“What makes a man?“
Monsterman, Distort Monsters’ first solo exhibition, is a peek at his personal narrative which touches on coping with anxiety, embracing one’s flaws, rising above the struggles, and the formation of self-identity. His narrative is one that begins with the etymology of his name. As a self-taught street artist having first picked up a spray can in 2009, he initially went by numerous tag names, none of which he could truly connect with. His desire for relatability coincided with his attempts to learn how to draw realistically and proportionally, which he was unable to do. Out of frustration, attempts to intentionally make badly drawn or distorted figures became his consolation. Fast forward to his college years as a business major, he was plagued by internal struggles often rooted in how he saw himself and what was expected of him, most especially by family. At the time, being the sole aspiring artist in a multi-generation of mathematically and scientifically inclined family, he was constantly torn between the pursuit of passion, and the need to fulfill duties and obligations. This, coupled with other struggles and his proneness to overthinking, led to multiple bouts of crippling anxiety. Finding comfort in art, he began to draw and paint more as a means to cope. He found that the repetitive motion of stroking lines helped clear his head, and prevented overthinking. It was later on through a friend who pointed it out, that he realized his characters were all monsters who perhaps were the very voices in his head that were running loose. Making these monsters come to life whether with ink or with paint serves as a metaphoric release from his head. Through acceptance, and firm commitment to what he does, Distort Monsters did not find himself but rather crafted his identity in the face of adversity; he is what he has made himself to be, a monsterman.