A World Apart
For this piece, I wanted to build off of the idea of home, loss, and the connection someone has to a place. I was raised in Minneapolis, but am mixed white and Thai. My grandparents immigrated to the United States from Thailand in 1966, and my Thai heritage is extremely important to me. Drawing from my family history, I used our old family name, Komutdang, as the basis for my project. My grandparents felt the need to change their last name to assimilate to American culture. My mom in particular felt an extreme sense of loss when they decided to switch to Kay - she was in second grade.
I chose to explore the alternative printing process of brushed liquid emulsion for this project. This involved heating up the chemicals and carefully brushing them on my shoe, only painting the areas I wanted to expose to light. Then, using a digitally printed negative, I exposed the shoe to light using a standard photo enlarger. This hands on approach to the project gave me more drive and a closer connection to the final pieces. This was a new medium for me, and it presented many challenges. The printing process was extremely delicate, and any slight movement to the setup could ruin a shoe. I struggled a lot with failure and disappointment, as I ended up using six total shoes due to chemical problems and getting the correct exposure. In the end, those moments of hardship made this piece even better - I ended up extremely happy with my final product.