The Acorn – No Ghost Album Cover Review

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.

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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