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How Dance Influences My Art Part II | Johnny Tang Photo

How Dance Influences My Art Part II

A group of Asian dancers doing a headstands at MIT.

My dance crew – Florox, 2006

I’ve been a dancer much longer than I’ve been a photographer, so it’s probably no surprise that dance has had a profound influence on my creative process. This is part II of an essay dealing with the subject of how dance has influenced my art.

 

A group of Asian dancers in uniforms, standing on their head next to a graffiti wall at the Five Points in Queens, NY.

Florox Crew, 2011

My experiences with dance has specifically had a deep impact over what I think GOOD art is.

Some dancers have a very technical, but consistently clean style. But this requires an audience that knows the dance, in order to appreciate what these kinds of dancers are doing. Then there are some dancers who have a more high risk, high reward type of style. They are explosive, dynamic, and exciting to watch but not always as consistent. What I like about the latter, is that you don’t need to know much about the dance in order to appreciate what they do. But if you do know the dance, it there is enough material for you to ponder beyond the shiny surface.

My goal has always been to achieve something similar in my artwork. To create images that can be appreciated by a general audience, as well as a critical one. For me, an artist that exemplifies this level of craft, is the legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki’s films, work on multiple levels, going beyond just the beautiful aesthetics to give us fantastic narratives which describe the human condition.

I also want my works to be eye catching and interesting to look. But I hope the aesthetics provoke my viewers to dig below the surface, to look for a greater Truth worth knowing. That to me, is what it means to create a true masterpiece.

 

Group of asian men in dark suits jumping straight into the air forming a circle, one asian man in a light colored suit standing on his head in the middle of the group, on a grassy hill.

Grounded Ambitions 2015

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