Leap - A new book, I suppose?

Finally, I present Leap, a picture book for adults.

Although it was completed earlier this year, I had debated if I should print it. A small run isn't cost effective, and large one made me worry about the reception, because as compared to my other works thus far, it is more "art-house" and niche. Moreover, it's my first official 2D visual art work, I'm not exactly very confident. And to top things off, it's a very personal work, so there is also some kind of hesitation with putting myself out there.

Nevertheless, I decided to just bite the bullet and did a very limited print run of the work, and submitted it for the Pameran Poskad 2015 - a postcard exhibition happening at gilman barracks from 19 to 22 Nov 2015. 500 artists are exhibiting their works there, so that kind of lends me strength. Safety in numbers?

I am also putting up the work in its entirety on my website, because... why not? Besides, I believe that the flashcards are the right medium for this work so that the viewers can flip them, spin them, toss them around. If you wanna print it, email me and I'll send you a print version. If you wanna buy a copy of the flashcards, let me know I may have some around. ;)

Indie publishing, indie author, indie artist...  indie is liddat. just do it cos... just.

Updates from Singapore Writers' Festival 2015

I was really excited to be part of an SWF panel! Especially since I've been attending and learning from the festival for many years. Seeing myself in the programme booklet as a presenter felt like reaching a milestone.

At the event, I had a good time exchanging ideas with fellow creatives. Especially fellow panellists Melissa Viswani, Darel Seow, Soumya Ayer, Levene Wong, and moderator Andy Chua. Learning about their work was inspiring and motivated me to do more.

Reconnecting with Roger Jenkins at Singapore Writers' Festival for families, which he co-curated with National Arts Council, felt special. It was almost 20 years ago when I acted in Project S.H.O.P. directed by him, staged at Victoria Theatre. I felt really nostalgic watching his storytelling session at the Asian Civilisations Museum (which was just behind Victoria Theatre). It reminded me of the time he asked us to dramatise a poem as part of the audition. Ah, memories!

Duanwu Dream, Art writing, and SWF!

It's been some time since my last blog update but it doesn't mean that I have been resting on my (imaginary) laurels (if any).

I have just uploaded the images from my land art installation for the joint exhibition "Working title not Working", in Jul-Aug 2015 here. Hope you like them. :)

I have also updated some of the art writing (essay and article) I've written earlier in the year here.

I am also excited about being part of the Singapore Writers' Festival this year! I'll be part of a panel discussing on the role museums play in creative process. The event is on 7 Nov, Sat, at 1 pm, at the Asian Civilisations Museum. It might not seem like much, but as I have been attending SWF as a participant for the past many years, it's exciting to find myself in the programme booklet. haha.

In the meantime, as usual, I'm working on some other projects that are waiting in the wings. Hope to share more details soon!

Of Presence and Distances

Recently got to know two young artists, Benny Teo and Zhang Fuming, who asked me to write up an essay about their works for their upcoming exhibition.

Although I am an avid reader of art writing, it's my first time writing about it formally. Grateful to them both for the opportunity and freely sharing what they did with me. I had a lot of fun learning about their creative processes and concepts, and of course, observing them and their art. 

Check out their upcoming show here

Untitled (silverfish and snakes)

Looking at a bunch of paintings on my computer and feel like playing with my pastel crayons but I decided that it's easier to open up a new word doc than to dig out my crayons. The last time I opened my box of crayons, a big silverfish slithered out. Yikes. 

The biggest silverfish I've ever seen was when I was still working in the corporate world. It was around one inch. I won't blame you if you don't believe me. It's uncomfortable for everyone to think that silverfish that big exist. Apparently, they say that silverfish eat protein that exist in hair, and glue. So all that office carpet tiles that are glued down must provide quite a buffet spread. 

If you're reading from an office, that's carpeted right now, try not to think about the silverfish city that lives beneath your feet.

That silverfish must have been too full gorging itself, I think, for it was resting on top of the carpet (maybe it's like their beach, you know), and it was slow enough for me to stick a piece of tape over it to trap it.

That was probably the best opportunity for me to observe silverfish close up. But I didn't. I couldn't bear to, because they were so ugly. Then when I tried to throw the tape away it escaped. Duh.

I think the non-human creatures on earth will only become uglier and uglier. Only then, will we fear it, and only then, will we not want to hunt it down and capture it for gazing. Cockroaches, silverfish, and all the other critters which are ugly and inspire disgust or fear. Butterflies, ladybugs, and all the other sparking, shiny, pretty ones will be caught and tortured. 

The same goes for all the other animals - the beautiful birds of paradise and the colour parrots and parakeets are coveted for their feathers or as pets but perhaps the mynahs and crows are more likely to survive and multiply, although they might not mind being pets. 

Tigers, lions, pandas, rhino, giraffe, koalas, elephants... are beautiful. And then there are snakes. All snakes are quite beautiful.

As compared to like... rats. Maybe rats are not so beautiful.

But maybe I'm just being judgmental and shallow.

Random good links

No time to go into details, but thanks to friends who shared all these things:

  • http://zenpencils.com/comic/128-bill-watterson-a-cartoonists-advice/
  • http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/03/12/austin-kleon-show-your-work/
  • http://www.acc.umu.se/~coppelia/pooh/stories/ch8.html
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J3gX47rHGg&feature=kp
  • https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=424334691012108
  • http://www.theguardian.com/books/gallery/2009/may/13/shaun-tan-eric-story-pictures

Pick one.  Pick two. 

On stories taking a life of their own...

It’s kinda funny how stories take on a life of their own. Once I release a story onto its audience, it’s hard to ask it to come home.

Although that’s the case for most things (for when a sculptor finishes with a statue, then he installs it or something, then it’s hard to bring it back home to trim a bit of the statue’s nose or something), it’s just funnier with stories because it’s so easy to unleash the written word (all I have to do is to put a story in an email and click “send”) and rework a story even after the “click-send” (as the tangible, physical art works are merely sequences of computer data existing on remote email servers and my laptop’s hard-disk) that it appears easy to “re-call” it for editing (after all, to reinstall the revised, physical art-work, I simply need paste in another email and click “send”).

But like all other things, stories really take on a life of their own, because beyond the few words or computer signals in whatever server, the art truly unfolds when it meets its audience and trigger some chemical(?), biological(?), metaphysical(?), existential(?), cognitive reaction in their minds – it paints some mental picture or describe some ideas – it does something to the audience – give is commonly refer to as the first impression.

And the audience, especially a creative one, takes that first impression, and develops it to another idea, and other renditions, and so on and forth… like some cascade reaction... giving the story life of its own.

By then I can’t say, wait, wait! Let me edit that story a bit and then pass it to you, I think I can re-arrange the ending then we might get a better cascade reaction from you! Because that’ll be too late, as the first impression would have already ran its course and galloped away into whatever horizon. Bye bye.

Come back come back! I may shout to it, but the audience’s take on the work is somewhat set.

What will happen when the same audience reads the new rendition? I think it’d be like formulating the first impression of the new rendition and it’ll be another thing altogether. The audience would be like, hey this looks like something that I’ve seen before, and it’s not as fresh and… maybe grammatically better, but… hm. It’s hmm…

So, well, anyway my point is just that it’s kinda funny.