Artwork’s Title: Guy Talk
Materials Used: Oil paint on canvas, 120 cm x 150 cm
Studio Based: Singapore
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
I have 2 different ways of working on a painting- one would be from a rough sketch on my small sketchbook and another would be painting straight from the canvas itself. Typically, I will start by applying diluted paint on the surface of the canvas. From then on, I will leave some marks on the canvas with gestural brush strokes. I will then identify certain forms that I can see from these marks and refine them even further. Normally, I have some motifs in mind when I start new paintings like wrist watches, outfits and cigarettes. These motifs are the things that keep structure in my painting. When I get stuck on a painting, I will do a few sketches to get an idea of a possible composition for the next paintings. So, from these sketches I would draft it on the canvas and add extra characters and objects as when these small sketches are blown up into bigger formats it wouldn’t necessarily look as good.
How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?
Exaggerated, whimsical and melancholic.
How did you come up with this painting idea?Is there any story behind this painting?
I was moving away from a series that I recently did called ‘Shoe Shufflers’. It was a series where I use white collared workers as a theme to portray the anxiety of living in Singapore- a money/success driven country. So in order to kick start a new body of works I did a couple of studies of different compositions. One day, I was heading home from my studio and I sketched this composition and when I completed it, I immediately felt that it should be transferred onto a canvas. ‘Guy Talk’ is the first work of a new series that I am currently working on. For the new series, I have used this idea of a fictional tavern as a recurring space where these characters exist in this atmosphere and setting. For ‘Guy Talk’ I painted a group of friends having a laugh among themselves however one of them seems to be deep in thoughts. I was imagining a scene where one’s “social battery” has run out after a whole day of nonsensical “guy talk”.
What colour is used the most in this painting?
I would say titanium white mixed with van dyke brown would be the predominant colour used. I applied it using the dry brush technique on the floor of the painting to mute down the purples and greens that I have used.
What would be the best way to exhibit your work?
The best way to exhibit my work would be in a wide empty white room as I feel that it will complement my works which can be quite overwhelming to look at if they are placed really closely together.
Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
To be honest, I don’t really have a specific artist that I take inspiration from. My favourite painters would definitely be Munch, Francis Bacon and Baselitz. Lately, I have been obsessed with Matisse’s room paintings though. I love Matisse’s way of using patterns to play with the room space and how he stretches out furniture to create emphasis and bring balance in his paintings.
How do you know when this painting was finished?
I think it is mostly based on my instinct. For this particular painting, I had to wait a few days to keep looking at it without touching up the painting.
What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?
It’s a pretty small space located in an industrial area. It’s not the biggest but I feel that it’s certainly an upgrade from painting in my house as there’s ventilation for me to paint with oil here.
What does your mum think about your art?
I don’t think she really gets my stuff to be perfectly honest! But she’s always been supportive of my choice of being an artist, so that’s great.
Which exhibition did you visit last?
I recently visited an amazing show by Delphine Rama and Vincent Fournier at Cuturi Gallery, Singapore. It was amazing!
Which are your plans for the near future?
I will be having a show in March 2021 at Cuturi Gallery and I hope to show in a few more shows next year! In the near future, I hope to be showing internationally too. Ultimately, I plan to be a full time artist for as long as I can.
All images are courtesy of the artist