Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Cinderella Time...

... is but a fleeting one, as we all know from the fairy tale of our childhood. However, it is a time of magic, of beauty, of sheer joy, suspended and disconnected from real time. It is the time when all wishes are granted, although with a deadline to which everything and everyone must submit. It is, therefore, ephemeral and that makes it even more fascinating.

Tang Chiew Ling, an illustrator and graphic designer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has found a quite unique and creative way of taking us to a magic world by means of her work. In fact, what she does is transient and whimsical, beautiful and appealing. Just like fairy tales, she says her purpose is to “create fun, hope and happiness” and that is precisely the effect her work produces on viewers. Dealing with natural ephemeral material as leaves and using fashion and fiction as themes, she does take us to the realm of fantasy, evanescence and awe.

Ling’s first project in a series she called “Object Art” goes by the simple name of “Leaves” and consists of a collection of illustrations, which are minimalist stencil-like silhouettes complemented by a fanciful twist: she adds different kinds of leaves in a wide variety of shades so as to complete her drawings and, thereby, tell a story. The final product is a gallery of delightfully amusing images or visual stories.

Just like other art works dealt with in previous posts, Tang Chiew Ling’s creations, for the ephemeral nature of the materials used, can only achieve permanence through photography. And that is precisely the last stage of her work: having photographs taken of all her productions.

Her most recent project, “Fashion Leaves”, a title which holds a challenging twofold meaning which enhances transience, draws inspiration from the world of fashion and from some icons of elegance as Audrey Hepburn.  She draws faces of women to whom she then creates “dresses” made of leaves of different kinds, shapes, colours, shades, textures and even stages of life. From green, glossy and intense to dark, purple or withered, Tang Chiew Ling carefully chooses and arranges them as if she was actually designing clothes, selecting patterns, structures and consistency so as to create the right dress for the right woman to wear at the right occasion.

Ling’s creations seem to come out of a fairy-tale factory where she designs exclusive luxurious gowns for Cinderellas to go to the Royal Ball and dance the night away in the arms of their Prince Charming until the fatal stroke of midnight, when magic is broken and everything goes back to the prosaic and more permanent reality.

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