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Emily Tse
Thu, Feb 25, 2021, 12:00 am to Sun, Mar 28, 2021, 11:59 pm



I fall in love with art every day; my childhood, my education, and my current passions are deeply intertwined with the visual arts and were further emphasized within the UCSC environment. Throughout the previous years living on campus, not only did I learn about influential artists during class, but I also had the wonderful opportunity to engage with fellow artists of diverse backgrounds. Each individual became an admirable inspiration to me, whether they are illustrators, sculptors, writers, etc., and I appreciate them as artists and peers. As I improve my own art style, I incorporate visual elements from personal studies as well as the advice of peers into my work. For my exhibition, I aim to reflect and celebrate the overall valuable impacts on my art and identity.

“Progress” is a compilation of my studies of media and art styles in the past three years, presented through original character designs and their perspectives. While I practice still-lifes and landscapes, I especially find delight and solace in narrative art, developing my own characters and spinning my own tales. The figures I create are mostly human-like with fantastical features derived from myths and fables and explore different themes including femininity, external/internal conflict, and identity. Each piece is also distinguished by their art styles derived from specific art movements from Renaissance paintings to Chinese calligraphy to contemporary graphic novels. As a result, the fluctuating styles map my educational and creative progression throughout college.


Emily Tse 1

Title: "Illustration of Imp"

Medium: Ink, Watercolor, and Colored Pencils on Cold-Pressed Paper, 9” x 12”

Year: April 2020

Description: Illustration of a fictional species inspired by monkeys and tropical birds. The art style is based on professional scientific sketches and illustrations of animals with annotations. 


Emily Tse 2

Title: "Phoenix"

Medium: Ink and Watercolor on Rough-Pressed Paper, 10” x 11.25”

Year: January 2020

Description: The shifting textures, overlapping hues, and delicate lines emphasize the ethereal qualities of the phoenix. The tree stump and the red sun are reminiscent of the traditional East Asian ink brush style.


Emily Tse 3

Title: “花鬼” or "Flower Demon"

Medium: Ink, Watercolor, and Gouache on Cold-Pressed Paper, 9” x 12”

Year: May 2020

Description: The illustration of an incubus character is inspired by Japanese Edo period oiran paintings. 花鬼 is a pun; the name is one character from being "花魁" or oiran ("woman of pleasure"/prostitute).


Emily Tse 4

Title: "Dryad Princess and Knight"

Medium: Digital, 2000 x 1676 px

Year: October 2020

Description: Inspired by modern Japanese animation, his digital piece features two original characters: the Dryad Princess, Chrysanthemum, and her loyal knight, Joan. The main focus is on their mutual tenderness and trust between each other through light colors and a soft atmosphere.  


Emily Tse 5

Title: "Vixen"

Medium: Digital, 1397 x 1999 px

Year: January 2020

Description: The illustration depicts an intense scene in-between fighting, heavily influenced by Japanese manga and American comics. The limited color palette and brush techniques emphasizes the ferocity of the warrior character.


Emily Tse 6

Title: "Baela"

Medium: Digital, 2000 x 1705 px

Year: February 2021

Description: This digital piece is based on the soft, painterly style of American 1950’s illustrations of pin up models on motorcycles. However, instead of being sensual, the demonic character, Baela, is perceived as more masculine and intimidating.


Emily Tse 7

Title: "Sleeping Beauty"

Medium: Ink and Watercolor on Cold-Pressed Paper, 9” x 12”

Year: June 2020

Description: This work focuses on an androgynous figure and is heavily inspired by Art Nouveau, especially Alphonse Mucha’s posters. The thick line art of the figure’s silhouette contrasts against the thinner, more delicate lines of the cloth and background’s symmetrical patterns. 


Emily Tse 8

Title: "The Seven Demon Princes"

Medium: Ink, Watercolor, Marker, and Colored Pencil on Cold Pressed Paper, 15” x 22”

Year: June 2020

Description: This experimental piece centers on my earlier designs of the Seven Demon Princes of Sin. Their design elements are derived from various texts describing each prince while including my personal depictions and theories. The widely different color schemes, appearances, and outfits establishes each prince’s overall character in a chaotic atmosphere.  


Emily Tse 9

Title: "The Weary Prince"

Medium: Digital, 1325 x 1999 px

Year: February 2021

Description: Illustration of my current version of Asmodeus, the Demon Prince of Lust and is partnered with “The Lonely Prince”. The piece is digitally painted and views Asmodeus from directly above as they recline into the soft sheets, reminiscent of Renaissance nude paintings. However, in contrast to the alluring, passionate classical nude imagery, Asmodeus is portrayed as exhausted through their closed body language and disinterested expression.


Emily Tse 10

Title: "The Lonely Prince"

Medium: Digital, 1397 x 2000 px

Year: January 2021

Description: Illustration of my current version of Belphegor, the Demon Prince of Sloth and is partnered with “The Weary Prince”. Belphegor is depicted as a tragic character, alone without subjects and their body gradually deteriorates shown through the sickly body and molting wings. Belphegor’s halo/“crown” is shattered, evident of their dying authority and will. The focus on anatomy and chiaroscuro is influenced by Renaissance works, including Michelangelo’s ignudi in the Sistine Chapel ceiling murals. 


Emily Tse 11

Title: "My Eve"

Medium: Acrylic and Thread on Canvas, 2’ x 3’ 

Year: November 2019

Description: Abstract Realism piece for UCSC’s "The Frankenstein Project: the Homunculus exhibition". This was originally my painted study of Rodin's sculpture "Eve" which depicts an ashamed Eve leaving the Garden of Eden. In my painting, I wanted to recreate the scene and emotions by associating her with The Frankenstein Project's monster, a female creature assembled with the body parts of prostitutes, who is also shamed for her existence. Her face is purposely hidden in disgrace and the painterly background contributes to the dreadful aura, bleeding onto Eve. Additionally, thread is sewn into Eve, not only keeping her body parts together, but also permanently “stitching” her into the creeping environment. As an interpretation of Rodin’s sculpture, I claim Eve as my own. 


Emily Tse 12

Title: "An Ungrateful Artist"

Medium: Acrylic and Medium on Wood Panel, 3’ x 4’ 

Year: January 2020

Description: Although this abstract piece does not depict a specific figure, this piece characterizes myself via Chinese characters. Ink brush calligraphy is considered the ultimate form of literary and visual art and arguably, the oldest form of abstract art. I repeatedly wrote the hanzi for my last name, “謝” (thankful/grateful), in the traditional brush style. I used water and a palette knife to wash, reduce, and scratch out the hanzi while splattering more paint on top. While the painting methods can be associated with Chinese ink wash techniques, I stray from my Chinese relations; I repeatedly created and destroyed my surname and the characters no longer meant grateful. However, despite the repeated washes, the painting remains as a visual work and a new literary character is born.