Q: Tell us more about your “Ghost and the Shell” exhibition?
A: The name of this exhibition originated from a Japanese manga, “Ghost in the Shell” and it sparked an idea for the name. “Ghost” refers to people or roles that no longer exist in modern Singapore, while “Shell” refers to the architecture. The aim is to showcase the inhabitants and history of Singapore through its people and architecture.
The paintings come in pairs and are linked. Say for example, my painting of an old Singapore bus. It will be paired with a painting of people associated with it, the bus drivers and bus conductors.
Q: What was the motivation behind this exhibition and your paintings?
A: Besides basing this exhibition on my nostalgia, the main motivation would be the curiosity of the history in where I live, Singapore. I wanted to find out more about the things and places that are extinct or soon to be, because of Singapore’s ever changing landscape. This is my way of archiving things – my paintings are like a time machine!
Q: Was being an artist what you’ve always wanted to do?
A: It was a path I did not expect to enter as I have always felt that art was something natural for me. I initially did accounting, but soon found out that it was not something I liked. Actually, my ideal job was to become a soldier, which was what I wanted since I was a kid. But the more I thought about signing on into the army, the more I thought maybe I should try something else. After my national service, I went on to Lasalle and took on art and design. And no turning back after that.
Q: How do you influence your students with art?
A: I try to influence by showing them things that are relevant and contemporary. In terms of design, I make sure that I keep myself in the loop of what is in current demand and dated, and transfer it to my students.
Q: What would you say to someone who is suffering from a lack of inspiration?
A: Personally, I would take a break from creating art when I lack inspiration or ideas and surround myself with art work from other artists. I would usually visit art shows to look at other artists’ work, check out art magazines and books either in the library or bookshops like Kinokuniya and Basher. This helps me to not think too much about it, and I will not be exhausted mentally and creatively.
Do things and occupy yourself with things that are not related to art, and then come back to it. This will take your mind off things and often results in a fresher approach – it’s like a fresh breath of air.