Neutron Aung was born and raised in Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar. He is a visual artist using primarily digital art and photography as his creative mediums. He uses his artistic practice as a form of expression and exploration of his mind, reality, and sexuality. Neutron Aung’s exploration of self is reflected in the way he uses different mediums to project his inwards and outwards perceptions. Drawing and digital art helps to process and transform his inner struggles whereas photography and digital manipulation to capture memories and create new visions of reality. Themes of nature, the supernatural and science fiction are characteristic of his work and often emerge in his (re-) imaginations of reality.
Neutron Aung describes his aesthetics as very spontaneous. He explains his ‘four styles’ of creative practice, art as: a form of internal expression and transformation, a way to preserve experiences that will otherwise fade, a way to create new realities and a way to tell stories.
In addition, in this reality, I live to experience things physically. They are there to form memories. Even if memories are formed, as a biological being I could forget as time passes which is what I am afraid of. I, therefore, start using the lens to capture what I experience that will otherwise fade. Then I look at those captured experiences and consciously relive in them and let myself remember that I was here and there.
At the same time, I wish for many things to happen like everyone else, and I want this world to be something of a picture I only captured and constructed. To portray that, I use the photographs I took and manipulate them using Photoshop to form the simulation of my wishes, my Mystic World.
Moreover, the interconnection of sounds and pictures fascinates me and I find that film art tells more stories and gives more information. As a person who wants to be a filmmaker and give life to my feelings, memories, and ideas, I look for as many resources as possible on the internet and learn how to tell stories through moving images.”
“Photography got me out of the house and onto the streets. I believe I found out that the outside world is my actual personal space.”
His long-term interest in films (particularly science fiction), music, sound, and photography have long inspired his creative practice and he is now working on exploring cinematography more by using online resources to improve on his filmmaking skills. Yet, already in his creative practice cinematic elements are often present. For instance, film-like subtitles are often added over his photographs giving them an added dimension. His photography series for example, ‘A Trip to Dawei’ the aspect ratio and framing style give the sense of a cinematic narrative. Finally, in the ‘the loudness of still world’ his photographs are superimposed with sound bites contrasting the motionlessness of the photographs with the intensity of the noises from the sound track. Watch here.
This is ME
Neutron Aung has also been experimenting with more traditional filmmaking. His first short film ‘This is Me’ aims to be a self-reflective piece, in it images and videos of his life in Myanmar are overlain with his voice narrating elements of his life: how his interest in art emerged, his friends and family and the situation in Myanmar. He uses multiple techniques in his editing and post-production making this short film not just a highlight reel of his life but also of his skills.
The Truth of My Heart
“My heart beats different rhythms whenever I see a guy I like. However, being someone who identifies as a man and who also happens to attract other men is forbidden in most societies, including the one I was raised and grew up in. When I was around 13 or 14, I kind of knew what I like and I thought that was normal but wasn’t sure because I was just young. Getting older means I am strong enough to feel things in stronger ways. 2018 and 2019 became the years where I had the full realization that I am into men, which is also considered not traditional and something not acceptable in the environment I live in. Therefore, I have to hide it in my heart to make sure no one gets hurt. In this digital painting, I am portraying the entire situation by using the colors of the LGBTQ+ flag to represent my queerness and a heart for the place where I store it, cutting my heart out will show the truth.”
A significant element of his art practice relates to processing and understanding his sexuality. Growing up, he describes being attentive to his own thoughts and feelings and knowing that “something not traditional was happening inside”, but it was only after finishing his high school education that he found the space to explore himself in more depth. Coming to terms with his own sexuality in the conservative Burmese society was challenging “in the initial stage of figuring myself out, my conservatism inside me was trying to fight back and I even prayed “Why me?” as if I was diagnosed with some kind of disease and worrying about socializing inside my conservative households and among my peers.” His digital drawings often showcase contrasting elements expressing an internal struggle. He expresses a wish for other queer people to feel represented and seen through his works.
We Will Annihilate You
“1st of February 2021 has become a date that unexpectedly shapes my present and my future, that will probably be the past that will hunt me until my days are done on this planet. When I saw the news that protesters were being shot down, I start to imagine what if I am one of them. This work is about me being dead or shot dead but my soul would keep fighting, I will transform into a giant and I will annihilate them.”
This photographic manipulation done on Photoshop has an ominous atmosphere yet the lack of colours and the haze also can be seen to express the anger and despair that was prevalent amongst Burmese people after the February 1st military coup. This has sent many artists in exile, but Neutron Aung still resides in Myanmar and one can follow him on his instagram to see more of his art and art related news.
© Neutron Aung
Stress, Neutron Aung, (© Neutron Aung)
Self Love, Neutron Aung, (© Neutron Aung)
© Neutron Aung
Psycho, Neutron Aung, October 2nd, 2019 (© Neutron Aung)
December 28th, 2019 (© Neutron Aung)
July 5th, 2021 (© Neutron Aung)
November 4th, 2021 (© Neutron Aung)
January 3rd, 2022 (© Neutron Aung)
A Pregnant Cosmos (2020)