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Articles tagged “art

Reflections on Scandinavia II

Posted on September 26, 2013

It is here that I reference my experience in Scandinavia, where I spent a summer moving through Sweden and Finland meeting curators, academics, policymakers, businessmen, artists, and mostly importantly, the Scandinavians. The Scandinavian model is internationally revered in its successful implementation of the social welfare system; a system that brings about virtuous cycles of trust in its communities apart from the nuts and bolts of the system that involves high taxes on citizen’s annual incomes to fund systems such as national education, healthcare systems, and strong maternity packages, to name a few. The nations share an entangled history of overlapping geographies and languages, travelling along tangents but ultimately carving out their own respective independence. It is precisely this acute combination of shared histories, geographies and cultural influences that allow for comparison and critique. Despite the many similarities, Sweden and Finland stand far apart in the state of their art markets at present day.

Paimio Sanatorium by Alvar Aalto

Paimio Sanatorium by Alvar Aalto

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Art exhibits on display in a common room | Photo by Haziq Muhammad, Visual Inconsideration

Singapore: The Coming of Age of a Flourishing Art Scene

Posted on June 22, 2013

When the Displacements @ 13 Wilkie Terrace, an art exhibition, ends on Sunday, 23 June, the Chia family’s 77-year-old mansion would have hosted a musical band, silk screen and poster printing workshops and several dance performances: all done for the love of collaboration.

Yen Phang, a formal lawyer and a member of the Chia family, initiated the project with 16 other artists and invited them to interpret the theme ‘Displacement’. The estate will soon make way for urban redevelopment and was temporarily turned into a communal space open for the public to experience the charm of the mansion’s interior, enjoy conversations with the artists and leave with a pleasant feeling of nostalgia.

Moss art outside the Mansion | Photo by Haziq Muhammad, Visual Inconsideration

Moss art outside the Mansion | Photo by Haziq Muhammad, Visual Inconsideration

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Hunger + Survival = Mother of Creativity

Posted on March 19, 2013

Clara

Clara Balaguer, Philippines

Founder, Office of Culture and Design

“To us, art, literature and design are not elitist luxuries. They are useful necessities.”

Clara Lobregat Balaguer is an oddball.

As she meets me for this interview, it’s not so difficult to notice that she does stand out in a crowd than it is to pinpoint why. Yes, she is rather tall compared to the average Filipina; her woven sombrero towering over everyone else makes it easy for me to spot her. She greets me with a smile, full and fiery red. I am relieved; she says she’s been stressed. She has been buried deep in work, which at the moment is in post-production for a film about an active volcano in the Philippines and the displaced indigenous people living around it.

Photo: Office of Culture & Design

Photo: Office of Culture & Design

This is just one of her hands-on projects for her company, the Office of Culture and Design (OCD), which serves as a platform for artists, writers, and designers in the developing world. That description barely sums up the OCD as a leveraging multi-platform. Based on the mixed composition of its projects, its stakeholders and the diverse range of collaborators, the Office of Culture and Design is a constantly fluid, constantly evolving entity engaged in as many diverse forms of mixed media as the opportunities it aims to create and open. And that’s the striking feature of this creative enterprise: whether it’s a book, or an art workshop, or a film documentary, there is—and always will be—a bottom line. Each creative project identifies and directly engages with its stakeholder—real people.

And without an actual label for the OCD (a social enterprise? a creative social enabler? a design thinking firm?), it is pretty much an oddball in the business world. A mixed-breed and ongoing experiment in various aspects, albeit effective—just like its founder.

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Art Fair Symptomatics

Art Fair Symptomatics

Posted on February 23, 2013

With success reports all round, from Singapore’s own Straits Times paper to the Wall Street Journal; the recently concluded Art Stage Singapore held in the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre seemed to have come a mile from last year’s event. The annual art fair brings together international galleries with a focus on Asian art, a move that is only natural in response to the shift in economic clout towards the East. As it is, Asia already represents 45% of the contemporary art auction revenues worldwide. And contrary to the default perspective towards the art market, cities like Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul have greater sales than the old guns: Milan, Paris, and Berlin. I could go on quoting statistics, but really, the point is clear and supported: the Asian markets are opening up to art, and they are doing it fast.

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How to Draw Zombies and Influence People

Posted on February 19, 2013

Julian Kam's Room + Portrait

Julian “Lefty” Kam, MALAYSIA

Co-Founder/Comic Artist at Gilamon Studio

For those in publishing: it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. With digital tools and social media platforms, it’s now easier to make something and generate buzz. But at the same time, many bookstores find it hard to meet their overheads, and traditional publishers are still coming to terms with digital publishing. So what can you do, if you love comics and you want to publish your own titles? Try following in the footsteps of Julian “Lefty” Kam, a comic book creator from Penang, Malaysia, and a respected member of the comics community there. He writes and creates the artwork for his own graphic stories, and distributes these in print and digital formats. His original titles include the Major Zombie and Jimi Germ comic series. Some tips: learn your craft, collaborate, prepare to multi-task like a boss. And never forget to feed your idea machine.

Self-taught, went to school, or picked it up on the job?

I studied graphic design in a college, but art-wise I’m mostly self-taught. I’ve been in this industry since the 90’s. I started out working in advertising while drawing comics part-time.

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