Haiyang Sun

Artist Statement

Not every feeling has a word, but it may have a picture.

There are so many feelings we get in our daily life. Some of them are notable and some of them are not. A lot of them can be simply recorded by words and a few of them are hard to describe by written language; I use my drawings to document these feelings that do not have a word.

I started to read comic books in middle school; I fell in love with them and was impressed by the potential power of them: the power of conveying emotion, time, and sound in a seemingly static two-dimensional form. During the experience of spending one semester studying off campus in an art studio in Beijing, I learned a lot about character design and comic art. After that semester, my dream of becoming an comic artist was ignited. I created the comic “Two Days in Summer” which is the first comic that I have ever created.

My inspiration for my first comic was my relationship with summertime. The purpose of the comic is to document feelings and emotions I get at the beginning and the ending of the summer. For most international students like me; summer is usually the time to go back to my motherland; seeing my parents; reuniting with my friends; revisiting my favorite places; enjoying homemade foods and staying in my comfort zone. In addition to things I can do at home, the summer itself brings feelings and memories, especially the beginning and the ending of it; from reunion to separation, from happiness to sadness. All of these are included in my comic “Two Days in Summer”

I’m interested in narratives; my body of work contains both series of related images like comics and single independent images that contain emotions I had. Collecting feelings, keeping them in my images as my collections and exploring the potential power of comics are my major motivations that keeps me doing art. In my comic “Two Days in Summer”, I mixed some fantasy elements in my story. Because I always feel that stories based on reality are convincing and true to life; but fantasy stories are more imaginative and have more possibilities. That is why I combined a real life story with fantasy elements to exaggerate the story and the feeling I am trying to depict.

Drawing is always a part of me and it is also my way to express my feelings and thoughts. When I’m creating my work I usually think about the setting and the storyline first and create character and objects later to support the story. In my comic, all the characters have different personalities influenced by both me and my friends. They experience the same situations in the summer from different backgrounds and point of views. Even though most of my work for this thesis show were drawn or painted within 3 months by using time-saving digital medium, I do use traditional media like brush pen, pencil, watercolor and copic marker. I’m particularly interested in using lines because they are capable of carrying so much visual impact and information while being simple and fluid. I always admire comic artists that are good at creating terrific images and stories by using line such as Taiyō Matsumoto and Kim Jung Gi; The way they bend the rules of the comic book genre to maximize the power of it and make it more impressive really has encouraged me to push myself more and work harder to approach my dream of becoming a comic artist.