*1st Place, 2D: Benjamin Wang – True Forms

Artist: Benjamin Wang
Title: True Forms
Medium: Ink Fineliner
Grade: 12th
School: Head-Royce Upper School
Artwork Created Independently



True Forms is my most recent piece – I have spent over 70 hours mapping out and shading. I used no reference images: the piece was drawn entirely from imagination and memory. In my process, I apply partitioning methods I learned in geometry years ago to guide composition and proportions and complement them with amorphous subjects like jellyfish. The piece is shaded using black Micron fine liners ranging from 0.2 millimeters to 0.45 millimeters.
In this “self-portrait”, the ruined temple represents the ornate yet antiquated systems and structures of thought presented by Western literary canon. While I believe that studying these systems of thought is invaluable, I also think there is value in the exploration of other systems of thought as well. This is why the ruins are contained by the circular borders that the jellyfish can break. I chose Eastern architecture because my family originates from East Asia: western thought influences the way I think and therefore becomes part of me regardless of my past.

Finally, through the juxtaposition of fluent and structured subjects, I hope to convey an appreciation for the human ability to be both rational and irrational. I find Western thinking’s obsession with objectivity and dichotomies fascinating yet shortsighted: simplistic logical structure is beautiful, yet so are spectrums. My drawings operate within a black-and-white framework, yet it is the gray areas that complete them.

What I hope the viewer walks away with is a curiosity about the values and perceptions of truth they hold most dear, and a new appreciation for the rational and irrational sides we all possess.