It has been some time since my work became a new addition to Robinson Secondary’s decor amongst the other first few revolutionary pieces to now adorn the walls. While the actual date of completion was towards the end of June, it was about mid way through March that the planning for it began. I was actually one of the first students to receive the “OK” to begin working, but as my habits always show through, I was one of the last to finish. Of course with the issue of time constraint, not all that I had planned to get done was completed. I still felt rather satisfied with my finished product, but I can’t full heartedly boast about this piece because I personally wouldn’t be too surprised to discover that my former teacher allowed for it to be painted over. Although I don’t really mean that, and I would still cry devastating amounts of tears.
The main motivational drive for this emerged around this time last year in the form of a simple vector design. “The Hermit” was a Eastern Asian inspired version of the traditional version of the card. I wanted to represent the Asian influences without drawing away from the Tarot card’s symbolic meanings. The Hermit IX represents a phase of introspection. The character himself looks within himself for answers away from the demands of his position. I personally interpret this as an eternal quest for existential knowledge. I was immediately reminded of an infamous Chinese mythological character named Sun Wukong, or better known as the Monkey King.
In order to express the similarities you have to know the story of Sun Wukong first. The Taoist immortal was born from stone. He had been imprisoned underneath a mountain by Buddha after he rebels against the heavens. In what began as an exchange for his freedom, became an act of redemption. Sun Wunkong find himself accompanying the monk, Tang Sanzang, on a pilgrimage to retrieve the Buddhist sutras. Whilst acting as a body guard for Tang Sanzang on their way to India, the Monkey King attains Buddhist teachings and learns about virtues. Following their return to China Wukong is granted Buddhahood, becoming the “Victorious Fighting Buddha” (Dòu-zhànshèng-fó (鬥戰勝佛)) in return for his services and strength. Now as you can see Sun Wukong was a wrong minded individual who sought to better them selves through Buddha’s religious teachings. It may be quite literal, but he was a character seeking knowledge and enlightenment through provoking his inner conscious to justify his redemption.
I had a lot of fun researching tarot cards as well as Chinese mythology, but I had the most fun designing it all. I unfortunately have lost my process photos along with my last phone, so a before and after picture is all that I can show. I did however try to plan the composition accordingly with the space I was given. The awkward angle of the wall made it difficult to paint the image without warping the figure. That is why the focal point is positioned in the far right allowing for only a small amount of warping around his right leg. This left rest of the negative space to be filled with analogously color schemed triangles that alternate with deep turquoise rays. The geometric rays emanate from the Monkey King’s lantern. This symbolizes knowledge emitting from his inner self. I chose geometric triangles in particular because I wanted them to contrast the organic flow of the figure itself. This is a common theme I try to exhibit in my work. I appreciate the disruption of fluidity with concise rigidness. All in all my only regret was having only done a single mural in my time at Robinson Secondary School. I’m glad however that the administration for the school has recently begun to allow the students to paint the walls. It gives the school a whole new atmosphere and I am proud to have been a part of that.