For The Acorn’s latest album, No Ghost, band member Howard Tsui was enlisted to create the album artwork. The chosen cover piece, entitled Spectral Residue, is thematically appropriate, and showcases Tsui’s knack to draw influence from the supernatural.
To quote Tsui’s artist statement about the series:
“Abstract shapes and gestural brushstrokes are applied to rice paper that is taped onto gallery walls. The paper is then removed leaving behind faint marks, textures and forms that have bled through the rice paper. Metaphorically, the ‘life’ of the painting is transferred onto the wall, while the crumpled and torn paper alludes to a lifeless body. Through automatic drawing, I tease out demonic figures out of these abstract forms using a sulfur and smoke staining technique achieved by burning matches. These ephemeral works depict writhing souls that serve as paranormal residue haunting gallery spaces during and after exhibits.”
Up next, Tsui will be taking stories from Vancouver’s elderly Chinese population. “[Their stories] will be compiled, re-interpreted and transformed into otherworldly divinity tales,” says Tsui. “[The project is] inspired by the Japanese version of phantasmagoria called ‘utsushi-e’ -– an eerie storytelling tradition that combines live narration and music with illustrated projections.”
Tsui was also recently given the opportunity to “perve out on some cadavers,” for research in a future project. “It’s a project about the horrors and hazards experienced by surgeons during the War of 1812,” he says. “Aside from other components, I think I’m going to make an interactive pinball machine to illustrate the wonky paths that musket balls take, once they enter the body.”
Visit his website to see:
1) “Superimposed collages of Hokusai’s manga that employ Arcimboldo-esque face morphing strategies;”
2) “Hyper-narrative scroll paintings that merge East Asian horror folk with oral history in order to satirize fear;”
3) “A multimedia sculpture of an Imperial procession that features Qing dynasty eunuchs and a possessed Empress Dowager.