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

Articles tagged “art

SPOT ART 2013: The Growing Pains of Young ASEAN Artists

Posted on November 19, 2013

SPOT ART 2013 Singapore is an exhibition that celebrates the best of Southeast Asian art talent, all under the age of 30. Supported by the Ministry of Communication & Information (MCI) and the National Arts Council (NAC), the exhibition illuminates the values of collaboration, partnership, and a genuine attempt to build the foundations of a sustainable visual arts industry in Singapore. Through this collaborative effort, the exhibition and its surrounding dialogue fleshes out the difficulties facing young artists in Singapore, fresh out of school and lacking in mentorship for industry experience. But what the exhibition also offers is a platform for artists in the region to collaborate.

Drawing back to the exhibition itself, the layout is an amalgamation of paintings, illustration, print, installation, and video art. The selection committee is comprised of esteemed curators and experts on contemporary art in Southeast Asia, selecting over 200 works of more than 70 artists (out of 1500 submissions.) The exhibition prides itself on its quality, diversity; and particularly celebrates the fact that it is nestled in one homely spot. As the event organizers themselves mention, the Southeast Asian arts scene tends to be quite fragmented, so the motivation to distill this artistic incubation in one single location is a definitive gesture.


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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 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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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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Asia Corporate Art

Posted on February 15, 2013

At Deutsche Bank in Singapore, a large artwork by local born artist Jimmy Ong sits right outside the trading floor. The subjects in the artwork seem worlds away from people who make their living in an investment bank, until you realise Lottery Man, its artwork name, credited beside the male subject in charcoaled writing.

Jimmy Ong: Lottery Man

Source: Tyler Rollins Fine Art

In artworks, the ethnic profile of the subject is important to global corporations, where they usually look to their own roots first when starting a collection. American companies in Asia often have Western art first and then amass Asian art as a statement.

Jonathan Stone, Christie’s International’s business director of Asian art says, “In Japan (offices) you will see modern Japanese art, this is where they start,” which indicates the importance of artwork as the link to which people feel the closest to from where they expand.

Art within the four office walls, is an aspiration statement about a company and its arrival in a particular business setting.

“For American companies in Asia you see Western art then they start Asian art as a statement.” says Stone. So it’s not surprising that a large number of corporates doing business in Asia, favor works from local artists or those from the Asia continent. As such, essentially art reflects conscious corporate decisions, commitments to its focuses, and its own awareness amid the realities of doing business.


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