Chapter 3 Wednesday
March 4, 2009. Wednesday.
During the dark three years, every evening by listening to the first sound my father made when he walked in the door from work: a sigh or talking about someone else’s excellent child or saying nothing but throwing the slippers heavily on the floor, I would knew how likely I was going to be scolded at dinner. Once he started, it could go on for hours, from dinner to bedtime. Almost every week there were several days I slept with my tears. Among the seven days in a week, my most dread is Wednesday.
Because my mom had a night shift on Wednesday. Even though my growing up, Mom never stopped my father’s verbal violence against me. She just ate her meal like she was invisible – left the table – and went to watch TV as if nothing was going on. But if she wasn’t there, my father would be even more unscrupulous. The same scene happened again on that Wednesday, when my father scolded me for not washing the dinner dishes in time. That time I finally couldn’t take it anymore and left to the studio, crying alone.
I had fought harder before. Once, after hours of verbal abuse, I couldn’t help but start to repeat my father’s words verbatim, trying to get him to hear how awful it was. As a result, his words became more and more malicious and eventually escalated into physical violence, he rush up and started to slap me. It was not until he had slapped 3 times that my mom, who seemed to have just come back from another world, pulled him away. Mom always said, “Well, his bark is worse than his bite, at least he didn’t hit you.” –But he did.
On that Wednesday night, when Mon returned, she persuaded me to go back. But I had made up my mind. For the next 15 months, I slept on the studio’s couch until I moved to the next studio which had a bed. For 12 years now, I have never lived back in my parents’ home.
Perhaps the change of my living environment allowed me to focus more on my work. That year, I made rapid progress in my career. Lotus Near was the 4th BJD doll I made and probably the first one that get people start to remember the name “DD-Anne”.
Lotus Near, 2008, resin
The idea was to “do sth no one has ever seen”. Combining my oriental identity, I came up with this 8-handed “Buddha” version of the little boy. He is also the first series work I designed. Since the beginning of doll making, I have been teaching myself making clothes and learning every skill needed for doll making. It laid the foundation for completing art dolls independently in the future.
Lotus series No.1, 2009, resin
Influenced by the Enchanted Doll by Marina Bychkova, the Canadian-Russian porcelain BJD artist who was becoming famous at the time. I began to try beading, metal accessories, embroidery and other decorations while designing Lotus. I was also interested in making porcelian BJDs. Compared with the commercial resin BJD produced by assembly line, the porcelain BJDs carefully made by the artists were more in line with my creative concept. However, I knew nothing about porcelain at that time, and I didn’t know how to start, so I could only wait patiently for the right opportunity.
Lotus Series No.3 Death, 2009, resin
The theme of “death” appeared in my work for the first time.
Lotus Series No.4 Rebirth, 2009, resin
“Rebirth” was a tribute to my grandfather who passed away in 2009.
The Lotus series was liked by fans and brought me more income. The experience of making 8 hands provided me with valuable experience. Since then I have said goodbye to my initial rigid hand sculpting, and “hands” have become one of the signature of my work.
Venus Hand Model, 2020, 3D modeling print
But I realized that Lotus was not the style I wanted to go for. I found that I wasn’t interested in dressing up boys, so later I could only imagine him as a girl to finish the design. And what so-called oriental style was not really in my blood. Therefore, after Lotus, I decided to find my own style by following my heart instead of trying to make up for it.
Perhaps influenced by the dark three years, or by the deeper influence from my family since I was born, I was always interested in the subject of “death”. “Zombie baby” was a new series related to death after Lotus. The “zombie” I imagined was not the kind in traditional western horror moives, which had lost it self only left with a rotting body, but a soul that still had the memory of its life but was unable to develop new ideas, a body that dead but did not extincted, a soul that was stuck between light and dark, life and death, with no future and no place to pacify its pain.
(Zombie baby, 2009, resin)
This zombie baby with bruise on her mouth, in some sense,
indicated the three slaps I received from my father.
The last paired dolls from zombie baby series, 2010, resin
The form of life and death, black and white, became the base of Alice series in the future.
Wednesday is not only a death and but also a rebirth. She is the fallen angel banished from heaven and the goddess of victory in Samothrace. I thought she would be the most difficult one to design. How could I find inspiration from a style that no longer belonged to me? At first, only her name “Wednesday” was confirmed, the specific image was a blank in my mind. I tried to start with the “white wings” of Lotus “Rebirth” and did some complicated feather designs. But when I tried to make some shapes out of paper, it all came together spontaneously. She became the quickest finished one in the series.
Wednesday used to be my weekly dread, and Wednesday, March 4, 2009, became my everlasting pride.
to be continued