Art ‘R’ Us is an ongoing series by AikBeng Chia. He peeks behind the curtain of 12 homegrown artists to reveal the characters who’ve been key players in Singapore’s blossoming creative scene.
These people are makers, creators and artists who have demonstrated a high degree of artistic talent and skill over the past decade, in Singapore. The cream of the crop in their respective communities.
The series of portraits draw a connection to the artists and their creations. Developing a sense of understanding for these artists and show them as more than their art, but also as people. The photos portray not only the physical being, but also the hearts and minds behind beloved works of wonderment and creations of epic proportions we know, as art.
Aik Beng is no stranger to these people. Close friends with most of them, he is able to gain access to the much guarded private side of many of these artists. Testament to his talent and his key role in this community.
Shane Tan was born in Singapore in 1984 and has had a passion for tattooing since he was a child.His immediate family members had tattoos,
and they were acquainted with first- and second-generation tattoo artists. Tan’s father bought him
a coil machine for his sixteenth birthday, which he taught himself how to operate. Spending decades perfecting his craft, starting with inking buddies
at his parents’ home and eventually becoming a professional tattooist in 2000.
Tan is now regarded as one of Singapore’s finest tattoo artists, specializing in the Japanese style—his work is bold and minimalist in its use of color.
To ensure the best possible outcome by focusing on the longevity of the design on the body.
Sam Lo/ ‘SKL0’ (b. 1986) is a trans non-binary visual artist based in Singapore with humble beginnings as an urban artist. In their formative years, their intrigue with the concept of culture and bold execution in some of their earliest forays in street art dubbed them the "Sticker Lady", a nickname lovingly given by the city in referenceto the saga that was birthed from their work in the streets.
Since then, their practice has grown to be reflective of their personal journey and beliefs- a non-subscriber to traditional notions of a dedicated style, theme or visual language, they believe that the human psyche has multiple dimensions that make us complex, layered individuals which enable us to vastly explore and express a multitude of motivations in this shared human experience.
As such, their works explore different themes across various mediums from large scale spray painted murals to delicately hand-sculpted sculptures, each tackling a different story through the artist’s lens.
Their past clients include Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Tourism Board, National Heritage Board, Air Asia, Netflix, Nike, Casio, Samsung, Riot Games, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Fred Perry and Shake Shack, among others.
My name is Hong and I’m a DJ. Music is my life and I’ve been a slave to the rhythm since I was 6 years old. Big clubs, small clubs, underground clubs,
outdoor and indoor festivals, parties all round the world - I’ve done them all over the past 30 years. Whenever I play, I feed off the energy of the crowd….and it never gets old.
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Andy Yang is a multi-disciplinary artist known for his abstract visual and sound experimenta- tions for almost 2 decades. Andy was also one of the key artists
(in a select group of 8) who presented DE:VOTED (2020) a critically acclaimed immersive art experience at Helutrans for Singapore Art Week.
ANTZ is known for his distinctive style, which draws deeply from the visual vocabulary of classical Chinese myths and vernacular stories. His aesthetic sensibilities has been called a “juxtaposed-mash” amounting to a playful
pastiche of international urban pop and ethnic traditions. Equipped with a strong understanding of design and an ubiquitous obsession for the Chinese culture and aesthetic, ANTZ continues to walk the art world reaching most of South East Asia, China, North America, and Europe and in the process, he has successfully carved out a niche of diverse and notable clientele.
Mojoko is an artist who has been living in Singapore for 20 years. A valued member of the creative community, responsible for driving many underground art shows from his time at Kult Magazine and more recently founded the pioneering EYEYAH! Magazine introducing creativity to children in our schools. His artwork is instantly recognisable and can be found all over Singapore.
Named because he likes to make things fly, Mindflyer (real name Michael Ng) is a Singapore-based artist who explores the themes of flight and escapism to create his crazy mix of colors and references. As well as painting and exhibiting his work, Mindflyer is the founder of Illustration Arts Fest and a co-founding member of OICsingapore – a co-op network for illustrators dedicated to engaging and inspiring young people through art.
Lee Xin Li (b. 1988, Singapore) is a Singaporean illustrator. The architecture graduate from the National University of Singapore sees illustration as a medium to explore the urban and cultural heritage of Singapore.
It is also Xin Li’s way of documenting and connecting with a home that is rapidly changing. The illustrator is fascinated with the rich textures he finds in landscapes in Singapore and beyond. He uses illustration to juxtapose layers of culture, history, architecture and nature with personal references to pop culture
“Speak Cryptic”, is an artist currently working and living in Singapore.
Exhibitions include “The Weight of Water”(Paris, France, 2021), the Koganecho Art Bazaar (Yokohama, Japan, 2018), the 1st Kuala Lumpur Biennale (2017), Secret Archipelago (Paris, France, 2015), The Singapore Biennale (2013) and Future Proof (Singapore, 2012).
of Speak Cryptic’s work- identity rippling forth through texts and phrases extracted from punk lyrics, intricate patterns, and figures. His drawings, paintings, and installations stem from inquiries
into ancestral migration, ethnic dislocation, gentrification, and alternative subcultures.”
Tobyato is an illustrator and visual artist over many mediums. From sprawling murals to brand collaborations, his artworks are often bold, striking and inspired by traditional Chinese motifs and playful influences that reflect both his own heritage and personality. Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to work with brands such as Asics, G-Shock, Shake Shack and HUGO among others, steadily building a body of work that exemplifies artist-brand collaborations.
PrettyFreakyFantasy is a multi-disciplinary artist who dabbles in the fields of contemporary arts, mural & interior decoration & styling.
PFF sees life through neon-tinted eclectic lenses and this is evident through his mural & interior decoration affairs for FuLuck Bar(KL), Blu Jaz Cafe, Piedra Negra, Madd Pizza , to name a few. Other than clubs, restaurants and street art, a highlight in his career would be the opportunity to helm the interior for @malashreehomeretreat in Bali.
PFF aesthetic is drawn from an observation of potential & imagined world.With his keen eye for details and vibrant outlook on life, he contributed to the energetic transformation of the streets of Haji Lane into an IG-crazed backdrop for tourists and locals alike.
His colorful, bright & bold colors are layered with a juxtaposition of pop-culture, socially-conscious art with inspiring messages - inviting the viewer to not only enjoy the art but to pause, reflect & SMILE.
Yip Yew Chong (YC) practises murals, canvas paintings and digital art. His most visible works are murals on the streets. They often tell stories of the site’s local life in a bygone era. YC was an accountant for 25 years before switching to do art full time in 2018.