Oh Maira

I love staying home on a Friday Night knowing that people are out there living it up and painting the town red (and later with their dinner) because this just means that I have a lot more Alone time to myself that I do not need to share with other people who are Alone.

For me, there is a strange charm about Friday nights; the slow unwrapping of the weekend, like a precious flower, or an onion. Perhaps it is the faint static that hangs in the stillness of the air, with time unhurried. Or, the languid drawl of the night as it announces the end of a long week. You suddenly find yourself with all the time in the world to lose yourself to daydreaming, and to catch up on internet's awesomeness. What a luxury. The only thing that is really missing right now is a huge tub of ice cream. Who cares about the culminated bad calories that you have already indulged in to get past the week.

As always, I am here for a reason. Besides to mask my existentialism issues by romanticising Friday nights alone, I really want to share this video which features Maira Kalman, an established illustrator/author. I've always been in love with her works and I admit that I love her more after learning that she loves books more than I do. In this video, she explores her identity in art, and how she uses her drawings to tell stories that belong to people/strangers, which, in turn helps her to find a relationship with the world. The video is uplifting and absolutely relatable. I think what is empowering about her message is that she is telling us to look at the things that form a huge part of our lives and being creative enough to make them part of our identities. This will then help us understand our sense of purpose in this world. She is a classic example of an amazing human being.

 

"How do you know who you are? There are many parts to who you are, so there isn’t one static place. And then, the other part of that is that things keep changing." – Maria Kalman

It is funny, because I have been thinking a lot about my art lately and this video appeared in a timely fashion. While storytelling has always been the main focus behind my artworks, there seems to be a lack of a deeper connection between what I do and what it is originally intended for. I haven't been able to figure this out for a long while but now that I do, I am thankful that the pieces to this puzzle are slowly finding their way to me and this really excites me to take on an entirely new approach to my works. There is still so so so much more that I need to learn which is so daunting yet exciting at the same time.

Another gem on the internet, Pizza Feminism – feminism served fresh and toasty. It really fills you up after a week worth of listening to mind-numbing sexist jokes/comments that are being slipped into daily conversations. 

Sooo we are into March and that scares me a little. For now, I'll leave springing into action for tomorrow while I watch a movie and wait for flu medication to kick in. Happy Weekend everyone. ☺

A Very Small Exhibition

As we ventured up to the second floor of Shaw Towers and navigated through the labyrinth of shops, we found ourselves in the woods in the middle of the mall. Pushing past the glass door with a beautifully hand-scripted welcome sign, we were first greeted by a scent of the leafy greens and Joanne's smile which brightened up the space.

Very Small Exhibition is a monthly curation project where Joanne and her friends take turns to fill the space with fresh concepts and experimental installations, to provide a place where people can enjoy as a form of respite. For the month of February, it has been transformed into a retail space where Joanne provides a customized hand-scripting service for Saint Valentine's Day.

It also has everything that I love – plants, flowers, glass bottles and colorful confetti! Needless to say, I got myself a message-in-a-bottle and had Joanne hand-script a line from one of my favourite poems You are Oceanic by Tapiwa Mugabe. I loved the idea of having part of the ocean in my bottle. Maybe someday the time will come when I can let this message return to the ocean and let the waves carry it to someone else who needs it more then me. ☺

I first met Joanne at The 3rd Space Christmas Pop-Up store last year and I'm glad to have found a friend in this lovely kindred soul. What I really love about her works is in the beauty of transforming words into pieces of artworks. Her passion for her art really rubs off in our conversations when Joanne shared how she took the leap to start The Letter J Supply in pursue of creating for a greater purpose. It is something that resonated strongly with me and it really made me think hard about my craft. 

For a Very Small Exhibition, there were actually Lots To Marvel At. So much so that I spent close to two hours every time I visit. The greatest success of this exhibition is that you leave with more than the bottle of flowers in your hand, or the scent of fresh greenery in your hair. You step out with a smile on your face and a new experience that cannot be found elsewhere. Here are some amazing pictures from the exhibition, captured mostly by Evie, my tiny friend with amazing photography skills. ☺

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Have a lovely weekend everyone! ☺

!!! HOLY CRAP !!!

Taking adventures during lunch time would be one of our favorite things to do on a weekday . This time we popped by Temporium for the "Google Translating Tokyoto" exhibition, presented by  Holycrap.sg. Now, this collective is an interesting one – Holycrap is made up of creative director Pann Lim, his wife Claire and two children Renn and Aira.

On our way up to the gallery space after lunch

On our way up to the gallery space after lunch

Got distracted by the cute Kewpie and ice cream sign from the cafe next door

Got distracted by the cute Kewpie and ice cream sign from the cafe next door

Temporium  on Dunlop Street

Temporium on Dunlop Street

Resident Temporium owl keeping watch

Resident Temporium owl keeping watch

Rubbish ??? Famzine??

Rubbish ??? Famzine??

Holy C -laire,  R -enn,  A -ira,  P -ann presents Rubbish Famzine

Holy C-laire, R-enn, A-ira, P-ann presents Rubbish Famzine

The big bosses behind the show

The big bosses behind the show

When we first stepped into the exhibition space we were told that the exhibits on the wall were placed at a height for kids to view and therefore, the adults have to bend a little in order to view the artworks at a closer range. No one seemed to mind, and we proceeded to explore the exhibition space in wide-eyed wonder. The afternoon sun decided to join in the fun, lifting everyone's mood and illuminating the exhibition space giving it a warm and cheerful vibe while the children's chatters can be heard echoing through the high ceiling.

The most enjoyable part of the exhibition was seeing things through Renn and Aira's artworks – for the same reason to why I enjoy working with children, their perspectives are typically unaltered and full of imagination. Plus these kids have an incredible sense of texture and colors! I also really liked Aira's collection of headless snapshots while on-the-go in Japan. ☺

We were really fortunate to get some time to speak with Pann as he took time to tell us the stories behind Renn and Aira's artworks, how some of the works were inspired by his collection of vinyls and he also shared with us their process of making artworks together as a family. When I asked about Renn's natural flair in picking colors, I was surprised that Pann was equally fascinated by it. It is amazing how everything feels so organic. What all these works actually translate into would be the parents' love for craft and their children.  ☺

I'm not too sure if it was intentional but the paper planes added a nice touch to the overall exhibition

I'm not too sure if it was intentional but the paper planes added a nice touch to the overall exhibition

PREACH

PREACH

A nice quiet moment shared by Daddy and his kids

A nice quiet moment shared by Daddy and his kids

I feel really happy (and admittedly envious) that both Pann and Claire are so supportive of their children's art and that they take great care in nurturing them and teaching them about life through the process of art-making. I personally feel that it is something very valuable but sadly lacking in Singapore's education system when the emphasis is all about success and academic excellence. I hope that this exhibition would inspire parents and parents-to-be.  It is not about beating the system, but making life with what you have and what you want it to be. ☺ 

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When I asked Aira what was her favourite thing to draw she told me she loves drawing girls. I shared with her that I used to draw a lot of mermaids when I was at her age and she seemed pretty tickled by that little nugget of information.

When I asked Aira what was her favourite thing to draw she told me she loves drawing girls. I shared with her that I used to draw a lot of mermaids when I was at her age and she seemed pretty tickled by that little nugget of information.

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Here are some pictures of Rubbish Famzine Issue 1 –

Here are some pictures of Rubbish Famzine Issue 1 –

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I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition, so much so that I went back the second time which was well-worth. So if you have some time today you definitely don't want to miss this beautiful project ! It's the last day of Holycrap exhibition and they will be opened till 8 pm. ☺

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2013

This blog has gathered  just enough cobwebs for Halloween! Yipee.

So the waves have finally brought me back to my sunny shores. Actually, since a week ago. My mysterious disappearance to Australia was the result of being sucked into a relentless temptation offered by a budget airline and a need for some quiet time.  I will be posting my photos from my trips bit by bit so there would be something to look at for the next few days.. weeks... months? 

 It is hard to believe that September came and gone just like that. 21st September was a day that I was counting down to since the 1st of July. When the day finally came, I did not know what to expect and almost relieved at the fact that I am present in Tokyo, at Tokyo Art Book Fair as an exhibitor.  By Grace I made it there, and I am sure glad I did. ☺

This year's fair was a massive one, we were one of the 300 over booths at Tokyo Art Book Fair held at a university with the most confusing name at Shinanomachi, Tokyo this year. The event was a huge eye-opener, it was really great meeting independent publishers from all over the world. However, there were a few challenges in being part of such a huge exhibition as well – in trying to stand out and having to set prices at a competitive rate. When I took a break from manning the booth and walked around, it was only then I realized how huge the compound was. I ended up only purchasing two zines on the first day myself. Both were by Taiwanese designers and extremely lovely. ☺

Seated at my tiny corner at the booth, it was interesting to observe the way people interacted with my designs and the display space. It was an incredible experience to see how your design extends beyond the physical material (in this case, the book) and to the environment in which is sitting in and vice versa. It gave me a lot of ideas on how my works can be improved to provide a more wholesome experience. I also thoroughly enjoyed talking to people who took interest in my works, to explain about the concept of my writings and designs even though not everyone who came by left with something in the end. It was a truly humbling experience to meet people who tell you that they appreciate what you do, and my heart stifles a chuckle whenever I see people smiling while flipping through my books. 

 

 

Over the 3 days, we had our fair share of surprises – friends (Saki, Silas, John & Lp) who showed up to give their support, as well as acquaintances who came by with coffee and chocolates, including the man from an antique shop in Shimo who loaned us display items for free. There was also a sweet Singaporean lady who dropped by our booth with her son to show her support when she realized that we are also Singaporeans. Not forgetting Bernice, Stacy and Josiah who helped us packed at the end of the fair and Josiah who carried my stuff up 5 levels to our apartment with his super strength after he learnt that our apartment elevator was not working. So thankful for these people. ☺

This trip was unlike any other trips to Tokyo, mainly because the intention was not for vacation. It is definitely a great experience and something I wouldn't mind doing again. As there is always a first for everything, I am beyond blessed to have this experience to call my own.

Here are some pictures that I have managed to capture amidst the crowd! Hope you guys will enjoy the post, it was not easy typing with both hands covering my ears to protect them from the boisterous roar of the thunderstorm. ☺ 

 

Entrance to Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS   

Entrance to Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS

 

Stamping workshop at one of the tents on lvl 1

Stamping workshop at one of the tents on lvl 1

Cute booth designed like a birdhouse

Cute booth designed like a birdhouse

Random by PY Leong X Wood&Lead

Random by PY Leong X Wood&Lead

Our tiny booth – I had to balance a merchandises on my head and it helped to draw some crowd.

Our tiny booth – I had to balance a merchandises on my head and it helped to draw some crowd.

Customers browsing through  Of Clouds & Parenthesis , a travelogue.

Customers browsing through Of Clouds & Parenthesis, a travelogue.

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LP who gave us a HUGE surprise by turning up with John without notice 

LP who gave us a HUGE surprise by turning up with John without notice 

Michelle, Wood&Lead customer who bought and modeled the tote *___*

Michelle, Wood&Lead customer who bought and modeled the tote *___*

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Click on the image above to watch the video which accurately captured the mood of the book fair. This video was taken and originally uploaded by my friend Stacy who runs a cool site with updates of her life in Tokyo. 

 

Also, Wood&Lead items sold at Tokyo Art Book Fair are now available for purchase, visit Wood&Lead Etsy store now ! ☺ 
  

 

Me, in a few lines

I will have to start working like a jellyfish for the next few weeks. I enjoy staying in on rare Saturdays/Sundays and getting all my work done in one sitting (only leaving my seat a couple of times for trips to the kitchen savaging for food). In between the stuff that I am supposed to finish by today I got a little carried away and made a simple logo vector out of my painting. It was so much fun. ☺

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ルーシー

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I discovered the shaky silhouette of a stray kitten on my illustrator art board one day, a remnant of an artwork that I have deleted and brought this clumsy neko 'Lucie' to life. Made phone wallpapers out of cat prints for my mom and thought I'd share it. [Free for grabs - click on desired wallpaper and save for use.] ☺

The origin of the name 'Lucie' is from a Japanese movie that I caught in-flight. Chat Noir Lucy – is about a superstitious fortune teller's encounter with a black cat. It is a heartwarming film which made me smile a lot. This is one film I'd recommend to all cat lovers. I have linked up the trailer below, I hope you guys will get to watch it. ☺