A network of artists based in Stuttgart, Künstlerbund Baden-Württemberg held a symposium Was Bleibt at the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe. We designed the book, poster, as well as an invitation with the program inside.
The exhibition ‘Mythologies’ was intended to celebrate Burlington Gardens’ previous occupation of the Museum of Mankind, the former home of the British Museum’s Department of Ethnography. A group show, ‘Mythologies’ sought to illustrate how artists, in common with anthropologists, find significant meaning in the mundanity of everyday life and popular culture, rekindling some of the aura of the Museum of Mankind’s past exhibitions.
All images courtesy of Yew Chong.
Today we have a conversations with Yew Chong, an accountant by day and a mural artist on weekends.
Yanda: Hello Yew Chong. Tell us something about yourself and how old are you? Is being an accountant your day job?
Yew Chong: I am a true blue Singaporean who grew up in old Chinatown in the 70s with fond memories (born 1969). I studied accountancy and has worked in finance and accounting for over 20 years (still in finance today!) I’m happily married with two children.
Tell us through your day-to-day work life?
I manage a department in a multi-national company providing finance and administration services to internal customers. My day-to-day job involves more of managing my team members and internal customers, more than crunching numbers, contrary to what many people think accountants only do.
Is it tough juggling your mind over the freedom in art with the numbers and accounting?
Actually it is not tough to juggle. When I am at the office, my mind is fully focused on work issues. I like it that my employer has so far empowered me with the freedom to manage. When I am drawing or painting, my mind is also very free and fully focused on creating that piece of art or craft, sometimes even forgetting to rest! When my mind is free from work and art, it wanders, reflects its present surrounding and dreams far, eg. next project, next travel destination. To be able to do all these freely, I must say how thankful I am to my whole family, especially my wife who has empowered me with this freedom!
Provision Shop. Everton Road, Singapore
The money must be good it seems?
The money from finance work is ok lah, mainly due to my accumulated 20 years of experience and seniority. It surely beats the money from art and craft for now as I only started painting for commissions since November 2015.
How did the mural art thing started? Was it a SG50 thing?
My works are totally unrelated to SG50. In fact, I missed the boat as I painted my very first mural only in late August 2015 when the hype was over. I managed to paint murals only after I quit my finance job in June 2015 to take a break and do something different for a while. The idea of mural painting however started way back in 2014 when I bumped onto Ernest Zacharevic’s works in Victoria Street. See my facebook post in 2014: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152117815223610&set=a.10150917894768610.435348.591753609&type=3&theater
How long do you take to finish a mural? Was it a one man thing?
The time needed to complete a mural depends on its size, design complexity, logistics complexity and the weather. The 7 murals I have painted so far ranged from 2 days to 2 weeks of work. My latest two murals in Tiong Bahru were painted in two days each. I think I learnt the tricks, hence getting more efficient. The “Provision Shop” in Spottiswoode Park Road took 2 weeks mainly because it rained everyday in the afternoons, so maybe it was just about 1 week of work. So far, I painted all the murals single handedly, but with lots of moral and logistics support from family, owners, neighbours, friends and even passers-by. In my next few projects, there will be some collaboration with friends.
Are these commissions? Invited by some government agencies?
For the first two murals at Everton Road, I approached the house owner to allow me to paint on his property walls, thus they are not commissioned. They are like my advertisements and I’m glad the house owner didn’t charge me for the space. All subsequent murals were commissioned.
It’s funny, but maybe illustrative street art means legal.
In Singapore, in theory, all kinds of street arts require some form of approvals, regardless of the style. For private properties, which are not gazetted with any conservation or other status, it may simply require the house owner’s approval. For gazetted private properties, HDB or other public buildings, multiple approvals may be required from the owners, URA, HDB, BCA, LTA, Town Councils and Resident Committees. Seeking approvals can be a very time-consuming and cumbersome process, but that ensures I don’t land up in the courts or even jail! I understand the need for the authorities to control street art, however I hope these numerous authorities can come together to make the process more seamless and less bureaucratic in order not to stifle ground-up initiatives.
How would you feel to see them being destroyed by bird shit, stains and whats not one day?
Murals are never meant to be permanent. I always warn all the house owners that the murals will be destroyed by the natural elements over time, no matter how high-tech the paints are against the elements. Those walls that are subject to direct sunlight (intense ultra-violet) and moisture will have the shortest lifespan, say about 3 years. I think some signs of aging, like colour fading, cracking wall and bird shits make the mural look mature and nostalgic. Some owners are also concerned about vandalism, but I think in Singapore, the risk is low. Nevertheless, whatever happens and when the time comes, I leave it to the owners to decide whether to whitewash the wall or restore the mural. If they decide to restore it, we also need to assess if it is even feasible and worth it.
The ends of the railing redefined, making the escalator more obvious to be spotted from far. All images by Iwan Baan.
Most designs are, sadly, simply just designs. This project managed to assess the existing solution, reassess a problem and make improvements on prior solutions.
Designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick and inspired by the Victorian opulence of the Burlington Arcade in London, Pacific Place, located on top of MTR Admiralty Station, is a shopping mall of high-end men’s and women’s fashion. The 650,000-square-metre complex houses 140 shops and restaurants, a department store, four 5-star hotels and 270 serviced apartments, noted for its premium skincare shopping.
Taken from the website of Thomas Heatherwick: “The mall’s lifts and escalators did not go to every floor, its public spaces did not function well and its angular, shiny surfaces felt outdated. We improved circulation by introducing new escalators and lifts, transformed the signage, opened up sight-lines, increased the quantity of natural light and upgraded the development’s environmental performance by reducing energy use.”
Photography by Iwan Baan.
Set Design by Thomas Petherick for British Vogue. Photography by Scott Trindle.
Abercrombie & Fitch is reinventing itself. Ditching sexualised marketing from their campaigns to topless store models, having clothing with fewer logos and now focusing on quality—elevated and fashion forward style.
British-Indian Neelam Gill whom also starred for Burberry is on the campaign photographed by Dan Martensen. While the latest mens campaign starring model Alex Libby is shot by Zackery Michael. We can spot more of an interpretation of the modern and rugged look, a nod to the brand’s rugged heritage but with new fits and fabrics.
Sales having been going up ever since and any brands need to image and brand positioning is very important or else you will lose your share as one of the leader in your market. Yes, it’s takes a lot of courage to make that step but Abercrombie & Fitch has proved that even this new direction made its way into the news, earning more exposure without paying for any advertisements on news about its rebrand and hoping to ditch its reputation as a boorish retailer.