HUBLOT

What do you do when you're an artist fascinated with the past, present and future? You poetically merge all three to fuel your art. New York-based artist Daniel Arsham is celebrated for crafting modern-looking artifacts or figures that appear eroded, mimicking the effect of casts being burried for centuries. Future relics, if you will. Given his penchant for time, it makes sense that his next project will involve a watch brand like Hublot. The matrimony between his artistic perspective and Hublot's technical expertise yields something that feels modern and otherworldly, the Arsham Droplet.

The Arsham Droplet reimagines the classic pocket watch by building on antique forms using the latest production methods and materials. These updates challenge watchmaking norms, fashioning a timepiece that looks straight out of Ex Machina. Drawing inspiration from nature's water elements, the Arsham Droplet employs titanium, rubber, and sapphire crystal to create a tactile experience that feels like whatever the antithesis of grasping water is.

True to the concept of fluidity, the Arsham Droplet can be shown off in more ways than one. As a necklace to a pocket watch, or displayed as a statement piece on its titanium and mineral glass table stand, Hublot’s patented double "one-click" system ensures seamless attachment.

The Specs

HUBLOT

A timepiece without a heart is merely a shell and the Arsham Droplet comes alive with Hublot's Meca-10 manufacture movement. It flaunts an impressive 10-day power reserve shielded by two domed teardrop-shaped sapphire crystals measuring 73.2mm in length and 52.6 mm in width. Fortified with a titanium case and a custom Arsham green rubber bumper, it's double encased with 17 O-ring seals to ensure nothing contaminates the quiet and intimate environment of the calibre. Featuring Hublot's signature H-shaped screws, the pocket watch bears a stamp of the artist's monogram on its crystal surface. Adding to the Arsham Droplet's theme, it has a water resistance of 30m, impressive for a pocket watch this intricate.

Given the complicated construction of the Arsham Droplet, it's no surprise it's limited to just 99 pieces world-wide.

1. The Rich shampoo and The Rich conditioner, AUGUSTINUS BADER

Augustinus Bader is known for its potent, science-backed skincare, and now it is extending the cellular- renewing magic of its proprietary TFC8 tech to hair. An upgrade from its predecessor, The Rich shampoo and conditioner work in tandem to revive hair that’s extra-dry, heat-damaged, coloured and/or breakage-prone. Essentially, you’d have a mane like this handsome boy pictured.

2. Backpack, BERLUTI

Don’t be fooled by the appearance of this backpack. This work of art is part of Berluti’s Toujours Soft series. Crafted from Venezia leather, it cuts a rather structured profile but feels incredibly soft (and not to mention, light). The softness also gives the backpack potential to be even more pliable with age. The Scritto-decorated exterior also lends a classic gentlemanly air that’s contrasted with the contemporary top-handle-backpack hybrid.

3. Vetiver Le Parfum, Habit Rouge Le Parfum, and L’homme Idéal Le Parfum, GUERLAIN

Because ideas of what makes a man have changed over the decades, it makes perfect sense for Guerlain to update some of its signature men’s fragrances. Perfumer Delphine Jelk sought inspiration from the world of spirits, transforming Vetiver, Habit Rouge, and L’Homme Idéal into eau de parfums reminiscent of infused gin, bourbon and amaretto respectively. The intensities are heightened thanks to a selection of concentrated ingredients; each of the fragrances is seductive in its own way.

4. Shoes, ZEGNA

How does one create leather shoes that feel buttery-soft on your feet? Zegna achieves it with the use of leather typically reserved for making gloves. Not only is the leather durable and extremely light and airy, the glove leather-tanning process gives it a form- retaining capability that heightens the luxurious feel of the Zegna Triple Stitch SECONDSKIN shoes. Your feet will thank you.

5. Elite 8 Active earbuds, JABRA

Jabra boasts that its Elite 8 Active earbuds are the world’s toughest and it’s easy to understand why. They are US Military-tested to be dustproof; completely waterproof (with the added boon of being saltwater-proof), and fitted with the Jabra ShakeGrip tech to keep your ear buds in place no matter what activity you engage in.

6. Home Collection, River Spey Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, THE MACALLAN

Say hello to the second release in The Macallan Home Collection. This particular expression is a hearty mix of sultana, rich velvety butterscotch, toasted oak, chocolate and nutmeg for that characteristically sweet and fruity palate of the Spey. But beyond the whisky, each bottle comes with a set of three limited-edition giclée prints by artist Michelle Lucking to visually transport you to the natural beauty of The Macallan's home.

7. 1080V13 trainers, NEW BALANCE

It’s all in the foam with this one. The New Balance 1080V13 is fitted with a thick rubber outsole to help increase its durability in high-wear areas. There’s also its midsole that’s made for incredible comfort thanks to its bio-based Fresh Foam X material. There’s no doubt you’d be able to breeze through your daily training runs in these without needing to worry about post-run aches.

8. Aerospace B70 Orbiter, 43mm titanium case with rubber strap, BREITLING

Twenty-five years ago, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones were the first to circle the globe nonstop in a hot air balloon. Their timepiece of choice? Breitling’s Orbiter 3, clocking in 45,633km in 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes. To commemorate that incredible feat, the Aerospace B70 Orbiter is dressed with an orange dial reminiscent of the balloon’s capsule and marked with the mission logo. A piece of the original balloon is also embedded within the watch itself, visible through the open caseback—a piece of history in your hand, literally, to remind you of the indomitable human spirit.

9. Scarf, LORO PIANA

We cannot tell you just how soft Loro Piana cashmere is—it is something you will just have to experience for yourself. This fringed cashmere scarf will keep you warm, whether in an air-conditioned setting or during a winter vacay. It’s that luxe feel that’s akin to being snuggled up by a fluffy kitty. Oh, and that circular gold logo adornment adds a rather spiffy touch too.

10. Hammerschlag Cabin suitcase, RIMOWA

We are all familiar with RIMOWA’s signature grooved detailing on its suitcases and accessories by now. But dig deeper into the brand’s archives and you would find the Hammerschlag (the German word for “hammer hit”) that predates the grooves. RIMOWA brought back the textured, polished aluminium series for a limited edition collection. This time, updating it with modern travel functionalities, so that it’s perfect for when you want to escape the rigours of life for a bit.

Photography: Jayden Tan
Styling: Asri Jasman
Digital Imaging and Retouching: Nguyen Tien Phuc
Photography Assistants: Aisyah Hisham and Brian Neo
Special thanks to Cat Paradise

The Dream Sphere
The Dream Sphere

Led by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Singapore’s participation at the World Expo 2025 was an opportunity to share our nation’s story. Located at Yumeshima Island, situated near Osaka, Singapore's pavilion design is called "The Dream Sphere". It is a seven-storey bright red sphere that pays homage to Yumeshima Island’s name, meaning "Dream Island". With the tagline, "Where Dreams Take Shape", this sphere is designed and produced by Kingsmen Exhibits.

The Design

If the design looks familiar, chalk it up to coincidence. Leading Singapore-based multidisciplinary design firm, DP Architects spearheaded its architectural design. Inspired by Singapore’s endearing moniker, ‘the Little Red Dot’, DP interpreted the look of the Dream... quite literally. Conceived in line with the expo's theme of "Designing [a] Future Society for our Lives", the Pavilion aims for positive change to build a more sustainable and liveable city for Singaporeans. It's constructed around the tenets of 4Rs—renew, reuse, reduce and recycle. And staying true to the message of sustainability, the facade is made of more than 20,000 recycled discs. 

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Other design features of the Pavilion include its scaly exterior. It references the Seigaiha, a traditional Japanese wave motif, and Ema, a Japanese wooden wishing charm. The sphere’s colour coincides with Singapore's and Japan’s national colour. Its shape resembles the distinct silhouette of the Japanese ume. 

Carrie Kwik, Executive Director, World Expo and Special Project, STB, said, “Singapore’s participation at Expo 2025 in Osaka serves as an important platform for Singapore enterprises and talents to be profiled on a global stage and a chance for companies to enhance their brand visibility and engage potential business partners. We are proud to bring Singapore to Osaka and aim to have Singapore business missions visiting Japan to network and promote collaboration between Singapore companies and Japanese guests at our Singapore Pavilion.”

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Expo 2025 Osaka expects 28 million visitors over 184 days from 13 April 2024 to 13 October 2025.

From 15 to 21 April 2024, Moncler transforms the Milano Centrale railway station into a spectacular creative hub. The station will turn into one of the world’s largest galleries with an immersive exhibition titled An Invitation To Dream.

“Dreams are what have been moving myself and Moncler forward since day one, because we never stop dreaming about what is possible, and how we can inspire and be inspired by others around the world. Always aiming to not only do new, but to do better,” says Moncler chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini.

Curated by Jefferson Hack, the theme of the exhibition heeds closely to the brand’s values. An Invitation To Dream is filmed and photographed by Jack Davison, and features a lineup of visionaries that are the cultural leaders of today. They include Daniel Arsham, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Isamaya Ffrench, Laila Gohar, Jeremy O. Harris, Francesca Hayward, Julianknxx, Ruth Rogers, Ruffini, Rina Sawayama, Sumayya Vally, and Zaya. 

“The curated community represent some of the finest creative visionaries across culture who dare to dream for us. They are today’s reality-shapers and they were invited to participate as their work carries with it new hopes and possibilities. It’s the deeply transformative aspects in their work and practice that makes them essential artists of our time and essential for us to bring into this project,” Hack explains.

Without a doubt, the station is one of the city’s busiest travel hubs. But not only that, it also represents the pivotal moment for those daring enough to pursue their dreams. Billboards and screen-based advertising sites featuring imageries and quotations from the artists stand amidst the station's bustling environment. These large-scale text pieces and slow-motion portraits serve as powerful yet silent invocations. An Invitation To Dream celebrates those who embody passion and belief.

Arsham tells us more as he reflects on the concept of dreams and manifestation, and how it might help him in his creative processes. From childhood inspirations to the subconscious realms where ideas germinate, Arsham's narrative offers a glimpse into the inner workings of a visionary artist.

ESQUIRE SINGAPORE: Do you consider yourself a dreamer? Are you a dreamer?

DANIEL ARSHAM: Yeah, I believe in the power of manifestation. When I was younger, I didn't fully grasp this concept or its reality, but looking back, I see how I've manifested many opportunities in my life. For instance, when I applied to Cooper Union, I wasn't accepted initially, but I kept pushing for it until it happened. Similarly, working with Merce Cunningham was a dream I actively pursued.

ESQ: You have a lot of notebooks and that you sketch a lot. It's interesting how dreams often start in the mind before taking tangible form. How do you document your process of manifesting ideas? Do your dreams directly influence your work?

DA: There's that 5- to 10-minute period right before you fall asleep where you're kind of in between sleeping, lucid dreaming, where you're partially in control of the vision that you're having in your dream and part of it's taken over by your subconscious. And you can’t differentiate what’s real and what’s imaginary. I often find inspiration in that liminal state right before sleep. There are moments, especially during air travel, where I enter a state between wakefulness and sleep, and ideas emerge. I rely heavily on note-taking and sketching to capture these fleeting thoughts.

ESQ: It's interesting how much our subconsciousness can help recontextualise the conscious mind in a way it can be a freer space. You know, you have an idea, you sketch, you look at ideas, but then when you're in that kind of dream world, you're able to kind of rethink things, or things are presented to you without bias.

DA: Yeah. Ironically, I sometimes do this thing to document an idea where I'll text it to myself. I woke up the other morning from a dream and saw this text I wrote to myself and it said, "Have you ever woken up out of a beautiful dream 30 minutes before your alarm, and you really just want to get back into that dream? Make your life feel like that."

ESQ: Creative flow and dreaming share similarities in their meditative nature. Do you experience a flow state while creating?

DA: Yeah. My studio practice feels like capturing an existing idea rather than inventing one. The idea behind it has already passed. So it's about capturing an idea rather than implementing it. I don't know how exactly to say this, but when I'm painting, It's almost as if the idea is kind of already there and I'm just finding it. Does that make sense?

ESQ: So are you able to kind of paint and not think about what you’re doing? How would you describe that, that feeling of being in a flow state?

DA: I've been making paintings now for 30 years, and I've gotten into a process that almost feels, I wouldn’t say mechanical, but it's very regimented. I know exactly where all of my paint is, the types of brushes that I like to use, and I've refined all of that, even down to the point where I only use a specific kind of paint now.

ESQ: It's interesting because I think that that kind of discipline and rigour is akin to a meditation practice where you're doing something very mundane, but you're doing it very precisely, over and over again, like raking the Japanese garden in your big installation.

DA: Yeah.

ESQ: It does something to the mind. It does something to the creative mind, that practice...

DA: That's why we call it studio practice, because you're constantly trying things out. You're still learning and there's routines that get built up within that that I think are productive, actually, even if they feel like you're doing the same thing over and over again. But, you become better at those things through that kind of practice.

ESQ: Has there ever been a kind of an epiphany moment in that studio practice where you've just done a left turn or you’re shaking things up and thought, okay, I'm going to re orientate what I'm doing here?

DA: I often find it really difficult to trace the origin of particular ideas in my work because they flow from one another. They're kind of iterative. And, I recently started this new series of paintings that are these kinds of split face paintings. We were talking about them earlier and somebody was asking, where did the idea originate from and I can't even remember. 

ESQ: So very much like a dream it's fragmentary, right? You know, it could come from the past and could come from, a moment in history or another life and it could also be a premonition of the future, something that you're projecting or wanting to manifest?

DA: Right.

ESQ: I think by saying I don't know where my ideas come from, I start to question whether they are from me or are they from another kind of source in a way that I'm channelling. Have you thought much about that? Where does inspiration come from in general for you?

DA: I think every artist is a product of the era they live in. It is the artist’s job to interpret and reveal new potential things within that reality that often go unseen or overlooked. Oftentimes when I create a work that has a big impact, it feels as though it already existed in the world, waiting to be expressed. This sense of inherent presence gives the work a significant impact and a sense of purpose fulfilled.

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ESQ: There's definitely recurring symbols and motifs in your work. Are there recurring symbols and motifs in your dream world?

DA: Oh, I have tons of recurring dreams. One of them that's very strange that I can remember going all the way back to high school is, being in a kind of empty landscape with a single tree and there are these cylinders floating in the air and as I go to grab them, they shrink down into a pencil and then just disappear. Then I often have dreams where I'm in my childhood home where I kind of relive my childhood memories.

ESQ: And how does that make you feel?

DA: It's a beautiful thing to go back to your childhood. And, I could probably draw a very accurate floor plan of it even today. I haven't been in that house in over 30 years, but I know it very well. Space has a way of influencing our psychology that I think imprints a lot in childhood.

ESQ: In what way?

DA: I think your childhood bedroom or the space that you spend a lot of time in as a child imprints on you differently than the way an apartment in your 30s might. There's just a different character about it.

ESQ: I'm just imagining younger you in your childhood home, dreaming of what you might be in the future. What were some of the things that you were looking out for that gave you a sense of inspiration or confidence about taking the path of being an artist?

DA: I grew up in a really suburban neighbourhood where all the houses are literally identical with the same floor plan. They might do a mirror image where the house is in reverse of itself. I started getting into photography around age 10 or 11 when my grandfather gifted me a camera. One of my early artistic endeavours was a series of photos capturing the doors of these houses. Even though the houses were the same, the doors ended up being different. The paint of the door. Some people put a flower pot outside their door, or a cross, or something that gave that sameness a unique character. This experience sparked my recognition of an artist's ability to capture the distinctive aspects of everyday life that others may overlook.

ESQ: It's amazing because I can imagine you sort of looking through the frame and then it altering your sense of reality and perspective on the world. I'm really interested in this idea of how you think about reality and perspective. Obviously, our dream world allows us to play with one of those concepts because it is nonlinear, experimental. It's an unreal world. In some cultures, they would say the real world is an illusion and the dream world is the world. But obviously when you're making art and your artworks are also about world building and creating alternate worlds for yourself to inhabit, I wonder if this idea of reality shaping is something that interests you in your work.

DA: Yeah, I think for most people, they accept reality at face value and they accept the limitations of that. Right?

ESQ: The literal physics.

DA: It's not just about the physics; it's about where we're born, the options presented to us, and what we believe we're capable of achieving. For me, the essence of creating art goes beyond a career; it's about realising the potential to bring my visions to life authentically. It can be unsettling to recognise that much of what we perceive as reality are human constructs. Somebody made them, you know. I have my two young sons, Casper and Phoenix, and I often emphasise to them that behind every design decision lies the possibility for change. There's a lot of potential in realising that reality is malleable.

ESQ: So your motivation is about looking at the world and seeing how you can improve on it or change it. Or is it more about seeking some kind of answers to unrealised questions?

DA: Yeah, I think making art is more about trying to find the answer to something, but actually it's really revealing more questions in some ways.

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ESQ: That's super interesting. I like that we talked a lot about childhood and your children as well. I think also part of it seems to me that you are always open to change and new possibilities. You said earlier, always learning is also a little bit about staying in a childlike state?

DA: Yeah. Children have this unique ability to perceive things differently.

ESQ: How do you maintain that sense of freshness and openness to new experiences? What are some of your techniques?

DA: I try to relive my own childhood through my sons. This is a bad example, but they've been wanting to get these go karts. Obviously, cars are a big part of my life, so I got them these really fast gas go karts that are probably not even legal today. I have a paved area behind my garage and you can fully drift these things. They kept telling me ‘you're going too fast’ and I was like ‘I got it under control!’ And eventually, like a child, I pushed it over the limit and fully flipped the thing, tore up my arm and knee, and it was funny. Casper, who's the older one, said ‘you know, I told you not to do that.’

ESQ: How have you showcased "pushing the limits" in your work?

DA: As an artist, we often engage in series, and the public often perceives artwork through repetition. It's like pages of a book that you're putting together, but knowing when the book is finished and how it progresses to the next chapter or book is a constant consideration. I often have too many ideas that I'm always waiting to realise. I don't know if that really answers the question. But yeah, I always have too many things on my list to make, too many ideas.

ESQ: Was there an experience, an artwork that's made such an incredible impression on you, the kind of impression you hope your work would have on the public when they encounter it?

DA: Right around the time that I was shooting those photographs, when I was 10, 11, 12, there was a hurricane in Florida that completely destroyed the childhood home that I grew up in. The house was reconstructed back in exactly the way that it had been before, except obviously, the wallpaper was different. The tiles on the floor were different. The furniture was different. But it was the exact same space. It also gave me the experience of seeing how architecture was put together. The structure, the electrical lines, the plumbing, the drywall, the paint. Understanding that, yeah, somebody thought about that, somebody made that, it was a considered idea. I think that really had a major impact on the way that I think about everything. Something being destroyed, something being reconstructed. The use of different materials for different possibilities and its manifested in my work in so many different ways.

ESQ: That's a great story. Last question, what’s an unrealised dream or ambition for you?

DA: Ummm.. an unrealised dream? Film is certainly something that I've played with in the past and I think never really realised in its full potential. Made some short films. But I think at this phase in my life, I keep coming back to the most interesting things that constantly draws me back. I have made a big return to painting after almost a decade. It's become not only a part of my art practice, but also a significant aspect of my daily life in the studio.

We know Gillman Barracks as a colonial barracks and then as an arts cluster. But there are more to the area than just contemporary art galleries. For one, there is The Southern Depot, where it's all about crafts, cycling, wellness and lifestyle.

The Southern Depot seems like a prime pit-stop and landmark in-line with Gillman Barracks' vision as a vibrant creative arts enclave. Painting itself as an event space, The Southern Depot hosted a slew of activities and workshop when it opened in early March. It was a weekend event that featured vendors like Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee, KultBespoke, HeartyPlayFam, Re-store and more.

Embracing the ethos of "Cycles, Craft, and Community", the creative hub fosters dynamic partnerships with local lifestyle brands and carefully curates eco-conscious workshops. Aside from weekend craft markets, visitors can also visit the DIDI Lifestyle area, where you can peruse a wide array of two-wheelers in their showroom (hell, try for a test ride!) or patronise their on-site partners like Weber Grill Academy (getcher grilled meats on!), Kaffa Bella (getcher caffeine on!) and Little Island Brewing Co (getcher beer on! Responsibly!).

Tune in for more curated programmes and installations from weekend markets, seasonal pop-up events and co-working spaces. Goh Kian Sin, Executive Chairman of DIDI Group and owner of The Southern Depot says, “We have many programmes and partnerships in the pipeline, and are looking forward to introducing a unique experience for visitors to discover the limitless potential of The Southern Depot.”

So, if you feel fatigued by the art (or the GD sun), step into The Southern Depot for a spell. Have a drink or some food and even partake in one of their many cultural events.

About six months into Vacheron Constantin’s newly forged artistic and cultural alliance with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), the two organisations present the “Masterpiece on your Wrist” project. This is the first of many projects that are dedicated to safeguarding and passing on knowledge and expertise. This one is extra special because now you can wear a literal masterpiece on your wrist.

While the program is a unique offering, wearing a piece of art isn't new to Vacheron Constantin. The brand produced something similar with its partnership with The Louvre in 2019. The bespoke program, “Masterpiece on your Wrist”, revolves around two touch points:

  1. A unique, single-piece edition Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers
  2. The enamel dial must have a reproduction of a masterwork housed in the world’s preeminent museums 

The partnership with The MET brings many iconic and beloved artworks from the famed American museum into the program catalogue. Masterpieces such as "Wheat Field with Cypresses" by Vincent van Gogh; "Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies" by Claude Monet; "Northeaster" by Winslow Homer and even, sculptures such as "Diana" by Augustus Saint-Gaudens were chosen and brought to life by Vacheron Constantin’s revered Métiers d’Art department.

The Process of the Art

Celebrating decorative techniques applied in watchmaking, watches in the Métiers d’Art collection are enhanced by the maison’s master artisans. These experts of the clock, whose technicity and artistry are passed down from generation to generation. Here, a client’s selected artwork is faithfully reproduced in Miniature Enamel Painting or Grisaille Enamel. The former involves meticulously hand-painting intricate artwork onto a base layer of baked enamel. Paint is applied in thin layers of individual colours and fixed through successive firings in a kiln. After completion, the artisan seals the painting with a transparent enamel flux, enhancing its brilliance and depth. Miniature enamel painting stands out for its ability to replicate dramatic details, movement, and vibrant colours. This makes it ideal to imitate brushstrokes and impasto effects of Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Winslow Homer’s paintings.

HOMO FABER 2018 Making Of Email Grisaille Enamel Palais Venitien.

On the flip side, grisaille enamelling is favoured for its unparalleled ability to evoke depth, luminosity, and dimensionality. Thanks to the predominant monochromatic guise and shading, it excels in creating the illusion of sculptural relief. Master artisans begin with a typically dark or black enamel base before translucent layers of Limoges white enamel are overlaid to create a spectrum of grey tones. As the layers build up, a chiaroscuro effect simulating the interplay of light and shadow on three-dimensional forms comes to life. You'll see this effect for Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Diana sculpture.

Commissioning clients will enjoy a private tour of The MET alongside its experts and curators, during which a masterwork of choice will be selected. A trip to Vacheron Constantin’s Plan-les-Ouates headquarters beckons next as clients get to meet master watchmakers and artisans who will craft the project before the experience culminates in the bespoke timepiece.

Beyond selecting the watch’s aesthetics, clients are also given free rein in the calibre selection. Three of Vacheron Constantin’s finest movements are available. They are the Calibre 2755 TMR with a minute repeater, power reserve, tourbillon, hours, minutes and small seconds on tourbillon; calibre 1731 with minute repeater, hours and minutes or the three-handed calibre 2460 SC hours with all bearing the prestigious Poinçon de Genève.

Apart from “Masterpiece on your Wrist”, Vacheron Constantin and The MET will continue a series of joint projects. These are designed to showcase their respective rich heritages and ability to keep cultural legacies alive for future generations.

Originally published on Men's Folio

Loewe isn't just a luxury fashion brand. It's a cultural brand that has—since under the creative directorship of Jonathan Anderson—instilled an even greater importance on craft, including from realms outside of the traditional fashion sphere. Through its many collaborations as well as in-house collections, Loewe continues to give prominence the skill of the hand from within its own studios as well as from cultures around the world.

It may seem like a marketing spiel, this idea of a luxury fashion brand being more than creating products to sell. Yet, the proof is in the way Loewe operates. Its social media platforms delve deeper into how a product is crafted by showing a brief run through of the process, while collection notes often detail the craft behind each collection. Separately, Loewe has its annual Loewe Foundation Craft Prize showcasing and awarding the many different works of craft the world over.

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Crafted World is in itself a collaborative effort. The exhibition was designed in collaboration with famed design studio OMA with each thematic chapter varying in interactivity and scale. "Born from the Hand", for example, tells the story of Loewe's evolution from its leather-making roots to its current contemporary fashion leanings as seen through the showcase of key products such as first-edition signature bags to costumes made in collaboration with Anthea Hamilton. "The Atelier" quite literally transports visitors behind the scenes to discover the many steps needed to craft Loewe's most iconic bags, with the journey ending with a two-metre-tall recreation of the Howl’s Moving Castle bag. Along the way, Crafted World offers plenty of surprises including knee-high exhibits thoughtfully conceptualised for children to interact with.

And once visitors are done exploring the six thematic chapters, a specially curated gift shop filled with exclusive merchandise and books, lets the magic continue at home. But that's not all. Crafted World continues onto the courtyard with a number of Galician artisan Álvaro Leiro's reinterpretations of the traditional, fringed Galician raincoats woven from reeds, straw and briar.

The free-to-public exhibition comes as Anderson hit his 10-year mark as creative director of Loewe last year—a rarity in today's climate of creative directors not lasting more than three years. Plenty of credit should be given to the man for reinvigorating Loewe into one of the most exciting luxury brands out there; as should the artisans whose works are the cornerstone of Loewe. Crafted World does just that.

Crafted World runs until 5 May 2024 at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre before making its way around the world.

Eduardo Enrique

It was a decision made during COVID. To not give a damn. To not care if the brands that he worked with knew what he does in his art practice. It may seem unusual for a marketing person to take on this stance, but Eduardo Enrique isn’t the average marketing person.

“All I do for work is to convince brands to stay true to what they believe in and connect with the public in a very sincere way,” Enrique shares. 

Like many major world events—9/11, a reality-show star becoming president, the Rohingya refugee crisis, Covid—it is these sorts of grand incidents that one would be cast into an existential funk. For Enrique, he wonders if he should stop hiding who he is and what he does. 

He is no stranger to taking on a nom de plume. His earlier endeavour was Dick Worldwide, where he took fashion accessories and turned them into phalluses. Dick Worldwide blew up when Hypebae reported on his project. He didn’t give a lot of information about himself. He specifically kept away from using pronouns that might give away his gender identity. 

“I didn’t want to attach an identity to the project because it plays a role in what licences you have as an artist,” Enrique says. “It's not a celebration of masculinity. I chose penises because [they are] the oldest form of mockery where there are graffiti of penises back in Renaissance times. If I said I was a woman in the Middle East, the public will see the work in an entirely new way.” 

Identity defines what sort of roles you can have, or even what sort of roles the public expects you to inhabit. As an artist, Enrique finds it challenging to play with sexuality in his work because there’s too much tension around the subject. For Brand Love, Enrique’s last exhibition in Singapore before he left for Hong Kong, he continues questioning pop culture’s fixation with brands with a what-if: What if there was a Nike retail bondage store? 

Taking the identity of a well-known sports brand, Enrique reconstituted it and created fetish garments and bondage equipment. He made sure to keep the installations to be ‘fair’ across genders. “There were two mannequins—one male, one female. I wanted to make sure there’s a good balance between the sexes,” he says. 

“Because we’re in the age of representation, everybody represents something; [they] represent the voice of a certain thing. That’s why my identity as an artist has only to do with the fact that I’m also [a] marketer; it’s never a celebration and a critique against consumerism. It’s an observation because I’m also [a] huge consumer.”

Untitled (2020)

For New Painting, which was held at the Substation in 2020, there was a piece of work with the spray-painted words ‘God’ and ‘Gucci’ with checkboxes next to them. On the first day of the show, a woman, who was smoking mere minutes ago, came in and approached Enrique. She asked him which one he’d pick. He looked at the painting, then back to her. Both, he replied. The woman looked at him and, with a smile, said thank you and left.

WHAT IS EDUARDO ENRIQUE’S BRAND? 

“I’m a creative trying to bridge disciplines. Especially in Singapore, everything is so young and arbitrary,” he admits. 

At this point in time, Enrique feels that he is at a perfect intersection to talk about consumerism because he represents the companies in selling the product while commenting on the commercialism part of it. “There’s a love-and-hate relationship,” Enrique says. 

But does that make him a hypocrite? Or can one man embody opposites? 

Enrique funds his own shows. That keeps him free and honest; he is untainted by favours that come with other people’s money. But Enrique thinks that is just how he is. He’s never asked for permission. For his first show, New Painting, he eschewed asking people for permission lest he heard the word no. 

He’s a one-man operation, a self-starter. He chose the Substation, put up his own money, created the artwork which he mounted himself, and opened his exhibition to the public. In his head, he has calculated all possible scenarios of things that could go right and wrong. If he had dwelled on these scenarios, he’d never have put up an art show.


Eduardo Enrique’s bio on The Artling states that “the artist explicitly denies talking about his nationality, as he maintains that one should not be judged based on their geographical origin”. Fair that. But it is in this writer’s opinion that to know where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve started from.

Enrique grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. It’s a setting he describes as “very conservative”. His family model isn’t traditional: his parents divorced and his mother raised her kids by herself.

He sees parallels with his mother. “We have the same work ethic,” Enrique reveals. “She’s a go-getter and she finishes what she starts. I don’t think her parents allowed her to be creative. My mum wanted to study architecture but she was forced to choose something else. 

“But she is a fount of creativity and while she never articulated it, she taught me that, to a certain extent, there always needs to be an element of joy in what you do.” 

His childhood was idyllic, but living in a third-world country that’s prone to coups and political upheavals, he became familiar with uncertainty. His family were nomads; Enrique never spent more than four years in the same place. It’s a transient lifestyle that is rather normal to him. He remembers that when he hired someone to help him move, the person asked where the rest of the furniture was. “I’m like, no, this is it,” Enrique says. “As a minimalist, I’ve to let go. Materialism is cyclical.” 

Even the artworks?

“I think you need to be detached to them emotionally,” he says matter-of-factly. “I dispose of a lot of my artwork. I’ll tell people on Instagram that I’m getting rid of a piece and it’s up for grabs.” There is an item that he cannot abandon.

Nike shoes.

He was never much for brands, even when he was living as a stereotype of a Brooklyn hipster when he was working for the creative agency, Swell in New York. Biking, buying vinyls... Enrique was into fashion but he wasn’t into the hype of it. 

“My whole background is in fashion advertising; fashion was about vanity,” he notes. “As a child, vanity was my way of patching up a lot of my insecurities. You buy things to feel empowered, to feel cool.” 

So, when he saw a black pair of Nike Air Force 1, it spoke to him. Enthralled by the silhouette, he forked over money for the sneakers and became a returning customer. He has a collection of Air Force 1s that he can’t bear to be rid of. He lugs them around, this minimalist and his yoke of passion. 

His mother and he lived separately but they still saw each other. Enrique was working at Fabrica then. “She ended up in Singapore. She called me one day and said, hey, I’m going through breast cancer treatment. I quit [my job] and moved to Singapore.”

She got better and Enrique expected to be in Singapore for six months but it stretched to six years. During his tenure, he worked for two creative agencies and made his foray as a full-fledged artist.


"Nude Model in Air Jordans" (2020)

A friend—who prefers to remain anonymous—owns, according to Enrique, “one of his best pieces today”. It’s called "Nude Model in Air Jordans". Taken from his exhibition New Paintings, the piece is a large canvas with the title spray-painted on the back. “When I started, it was important for me to land the idea that I’m not interested in technicality. I’m a conceptual artist. I don’t care about the quality of things. I want people to feel like they could have done what I’ve done. 

New Painting was about classic themes with a twist of modern consumerism. For the front, I tried to render nude modelling or Jordans in so many different ways. But I’ve decided that the front will remain hidden. The painting only exists in your mind and that to me is the best painting I’ve done. 

“This guy looks at it and says that he loves it but can’t articulate why. I told him that I’ll sell it to him if he promises never to see what’s on the front. He agreed, and knowing him, he never did peek at the front.”


Brand Love (2022)

The original plan for Brand Love was to put up a pop-up in the middle of the street. Enrique’s name wouldn’t be on it, but it would be a pop-up that was selling these art pieces. “I’m not Banksy. I’m not somebody with a following,” he states. 

So, Enrique got local art gallery Art Now to house his exhibition during Art Week. “I wanted to make it clear that is art,” he explains. “So we put up all the signs that say I’m not affiliated with Nike. There was only so much planning we could do until Nike sends in the cease-and-desist. It would have been a much different show but I’ll be happy with that outcome as well.” 

This time, he got collaborators to design the interior. He set aside a space for Nike’s cease-and-desist letter. A space in the corner, almost like a taunt. It remained empty throughout the showing. 

Sexual liberation, a commentary on materialism, but there’s another takeaway from Brand Love that not many people will pick up. It’s about courage. “I wanted people who viewed the exhibition to tell me that it took a lot of courage,” Enrique says. Remember, this man is an overthinker and that sort of trait can eclipse that first step in doing. 

Can you imagine doing something that doesn’t shake things up? You can chalk it up to Enrique’s revolutionary South American way of thinking. But to have a true revolution in the culture, you’ll need to challenge the status quo. Love Brand is Enrique’s own little coup in the local art world. He hopes that it’ll at least inspire people to take bigger risks.


"No One Knows" (2020)

Enrique’s life is a series of happy accidents. Recently married (he met his flight-attendant wife on the plane), they are moving to Hong Kong for his new job with Edelman. “Motion represents so much of my life and Singapore is such a dream to live in. There’s no safe place than here, but I am curious about what else is out there,” Enrique says. “Hong Kong seems like a chaotic place, and having come from the chaos I need a little bit of it.”

But first, they would need to travel to Russia so that his wife can get her travel permit. It would be weeks after they arrive there that Russia would invade Ukraine. The battle reminded Enrique of his past, but what he thinks of current events will be another story of his to tell. 

Still, his life is never boring. “My biggest fear in life is to get stuck," Enrique says, "so I’m always challenging myself to just keep blooming."

Originally published April 2022

Here's something to do over the weekend. The fellas who added "hypebeast" to the lexicon are adding something different to their portfolio: a concert on our shores. Called Hypebeast Live, this concert will occur 23 March from 4pm-10.30pm at Somerset Skate Park and TRIFECTA SINGAPORE. We are talking a line-up of live music, DJ sets, arts and food; the event promises a night filled with partying and fun. And if music doesn't do it for you, there are always the activities at TRIFECTA SINGAPORE... but we're getting ahead of ourselves. Here's what you can expect at Hypebeast Live.

The Line-Up

Autograf
Haven
KIARA
Nicolette
HBN
Sivanesh
TropicLab
DONN

Courtesy of HighHouse, the music event will be headlined by regional act Autograf, an electronic dance music duo from Chicago. Having performed at big events such as Coachella and Lollapalooza, Autograf knows how to get a crowd moving. Helping them keep the energy going, two musicians presented by WILD Entertainment will join them—local singer, Haven, and KIARA, a versatile DJ renowned for her eclectic music style.

The line-up concludes with DJs from Sivilian Affairs, including Nicolette, HBN, Sivanesh, TropicLab, and DONN. All the acts will also be livestreamed on the official Hypebeast Youtube channel, providing international fans a virtual front row to the shows.

TRIFECTA SINGAPORE

Clogtwo

It's not just about the music. It's about the culture. And nothing enlivens the culture than with a permitted graffiti presentation. Helmed by artist Clogtwo, who will work on a large mural artwork called "Canvas" on-site at TRIFECTA SINGAPORE. See the process as it starts from basic sketches and transformed into a colourful finished work. For some extra sugar, a giveaway will be held, gifting winners with an exclusive t-shirt designed by Clogtwo. 

There will be pop-up stores as well like ASICS, Don Julio, Guinness, Häagen-Dazs, Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Rip Curl and more.

Capping off the night is an intimate afterparty held at HighHouse. Ticket holders of Hypebeast Live are entitled complimentary access to this restaurant-bar, where Autograf will deliver another exceptional performance.

Tickets for Hypebeast Live are available for purchase here.

To hear Ng Seok Har and Michelle Lim talk about pottery is to experience love. They wax lyrical about how a vase is made, from the kneading and throwing of the clay, to bestowing it a form on the wheel, till it’s baptised by fire in the kiln.

Lim points to a blood-red bowl. “Do you know how this ox-blood glaze came about? Before the Song Dynasty period, China was the only country that could get this level of red. As the legend goes: the imperial potter was so stressed that he couldn’t get the particular red hue that he leapt into the kiln to die. But in doing so, he finally got the desired red. Apparently, bone ash was key in achieving that colour.”

The material, clay, holds history. It comes from the ground upon which humans, animals, vegetation have trodden and interred for centuries. There is something existentially mind-blowing about this very idea.

“It’s humbling to know that, in the grand scheme of things, you’re just a speck that’s still learning,” says Ng, “That’s what appeals to me.”

“This was made by Tju Tjuna Andy, an indigenous artist from the Ernabella tribe in central Australia. If you’re familiar with indigenous art, it is usually painted on a flat surface, often like a bird’s eye view of the land. Dots are often applied, their colours and patterns symbolising rivers, well holes and where food can be found—like these emu footprints circling a well. The designs are done without preliminary sketches; it’s a direct translation of what they see in their mind’s eye. The indigenous community doesn’t usually paint three- dimensional forms but has recently begun to work with potters.” - Lim

“This is the first piece we collected as a company. If Mud Rock [Ceramics] were to be in dire financial need, we would have to sell it. Made by Takeshi Yasuda, he is a magician with porcelain and one of Japan’s living national treasures. This was made in Jingdezhen, China, the porcelain capital of the world.” - Ng

“When Mud Rock was first established, we went to visit Takeshi who was getting ready for a gallery show. We managed to get a few pieces before the event, without the high gallery prices.” - Lim

It’s the act of creation, where the alchemy of earth, water, fire and air can give birth to a ceramic piece.

“Innately, every human being longs to create,” Lim says. “And even if you don’t do it yourself, watching another person do it is rather satisfying. We feel very lucky to be able to make pottery by hand. And we’d be happy to keep on doing it.”

The passage from Ecclesiastes comes to mind: “Of earth, they were made, and into the earth they return together”. It sums up the women’s singular vision—one that was forged individually even before their paths crossed.

Ng’s first dalliance with pottery occurred when she worked in the foreign exchange market in Japan. When she returned to Singapore, she traded in her banking life for one in ceramic making. Lim’s path was more linear, with her studying pottery at the Australian National University and becoming a full-time lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic.

They first met at a non-profit ceramics festival called “Awaken the Dragon.” Organised by Lim, the festival was to raise awareness about the historical significance of Singapore’s last two remaining dragon kilns. The chance meeting also awakened the idea of reintroducing handmade ceramics into the homes and dining spaces of Singapore. This led to the formation of Mud Rock Ceramics.

There was never an official long-term goal for the business. “We didn’t think that far when we started,” Ng says. “We just looked ahead and continued walking.”

Now Mud Rock Ceramics celebrates its 10th anniversary with Clay Camp, which offers guided museum tours, lectures and masterclasses with veteran ceramicists like Iskandar Jalil and Janet DeBoos.

Over the decade, Ng and Lim also amassed a cumulation of ceramics. As their collection grew, so did its rarity and value. They haven’t sold off anything, citing that each piece holds too special a significance to part ways with. Ng shows us an earth-coloured vase from Hagi, Yamaguchi. “I collected this to remember my visits and what I’ve learnt from my stay.” The ceramics fill their house, many of which are not kept in storage but remain in use. Friends who come over are asked to choose from a selection of tea cups to sip from. Daily, vases are filled with flowers. “You feel more joy in using them than packing them away in safe storage,” Lim reasons.

One is reminded of the Jewish folklore about the golem. Made from clay or mud, it is brought to life through incantations written on paper that’s placed in its mouth. In this instance, the ceramic vessels are like tiny golems: fully formed and purposeful as pieces of utilitarian art.)

Miraculously, Lim says that she hasn’t broken a single ceramic from the collection (at the admission, she raps her knuckles on the surface of her wooden table). “Sadly however, I have had guests who have broken stuff within 30 minutes of their visit.”

“There’s no big story to this Lisa Hammond piece. It’s just beautiful. This is the only piece that we bought online without ever meeting the artist or being at the gallery. It’s one of those moments where you just want a Lisa Hammond work in your collection.” - Lim

“I purchased this tea bowl at the Clay Gulgong, a ceramic festival. This is completely wood-fired with the clay and wood taken from Janet Mansfield’s land. Janet is an important figure in the ceramic world for the last 30 years. She founded and served as president of the International Academy of Ceramics. I was invited to her place in the clay commune that she built. She was the first who taught me how to do wood firing. It isn’t what this tea bowl is about, but rather what it means to me.” – Lim

As to the criteria of the pieces that make it to their collection? “There needs to be an instant attraction,” Ng says, “because we are ceramicists, we are aware of the work that goes into a piece and the value of it.”

Lim extends a pair of nondescript mud-coloured cups with dark brown speckles. “These were made by Yuri [Wiedenhofer], a hermit who lives up on a mountain in New South Wales. You can’t buy his creations anywhere. When we visited him, these cups were a present from him.”

She holds them reverently, caught in the charge of a quiet air. Her finger traces a minute chip in the rim of one of the cups. A lamentable accident but one that is eclipsed by what the cup represents, instead of what it is.

“It is quaint experiences and little stories like this that make the pieces we have so special.”

“When I lived in Japan, I visited Mashiko, a pottery town whose most significant son is Shoji Hamada. I saw this piece at a gallery and it was love at first sight. It called out to me because of its unique texture and special glaze.” - Ng

“The clay in Mashiko isn’t fine, but tends to be craggy and rough, which accounts for the unique texture in its pottery. You wouldn’t guess it but the glassy beads on that vase were formed from wood ash. The ashes settle on the clay while in its molten state, turning into glass when fired. All the colours that you see have been forged by the movement of the flames.”
– Lim

“My teacher arranged for me to visit Carol McNicholl’s studio, which used to be a former piano factory. Carol is a character, having risen up with peers like Vivienne Westwood. In her home/studio, there’s a plaster ceiling of roses in the kitchen and a staircase that’s lined with olive oil cans. This piece is made from a plaster mould — it looks like three teacups stacked together but is actually just one vessel. All of Carol’s work is politically-themed. There are drawings of aeroplanes on the exterior and on the inside you can see drawings of butterflies.” – Lim

Photography: Jaya Khidir
Art Direction: Joan Tai

"Fly By Fruiting" by artist and sartorial style enthusiast, Samara Shuter

It’s a new year, and there’s a good chance you’re looking for a new job. Maybe you’re pondering going freelance or starting your own business. You are not alone. Statistics suggest that a third of the workforce switches jobs every 12 months nowadays. Witnessing wave after wave of layoffs, people have learnt that companies aren’t loyal to staff any more if indeed they ever were, so why should employees display blind loyalty to their bosses?

Even here in status-obsessed Singapore, where a stable and well-paid office job has long been seen as the ideal, more and more people are looking for “meaning and purpose in what they do, not just for good salaries,” per the gahmen’s recent Forward SG report. Giving new meaning to the phrase ‘Money no enough,’ today, we want jobs that are rewarding on a level beyond remuneration—jobs we’re passionate about. Often, that means creating a job for yourself.

Many of Canadian artist Samara Shuter’s super-detailed paintings celebrate the type of peacock sartorialism seen at the Pitti Uomo menswear fair. Why the passion for men’s style? Shuter’s family has deep roots in the garment trade—she grew up amongst bolts of colourful cloth, and she says her father’s dapper dressing when she was a young girl also left a lasting impression.

De Bethune's DB28XP Kind of Blue. If you've got a "crazy, leftfield" idea, "just go and do it," says watchmaker Denis Flageollet

“My father had an incredible appreciation for style. He had the most amazing collection of ties,” she recalls. Her dad’s struggles to support his family in various corporate sales roles, which required the Shuter clan to regularly relocate—“We moved every year or year-and-a-half; I was kinda like an army brat, it felt very unstable,” Shuter says of her peripatetic upbringing—also left an indelible mark.

So, when she set out to forge her own career, Shuter says, “It was important to me that I could do something that I love, but where I was in control.” Having seen her father suddenly lose jobs and the turmoil that caused for her whole family, she says, “It was important that what I did, nobody could take away from me.” So she became an artist. Back in the mid-’00s, Shuter took the money she’d saved waiting tables and tending bar and hired a booth at an art fair in Toronto. It was a big gamble, several thousand dollars, everything she had. “But that weekend, all the works I’d painted sold out. I couldn’t believe it.”

Soneva Jani

Three years later, Shuter was selling sufficient volume, at high enough prices, that she was able to quit pouring pints and focus on her art practice full-time.

Leading independent British bespoke shoemaker Nicholas Templeman says it was an invaluable experience mastering his craft as an employee of one of the most legendary firms in the trade. But to make the sort of shoes he was passionate about, he had to set up his own business. “I trained at an established bootmaker—I worked at John Lobb for seven years before going it alone,” he explains. “I had a great time there and there’s a lot I look back fondly on, I don’t think I could have learnt as much about shoes and bootmaking anywhere else in the world.”

Eventually, though, Templeman reached a point where to be fulfilled, he needed full creative and quality control over the footwear he made. “That’s only really possible when your name is stamped on the soles,” he says. Having his signature on the product also means Templeman is especially punctilious about quality. “I’m pretty fastidious about what I make, no shortcuts, even if, as currently, it makes the lead times longer than I’d like.”

Master watchmaker Denis Flageollet, cofounder of De Bethune and a godlike figure in the world of watches, reckons passion—and the confidence to express that passion—is an essential attribute in anyone aspiring to stand out in haute horlogerie. “I love talking to young independent watchmakers to see whether they have that spark inside them, that passion that will allow them to really grow their vision of what watchmaking can be,” he says.

“For several years now, I’ve realised I need to pass on the knowledge I have, not just to train new watchmakers for De Bethune, but to share what I know and my experiences with a larger audience,” Flageollet says. The advice he habitually gives young watchmakers is, “You have to be brave, you have to be bold. If you think you’ve got an idea, but it’s maybe a bit of a crazy idea, or it’s a bit left-field, just go and do it. The only way you’re going to know is to try it, and then see what the world thinks of it; it could be the next great idea.”

He says creatives have got to trust their instincts. “You shouldn’t be scared of not being understood. Maybe they’ll understand you in 10 years’ time—or after you’re dead! The most important thing is that you do what you believe in, what you’re passionate about.” Flageollet encourages rising watchmakers to place a bet on themselves. “I tell them to gamble, try and do something that they believe in, take a leap of faith because that ultimately is what’s going to make them happy.”

Independence is brilliant, but as any start-up entrepreneur, small business owner or freelancer will tell you, there’s also much to be said for a reliable monthly salary. However, those who choose to go the regular wage route are increasingly opting to work for purpose-driven businesses, where the sense of fulfilment goes beyond merely cashing that wonderfully predictable pay cheque.

Sonu Shivdasani says people are attracted to working for his Soneva resorts because the job comes with an authentic sense of purpose, above and beyond profits

“To be a successful organisation in the 21st century, to attract the best people, you need to be authentic,” says the co-founder of Soneva luxury resorts, Sonu Shivdasani, OBE. “You can’t be saying one thing and doing something different, because people will vote with their feet now—they don’t need the work. So if you aren’t authentic, you’re not going to attract the best people.”

In Soneva’s case, that authenticity comes down to what Shivdasani calls “a very clear focus, an undiluted philosophy” he has dubbed SLOWLIFE, an acronym standing for Sustainable, Local, Organic, Wellness, Learning, Inspiring, Fun, Experiences. “Essentially, offering luxuries, while minimising our impact on the environment and enhancing the overall wellbeing of our guests,” Shivdasani sums it up. Soneva is considered the gold standard in sustainable tourism.

The brand’s founders, Shivdasani and his wife Eva, believe a business must have a purpose beyond simply making money, if it hopes to generate high levels of employee engagement and as a flow-on effect, happy customers. “In our industry, in hospitality, the definition of luxury is the magic created by our people, the hosts—we don’t have employees at Soneva, we have hosts. And I believe that magical service has to come from the gut; you can’t train it, it has to be instilled. By having a core purpose that our hosts are aligned with, they become more engaged, more passionate.”

Preparing to open a new wing opened at Soneva Jani in the Maldives a couple of years ago, Shivdasani recalls, “We had 80 vacancies. And within a week, we had 3,000 applicants for those 80 vacancies.” When the successful candidates arrived and Shivdasani was performing their induction, he joked with the fresh hires, “You know, it’s actually tougher to get into Soneva Jani than it is to get into Goldman Sachs or Oxford—and that’s because people really were passionate about joining us.”

We’ll grant you that the prospect of working in a tropical paradise probably didn’t harm Soneva’s recruitment efforts. Nevertheless, there’s a potent lesson in the anecdote for organisations trying to engage people who’ll stay on for more than 12 months. Showing you care about something beyond the bottom line—demonstrating you care about your employees, your customers, and the world—has its advantages. Think about it, boss.

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

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