WHERE ARE YOU CURRENTLY LOCATED AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR STUDIO?
I am based in Singapore. Since the past 2 years, I have been sharing a 60 square feet studio with another Singaporean artist.
WHAT’S THE CURRENT STATE OF YOUR STUDIO? WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?
Just recently, my assistants and I managed to clear quite an amount of mess and clutter that were accumulated over the years (on my half of the studio). When one enters enter the studio, the first thing they will never fail to notice is the smell of Manila rope. Do expect to see lots of objects lying around as I work predominantly with them as materials.
Singapore is an island city-state with a tropical climate, so the AC has been a lifesaver especially on warmer days. On a brighter note, we have an abundant amount of natural light coming in on most days.
At the moment, I am showing several works that I developed upon my return from the artist residency with Salzburger Kunstverein in Austria last year. Meanwhile, in the studio, I have works currently in progress for Singapore Biennale late this year. The images I sent are of the cleaned up version of my studio just for this interview, in actuality, the studio is in quite a mess right now!
I FOUND YOUR WORK THROUGH THE INTERNET AND SINCE WE ARE DOING A VIRTUAL VISIT – I AM WONDERING WHAT OTHER ARTISTS OR INSPIRATION HAVE YOU FOUND ON THE INTERNET LATELY?
This one is easy! I will just list out 10 of the many artists and 3 art platforms I keep tabs on. Do check them out! Here is the list of IG handles (in no particular order):
amytothemax (of course!)
There are also several platforms that I follow, like ArtMaze Magazine (artmazemag), Young Space (yngspc), Object Lessons Space (objectlessons.space), just because they seem to almost always get really good stuff up on their page!
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST INTERNET TIME SUCK OR DISTRACTION? HOW DO YOU KEEP IT AT BAY OR INCORPORATE IT INTO YOUR STUDIO TIME?
Thank God we do not have wifi in our studio! In regards with the question, I believe that I do not get distracted much, on the other hand, I am constantly procrastinating. In all honesty, I feel quite hyped when I reach the studio. In many instances, within the same minute of arriving, I will be working on something. This is mostly because I tend to formulate my checklist of objectives on the bus to the studio.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU RIGHT NOW? DO YOU WORK EXCLUSIVELY IN YOUR STUDIO?
It really depends. But these days:
- Long bus ride to studio
- Small touch ups
- Visit other artist neighbours in the building
- Swim (new addition lately with several other artists to stay healthy)
- Small touch ups
- Long bus ride home
YOUR MATERIAL USAGE IS SO INTERESTING, HOW DO YOU CONSIDER THINGS LIKE COLOR AND TEXTURE?
I think we have to be honest and sincere when we analyse or reflect on our perceptions. Our mediums and materials have so much potential and I do not believe in ‘this is the only way to do it’ kinda mindset. Of course, sometimes having a set of parameters when working helps tremendously in keeping certain things tight and refined but spontaneity and resourcefulness is also a very attractive attribute for me. I am going back and forth on this point! Similar to many things in life I guess, we try to strike a balance that works for us and this idea of the ‘right balance’ is constantly shifting.
For Silly Enamour and Distant White Fowl, I was thinking of abstracting the swan and Salzach river. White, orange, grey, romance, fairy tale were some of the keywords I had in mind.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY YOUR WORK IS ABOUT ON A FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACHIEVE?
Feelings. On a fundamental level, I would say my works try to emulate some kind of feeling(s). Formal elements and narratives come close after that. My interest lies in stories that are concerned with experiences of oppression and prejudice against communities whose identities do not fit within society. In response, survival and thriving strategies have emerged as recurring points of discussion and consideration throughout my works. While my works may appear to evoke a distinctive joyful demeanour, they are however loaded with stories of loss and marginalisation.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP THAT YOU’D LIKE TO PROMOTE? PROJECTS OR EXHIBITIONS?
As mentioned earlier, I will be participating in the Singapore biennale later in November this year. I am very excited for this presentation as I will be working quite closely with several other creatives and communities to realise the project. Please keep a lookout for it! Soon after, I will be having my next solo exhibition with Yavuz Gallery which also represents me.
*images courtesy of Taufiq Rahman