HeArt Attack
December 21, 2008

When I was in college, apart from being an incompetent NyQuil binged bum who spends his days aimlessly dragging himself around campus only to leave halfway through classes and his nights enjoying the dreadful humor of Late Night with Conan O’Brien while stuffing his face with endless bags of Cheetos, I was an engineering student.

A struggling one that is.

But everytime my effort in completing a homework is being put to a halt, before I proceed with the human-xeroxing of my friend’s paper, I constantly remind myself,

“Don’t worry. It’s not your fault that you couldn’t figure out the central algebra extension of a circle’s diffeomorphisms which iterates how f(x) will eventually reach 1 for any initial value of x. You weren’t born to do any of these stuff... you were born for the arts! You’re an artist!”

And I've held a strong grasp onto that belief. It played a key role in motivating me to face the challenges throughout my four years in college. Until I finally manage to graduate.

Last week though, marks the end of my devoted confidence in it. A bond of trust that has been fostered for years was shattered through the flip of a few pages. For I’ve found, hidden deep beneath the trenches of the sea of socks in my drawer, my secondary school art folio.

And if images are anything to go by, the following pictures are worth a few thousand words... most of them profanities.

I’ll start with the mildly eye-soring ones first. We’ll build up from here.

Warning: Some images are of graphic or objectionable content. And I’m talking Drew Carey in the shower objectionable.

Our first class project was the folio, for us to keep our upcoming projects; for easy reference maybe. And aptly enough, this intricately designed tie-dye cloth on paper file tragedy became the home to many more disastrous artworks for years to come. Yes, I took the papers out of my dad's work file and used it for this precious archive instead. (14/20)

No, those are not spiderwebs in the middle of the card. I thought the typography on this one wasn’t too bad. Sadly though, the placement of the words was a bit off. A glance at it and the card reads "Selamat Maaf Hari Zahir Raya Dan Batin". There goes the possibilities of me ever working for Hallmark. (18/30)

The teacher was a bit too harsh on me on this one. The poster seems to deliver its message very well despite lacking in visual aesthetics. You can see the nonchalance of the briber, whistling away as he hands the ‘blank checks’ to the guy with the imaginary devil horns. You simply can't be more subtly descriptive than that. (37%? You gotta be kiddin’ me Pn. Jamilah?!)

Now I’m not a man of unnecessary arguments but I couldn’t figure out any part of this masterpiece that is not adhering to the instruction (Draw a kite). Not only that, I should’ve been given some extra credit for having a gleefully smiling -- hang on -- corn somewhere in there. Isn’t randomness a part of art? Does it really matter that everything is white in color? It wasn’t my fault that I accidentally splurged my pocket money on a Tamiya engine instead of the water color set. (27/50)

Well apparently, I wasn’t the only ‘retArt’ back in school. Trapped in between the pile of junk was this gem; an epic embodiment of a beach scenery through the eyes of my good friend, Saad. I have a good feeling that he wasn’t around when our teacher returned this assignment so she handed it to me. My gut feeling is telling me that I somehow kept this particular piece to remind myself sometime in the future that, I wasn’t alone. (23/50)

You could tell from the colors used to bring life to the sun, that the objective of this assignment was to cause cataract damage to anyone who views it. I’m kidding of course. Its goal was to encourage us students to appreciate the value of different color tonalities in the formation of an art piece, in the pursuit of highlighting the different moods of the subjects in it, to entice feedback from the observer; which is in this case, a raging urge to burn the painting immediately. (17/30)

Animals seemed to be a popular subject that time around. By the virtue of tracing as my forte, I’ll have to shamelessly admit that none of the animals in this piece was the result of my own creativity. Every one of them was traced meticulously from different Ujang comic strips. Hence the impressive figures in them. Nevertheless, I still couldn’t tell what type of mutated marsupial that creature in blue is. (27/30 -- thanks Aie!)

So what if my artworks are cancerous when it comes to paintings. I thought I wasn’t that bad with pencils (as mentioned earlier, on my tracing). And this drawing of a tree could well be a strong evident of just that. If it weren’t for the annoying kid swinging on the branch, I would’ve easily gotten a full mark on this baby right here. No apologies for the sweating sun though. (23/30)

Again, what do teachers have against all-white drawings anyway. You don’t deduct 10 points just like that only because the student ‘chose’ to express his art without the usage of colors. Do I really need to stress that apart from Tamiya engines, X-Men action figures take precedence over the water color set in a 13 year old’s priority list. (20/30)

If you do get to this point, you know you could damn well brag about your optical strength to your friends now. But I’ll spare the agony of suffering any more tormenting works of from the Asrif Yusoff Gallery of School Artwork Disasters and leave you with this generously handcrafted colored paper weaving on sugar paper, from hell. (17/30)


ohh... deja vu nyo.. anyaman menggunakan black sugar paper. i wont even remember what the paper is called if u didnt mention it.

nice drawings of suns though ;p

with that kind of art, you could do webcomics dude. seriously.

yeah, a web comic about a pathetic loner who's struggling to find love.

oh wait, never mind...

I see the progress, the evolution ...whooo..
So if u were given a canvas now, what can u do?

wow, in my school you would totally have been one of those kids in my art class who'd stare off into space for 15 mins after cikgu bagi assignment, then pegi kat rak buku belakang class to find inspiration (aka an illustration to copy) or look around at the "arty" kids to see what they were doing and then make something about 10% as nice...

miss you yang (sob sob)

Azah: Aku pun tak sure betul ko dok sugar paper, haha.

Sani: I thought so too... 'til I realized that webcomics are supposed to be, at least, a bit funny.

Snoop: There's already this thing called a 'mirror' for that.

PS: If the opacity permits, I'll trace something on it.

Hanna: Aw, I miss you more. But yeah, ain't 10% better than nuthin'? You can't discount the value of effort, could you? :-*

Ujang! Hahahaha! I miss those days. (Gila-Gila and Ujang were the best, the newer magazines just dont really cut it.)

How many of us did take Pendidikan Seni seriously back then? If it's any consolation, I can draw and paint just about as well as you could - but you were more creative because you made a sweating sun hehe - and I could never be bothered about Pendidikan Seni. I tried! But I just could never sit still long enough. Haha.

Yeah, you are the kind of person to stare off to space when given something to do but I doubt it has anything to do with art. Maybe not the conventional sense of art.

Comments, if I may?

You seem to be pretty talented.
Orange is a good color for the sun.
Ujang! Now that's funny!

Say, remember Gila-Gila?
Ujang was great but GG was the pioneer.
Colorings are all within lines.
Kuntum magazine got nothing on you, bro!

Enjin Tamiya? lamanya tak dengar.. ada lagi ke benda tu sekarang?

ur art teacher = pn jamilah osman ke?



ko gempak


Your paintings/drawings were too cute! How could she?

Too unfair for an honest attempt by a child. I like the fact that your "creatures" have got characters. The drawings are truly alive, like something is happening.


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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Malaysia License.