“My project revolves around the idea of ‘ugliness’. I agree with my lecturer that there’s just too much emphasis on glamour these days – especially on social media – so I wanted to re-evaluate how we as people live our lives, essentially.
Completing this project was a long and painful process. There was a lot of going back and forth between my lecturer and I – it’s a lot like tango actually. But I started off the project by interpreting the brief and reading a book that he recommended to me.
It’s called ‘Ugliness’ by Umberto Eco, and he talks about the many different forms of ugliness. I’m usually more interested in something beyond the surface, and the book really got me thinking about things differently.
After doing a series of self-portraits, I started thinking about what makes me ugly beyond my facial features and physical imperfections. How do I look into someone’s personality as ugly? How do I assess that ‘ugly’ personality? And that’s how I arrived at the concept of sins.
I was very inspired by Buddhism and the three poisons – Anger, Desire and Ignorance. It’s pretty similar to the seven deadly sins. And through the use of projections, I played around with the idea of attaching human features to animals to symbolise each sin.
Why projections? Well, I was actually going to settle with just illustrations, but my lecturer asked why stop there? He wanted me to challenge myself and try a different medium, so I thought about making it interactive for my audience and chose to do projections.
That’s what I like about studying at Glasgow School of Art. I realised that I’ve been limiting my possibilities too often, but they’ve got me to open my eyes to the many different options that are available to me.
I think Singapore generally play things very safe to the extent that it’s restricting the creatives working here. The best things usually come out when you push yourself beyond your comfort zone and discover things that you have not tried before.
This is important because design has the ability to inspire change. People often underestimate the power of design. As cheesy as it might sound, design can give hope when executed well. There’s a possibility to provide solutions and change the world.” – Jaron, 25
Interview by: Arman Shah