This was a last minute collab with my friend Stacey Moua, and her assistant Crystal Lee. Stacey needed an assistant for the day and wanted me to shoot as well so I brought along my camera to snap a few shots, but I was mainly there for moral support. I had no clue who the model was and was surprised when it turned out to be Ka Lia, we met each-other a long time ago and said we were going to shoot but just never got the chance to work with each-other.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve shared pieces of my personal life. I have always been a very private person, but wanted to have a more open relationship with what little followers I have, but I was afraid. In this series I will be sharing a very painful experience in hopes that it will help others find the strength to break free from a toxic relationship. This project will include BTS videos of where I got the inspiration from, making and setting up the scenes and more. All of these clips and videos will lead to a final story time video where I explain what happened and my thought process.
Disclaimer: I am not doing this project for attention to myself, since I will have to share very personal and intimate details, I would rather not even do it, but I’ve realized that this sort of thing happens to so many people and sometimes we feel hopeless. I found the strength to tell my story by watching others tell theirs, now I want to do the same for you.
Art: I used to love drawing when I grew up, and remember one summer in grade school I spent my days drawing til my heart’s content . I looked around for whatever paper I could find and drew on them. I preferred drawing realistic people and charcoal was one of my favorite methods since I found it was very easy to blend the colors. As I grew older I started to become a perfectionist, when I couldn’t “get it right” I got frustrated, I hated mistakes more than anything. Eventually I stopped drawing completely, and whenever I did have to draw for class or needed to saved some ideas in my “little black book” I would purposely put very little effort into it so no one could judge me on how poorly drawn it was.
Here are some examples from my little black book:
On September 17, 2018 around 12am I fell into a deep depression, this time I felt so numb inside. I thought about it for a while and I remember when this got worse, I don’t want to say started because it actually started when I was very young, but this event in my life amplified any and all of my anxieties. It was a past relationship that I had, which is the reason I am starting this project called “Lost Soul”. I found the courage to tell everything to my therapist and a select few people that night. It took me roughly 3 hours to write drown my thoughts, all while the tears began streaming down my face and my body began to shake as I relived each memory. The next day I couldn’t find the strength to get up and work because I was so numb inside, I laid in bed and cried for about 4 hours thinking about the things that people might say to me when tell my story. I decided to challenge myself that night to draw again, but I told myself I could not erase anything because if I had the option to I would be stuck at square one. To my surprise I did a great job, it has been over 6 years since I took any drawing seriously! My second piece I set the same rules and for the third drawing I did, I allowed myself to use the eraser and it got better! I am quite proud of myself. The reason for doing this type of exercise was so that I can tell myself it is ok to make mistakes, and that everything is a work in progress, it does not need to be perfect the first time…..or ever. It is the small imperfections that makes it beautiful. :)
I had thought about using dolls in place of models for my shoots for quite sometime since I can be more detailed and try multiple times even if I failed. I feel like there is a lot of pressure to get it right when I work with live models. I started off by buying the Iplehouse dolls at first, my first order for the doll and hair came out to be roughly $980, I did not do my research and found that the dolls are not that great at holding poses, I also spent another $500 buying the necessary supplies to paint their faces since they do not originally come painted. Sending my dolls back and forth to BJD artists would have costed me more in the long run, so I decided to learn to do it myself. The next important tool that is necessary for shooting dolls is the Canon L 100mm f2.8 Macro lens so that I can shoot close to the dolls, that was about another $800. After a while I started to get frustrated since everything was not going according to plan and I had already spent so much money prepping this project! The Iplehouse dolls did not look realistic enough for me and so I started to get upset that I spent so much money on them. I don’t necessarily regret buying them, I’ve always wanted them because they were very beautiful dolls, but they were not working for my project.
Here is Iplehouse’s Soo and Carina.
I was browsing my instagram feed when I saw these dolls, the Phicen dolls with the seamless posable bodies and immediately knew I had to have them for my project! They were extremely realistic and in some photos I couldn’t even tell if they were dolls or real people! The best part is that these are very tiny dolls, which means I can create entire sets for them!
One of the heads came in and I can’t say I was too impressed by the paint job, I wish I had taken a photo, half of her eyelashes were gone and she didn’t look that great, but her face mold was superb after I wiped it clean!
I used to love makeup, I spent so much money on high-end makeup and brushes, but eventually as my depression worsened I stopped putting in any effort into looking good. Slowly my makeup brushes turned into paint brushes….