Behind The Scenes: Log of Charlie Ming

Well, here it comes. Drum roll please. After 4 years of hibernating in storage, I’m finally showing some never before seen photos from the making of The Log of Charlie Ming! Why now, you might ask? Because last Wednesday, the hard disk that represents my life died on me (that ungrateful son of a byte). Did I ask for it? No. Was I asking for it? Yes. Next time when your hard disk is showing signs of ageing, please do not ignore it. Unless your brain is the size of a chickpea. What followed next was a string of profanities, getting my panties in a bunch and just sheer mad panic. I am inherently a worrywart and naturally this meant disaster to me. And boy, was I in for a rude awakening when I was quoted $2,000 to repair a motor that runs the read write head on my HDD. A hard disk recovery that costs more than my 5 days vacation to Bali? Oh hell no.

So I got out my ninja asian skills and went back in time through time machine on my old macbook that I stopped using, because it smoked on me last year. One of the many things that came to mind when I lost my hard disk was the end of the road for Charlie Ming. I prayed really hard to the computer gods that they would be kind to this chickpea brainiac and to please let me have my Charlie Ming back. My son that costs $5 from chinatown central ok! Let’s just say that I still lost important files but I’m glad to announce the return of my lost son.

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For posterity’s sake, I think it would be timely to show some BTS pictures of this old project and what truly goes on behind a staged photograph. The Log of Charlie Ming is my last photography project. If you are keen to understand the project, click on the link! My interest for building sets and dioramas have not waned, I simply do not have the capacity to work on another project for now. And in all honesty, diorama photography is the only style of photography that I will ever create. I really suck at other genres. Sadly, I do not like being around live beings in general. It’s awkward to me and I’m bad at making small talk. Better off with the inanimate, I say!

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All sets you see below were built from grey boards and props were either found in flea markets or created by hand. There is no special place to source for props, you have to be a hunter of trash (or treasure, your pick). Second hand shops, flea markets and hardware stores are going to be your best friends. Occasionally, eBay, if you want something very specific like a mini sewing machine. You can easily build tables, shelves and beds with basal wood and a handsaw and lots of glue, ain’t nobody gunna know. Old pocket watches can be clocks, a sponge can be a mattress, aluminium foil can be paint tubes, toothpicks can become window grills, you get the drift. You really have to push the limits to what ordinary objects can be or can look like. Once you get passed that creative mental block, everything you see that is miniature can become something realistic in your set.

The Log of Charlie Ming

Before building the sets for a scene, I would often do a rough sketch on how I wanted them to look visually in a photograph. They were meant to be photographed only from one or two angles. This helps save time on the construction process and also helps to save money.

The Log of Charlie Ming

The Log of Charlie Ming

Most of my sets were shot in my shoebox size bedroom and on my bed. Thinking back, I really can’t help but wonder, how did I managed to sleep in this mess every night?!

The Log of Charlie Ming

Putting my characters to the test and teaching them how to appear natural while doing everyday tasks was a bit of a challenge. This involves getting your real life boyfriend to take time off to come do awkward and mundane things like climbing out of bed a million times.

The Log of Charlie Ming

The Log of Charlie Ming

The Log of Charlie Ming

Although, sometimes there are still limitations like when you cannot find the perfect toy hand to create the right action. In such situations, you just got to wing it. Some of Charlie Ming’s body parts were interchangeable. Once in a while, I had to soak his head in boiling water so I could pop it out and fit it onto another body.

The Log of Charlie Ming

The Log of Charlie Ming

Making miniature food using sculpey clay and epoxy resin for the soup. My miniature food making skills are pretty bad, thankfully they only played a small part to the set.

The Log of Charlie Ming

You can gauge the size of my sets from this furry visitor of mine. Fret not, no pets were harmed in the process.

The Log of Charlie Ming

This is what an asian toy story would look like.

The Log of Charlie Ming

The Log of Charlie Ming

Fun fact: I have never owned a barbie doll before. I actually had to go to the salvation army to buy some for this scene and as there are no jet black haired barbies, I ended up chopping off her locks and using a sharpie to dye it black.

The Log of Charlie Ming

One of our many ‘calefares’ (extras) posing for a photo to be used within a photo.

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Some of these sets were built early on and did not make the cut because the craftsmanship was either too poor or it could not gel well with the other pictures or storyline. I struggled badly with this project at the beginning – everything from the concept to the storyline to the visual aesthetics. I only had a proper footing 5-6 months into the project. But, it proved to be worth all the sweat, blood and tears! It was the greatest learning experience and gave me the affirmation that I needed all along.

The Log of Charlie Ming

I have always loved working and photographing miniatures, but I never felt that it was “textbook correct” in my school. A lot of opportunities were given to me after my graduation show and I will always be thankful to the people who gave them to me. Also, to the people who have bought my work even though I’m not famous (haha). I feel apologetic that I haven’t created any new diorama works. But, I can ensure you it’s always on my mind. One day! All of these experiences helped me realise what kind of artist I want to be and that it doesn’t matter if you cannot find the perfect “label” for yourself – whether you are a artist, a builder or a photographer. Cliche as it might sound, just be true to yourself. Do what you want to do and not what you think other people want you to do. As of now, I’m just gonna keep trucking along and be the creative explorer that I am!

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Halloween Hotdogs

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This entry would most likely mark the last of my paper art rampage (for now). I had this idea a few weeks ago to come up with a couple of cute halloween costumes for dogs to celebrate October. My dog hates wearing clothes so, the only way to make this happen was to do a little cute and paste with paper dogs.

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Anyone hungry for a hot dog?

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A real taco belle in disguise.

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The one and only snoop dog.

I apologise for the bad puns, it’s 12 midnight and my brain guts are spilling out. I wished we were big on Halloween in Singapore, because I really want to be Leeloo from The Fifth Element for one night. It’s the orange hair, it must be.

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Tutti Frutti Paper Art

ohmignonblog-fruit1Been on a fruit rush lately and have been fervently cutting up thumbnail sized fruits to create patterns. I am still playing around with them and really enjoy how I can switch up patterns easily by physically moving a shape. Considering how I’m not a fruit and vegetable person, it makes perfect sense that I much prefer playing with them. The best time to play with food is when they are made of paper!

ohmignonblog-fruit2I can’t decide if I prefer the darker or lighter coloured bananas. Speaking of bananas, I have this silly memory way back when I was still in primary school (and was a much fussier eater then). It was science class and my teacher was conducting a lesson on using our senses. One of the experiments was to test if we knew what food we were tasting while being blindfolded. I remember praying hard that I wouldn’t get picked because I didn’t want to eat anything that would make me gag. But, hey, you know what, life always gives you lemons. So there I was blindfolded in front of the class and having to taste a banana. There was no way I could suppress the gag reflex, so right after eating the banana, I excused myself to use the toilet and unbeknownst to anyone, I made banana shake in a cubicle.

I know, I was a sad excuse as a kid. Frail and always throwing up. I had a weak stomach, so even breakfast food could not survive on some days and that’s how I grew up not having the habit of eating breakfast/the most important meal of the day. Thankfully, these days it’s not a big problem anymore!

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ohmignonblog-fruit4Lemons on the other hand though, I do like a lot especially if it’s a glass of pure liquid gold – honey lemon! These lemons and watermelons were initially illustrated on my computer, I printed them out to use as wrapping paper. The lemon pattern was used recently to wrap one of my friend’s birthday presents. The watermelon on the other hand is seated on my desk, mock wrapped over an empty box waiting to be photographed.

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ohmignonblog-fruit6Last of the fruit! Watermelon slices! I got lazy with cutting out the seeds, so I left some of them seedless for now. Don’t you just hate watermelon seeds sometimes though?

Till the next fruit blast, eat healthy (ya right)!

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Paper Cactus Art

Hello September! Another month has whizzed past in the blink of an eye and it’s time to bump the productivity level up another notch before the year comes to a close. I finally got down to documenting some of these paper cactus art pieces I made. I was thinking of doing a 365 days cactus project then but gave up after day 5. The appeal in a 365 days project lies in the forced stimuli for creativity. Something new everyday. I used to dislike the idea, but have come to realise it can actually be useful for procrastinators like me!

Anyhow, I posted some of these on my instagram, but decided I should let it have a run on the blog too. I love working on paper illustrations, so I really hope to be able to post more when I can. Xo.

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Where The Wild Things Are

rp_DSC_5967-13_zpsd79068c8.jpgI work part time as an art facilitator in various communities alongside my ex-lecturer and my boyfriend. For one of our classes, we got our participants to paint on dried leaves. This project was largely inspired by a ton of leaf art on pinterest. We agreed that it would be super fun to get everyone to create imaginary leaf friends! As I did some experiments before conducting the class, I accumulated so many leafy friends and knew I had to share this quick and easy tutorial.

All you need are dried leaves, acrylic paint and paint brushes!

imageThe best ones are those that are a yellowish-brown and have fallen from the trees. If it’s too brown, they crack really easily when dried.

imageChoose a base colour for your leaves. I would suggest picking only two to three colours as limiting your colour palette helps you be more creative! I went for a monochromatic palette, just red and white. So patriotic!

imageHere are a few tips if you feel stumped on designing your leaf buddy. You can always sketch your ideas out on paper first. Play with straight lines, dots, zig zags and scallops. Change the scale of the polka dots or the thickness of a line. Keep it simple and have fun!

imageHere is how I did mine. First, I went in with horizontal lines, then I moved on to vertical and zig zag lines. Lastly, adding in some polka dots and facial features! I feel it’s easier to approach it step by step, it feels less overwhelming!

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imageWhen you are done with your friends from the wild, it’s time to hang them up to add some magic into your space! I sewed myself a long banner and used a hot glue gun to stick them down. You could also glue them onto any used cardboard.

imageWhen you get better at it, start adding embellishments! Sew on sequins, simple embroidery or even cut patterns in them. Run with it!

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