Student lithography showcased in “Endangered Species” exhibit
Senior Art major Jonathan Daoang is passionate about art.
Recently, Daoang’s passion and attention to detail in his work has been rewarded. His lithograph titled “Oni Totem” was accepted into the “Endangered Species” exhibit in Grants Pass, Ore. The exhibit is sponsored by Off the Map Tattoo.
Lithography is the art of carving a design into a surface, like stone, and then making prints from it by covering the surface in ink and pressing the paper onto it to make a copy. Daoang said lithography is just like drawing, except one uses stone instead of paper.
“If you love to draw, you’ll love lithography,” he said. “You just have to be patient because it takes a long time. You can’t rush the stone.”
Daoang said the piece took him two years to complete. During that time, his mentor at Cameron, Professor Katherine Liontas-Warren, had to take a leave of absence, so he took that time off from the project as well.
Having time off, Daoang said, allowed him to take the time to think about what his plans were for the piece.
“Coming back, I just really wanted to finish it,” Daoang said. “A big piece like that contains a lot of detail. It took me six months just to draw the design onto the stone.”
Daoang said he was very pleased and surprised when his piece was chosen for the exhibit because of the pool of talent that had been collected for the show.
Daoang commented on the quality of his work.
“Everything else I have done leading up to this piece has been novice,” he said. “But this one is really important to me. I feel like I know what I am doing well enough to where I could teach it.”
The piece itself contains many references to Daoang’s cultural backgrounds. Coming from Hawaii and being of mixed Filipino and Hispanic descent, there are details of Daoang’s work that refer to his native heritage.
“I wanted to do a totem that didn’t look like a totem. I wanted it to shock people, but I didn’t want it to be about blood and gore,” he said. “I wanted it to be about where I am from and to show little bits and pieces of who I am.”
Daoang said he chose the title “Oni Totem” to help those who see the work better understand his vision.
“Oni” refers to a monster in Chinese folklore, much like the Boogieman; “totem” refers to the statues in the Pacific Islands comprised of one carving stacked on top of another. Daoang’s piece depicts an Oni face sitting atop its own skull while resting on top of a traditional Japanese hannya mask.
Daoang pointed out that many of the smaller details were added to highlight other aspects of himself: the plumeria flowers in the eyes are reminiscent of “El Dia de Los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” in Latino culture; the goat horns harken back to the time spent with his father learning how to take a goat from the pen to the table; there are piercings, gauged ears and, of course, the skull itself that all speak to the tattoo culture that Daoang is a part of.
“I understand who my target audience is,” he said. “I wanted to create something that speaks to a younger audience using a medium they might not have heard of before.”