Do you have a muse and a favourite artist?
Currently, one of my favourite artist is Julia Pott. She is a British illustrator and animator. In recent years she has done a lot of fantastic animated films that has been viewed in film festivals all over the world. Her illustrations and animations uses a great deal of mixed medium from line drawings to collages and just various interesting ways and compositions that gives her work a very whimsical but thoughtful feel to it. Her works also reflect a lot of passion and dedication and also made with a great deal of honesty. I have followed her works for a very long time now, and Julia Pott has really inspired me to push myself in terms of trying out new ways of illustrating. I am also keen on trying my hand at animation and I would realy love to learn how to transform my drawings into moving images.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I hope that in the future I would love to be able to hold a solo exhibition of my own and eventually have my own gallery and sell my works. However, realistically, right now, as I am studying for my degree for the next two years, what I would want to achieve is basically to challenge myself. I feel that there is still a need for me to push myself creatively and I would love to hone my skills in other creative disciplines such as animation and graphic design.
I noticed from your Instagram that you teach children at art classes. How did that come about and how is it like teaching kids art?
I teach art classes to children on the weekends. I had a few months free before I started Uni and I needed to get a job instead of bumming around. I felt that it was something that I always wanted to try, and you know, besides having to teach, I will be doing and making art as a part of my job! No matter how tiring it was to be, I would be having fun, and I do!
In the beginning, I tried various art studios to get the feel of the various methods of teaching children. I realized teaching art is very different from teaching like maths or science. There is no right or wrong answer, there is no formula for the right painting, there is no step-by-step solution that leads you to a perfect art work. It took me awhile to get used to understanding the way the children think and also to not allow my own personal aesthetics in art come between and disrupt their ways of drawing and painting.
It's tough when the children do not listen to me. As I teach children from ages 2 ½ to 6, they are those that tend to be a little hyper active and energetic and do not really do as they are told. It turned out to be quite tiring as I have to focus a lot of my energy on them alone, when there are other kids I have to attend to. It is something I am still learning to manage as I go along with.
However it pays off when I see how happy my students are with their final art work. The whole process of them from sketch to completion where we have worked together and they bring home their art piece with a big small on their faces. That really gives me a great sense of joy and satisfaction because I know that besides learning technical skills, I have also helped them create an experience and a memory.
Do you think there is a best and optimal time to create art?
I think a lot of my friends will agree with me that the best and optimal time for us to complete our work is always in the wee hours of the mornings like after 1am; that’s when all the ideas and inspiration starts flowing in. However, I think what is usually necessary is just to be somewhere where you are able to be alone with your thought and gather your ideas. Be it at home at 3am in the morning, or at a crowded Starbucks with your ears plugged with your earphones, as long as you are able to get in tuned with yourself.
Is there anything about you that you think most people would be surprised to know?
I think many people are surprised to know that before I entered the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), I actually graduated from Temasek Polytechnic with a Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Most people assume that I dropped out and did not complete the Diploma. I get a lot of questions regarding why didn’t I continue in the Hospitality line or why I chose it in the first place if I had wanted to do art. It made me feel a little uncomfortable at the beginning because I felt kind of judged and doubtful of my own actions.
Over time, I have realized that switching industries or whatever you might call it, was probably the best decision I have made for myself ever. Studying an additional 3 years for a design diploma and lagging behind my peers is nothing compared to the misery and time I would waste for the rest of my life in the hospitality and tourism industry.