Close to Culture, Close to Creativity, Spot on Asia.

A Wizard in Oz

Posted on June 4, 2017

Kitt Santos

Illustrator and UX Designer, AUSTRALIA

Let’s start with your name — what’s the story there?

If you were born in the ’80s or ’90s, you might be familiar with David Hasselhoff’s series, Knight Rider. His superpower car’s name is where my mum got my name from. (As in, Knight Industries Two Thousand — an autonomous car with a mind of its own.)

What do you do and where do you live currently?

I would like to say I do design mostly, but — in reality — I do all sorts of creative stuff from painting and illustrating to sculpting, and other crafts.

I am currently based in Canberra, a three-hour drive south-west of Sydney. It’s a pretty quiet city, mostly a network of suburbs, surrounded with majestic landscapes.

And how long have you been living and working in Canberra?

I have been living and working in Canberra for almost a year now, and it has been great so far.

You’ve had quite a journey; you’ve been living and working in different cities — big ones — away from your home country. Was this a lifelong dream of yours? What has the ride been like?

When I “quit” architecture and decided to venture into other creative disciplines, I struggled with making connections with other creatives in my own country. It was quite challenging to introduce yourself in a very tight-knit community where everyone knows each other. That was part of my motivation to move out and make a start somewhere.

In hindsight, living and working in a different country only became a dream for me when I immersed myself in a different culture, and realized that the possibility of going places further was within arms reach.


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Saving the day, one code at a time

Posted on January 29, 2017

Full-time web developer and problem solver, part-time guitarist, photographer.



David Tan has had a whirlwind of a time. In less than six months, he had left his civil service job, picked up full stack web development, churned out several web applications, became a teaching assistant at General Assembly and landed a job with Thoughtworks – a global software consultancy firm. Oh and along the way, he married the love of his life and went on a honeymoon.

How did you get into web development?

It started with the buzz going around the internet about workplace automation. During my time in the civil service, I found myself doing repetitive tasks all the time, but I never knew how I could automate them. So I started coming to work an hour earlier than usual to experiment with VBA (the programming language of Microsoft Office) to automate some of my work. I didn’t get very far, but one of the cool things I managed to create was a nifty little script in my email. If I had used the word “attach” in my email without including any attachments, an alert would pop up. I realised then that even though programming felt difficult and scary, it could be satisfying too (no more embarrassing missing attachments!)


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Musical​ ​Strumming​ ​in​ ​Loneliness​ ​

Posted on July 23, 2016

Buds Theatre was set up in 2007, as a group that aspires to stage relatively new works and create productions with social relevance. Over the years, Buds Theatre Company has gained recognition as a place for aspiring artists and is a breeding ground for new graduates from arts institutions gather artistic experience.

IN-HOUSE SERIES 2016 is part of an intimate ‘living-room style’ series, which shares plays written by their youth theatre members followed by a dialogue session around that theme. Sharing the common theme of ‘loneliness’, youth writers Wisely Chow and Nor Narisha Ibrahim managed to present their works Hold On and The Heart is Just a Muscle respectively.

(1st row) Wisely Chow and Nor Narisha Ibrahim; (2nd row) Stanley Seah, Sahirrah Safit, Rebecca Lee and Claire Devine

(1st row) Wisely Chow and Nor Narisha Ibrahim; (2nd row) Stanley Seah, Sahirrah Safit, Rebecca Lee and Claire Devine

Is there a particular message you wish to send across in the plays you have written?

Narisha: I would like audiences to realise that, in spite of the pain and sadness inflicted on us by others, it is one’s self that has the strength to carry on, and that even the greatest of pains can be healed when we will ourselves to pull through those sad days.

Wisely: I have a quote which encapsulates my sentiments well, “We’ve come tonight to bring you some joy, some happiness, inspiration and some positive vibrations. We want to leave you enough to last you for the next six months.” – Mavis Staples (an American rhythm and blues and gospel singer, actress, and civil rights activist)


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The artist worked with Masao Nishikawa on the colour treatment of these installation photos.

Dawn Ng: Disappearance into a Variegated Rainbow

Posted on July 18, 2016

How to Disappear into a Rainbow is multimedia artist Dawn Ng’s installation by way of colour portals. The new Aloft at Hermès is transported into a kaleidoscopic labyrinth of shades, comprised of daybreak hues and juxtapositions of pastel blocks and mirror panels. In this interview, the author taps into the artist’s view of what meaningful aspects of identity and culture could be derived out disappearing into this sea of colour palette.

Prior to this exploration of a variegated rainbow labyrinth, Dawn had embarked on other studies of colour, emotion, nostalgia and identity.

Portrait of the artist

Portrait of the artist

How have these experimentations in Colour changed over time?

The palette in my work is often reflective of the pervasive mood and tenor unique to the current point of time in my life.

When did your exploration for Colour begin and why has it been of such interest to you? Was there anything you had set out to achieve in the explorations of Colour?

The colours were derived from a spectrum of daybreak hues. I wanted to create an abstract sense of moving through the soft pastel colour planes of an early horizon — that child-like, ephemeral place between sleep and consciousness. The colour portals represent different passageways or doors, and their symbolic and psychological ability to usher a person from one place, time, or self, to the next.

There is no pedantic takeaway message. I believe the more people think, the less they feel, and the less they are able to just be. I wanted to take people out of their everyday realities and immerse them in a surreal landscape of colour, in which they can simply get lost. Getting lost is a meditative and cathartic act. No one gets lost anymore. It’s impossible with the technology we have in this day and age. I think to encounter and engage with something we are not sure of is a beautiful thing, to go through that naïve sense of exploration brings us back to being a child again.


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Vertolk: Leather, business & challenging norms.

Posted on June 26, 2016

Hong Jiun, Entrepreneur (Singapore)

Hong Jiun, Entrepreneur (Singapore)


Entrepreneur, VERTOLK

Why leather?

It is probably one of the more organic and fascinating materials out there. To know that a piece of hide you’re touching comes directly from animals after being tanned is rather intriguing. In a way, it is reusing every good part of what occurs naturally, where the skin of an animal is reused to make functional products.

Durability of a well-tanned skin is another key factor. I would say that for makers, we are concerned with how well something we make works for the client. Not just being aesthetically pleasing but also that it can serve its function continually for years to come.

On a personal level, I have always liked leather goods and am always on a lookout for unique and well-made products. This might be why I went to leather and not wood or ceramics or textiles.

Making process 2 by Vertolk


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