The Art Update: st-ART-ving

This Saturday, 6th August 2016, will be the day of the Starving Artist Fair! Where all the starving artist of the land will congregate in one place – *SCAPEmedia Hub. (“the land” meaning Singapore, for those of you have not caught on yet.) This fair features many artists, craftsmen and artisans from all over Singapore, each having a small booth to both share, sell and inspire others with their many works.

Although there will be countless skilled artists and craftsmen there, I want draw your attention to one of them in particular – Cherie Sim, a.k.a Suiyobi Noyoubi a.k.a theheartshapedhorror. I have known her from secondary/middle school and as long as I have known her, she has always made time to draw. After all this time, she has raked up a huge portfolio of not only sketches, but finished drawings and paintings, even occasionally delving into calligraphy.

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Each work is flooded with emotion, reflecting the nightmares and dreamscapes that flood her mind. Whether it is on the commute to work, at work, or burning the midnight oil, she has painstaking taken the time to hone her style into what it is today. Each strand of hair meticulously placed on mannequin like busts and dolls that take centerstage in each piece. Each colour reflecting portions of the deepest recesses of the soul not often seen. Each piece a fraction of the soul on paper.

Do support her on her Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram!!!

But, hey, if these almost gothic pieces do not appeal to your dark side, do come down to the Starving Artist Fair this Saturday at *SCAPEmedia Hub and lend a helping dollar or two to the true backbone of the artistic community in Singapore (and not those organisations claiming to support them)!!!

Links:
Facebook (Suiyobi Noyoubi)
Facebook (Starving Artist Fair)
Instagram
Tumblr

 

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Spectrum

It has been a while since I posted anything related to my art practice or, for that matter, art in general. But now, after a slightly grueling 4-week Basic Drawing class in an engineering university halfway around the world, I have come back to post reflections about, not only the class, but my practice and art in general.

It has been a long 6-months away from Singapore, the city that has been my home for the past 21 years. Even though the years have been speckled with weeks and months of international travel both in an out of Asia, I have never stayed away from home this long for anything. But this experience has truly been an eye-opener in so many ways (Although it sounds like I am not coming back to the States, I actually am…). As most of you readers and friends might know, I am taking the road less traveled – Majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Minoring in Art and Design (Studio) at Purdue University, and it is not a path for the faint of heart. The past semester has been challenging in countless ways, from diving into the deep end of the STEM field after not using much of my brain during the 2 years of military service, to scurrying around getting artworks together for a small exhibition in Chicago, to choosing to extend my stay here to embark on the path that I came here for to begin with.

These last 4-weeks have been nothing but art, television and sleep. Everyday, would follow the same cycle, with me almost clocking in 6-hours of art each and everyday, whether it be personal projects or those assigned for the course. As long as  the hours may have been, opened my eyes to what I really wanted to do for the rest of my college years. This intense 4-week Basic Drawing class allowed me to realise that I had the capability to draw like I only did almost 7 years ago. It showed that I actually could, very literally, draw ( even though I still hate the idea of drawing still life in all its facets). But let it be known to all readers, that NO ARTIST likes the stereotype of “Oh! You’re an artist so you must draw really well!”. It is not the concept of drawing or the skill of drawing that makes an artist an artist. It is the choice of media and how they use that medium that these group of people use to convey their ideas, concepts and intellectual rhetoric that makes them “artists”. Skill is only a fraction of the profession, just like how talent is not everything.

Only towards the end of the course did it hit me that I had so many opportunities and resources that I was not making use of, that I did not take advantage of, not only for Engineering, but for Art as well. At first, I though a Minor in Art and Design was limited to the courses listed in the “plan of study” that was given to us. That standard sheet everyone is given. A one plan fits all schematic. But after speaking to various people, advisors, in and out of the College of Engineering and my drawing instructor, I found out that there was way more flexibility that I thought. Now I hope to be someone set apart from the rest, while fulfilling my dream of becoming a Mechanical Engineer.

In this short last week, I am determined to do art for art sake.

Let this be a reminder to myself and an encouragement to all who want to go down the path less traveled that it is possible to do want you want to do no matter how impractical it may sound. As of now, I hope to appeal to do a Graduate class in Installations and Criticism (Yes, you read right – Graduate class, to fulfill a Minor for my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering) and I hope that, by grace and His will, it may come into fruition.

In my next post, I will show you a gallery of the works that I have done throughout the month and hopefully give those doing art simultaneously with the STEM fields some encouragement to pursue their passions no matter how arduous the journey may be.

Writing in Images

This is just a short post to let all you guys know that i have another WordPress going for me. This is not part of my typical WordPress post although it is still art related.

For this semester in Purdue, my English course was tasked to so certain studies on both ourselves and a specific community we took interest in. These projects were all related to literacy and our personal reading and writing development. At this point, we were then tasked to “translate” this research into a webpage to share with others what we have learned about either the community or ourselves.

I do not know whether this press will be over when the semester ends, or if I will choose to pursue it further, but hopefully, like my other posts, it will inspire people to see the interconnectedness between the visual arts and the literary arts.

So, please do visit the site, leave comments and tell me if it was worth your while.

Links:
WritinginImages (Main page)
WritinginImages (About)

Emerge, the artist that resides inside…

For a while I have been dying to get back to exhibiting my artworks and express and share my views of the world in the hope that they would inspire people to pursue their passion and share their own God given talents that reside deep within them with the world. That was an opportunity I was presented with in the past month.

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I went out on a whim to submit my works to a small obscure gallery in Chicago (mind you when I say small, I do mean REALLY REALLY small) through a website I did not even know existed. Going in with no expectations, I received an email later saying that I got the chance to exhibit all the works I had submitted. Granted it may not have been a big exhibition with many applicants, it was still an opportunity that I could not turn down. But  that was only the beginning. I had no idea how much work was to come.

This time, I was out there by myself, with no help from my teachers, advisors and art mentors. I realized at that moment, as I sat alone on the third floor of my university’s physics building that I had so much on my plate – a unexpected exhibition, an upcoming exam and countless lectures and recitations to attend. But at that moment, I felt the thrill and excitement that I have not felt in the past few years. The feeling of the exhibition. The feeling of the opportunity for the world to hear my voice. The feeling of making art.

Now I had to settle many things – logistics, getting from the small town of West Lafayette to Chicago, printing, all those works, presentation, framed and ready for the exhibition. I thought that after my exams I would be done and could finally relax and get in the “Spring Break zone”, but in that moment I found myself running back and forth between buildings, finding the best way to print my artworks that could do them justice. I found myself grappling with issues of artistic integrity, questioning if one small change could make or break my work. Was the paper colour right? Were the colours vibrant enough? Would framing these artworks make them loose their initial concepts? Questions that I have not surfaced over the past three years that I have been in artistic hibernation.  I would run between printers, making initial prints of my photographs, only to find flaws hours after the printers closed. I asked myself it was even worth it, spending so much on an exhibition so small. There was no one night in that week that I slept more than 5 hours, having no personal studio space to finish my works and no one free enough to help me get the materials I needed, let alone time for a breather after the exam.  But the worst thing was that there was no ride to Chicago. It was way beyond stressful.

At many moments during the week I found myself questioning if the entire thing was worth my time and money. Was it that important to me? I ask my closest friends these questions, and I received mixed answers. Even as debated whether I should do it, I continued to go about seeing how they would turn out. I still went to the printers countless times after making minor edits in the photographs and digital works to get it just right. Once again, the attention to detail was something that I had not done to such get an extent for the past 3 years. Yes, I paid attention to any visual detail I came across. Yes, things that would otherwise not catch other people’s eyes would draw my attention. Yes, I spent a lot of time observing small changes in my surroundings. But never was it a situation where insensitivity toward contrast and colour could change an entire audience’s perception of the piece. Even though your image may look perfect on screen, the various printers also have different effects on the image, making them a tad darker or lighter than you intended it to be. This was yet another element that I had to tackle.

So many things to do, so little time…

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On the one hand, I got more and more tired. On the other, I saw my time and effort pay off, whether my works got to be in the public eye or not. Slowly but surely, every thing came together by grace. I have to thank my friend, Charlene, for getting me all the way to The Windy City and standing all the crap I gave in the car and during the time we spent in Chicago. Also many thanks to all my friends and academic advisors, that although they may not have known much about art apart for their love for the aesthetics, who have either supported me or gave me some advise on printers.

At the end of the day, the lessons and payoffs have been priceless. It has not been easy going about art, especially in a university with a dearth of artistic resources. But through perseverance as well as love for art, I learned to make things work and make ends meet. In the process of completing my works, I revived the feeling of what it meant to live and breathe art. The sensitivity towards colour, contrast, lighting, presentation, etc. all became priorities again. A small crease, if not intended became as obvious as a blotch of ink on white sheets. I also came to realised the price of making art. Not only the price to a buyer but the work’s worth to me. Not only was it time consuming, but the cost of printing and getting the desired materials and the costs of transportation blew a gaping hole in my wallet.

However, experience IS priceless…

Do come down if you are around the area!!! Opening night is Friday, 18 March 2016, 6pm – 10pm!!! If not for the modernity of my art, come to admire the beautiful fluidity of the countless watercolours and painstakingly detailed etched pieces of the masters of these long lost techniques.

Gallery Information:
Morpho Gallery
5216 North Damen Ave
Chicago Ill 60625
773-878-4255
morphogallery@gmail.com
Morpho Gallery Website

Work-in-progress: memorandum.

memorandum.“We are the sum total of our experiences….” – B.J. Neblett

A little work-in-progress dedicated to all the irreplaceable people in my life, whether they crept in, dug a hole into me or clung on to me.

Memorandum – “something to be brought to mind”

This piece is made up of the people who have influenced me as well as all the things that, I believe, have made me who I am today. Each “item” that fills up the word “memorandum” holds a special meaning to me, whether it be my parents or grandparents, or high school friends, or those that I have just made in college. All these “items” have made my life what it is today, and made me who I am. All these people, likes and dislikes, travels, etc. have imprinted themselves in my memories have been created in their wake and no matter whether they be good or bad, positive or negative. No matter how long it may be, I know that in my mind, they exist and during brief flashes, they will be bought to the forefront of my mind’s eye.

The inspiration for this piece came to me as I made my transition from military life into college. When I reflected on all the things that have past, I realized that there were so many things that I am grateful for that have put me in the position that I am in today. No, it may not be the perfect position to be in, or were they necessarily only good memories, but they were my experiences nonetheless and on hindsight, they were perfect. As soon as I touched down in Singapore, so many things (memories, people, food, etc.) came rushing back to me. Every place that I revisited was cast in a new light, and I started having flashbacks of who I was with and what kind of experiences we had there. The beach, the canal, my old high school campus, my new high school campus, the hobby shops, McDonald’s, KFC, places too numerous to count. However, it is not limited to the physically places or things, even songs and scent have memories that cling on to them. No matter how hard I try to override those memories, they will come back to me at one point or another and when they do, they hit me like a tidal wave. You may call me sentimental, but this is who I am.

As seen from the work, the word “memorandum.” is filled with all that I have mentioned – people, experiences, countries travelled, food, things that I love. But as you step back, the word fades out, getting lighter and lighter, reflecting our flaw in remembering even the things we hold most dear to our hearts. However, in those brief flashes where place or face acts as a catalyst, you have a phase of introspection where you delve deep into your memory. It may be a forgotten birthday, a forgotten friend, a place long forgotten, but they will suddenly become as clear as day, each and every thing printed out clearly before you.

memorandum. will forever be a work-in-progress. As time passes, more things will be added to the grey cells of my mind and changing who I am. As Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant in change.” As my experiences pile on and the people who influence me increase, so will I, and so will this piece.

memorandum. was to be displayed as an A0 “print out” on one of two possible options – on acrylic or on card with spotlights directly on the word. If card were used, color of the card would be a similar color to the wall and if acrylic, the words would be embossed or laser carved such that the light would create a shadow of each word on the wall behind.

In memories…

The Art Update: Asking, Seeking and Finding – QNA

Hey everyone! It has been a long time since I posted anything and, although this post is going to be a short one, I hope that it stands up to your expectations! This post is more about advertising for my friend, Benjamin Chin, and his band QNA. I may not be a musician, but nevertheless, music is on of the eternal universal languages that speak to one and all, young and old.

Now let me dive into the unknown and immerse myself into the mysteries of the tunes that permeate the air and penetrate our soul.

QNA is a New York based Jazz/Hip-hop group playing many soulful tunes with that special touch. Their music truly speaks to you, hitting all the right notes. They already have their debut mixtape on Spotify which is worth every second of your time to listen and hopefully, one song, or even just one line or bar will keep you hooked.

Currently, they are looking for funding to propel themselves into the music scene and they need YOUR support! Taken from their Indiegogo “kickstarter”,

“There was no fighting it, we had to focus our creative energy into putting our own spin on the sound. That’s QNA. No more four/eight bar loops. Let’s stretch it longer. No more MC with a band. The MC is in the band.

We released our mixtape in the summer and have been playing shows around NYC. ShapeShifter Lab, DROM, and The Cell Theatre are some of our favorites. On top of that we’ve been writing and rehearsing and are now ready to record our debut EP. However, we need help raising the funds for it. We’re honored to be working with Tariq Khan of High Breed Music. He’s worked on a lot of recordings with Revive, one of our favorite new labels our there. And we’ll be working with our old friend, Christian Wheeler. Quality recordings don’t come cheap, and music always deserves the best. We hope you share our beliefs. “

So do give them your support by just donating that little bit to help them! (ONLY 24 more days to go!)

After all, we all need a little bit of music to colour our lives.

Reference:
QNA (INDIEGOGO)
QNA (Spotify)
QNA (Facebook)

From the Middle of the Cornfields

Coming from Purdue University in the Mid West state of Indiana!

Just to tell you all that I am alive and in the midst of diving into the deep end of college life. Things will get busy, but I will try my best to post my thoughts and updates on news from the art world from the middle of the cornfields. I also hope to continue my practice somehow, whether it is by simple conceptual sketches or miniature sculptures.

All that being said, for those that are in state and do not mind the commute, there are a few interesting exhibitions happening this fall in the university itself – Installation Graduate Class Exhibition, High School Student Art Exhibition and many solo exhibitions of Purdue Faculty (Purdue University Galleries). However, one that really caught my attention as soon as I arrive on campus was the exhibition right in the middle of Stewart Center, Ringel Gallery. What attracted me to this exhibition was the simple fact that it revolved around the concept of “space” which I have been exploring a depth during my IB years. The artists used physical mediums, such as paint and wood, as well as non-physical mediums, such as digital modelling and photography, to convey their concepts, experience with and exploration of space. So if you are an avid art lover, do make your way down to admire the works on display!

Got to get back to school work before it starts to pile up!!!