Wood&Lead

Wood&Lead is a symbol of the almighty pencil, a brand that combines storytelling with craft. 

Illustrations by Wood&Lead's founder, Alexa Ong, aim to reveal a quirky space in this world – between dream and reality.  Her works are mainly inspired by adventures while on a wild hunt for the best donuts, literature and lucid dreaming.

Wood&Lead had their first showcase of illustrated goods and publication in Japan, Tokyo Art Book Fair 2013.  The products are currently on sale in various retail spaces and online platforms in Singapore.

List of current stockists: 

Naiise 

Wood&Lead @ Today with Apple

Imaginarium

 

As part of Singapore Art Week 2018,  I was invited by Apple to share my creative journey as a self-taught illustrator at Apple SEA Flagship Store in Singapore.

I had the opportunity to I talk about the curiosity that shapes my practice, and my penchant for storytelling through art.

The sharing session was followed by a  interactive live art workshop where I invited the audience to construct their own ‘Imaginarium’. The participants were encouraged to choose elements from existing templates of my creation e.g. plants, city skylines, animals, ice cream houses... to construct their own fascinating worlds plucked from their imagination.

This idea stemmed from the concept of living in one’s own world, and my fascination with terrariums and their little self-contained ecosystems in bell jars. By inviting the audience to give their input, it allows them to be part of the story I am trying to construct. This goes hand-in-hand with my passion for telling stories through art. :)

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While waiting for my session to start...

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Full artwork titled 'Imaginarium' created with Procreate on iPad pro and Apple pencil. :-)

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I shared about my first big project for Wanderlust Hotel while at my first job upon graduation with fFurious.

 This is the part where I shared about delving into something I was clueless about –  art and illustration,  and finding my place as a self-taught illustrator.

This is the part where I shared about delving into something I was clueless about – art and illustration, and finding my place as a self-taught illustrator.

 I also shared a little about how  Wood&Lead  began :-)

I also shared a little about how Wood&Lead began :-)

 Workshop time! Some samples of Imaginarium as reference for the participants

Workshop time! Some samples of Imaginarium as reference for the participants

 A participant working on the template I have created

A participant working on the template I have created

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 Now for the best part... participants from the audience sharing their creations and the stories behind them

Now for the best part... participants from the audience sharing their creations and the stories behind them

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I was not quite sure what was to be expected at first, but I felt really encouraged by the turn out on a Thursday night. I am thankful to be surrounded by people who are a constant source of inspiration and extinguishers of my self-inflicted doubt.

Thank you to everyone who came down (and those who wanted to but couldn't be present), your moral support helps me summon courage which I may not have found in myself to pursue what I love. :-) Also a big thank you to my friends who documented the session with all these photos in the post!

  Here's one more artwork done on the iPad Pro in Procreate which I shared during my session titled, Labour.


Here's one more artwork done on the iPad Pro in Procreate which I shared during my session titled, Labour.

Uniqlo LIVE: Fall for Autumn

Monologue of an Onion

 Gouache on Wood

(2017)

Inspired by the transition from Summer to Autumn as layers of life peel away, Monologue of an Onion portrays the beauty in the movement of a falling leaf pirouetting down a spiral of breeze. Autumn is the beginning of a beautiful decay the promises the discovery of a new freedom.

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Uniqlo Live: Fall for Autumn, at Uniqlo Orchard Flagship store

ALEXA ONG x Uniqlo Wherever

As a purveyor of solo traveling, my story was featured by Uniqlo for their Fall/Winter2017 SEA campaign.

I had the chance to explore one of my favourite countries with Uniqlo. It was the first time I was being shot for anything professionally, not to mention a long form ad. It was a miracle that I survived the 14 hours long shoot with merely 4 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours. Everything just happened while I was pretty much in a daze. However, the experience was nothing short of amazing. It was fun exploring Kamakura through sketching while the camera tailed closely behind.

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My shoot for #UniqloWherever felt like a mini adventure of its own. I thoroughly enjoyed the spontaneity in discovering new shoot locations with the Japanese crew while en route to the next. I’m really thankful for this experience, working with a crew with such infectious passion in their craft while capturing my travel.

Designer and illustrator Alexa Ong weaves stories collected on trips into her art. See where she goes with her UNIQLO essentials. #UniqloWherever

BEHIND THE SCENES

It was a privilege working with the crew at Monster Films Japan, who made me feel so at ease especially the styling team for their utmost meticulousness in making sure I am well taken care of while we filmed for AW2017 in Summer heat!! 

 I was given the best treatment by the very thoughtful crew

I was given the best treatment by the very thoughtful crew

 At our first location where the AD would give me a short briefing before we film every scene and never failing to tell me "JUST ENJOY~”.

At our first location where the AD would give me a short briefing before we film every scene and never failing to tell me "JUST ENJOY~”.

 It was at times challenging to do a proper sketch while the camera pans around me, sometimes blocking my line of vision

It was at times challenging to do a proper sketch while the camera pans around me, sometimes blocking my line of vision

 This scene was a funny one where I got a little carried away and ran too far into the sea and ended up getting soaked to my knees!

This scene was a funny one where I got a little carried away and ran too far into the sea and ended up getting soaked to my knees!

I am really thankful to Uniqlo Singapore / MadebyAnonymous / Felix Ng and Stephanie Peh for this opportunity, Ai Wei for translating my journey into beautiful words, and the voice coaching sessions.

Last but not least, Director Yutaka, Producer Keigo Nakamura and everyone involved behind the scenes whom I didn’t get a chance to
be introduced to. 

ありがとうございます お疲れ様でした !!! 

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Memory of Departure

The driving force behind this series of work is to create a poignant portrait of dementia by capturing the slow corrosion of one’s identity, in print. 

By utilizing a monotype printing technique, it allows me to create portraits of my grandmother that are raw and intimate. With my immediate emotions put down directly onto the printing plate, I wish to reconcile with my feelings of helplessness whenever I search for a sign of semblance in this person whom I have grown to know, but who no longer knows me. 

By combining monotype with collagraph print technique, it allows me to add another dimension to this body of work, to draw viewers inward to experience the inner turmoil a dementia patient has to confront everyday.

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In this series of portraits, parts of my grandmother’s face remains familiar, while some are hazy, distorted, and heartbreaking.

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This piece of work is dedicated to my late grandmother.

A short process video of how I make my collograph plates by using various materials. In these videos I used leaves and masking tapes.

A short process video of how I prepped the paper before transferring it to the collograph plate for printing.

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This series of prints were produced for Working Proof: A Young Printmakers' League group show at Mulan Gallery in June 2017.

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Innisfree x Wood&Lead for CCF Singapore

In collaboration with Innisfree Singapore, this DIY music box has been designed in support of their charitable cause. With every DIY Music Box sold, $2 goes to Children's Cancer Foundation Singapore. 

The illustration is inspired by a mystical Green Christmas on our tropical sunny island. 

  A rare photo of my messy work desk – experimenting with gouache on wood.

A rare photo of my messy work desk – experimenting with gouache on wood.

Uniqlo Live: A Wood&Lead Christmas

Last Christmas, I was invited by Uniqlo to do a live customisation session at Uniqlo Orchard Flagship Store. 

Amongst the multiple customisation orders, the most memorable request for by little Nicole here who wanted to surprise her dad with a Star Wars themed card. 

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Some template of works for Uniqlo customers to choose from. :)

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Thank you Uniqlo for giving me the opportunity to showcase my works, and the chance to interact with the audience. Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas with your loved ones!

LOVE IS

 A hand-drawn chalkboard signage for Augustus & Synne's Wedding at Chijmes Hall, Singapore.

A hand-drawn chalkboard signage for Augustus & Synne's Wedding at Chijmes Hall, Singapore.

It was an honour to be approached by my pal to come up with a signage design for his wedding. I was both excited and nervous to work on it as I have never taken up a project like this before, much less on this scale.

So Auggy, being my most laid-back friend ever, gave me with an open brief, and basically I got to do whatever I wanted! Doesn't that sound like the best job ever?

I had a lot of fun working on this, especially when it is for an old friend who made me stand in as a wingwoman once upon a time. The things I do for my friends!


The entire piece of work took me a total of 2-3hrs/night x 7 days thereabouts. I started the process with choosing the calligraphy style I was most comfortable writing with, and working on a rough layout on how I envision the words to flow etc. There was pretty much a lot of sketching done, as well as trial and error of the layout on the board itself.

The whole experience was a backbreaking one, but entirely satisfying as I got the opportunity to improve on my hand-lettering skill. It is a great way to experience typography where every kerning and leading is led by your hand-eye coordination.

While the final work is far from perfect, I must say that I am really relieved at how it turned out. I'm looking forward to work on a second piece if opportunity comes! There will be slots available for commission works in the next month to come (August), please email me at hello@xyourfingers.com for details! 

Little Skógur

Looking back at Wood&Lead's very first pop-up with The Little Drom Store, what a joy to be given the opportunity to showcase my works at dröm pop! Has it been a year already since I left my mark on the store front of this dreamy treehouse with my POSCO marker?? How time flies indeed! 

I had some luxury of time earlier this year to sit down and figure out 2016 plans for Wood&Lead. This year is looking busy for wedding projects, and a few collaborative projects are also in the planning! What I am really excited about is seeing my art applied and translated on various mediums and canvases. Time to paint, more to share in this space soon. ☺︎

Photos: The Little Drom Store

Public Garden x Wood&Lead

So last Saturday, we took part in our first ever Public Garden! It also coincides with Public Garden's first consumer trade show, and Wood&Lead is really happy to be part of this alongside regional vendors from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Thank you everyone who dropped by to show your support for my works! ☺

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Dröm Pop x Wood&Lead

Wood&Lead first pop-up at The Little Dröm Store as part of dröm pop! And it will be ongoing until the end of March. Hurrrah!

The kind owners of little dröm store assigned this adorable custom-made cart to Wood&Lead and basically told me that I could do anything with it. And voila! I turned it into a mini tree-house. 

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Prior to setting up for exhibitions/stalls at makers' markets, I usually come up with a vague idea of the look and feel for my set up. I will then spend a few days to go around collecting and making some props that will help me in achieving the right styling. Even with all the prep work, I am almost never fully prepared for any of the events as you never quite know your styling restraints until you are physically present to set everything up – i.e. my products don't have enough weight stand on their own, and the shelvings in this instance are too close. 

For this set up, it was 3 hours of standing in front of this little cart and shifting things around non-stop. It felt very much like trying to clear different stages of Tetris. The biggest challenge was in making my products stand out so that they get more attention than the spotlight, and my display props. While the process of setting up can be stressful, it is also great fun and  a part of the process that I enjoy the most. Or at least until things start falling because I don't have enough blu tack. Damn it. 

For those of you who went down, thank you so much! As for those who haven't you can have a look at whats happening through these pictures. :-)

Pug Life

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The original artwork was created for my friend Sarah's birthday. It was a lot of fun making this piece of work which I thought was perfect in depicting our friendship hinged upon an unhealthy obsession over pugs dressed in ridiculous costumes and all things stupiak. Who would have known that it would catch the interest of Rojak Site (thank you!) to feature this piece of artwork and be able to associate with the mantra of 'Pug Life'. I guess it has been proven, the secret to ballin' hard in life is to dress up as a stick of colorful Japanese mochis and you know, 'pug life' altogether. Or... maybe never to publish a blog post at 3:51 a.m..

Sea of Space

I love watercolor as a medium, and it is possibly the best one to paint my favorite animal in. Painting with water might seem simple but the tricky bit is in managing the layers of translucency to create the right texture as the colors overlap and blend in with a shade of another. At times when I feel that I might have forgotten how to paint, it teaches me all over again – a dab of water and one stroke of color at a time. 

Not too long ago, I caught a glimpse of the ocean giant. At first, I could only see its eyes. Slowly, it emerged and drifted along to the billowy clouds in the sea of space.