pollution resulting in birds losing direction,” “skyscrapers cause ground subsidence” etcetera. And my own grandma started worrying about her mansion getting torn down— the place full of nostalgic memories.
That was the time I started to rethink all those gilded skyscrapers. It became a greedy urbanization trying to craving all the old houses, and it never gets satisfied. I have never felt so strongly; it was like almost a skyscraper being built in my chest. I have come to realize those jungles of new architectures are taking over the space the city used to share with the residents.
“Space” is an illusory atmospheric perspective. I created an illustration to express my emotions. I decided to keep it black and white since I want to create a feeling of peace and tranquility. I outlined them with pencils first and then filled in marker ink around the pencil marks erasing the pencil to create an illusion of white outlines, which creates a more unrestrained texture than using white ink directly. In order to achieve this collapsing motion of the white figure and the oppressing sensation from the blocks, there are two human-ish figures made totally by black marker-outlined buildings, which are squeezing into the dark blocks. The ornate pointillism creates value of the sky as a light yet effective texture, and the coinciding texture was also used on the bridge laying across the bottom half of the piece.
As an artist I found it beautiful to express my own creative vision. This piece is only one example of how art can stretch observation to the ideas by using specific elements and techniques. Art is my quiet power.
Written and Illustrated by Sihan Xu
Senior at Bayview Academy