World Art Day: 8 Singapore Artists You Should Check Out
STORY: Pearlyn Tham
15 April 2021
Remember how, not so long ago, some major newspaper in SG ran the results of a survey on what a non-essential worker is?
One example was an artist, which, of course, triggered anyone who draws, sketches, paints, illustrates, paper-cuts, sculpts or Procreates.
To those survey respondents who had voted “artist” as a non-essential job, you probably didn’t know that there is actually a day dedicated to all things arty and, hey, it’s even sanctioned by UNESCO.
It’s called, well, World Art Day, falls on April 15 and was started in 2019 to “promote the development, diffusion and enjoyment of art” because “art nurtures creativity, innovation and cultural diversity for all peoples across the globes and plays an important role in sharing knowledge and encouraging curiosity and dialogue.”
You still around?
If you are, World Art Day simply means a day for you to remember and appreciate how while we may not all write or speak the same language or even dialect, we can all enjoy a landscape painting, a modern art installation, a comic strip, a wall mural… or your husband’s stick-figure-rendition-of-the-Statue-of-Liberty in a failed game of Pictionary.
Here are eight SG artists – and they work with all sorts of media – to get you inspired on World Art Day!
Cheryl Teo aka Captain Lulo | paper art
So you thought just because you can fold paper stars out of origami paper, you win liao hor. Wait till you see what Captain Lulo does with good ol’ paper. She uses her preferred medium (usually in millennial-fave pastel shades) to fashion anything and everything, from miniature furniture to paper birthday cakes to HDB flats.
Henn.drawn | temporary fruit ink tattoo art
If you have always wanted to get inked but were worried that you would one day regret choosing a bikini-wearing, dancing elephant on your inner thigh, the folks at Henn.drawn have just the thing for you. The tatts they do are temporary, lasting for just two weeks, as these are done with Jagua, an organic fruit-based ink from South America where tribes use it for body art. The collective has three artists, each specialising in different styles like Greek mythology, flowers or, er, girls.
Xin Li | SG-centric illustrations
Tin Tin fan and architecture grad Lee Xin Li’s art is all about Singapore, like kueh, iconic buildings, coffee shops and so on. And his style is all about details. Think how a Where’s Wally cartoon looks, then make it very Singaporean and you’ve got Xin Li (but instead of searching for Wally, you will be pinpointing chwee kueh from a smorgasbord of food or looking for Suntec City in a majestic black and white landscape of Singapore).
Susanne Ng | chiffon cake art
If you had thought that Bengawan Solo’s Cultural Medallion-worthy neon green chiffon pandan cake was art, see what else this baking artist has done with chiffon cake. World-famous Susanne, who holds a PhD in biomedical engineering, creates chiffon cakes in the likeness of cartoon characters like Carebears, My Melody and Olaf, as well as food and everyday objects like sushi, cake mixers and durians. How does anyone bear to sink their teeth into one of these, really?
Ros Lee of Polkaros | cute ceramics
This Tokyo-trained artist grew up around pottery as her family ran a clay art business. Today she is known for producing her signature whimsical and kawaii ceramics, tableware and fashion accessories that are cute but also minimalist enough for the art snob in you. Her workshops sell out fast because who doesn’t want to hand-build your very own clay spoon with a smiley face, right?
Bitterstickgirl | stick figure comics
Besides being funny, her comic illustrations are also punny. These are done with speech bubbles in Chinese and are strong on word play like Barber Tea (a BBT who’s also a barber lah) and Cowtured (a tux-wearing posh cow having wine).
Yip Yew Chong | murals
You most likely would have seen one of his nostalgic artworks around Singapore. Yes, he’s that prolific. Or, at least, his mostly-street-scene wall art is. Some pieces popular with anyone looking for the perfect IG photo backdrop include Singapore Rojak – Nonya Kueh Kueh at Changi Airport Terminal 4 (it’s 37m long!), Letter Writer at Smith Street and Bird Singing Corner at Tiong Bahru.
Farizwan Fajari aka Speak Cryptic | street art
Street artist Farizwan is known for his black-and-white surreal figures with a lot of intricate, swirl-like detail. And did you know that in 2018, his work was showcased alongside that of Banksy (from the UK), Felipe Pantone (from Spain) and Nasty (from France) in "Art from the Streets", an exhibition at the ArtScience Museum of works by the world's most iconic street artists? Talk about Singapore Represent!
You'll also find his murals at The Projector and Esplanade. More recently, he announced on Facebook that he had sold his first NFT artwork for what’s worth about $1,500 in the cryptocurrency Ether. And your parents asked why you wanted to join AEP.