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

The Road to Creative Fulfilment

Posted on July 19, 2015

When it comes to career choices, traditional Asian families are known to be highly pragmatic. It is common for parents to nudge their children to pursue a practice in accountancy, medicine or law, and thus build a name in a respectable profession with high earning growth prospects.

Some may conform to their parent’s wishes and societal pressure despite a lack of interest in the field of study. A few will find courage to break out of the mold to pursue their heart’s desire.

David, Ethan and Elise are 3 Singaporean professionals who made the plunge to drop their respective 9-to-5’s to pursue their artistic passions.

Photo by David Seow

Photo by David Seow

David Liew

Freelance Illustrator

What were you doing before venturing full-time as an illustrator?

I’ve held a number of jobs in my “previous life” – junior college art and history teacher, model-maker, animation production artist, polytechnic lecturer.


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Tasting The World In Her Kitchen

Posted on June 30, 2015

Gabriele Galimberti, Photographer (Italy)

Gabriele Galimberti, Photographer (Italy)

Gabriele Galimberti, ITALY

Photographer, Author of In Her Kitchen

There is a reason why comfort food is called, well, comfort food.
It is food that makes you comfortable at a time you need to be; arousing feelings of nostalgia, familiarity, your forgotten childhood — resulting in a symphony of warm and fuzzy emotions with every bite.

So, what happens when a person, who hardly ever left his Tuscan hometown and was very attached to the comforts of a traditional Italian household like a proper Italian boy, must leap outside his comfort zone to explore the world as a couchsurfer and (literally) live on and off the couches of total strangers for two years?

In Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s story, he goes to his Grandma Marissa and she makes him his favourite ravioli. (As a matter of fact, he would then go off to meet other grandmas in different cities, where they not only feed him, they would also teach him how to cook their own favourite recipes and help him create a best-selling cookbook.)


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NYC x SIN: Do good work to eat good food

Posted on June 18, 2015

Jenny Acosta and Benjamin Koh have never met in real life. Jenny works as a freelance food illustrator in Brooklyn, New York while Benjamin works as a freelance graphic designer in Bukit Batok, Singapore. Benjamin has never visited New York City while Jenny has lots of relatives living in Singapore because her mother is of Hainanese Chinese descent.

Both creatives share an obsession with FOOD. Jenny works for the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) in New York City while Benjamin just launched a zine full of food illustrations on Etsy.

Jenny exudes a bubbly charm whenever she talks about her work.

How has being a FOOD illustrator changed your life?

J: Making food a focus in my work has really made me want to look closer into all things edible beyond just eating. It has helped me appreciate the detailed process of making food; made me curious about the origins and pioneers of the past and future in food, and has allowed me to find new ways to link the role of the chef to the role of the artist and designer. I’ve been able to enjoy food and food communities in really fun ways by expressing my gratitude or passion for (a certain) flavour through illustration.

"GIFs are a great medium to express the current state of food culture; a saturated repetition of marketing consumption and trendy eating habits." - Jenny Acosta

“GIFs are a great medium to express the current state of food culture; a saturated repetition of marketing consumption and trendy eating habits.” – Jenny Acosta

What inspires you to keep drawing FOOD?

Jenny Acosta, Food Illustrator

Jenny Acosta, Food Illustrator (New York City)

J: Seeing friends, family, and strangers get as excited about my art in food as they do about a new restaurant or dish they tried inspires me to keep bringing out a new “course” and pushes me to not just draw food as still life, but tell its story in a fresh yet familiar way. I grew up cooking with my grandparents a lot as a child, so when I can connect with them through showing them my artwork about food and they can understand and enjoy it, that is one of my biggest motivations to keep communicating this way. Of course good food inspires me to keep drawing food, because I’m tasting these amazing things that remind me that the food world is important, exciting, and always changing. I want to be part of that movement of exciting food culture through my art.


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On the importance of subtlety in food and flavour

Posted on June 6, 2015

Photos by Gina Ronquillo

Photos by Gina Ronquillo


Creative Professional at Dig it UP

Ubbergen, Nijmegen can make anyone forget that they are still in The Netherlands.

This is the place that is closer to countryside than city.

This is also the place where Ky discovered another side of the Netherlands—as well as himself. Ky Yokojima is a creative professional who, motivated by his curiosity of the vast world, left his hometown Tokyo for an adventure in The Netherlands.

After studying Cultural Economics and Cultural Entrepreneurship and living in the city of Rotterdam for half a decade, Ky decided to leave the big town and move to the rural town Ubbergen. He remains actively involved in the creative local scene and is happy to call this little pocket of nature in the city his new home.

As Ky immersed in the local culture, he grew fond of the mindful approach of people in the countryside. Feeling more in tuned and connected with the world and with himself, somehow he also felt a reconnection with his Japanese roots.

Being surrounded by nature enables him to feel grounded and connected. He deeply enjoys long walks in the forest, gazing at stars, and most of all — gardening and experiments in the kitchen. Importing seeds from Japan, he was able to create a nexus for his two worlds apart right in the heart of his garden patch. Best of all, his friends get a taste of these worlds — literally — through his cooking.

During a walk in the forest, Ky opens up and shares his food philosophy, and the difference between Japanese and Dutch food consciousness and the importance of subtleties.


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A Message for our Readers

Posted on June 1, 2015

Dear Readers,

OpenBrief has been serving stories about Asia and its creative communities for the last 2 years and has been a passionate endeavour for its volunteer contributors.

When we began OpenBrief, we wanted to place the spotlight on emerging creatives and makers in Asia that are hardly covered by mainstream media and even niche design blogs. The stories were intended to serve as an extension of the inspiring conversations we would encounter at each CreativeMornings / Singapore event, and hopefully inspire the imagination of more people to pursue their creative endeavours.

We have always tried to benchmark our journalism standards to the great daily papers of our time while keeping the operation sustainable with commitments in our own day jobs and business ventures.

Today, we’re going back to where we started: centering on the people. From hereon, OpenBrief will have weekly interviews with some of the most inspiring change-makers in Asia and the Asian diaspora making waves outside of Asia. Past stories in other editorial formats will be archived and remain searchable within the website.

Additionally, we are also experimenting with thematical stories for each month. We begin with the theme, FOOD, in which Asia’s food culture offers some of the most diverse culinary practices and customs.

Asia is growing more dynamic each passing day and we hope to be part of its growth story helping English speaking readers to understand the idosyncracies of this continent through the window of creativity and culture. We hope you’ll be part of the change and help us spread the word whenever a story inspires you.

We would love to hear from you some time.

P.S. Keep a look out later this weekend for our first interview.

OpenBrief: FOOD
Daylon & Chiara
Editors of OpenBrief