Tiramisu – In Between The Folds. 2013.
Today we speak to Little Ong, co-founder and creative director of fFurious from Singapore.
Yanda: Tell us about yourself and what you do.
Little: My name is Little Ong, and I’m a founder and creative director of fFurious, a multidisciplinary creative agency in Singapore. Little is my birth name, which my grandpa gave to me. He told me that since I was his first grandchild, he wanted me to grow up being modest. It was hell going through primary school with that name, so I’m glad I found my way into the creative industry where this unusual name actually works to my benefit.
How would you describe your work in one sentence?
To better lives through design.
How did it get started?
It was 1999 when 3 good friends, Melvyn Lim, Joanne Tay and myself, got together and decided to see where creativity with no boundaries would take us.
Do you treat it as a job?
With all the responsibility that comes with it.
Are you having fun at it right now?
I can’t imagine there’s another job for me that allows me to do so many of the things I like while I get paid for doing them. The fun comes when I get to learn new things all the time, about the process of creativity, people and their work, new ways of seeing and doing things, technology and picking up new skills. All these keep me infinitely occupied and interested.
What do you actually enjoy doing?
Too many things actually, so this job suits me rather well since I’m able to explore different facets of creativity. For non-work fun, I enjoy photography through my trusty iPhone. I post my photos on Instagram, you can follow me @littleong. And I enjoy cooking quite a bit.
How often you spend time doing them then?
The great thing about mobile photography is that it happens anytime. I could be taking a walk, cycling, going to a gig, having a meal or away on a holiday, and there’s always something that I would find interesting to capture. I cook at night and in the weekends when I have time.
Have any daily routines you cannot do without?
Coffee makes my day complete.
When is your favourite day of the week and why?
Sunday because I get to sleep till noon undisturbed.
Are you seeking a work life balance?
Constantly, but it’s tough. I think it’s a major dilemma for most creative people that they seem to be working at any time of the day as we seek inspiration in so many things that we do. And being a business owner, that makes it even tougher. But I do try to keep my weekends free of work to catch up on personal things.
How important do you think it is?
I think it’s absolutely healthy to lead a balanced life. At times, you have to step away from the work to be able to come back to it with a better perspective.
What about seeking happiness?
All the time. One of my favourite quotes is by Walt Disney whose mission statement for the Disney company was “To Make People Happy”.
What is your definition of happiness?
Hot crispy prata with fish curry.
What are the things that keep you sane?
Blue sky, calm sea and an empty beach.
What do you do when you get time off?
I go to music gigs, dig for records, cook a meal, watch a movie, catch up on a TV series, or I try to get in some exercise which usually involves either cycling or skateboarding.
Singapore Biennale 2013.
A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World. 2013
Today we speak to Robert Zhao Renhui of Institute of Critical Zoologists from Singapore about this new work, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World.
Tell us what have you been busy with?
I’v just finished compiling an encyclopaedia titled, A guide to the flora and fauna of the world, for the Singapore Biennale. I’v also just finished installing my work at 2902 Gallery for my upcoming show, The Last Thing You See. It talks about how difficult it is to be a bee.
What drives you in creating this?
In this case, I wanted to know why the goldfish is never included in any natural history encyclopaedia. The goldfish does not have a scientific name as it is a man-made creature. It’s a fish that has been artificially bred for thousand of years. How the goldfish is created remains a mystery. I created the encyclopaedia as a system to talk about our ideas of what is natural and what is man-made. Towards the end of the book you realise there’s really not much of a difference. Everything artificial will start to look natural once we get used to it.
How do you keep on educating yourself?
I’m basically interested in animals as a subject matter. I go to the Singapore Zoo once a year and more if I need to. I honestly think we have an amazing collection of animals in captivity here in Singapore. In the zoo, I encounter a lot of nature photographers with huge lens and fancy equipment and some of them in jungle camouflage as well. Watching them observe animals teaches me a lot about why humans watch animals.
Where do you draw your influences from?
Mainly from my friend, Yong Ding Li. He is a conservation biologist. Most of my work and ideas are based around my conversations with him. Of course as an artist I process the facts he gives me differently from how he would approach the facts. Sometimes I get nice ideas from google.
When was the last time you felt challenged?
I was struggling to decide if I want to use my flash at the bird park at some owls.
What was the breakthrough project for you, personally?
I tied a lot of pinhole cameras to birds to create images in A heartwarming feeling. The images the birds created were really beautiful but it wasn’t beautiful enough for me. I edited the colours a little and then they were better. Then I redid the whole image again on the computer and then it became perfect.
Who/what has had the biggest inspiration?
Looking at animals.
The Blind, 2007
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Today we speak to James Teo, founder and creative director of Ampulets from Singapore.
Yanda: Tell us about yourself and what you do.
James: I am a graphic designer with a soft spot for simple, beautiful things.
What do you do first when you get up in the morning?
Cook oatmeal. A good breakfast is a good start to a day. Men can’t think well on an empty stomach.
What daily routines you cannot do without?
Read a little, check facebook and instagram to keep in touch with friends and what’s happening around. Maybe not daily, but a few days in a week, I run. Running is the best time to crack design briefs!
How would you describe your work in three words?
Considered, inviting, functional.
When did you first get involved in the design?
As a kid, I used help out in a music cassette stall near my parent’s place, and I always marveled at the design of the tape covers. I would stack my own collection up nicely in a six-million-dollar-man plastic “briefcase” and haul it to and fro the shop. Occasionally, I would take them out to admire the album cover design, listen to the music and try to recreate the design or sketch portraits of the singers in my notebook. It’s a habit. These days, I still go to record/CD shops (the very few that are left) and book stores to look at the covers.
When I started working, my jobs were in marketing and marketing communications. So I was constantly working as a client with design studios and advertising agencies. And after some 8 years, I figured what I really wanted was to be on the other side of the table and re-live my childhood fantasy of making artwork for the album/ book covers!
Do you think personal work and collaboration is important?
Personal work are like personal challenges. It challenges you to dare to materialise something you have in your mind, to test how far your ideas can take you, and your ability to complete it without clients and deadlines breathing down your neck. I think it teaches you to trust your own instinct and judgement.
I love collaborations, especially with the right person or group. Wonderful things can be done when like-minded folks get together . By likeminded I don’t mean thay we all think the same, but more like having the same values and attitude – so that we ultimately know we are going for the same destination even if our methods are different.
If you have a chance to own someone’s work and wish it was yours, what would it be and why?
The entire set of original posters created by Michael Bierut for Yale University since 1998. I have always been a believer of how design should evolve between one designer and one client for a long period of time. Almost like a marriage.
Who do you dream to design for?
My dream project is to design all the signboards in the Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market. Ha.
What’s your definition of happiness?
Balance. I think it is important for one to have balance in his/ her life – a balance of family, work and leisure. I think happiness is also not about extreme highs and lows, but achieving a certain constant in life. Just like running. For me, a good run is about keeping a steady pace throughout the run.
What makes you guilty?
Spending too much money on books, music, clothes – all the vain things in life.
How do you set your benchmarks?
My wife has always been my sounding board. Being a one-man design studio, her views and feedback on my work is very valuable. And for all work, I must be able to say to myself and clients that I have done my very best to produce quality work. So i don’t really have an external benchmark per se.
How do you keep educating yourself?
Reading books and magazines. Listening to other people. Attending talks. Looking at art exhibitions. Observing nature, things and people around me.
What place in the world most inspires you and why?
Tokyo and Taipei/Taiwan. Both are cities, but there’s a good balance of old and new. The new makes you curious, but the old gives you comfort. And there’s a balance between the urban and nature – nature is always just a short train ride away. Balance is important.
What are the three things you are obsessed with at the moment?
Old Vinyls. How clothes are cut. Interesting looking plants. All somewhat vain things!
Democratic Society Identity. 2012.
Documenting New York based Singaporean photographer, John Clang’s solo exhibition, Being Together, this catalogue also serves as an extension of the exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore. This book presents 5 family-themed series comprising a total of 93 works that were created between 2001 and 2012. This book also includes essays by Szan Tan, Patricia Levasseur de la Motte and Gwen Lee.
To celebrate the indomitable spirit of human relations, this publication is made up of papers of varying textures, sizes and colours that manage to complement each other as well – reflecting the harmony and intimacy that can still exist even if a family faces disparity. The loose leafs of varying irregular papers and photographs of different families all bound together in one book serves as a reminder of the ties that bind in this isolating urban society.
Not In Any Order is a book that takes a critical look into the Singapore contemporary art scene from 2006 to 2010, and provides topical essays and 80 informed, lively and insightful reviews written by Lim Kok Boon, an educator, artist and art critic. Reviews of exhibitions include established Singapore artists such as Chua Chye Teck, Chun Kai Feng, Donna Ong, Genevieve Chua, Heman Chong, Jeremy Hiah, John Clang, Michael Lee, Tang Ling Nah, and Zhao Renhui.
This book is a work of art itself. To complement the rigorous research and rawness of the reviews, the cover was deliberately made in a way it can be give a worn look like a collector’s archival book when it is used over a period of time. The use of bulky wood free text paper with ruffled edges helped to complete this look. This is an art history book that’ll look better as time progresses. The creases and folds that we so often avoid are honoured, and the user becomes part of the book. It’s a bit like art really. Art needs the audience to make it: to make sense, to make whole. So, a single grid design and serif set typeface were chosen for a classic feel that I think will still be relevant in decades.
Identities for a new watering hole on 27 Club street – Izy, a sharp take-on Izakayas which serves carefully crafted plates by chef Kazumaza to accompany a sizeable drink menu.
Documenting the travels of Singaporean photographer Melisa Teo, the catalogue unfolds her pilgrimage through the worlds of Buddhism, Hinduism and Shamanism.
Encapsulated in a myriad of textures and colours, vibrant dividers echo her kaleidoscopic expeditions. A hand-torn translucency is sewn onto a raw, earthy cover, embracing the customs and traditions of her newfound spirituality.
A collector’s edition of linen bags encase the catalogue and print folder, stamped with gold foil, reminiscent of the textures of burning joss paper.
“With Apple as the subject of our first publication from the research programme Science of the Secondary, we present an inquiry into the behaviours and experiences observed through our interaction with the humble fruit. From the very moment we set our eyes on the apples that are displayed in the fruit stall to the strangely familiar memory of an apple within us, this book offers an alternative insight into things that are not yet discovered…. ” – Atelier HOKO.
To launch the book ‘Science of the Secondary : Apple’, Atelier HOKO will be distributing and retailing the books through 5 selected fruit stalls in Singapore till 11 November. Each purchase of the book (SGD 18) will be accompanied by one free apple (yes, the fruit). The book is also on sale internationally here.
Today we speak to Holycrap, an art collective by Claire, Renn, Aira and Pann from Singapore.
Yanda: Tell us about yourself and what you all do.
Claire: I was a designer before I became a full time homemaker after Renn was born.
Renn: I am going to be 10 at the end of this year and I am studying in Primary 4. I hope to be an archaeologist in the future.
Aira: I love going to school and I am in Primary 1 this year. I love playing hide and seek with my friends and I dream of being a vet in the future.
Pann: I am a visual, audio and ideas junkie. I love what I do as a Creative Director at Kinetic Singapore. I love taking pictures from time to time, you can see them at pannlim.com
How did it get started?
Pann: I have been active giving talks and lectures in school and I meet young designers and art directors who will show me their work and I always take a lot of heart to share with them my thoughts and insights. Same for the team I have at Kinetic, I will try my best to impart my ‘tricks’ of the trade to them. One night, it suddenly dawn upon me that I have been imparting my knowledge to designers and students that I have only met once but I have not officially shared these things with my kids. So together with Claire, we came up with the idea of starting Holycrap (CRAP stands for our names, C for Claire, R for Renn, A for Aira and P for Pann) as an art collective and this name also suggests that our work will make people exclaim ‘HOLYCRAP!’, when they see it. Hopefully in the positive way.
Which work (so far) has been your favourite?
Claire: It is truly rather hard for me to pick a favorite from the kids work because I’ve been seeing them draw and doodle from the very beginning and most of the drawings tell a story or hold much meaning to us. I’ve seen their progress from casual sketches to them working on canvas with acrylic and ink. If I really had to pick, I’ll choose their sketch books from their early years, Renn’s painting ‘Stealing Mom’s Coke 2011′ and Aira’s ‘Vincent 2012′
Renn: I love all my old sketches exhibited during my solo exhibition in 2011 and my Amorphis skull painting. For Aira’s, my favorite would be ‘Vincent’
Aira: My April Calendar Girl is one of my favorite and I love my brother’s ‘Mama I don’t wanna be a soldier. I don’t wanna die’ by John Lennon because it is nice and cool.
Pann: For Renn’s work will be the Three Walking Guitars in 2011. I saw it happen in front of my eyes. Renn completed it in 15mins. He was giggling to himself when he drew it, that sense of fun and mischief made my heart melt. As for Aira, my personal favourite will be the Yellow Submarine Series. Somehow the illustrations spoke to me in a profound way. And the patience and effort for a 6 year old girl to go through the hair line by line was something commendable.
How does everyone juggle between their day job/school and play and leisure?
Claire: Yes, we all can be pretty busy trying to get everything in order all the time or trying to get things done. For me its mainly with some home affairs and settling the kids in with their homework and studies. But getting play, relaxation and art into the mix is pretty much part of all that we do too because we view these areas with as much importance as anything else.
Pann: It is indeed a juggle at times because I can be very busy with work at Kinetic and we can only focus on this at night and over the weekend. But we love this family bonding and time spent together. It is like no other project that I have done to date, to see the kids have a sense of discipline and duty to finish what they have started and having fun while doing it is just great!
How do you set the benchmark?
Claire: The good thing is that Pann and I have very similar taste in terms of design aesthetics and appreciation. And we admire and look up to most of the same design heroes so when we share and educate Renn and Aira in this aspect there is little or no conflict. However on top of just learning about all these, I do set very high benchmarks in terms of attitude and discipline and in their approach to their work.
Pann: My benchmark is simple. The idea/art must be interesting, beautiful and heartfelt. And out of X amount of work done, maybe less than half are good enough for exhibition.
What is the best advice ever received?
Renn: Stand up for your work.
Aira: Stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid of rude girls.
What do you think about the education here in Singapore as compared to the best?
Claire: I am not so sure who is or what is considered the best but I do know that the education system here in Singapore is in dire straits. Simply because so much emphasis is put on academic excellence and chasing those perfect scores that everything else is thrown down the gutters. I do want my kids to study and do well in school and be proud of their studies, but I also want them to be happy and excel in what they love. But here in Singapore, the system and many parents are creating this vicious cycle of only wanting the best results, turning tuition centers into money making machines not intent of helping the weaker students do better but to make the already bright students even smarter because they can afford it.
The Dangerous Book for Boys. Holycrap for Browswing Copy. 2013
Uu brings the phenomenon of creating your very own 3D figurines here to our shores in Singapore. These custom figurines mere centimetres tall are brought to life by the latest in 3D scanning and printing technology in this collaborative project by Kinetic Singapore, Mikanbako of Japan and venue sponsor, Scotts Square. The Uu 3D studio will only be open for a limited time, from 21 September to 6 October 2013.
Be among trendsetters and trailblazers such as celebrity hair stylist David Gan, renowned doctor Dr Georgia Lee and fashion director Daniel Boey, to have your very own 3D figurine brought to life by Mikanbako, a specialty 3D imaging studio with the latest 3D printing technology from Japan.
Carolyn Teo, co-founder of Kinetic Singapore says: “Kinetic is a local home grown creative agency that is internationally awarded and recognised in our industry. In order to remain at the forefront, we have to always be on the lookout for new and interesting technological advancements to integrate into our designs and ideas. The 3D printing phenomenon has already spread across Japan, Europe and many parts of the world, and we are excited that we are working with Mikanbako to allow people in Singapore to discover the lifelike figurines and experience the amazing technology at the Uu 3D studio.”
In just under 30 minutes, customers will be scanned with cutting-edge equipment by professionals from Mikanbako. This collated data will then be sent to Mikanbako’s lab in Japan to be processed and printed. Due to the complexity of the technical processes, customers will receive their figurine three months from their scan. Customers can choose from 3 sizes – small (15cm), medium (20cm) or large (25cm).
Wataru Hida, CEO of Mikanbako says: “3D printing is a whole new culture and its potential is truly endless and exciting. The future of 3D printing is definitely in capturing and recording memories – imagine taking yearly 3D family portraits instead of photographs!”
Pann Lim, co-founder and creative director of Kinetic Singapore agrees: “There’s nothing quite surreal as looking at a ‘life-like’ figurine of yourself or someone you love. For me, every fold on a shirt or dress on a figurine immortalises the person in that particular space and time.”
Scotts Square 6 Scotts Road
From 21 Sep – 6 Oct 2013 Daily: 10am – 10pm
(Top to Bottom) David Gan, Dr Georgia Lee and Daniel Boey.
Today we speak to Royston Tan, one of Singapore’s prized film director.
Yanda: Tell us what have you been busy with?
Royston: This month has been the craziest month ever in my career as I’ve had 6 overlapping filming projects back to back. I’m currently working on “The Ghost of Capitol Theatre” – a film installation for the Singapore biennale in October. I’m also preparing for the world premiere of my new work, ‘South of South” in the Busan film festival.
Say, does photography play a major influence on you?
Yes it does. Film is actually 25 running photographs in a second. I’m constantly capturing images in my brain everywhere I go. I’m intrigued by both colors and compositions.
Which project are you most proud of and why?
This is a tough question but I guess I’m still learning every day. Hopefully the next one!
Do you believe in education?
Yes I do. That said, I do not believe in conformity. Everyone is unique and it is important to celebrate differences.
It’s sometimes said that after graduating, the hard part is actually still ahead. How were yours when you first started out?
It has been the case – you are suddenly in the real world where you have to start all over again to prove yourself to society. It takes sheer determination and passion. Most of the time, I find it’s the inner struggle much more than the external factors that’s really tough.
I started at 19. I wanted to be a director but in reality you need to be mentor for a few years before becoming one. There was no one to mentor me, so I took on the job as a coffee boy to serve the big-time directors on shoots. I was paid $50 for 14 hour shoots a day, but it offered me the opportunity to get close to the director and observe how they work and visualise.
Can taste be taught or nurtured?
Taste can be nurtured with an open mind and exposure.
And what about hunger?
In terms of hungry, you can’t flog a dead horse to run.
Old Romances, a film directed by Eva Tang, Victric Thng and Royston Tan. Designed by &Larry.
4:30. Poster designed by &Larry.