GIVE A PIECE OF BLANK PAPER TO A KID, give them some paints, they will automatically create great work—great colour, forms, lines, space—without knowing much about art. That’s the kind of artist I want to be.
I STUDIED with Liu Kang at a very young age, 11 or 12, drawing and things. But it was Chen Wen Hsi who really inspired me. I looked at him, he would constantly stay in the studio, paint, not much socialising. I don’t think he had any bad habits. That inspired me.
INSPIRATION is more important than learning.
ART IS ACHIEVED through your own experiments, your own practice, your own hard work. It’s not something somebody can teach you. It cannot be taught. It can only be inspired.
THE MAIN THING IS you have to make a painting breathe. You have to give it life. That life makes a great painting. No matter what kind of painting it is, traditional or contemporary, all the great artists of the past bring life to their work. If it’s dead, kaput. So, I’m constantly fighting to achieve that.
I’LL FOCUS ON THE DETAILS, study a little patch, alter it. But then, you have to constantly step back and look at the bigger picture.
KNOWING when a work of art is finished is like when you accomplish a sexual encounter with a woman— when it’s done, you know it’s done.
A LOT OF EUROPEAN ARTISTS lead an exotic lifestyle, a more exciting life than most people. This kind of experience in life, I think, generates a great deal of energy that then goes into your writing, or your painting, or your music.
EXPERIENCE is the fuel for us, as artists.
EACH MAN IS DIFFERENT, each person is different, what you learn is what you are. It’s not “you are what you eat”—what you learn is what you are. So, all the things that I’ve learnt, experienced, encountered over the years, they have come to make me who I am. That’s what I’m translating into my work.
I LOVE THE FEMALE FORM. All the great artists will tell you the same thing. The lines, the textures, the curves are almost like a landscape. You’ve got hills, valleys, streams...
IT’S IMPORTANT to have good friends. Correct friends. If you have the wrong type of friends, you become the wrong kind of person.
AN ART CAREER IS A MARATHON. You’ve got to keep running, keep fighting. I had to make a living, so I did all kinds of jobs. Through this, you learn. Life is formed by your experiences.
I THINK HUMAN BEINGS are still uncivilised in many senses. Just like in the primitive days, we’re still fighting over a piece of meat—but today, a piece of meat means money and power.
YOU WANT TO BE AN ARTIST? I say, don’t get married. If you do get married, don’t have children. If Van Gogh had a wife and children, there would have been no Van Gogh.
YOU KNOW artists never have a happy life. Well, a few do, but maybe less than one per cent.
A COUNTRY WITHOUT GREAT ART, we cannot consider a great country. Simple. No matter what kind of weapons you have, it doesn’t count. Art is the thing. Think back to all the great countries in history: Egypt, China, Rome—why we consider them as great is because of their great culture.
SOME TIME AGO, they said, “Painting is dead.” That’s propaganda. You can all lay out all kinds of reasons to support any idea.
IF YOU HAVE A GOOD EYE, if you’ve been educated. If you’ve visited a lot of good artists’ exhibitions and museums, right away you know if something is great art or not great art. You know at first sight. It’s like we know if someone is good or bad, by judging through just appearance. They say don’t judge a book by its cover—that’s not true, the cover is important. You right away know good from bad.
THOSE WHO PAINT will know Jackson Pollock is wonderful, they’ll know Willem De Kooning is great. Those who don’t paint, but who have a good eye and good education will also know that these are great artists. All the truly great artists today, on the surface of this earth, they’re genuine. I’ve seen a lot of artists come and go. But the great artists stay.
SOMETIMES there’s a very thin line between commercial art and fine art—a very thin line.
PRETTY, DECORATIVE FLOWER PAINTINGS can be pleasing. But ugliness can be fine art. The German Expressionists, for example. So ugly, so naive, so childlike and yet, so very powerful.
OUR LIFE, we are only a fish splash. We are nothing, you know?
Photography: Jaya Khidir
Lately, with fibre craft on the rise, knitting and crocheting have been the new trend. The laborious craft requires huge dedication and commitment from craft artists. But the final results are testaments to the artists' passion and creativity.
Prominent local crochet artist, Kelly Limerick, is celebrated for her alternative take on the ancient craft of crochet. She was chosen to collaborate with LOUIS XIII to create an artwork called "100", which took four months to complete. Limerick journeyed to the LOUIS XIII Domaine du Grollet Estate in Cognac, France for inspiration for her art. There, she delved into the heritage of LOUIS XIII Cognac, allowing her to comprehend the values that the House holds. She became enthralled by the House’s timeless heritage.
“The sense of history in the old town was unmistakable, and... I grasped why LOUIS XIII is steadfast about its origin and identity,” Limerick noted. “There's an evident pride in the meticulous approach, a serene and unwavering dedication to savoir-faire passed down from one cellar master to the next. Ageing the eaux-de-vie holds an element of unpredictability... It falls upon the cellar master to trust their palate, sampling the diverse eaux-de-vie to craft the familiar blend of LOUIS XIII that we recognise. These two elements—trust in the unknown and confidence in personal skill—resonate with me and have inspired me greatly.”
"100" was unravelled and reworked 100 times to illustrate the progress in time. With its tedious craft-making process, "100" is meant to emphasise the similarity to the laborious production of LOUIS XIII. Limerick confessed that "it involved four months of daily dedication; more time and effort required than if I did 100 individual pieces."
The final sculpture resembles a vessel with a double-walled bowl within. Crafted as a single piece without joins or internal structures, like a fountain, the sculpture remains hollow. By holding soil from Cognac, it encapsulates the flavourful layers of LOUIS XIII as it ages. This is a cognac that could only be tasted decades later.
Anne-Laure Pressat, Executive Director of LOUIS XIII Cognac shares that “We are honoured to collaborate with Kelly Limerick, having her join us in exploring intertwined concepts of time and preserving artistic heritage for future generations..."
"100" represents THE DROP, the latest product by LOUIS XIII. An embodiment of a new generation that reinvents luxury codes through ownership, THE DROP fosters a unique 'art-de-vivre' akin to Limerick's approach toward art. Coming in a 1cl bottle, THE DROP retails at Tatler Bar at SG$288 and SG$1,440 for a pack of five 1cl bottles. The add-on lanyard accessory with a leather bottle case is priced at SG$168.
The 16th edition of the Affordable Art Fair Singapore saw landmark sales of SGD 5 million with 16,000 visitors, highlighting an increasing demand for art in Singapore. This year’s Affordable Art Fair presented an array of global and local art consisting of 37 percent local and 63 percent international galleries. With 20 different nations under one roof, the fair attracted a broader Singaporean audience, showcasing a growing art culture among locals, as well as the breaking of barriers to acquisition of art within Singapore.
The fair also maintained its appeal to the expatriate community, highlighting its position as a cosmopolitan art event. The Affordable Art Fair’s director Alan Koh commented on the success saying “Our 16th edition in Singapore has been a remarkable journey. We are grateful to continue supporting galleries and artists, fostering a vibrant art community, and encouraging art appreciation among a diverse audience. The fair’s evolution is a testament to our commitment to making art accessible to all.”
Affordable Art Fair continued to maintain its ties with the local community and social causes close to home. Collborations with ART:DIS, Singapore Cancer Society, Sculpture Society (Singapore), and Art Galleries Association Singapore enhanced the artistic offerings of the fair alongside reinforcing its commitment to building a supportive and inclusive art community in Singapore. Here is a quick breakdown of the event’s social impact:
The first year of ART:DIS’s participation was a significant milestone of raising the visibility of artists with disabilities, adding to the diversity of contemporary art. ART:DIS showcased seven artists with disabilities, including emerging artists Christian Lee and Noah Tan, as well as renowned artists like Eugene Soh and Raymond Lau. As the official charity partner of the Affordable Art Fair 2023, the Singapore Cancer Society illustrated the therapeutic role art plays in improving mental health and cancer care through workshops on art psychotherapy and wellbeing sessions, providing a platform for emotional healing and self-discovery through art. Sculpture Society (Singapore) showcased a display of sculptural artworks, including live woodcarving demonstrations, fostering an appreciation for sculpture as an art form.
The Affordable Art Fair also continues to host interactive workshops and a range of family friendly activities as part of the fair’s commitment to make art more engaging and accessible for the wider public. This has always been an integral part of the fair’s ethos since its debut in 2010.
The love of art starts from youth and this was at the forefront of the Children’s Art Studio by Art Wonderland. Here, children indulged in a creative oasis with activities and a space that sparked their imagination and provided a playful and educational art experience. A standout at this year’s fair was the “ATM – Art Transfer Matrix”, a performance piece by the acclaimed Melbourne-based artist Jackie Case, who was flown in for the event. Attendees submitted their creative ideas written on a card and Jackie, seated within a unique box set up, created a unique art piece inspired by the idea, challenging participants to engage with the philosophical question of who the true artist is – the person who conceptualised with the idea, or the person who executed the idea.
The Affordable Art Fair continues to reinforce efforts in promoting art appreciation within the local community. As for the future of the fair, Alan Koh comments, “The ultimate dream for the Affordable Art Fair is to remain a pivotal event for discovering and collecting art, serving as a thriving platform for galleries, artists, and the wider art ecosystem”.
Originally published on LUXUO