Category Archives: The Art Update

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.


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)!!!

Facebook (Suiyobi Noyoubi)
Facebook (Starving Artist Fair)



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.


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
Morpho Gallery Website

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.

QNA (Spotify)
QNA (Facebook)

The Art Update: Hans Chew – The Personal Process of Craft

Introducing the up and coming student artist Hans Chew!!! Currently studying his final year in School Of The Arts, Singapore (SOTA).


Recently, he created a work called Not “Always $2”, 2015 which is now on display outside the SOTA gallery on level 2. What you will see is a vending machine carrying pieces and pieces of handmade, thrown ceramics works, painstakingly created and fired piece by piece. Make no mistake, though these pieces may look mass produced (which they were… BY HAND) they were made individually by Hans himself. The pieces all have an allocated slot and allotted price in the machine, and can be bought like any other drink or snack vending machine. But unlike some gallery pieces that are only for show and lack audience-artwork-artist interaction, you, as the audience can actually purchase the work. Do not worry, your pieces will not break because of the drop. In fact I believe it adds a risk and theatrical/performance factor to the entire piece.

This entire installation seeks to bring attention to the artistic making process, from conception to even selling a work. In his concept excerpt, Hans mentions that in our highly mechanized society, represented by the vending machine, the traditional aspect of handmade 11138672_451158251717640_529051109257572916_nceramics and pottery is being “largely compromised”. By doing so, there is not only the loss of interaction between the artist and his works, let alone the audience. Even though pieces are handmade and unique, he mentions that the transaction is between the “audience and machine” at the “convenience of the buyer who can choose to buy any number of works at a fixed price”. Bearing in mind the concept of price, Hans goes on to bring up the monetary value of handmade ceramics pieces, and how greate11129745_451158248384307_602736312965306191_or “scrutiny” and “reflection” is required in determining the monetary value of each piece, taking into consideration materials, firing, glazing, rental of the machine and the painstaking, time-consuming creation of each piece by the artist himself. By putting similar pieces at different prices, he forces the audience to become an integral part of the entire concept, as they have to “attribute to craft in relation to the price they are prepared to pay”.

Personally, this work speaks volumes of what art is today. Questions such “does the artist’s hands really matter in the process?”, “can mass produced ‘pieces’ reconsidered art?” and “if the work is manufactured by machines or collective body, does it still retain the individualistic, craftsmanship by the person who conceived it?” are coming up more and more  in this art era. Works by artists such as Andy Warhol come to mind, and there always lies that age old question – “what makes an artwork, an artwork?” Today even well known artist are asking others to create their final display work. Whether these pieces are too big for one person to handle, or it is part of the concept, I do not know and do not want to judge. However, I believe that if there is a choice by the artist to make the work himself, no matter how massive, there are good reasons that value add to the concept of that work.

The concept of pricing is also a rather sensitive topic. Someone once told me “how expensive you decide to price your work depends on how much you cannot bear to part with it”, and I believe in that entirely. To artists, each work produced is their bread and butter, yet at the same time, they must also 11149375_10202560223646385_3038000592646586694_ndecide which carries more value – the integrity of the work or “surviving” off the piece. Similar to what Hans’ concept raises, people may not always accept high prices no matter how aesthetically pleasing it is to them and no matter how much they want to give to the artist. For all you know, an expensive piece may merely be the going at the cost price of its materials. Time IS priceless after all.

Considering Hans’ work, concept and process, two points come to mind:

The first point is targeted at audiences and buyers, which is the value of works. For those who do not dabble in the Visual Arts, or have little experience, let me say that each stroke and mark has a reason behind it. It is within the Visual Arts that the phrase “do not judge a book by its cover” plays a significant role. When a viewer judges a work, he must not only take into consideration what he perceives, but the entire process itself. The work may seem deceivingly simple, and the first thing that may come to the layman’s mind would be, “I can do that too”. But can 11136713_10202560222966368_348924248087514288_nyou recreate the artist’s process? The process may have been deep and reflective on the part of the artist, time and money, even blood, sweat and tears could have literally been put in to push this idea he believes in out to the public, you. For those who support the arts through monetary means of purchasing pieces, the gravity of the matter is that you, as the buyer are not only participating in the work, like Not “Always $2”, but you are also supporting, believing and, ultimately, buying the concept in its entirety. So understand the piece, beyond the tangible and perceivable and reflect on the impact that a work can have on yourself.

The next point would be towards artists and students of the arts. (Keep in mind that this is just an opinion.) Works that you create must also have a reason behind them. The artwork, like your eyes, are windows to your mind and soul. Do not create works that you are half-hearted about, because people will eventually see through the facade. You, yourself will also realize on hindsight that there was little value in creating that work. Do not do it for the grade or the recognition, because your entire process from conception to realization has a value, monetary or verbally, that will not only be judged by audiences, but yourself as well.


Nevertheless, PLEASE, please support Hans in this endeavors and consider purchasing a piece before they all run out. Like all handmade pieces they are still unique in their own way. But before all that just stop… and consider all that I have said, particular the value of concept.

After all, how many can say they bought a unique handmade ceramic piece out of a vending machine.

Hans Chew’s Facebook
Photographs Courtesy of Hans Chew, Rebecca Lee  and Timothy Ng

The Art Update: Erica Heng

So I’m back again (and trying to keep it a consistent weekly thing) with some extraordinarily exciting news for you!!! My ex-classmate from School Of The Arts, Singapore is carrying on her art practice in London!!! Now making it big out there on!!!

She was with SOTA during the initial years of the school as the school was just starting out and creating amazing art. However, after a few years, due to her parents’  career relocation, she had to leave for Manila, Philippines. But that has not stopped her from her art making and an awesome art making practice at that. She has come a long way and now, I am extremely glad to exhibit just a few of many works on my WordPress.

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She describes herself very much as a comic fan, taking inspiration from comics like Marvel’s X-men and Kickass among many others. Many of her drawings depict Marvel characters or people who have represented then in real life blockbuster movies, such as Robert Downey Jr., reknowned for his portrayal of Iron Man and X-men’s Mystique. As you can see, many of her works are extremely detailed, giving a lot of definition to each piece with each mark she makes (even though literal marks cannot actually be seen). For instance, the portrait of Robert Downey Jr, though simple, drawn with a few strokes, illustrates the subject matter beautifully and “succinctly” Each drawing carries with it much passion that speaks through the intimate blending of colours and the intricate textures created with the simple ballpoint pen, with great attention to detail. Most of her portraits are seen with a blank canvas behind, drawing focus to the subject matter that seeks to captivate audiences, in the hope of drawing them inward to the skill and detail. Now, sketches they may be, but for an “artist” such as I, a sketch can sometimes be greater than just a scribble or, well, a sketch. It can be a pivotal point of an artist’s process and deserves all the recognition it can get.

Other than these beautiful realistic drawings, she also has a passion for crafting jewellery, which she will be displaying at her exhibition in London, England . Also, you can purchase her works as prints on Society6 and Etsy (details and links below). So do support her in all her endeavours, an artist truly worth watching!!!

Here’s the awesomeness coming your way:

On Facebook

On Society6

On Etsy


Upcoming exhibition in London, 13 November 2014, so do drop by and support her!!! Details below:


The Art Update: The Heart Shaped Horror

Just to bring an up coming “artist” into whatever light I may be able to provide – Cherie Sim. She has been a friend that I have known for the past 7 or 8 odd years from the start of middle/secondary school. Her drawings and paintings have developed greatly over time into what you see before you below. Definitely someone to look out for and support in the days, months, years ahead.



Her drawings bring to mind a sort of eerie beauty, something that melds a modern gothic feel with the manga/anime styles. Most of the drawings that are posted on her Facebook site is filled with great emotion. Many images portray faces with their eyes blinded with long tresses of hair, suggesting secrets and hidden emotion within each character and face. The pieces feature the use of monochromatic tones with the occasional splash of the cold palette that seems to draw you in, and eyes that seem to be stare right through you attempting to convey some deep secret which cannot be told. There is definitely a depth and soul that has developed over time and through a great deal of passion.

You can visit her Facebook art page at The Heart Shaped Horror or her Tumblr at I hope you guys give it a chance and maybe a “like” if it you support not only the possibly upcoming and flourishing artist in Singapore and Southeast Asia, but also because there is a beauty that you see in each stroke that she has painstakingly put her soul into.