Brands do this all the time. Collaborate with a fellow renowned brand or commission a notable person of interest. Nonetheless, if the brief here is not so much novelty but an apt fit for the occasion: Johnnie Walker clearly understood the assignment.

When you see the work of Taiwanese-American artist James Jean, you can’t think of a better mind to conceptualise what the Year of the Dragon could look like as a Blue Label skin. The vibrant, sinewy, yet altogether modern aesthetic wraps around the bottle in a playful, textural imprint.

According to Jean, the natural motifs prevalent in his work takes on the form of flowers and organic tendrils. These floral traits evoke the idea of roots; a connection. These are the bridges between respect for the past and looking ahead to the future with hope.

Celebrated artist James Jean and his designed Johnnie Walker bottle

Plus, the most powerful creature in the Chinese Zodiac and the highest-grade whisky in the JW collection? Insert Epic Handshake meme. If you're familiar with the Blue Label, you'd know that the blend is made from unparalleled—a term not lightly used here—Johnnie Walker reserves of Scotch maturation.

How Many Makes the Cut?

Chiefly because only one in 10,000 make the cut. It's selected from 10 million casks; of which some irreplaceable ones are sourced from long-closed ‘ghost’ distilleries (Cambus, Pittyvaich, Brora, Port Ellen, for the whisky experts among you). A 12-strong blending team infuses these rarities from across all four regions of Scotland, and it’s these very complexities that the visual artist was inspired to interpret.

“There are hidden elements in the picture as well—layers to be discovered, just like the layers in this incredible whisky,” he says, “I want the viewer to peel back the layers and discover more about the image. I want my work to function from far away but reveal more details the more closely you explore the imagery.”

Now where better to witness it up close than in Depth of Blue Room. The brand’s first flagship bar in Southeast Asia sits at the Park Hyatt Bangkok penthouse. It enhances the launch experience with a multi-sensory tasting complete with dedicated cocktails, an immersive room and scented touches. It presented a truly extravagant, thematic dive into what makes Blue Label a big deal.

It’s far from the first time a brand has pulled out all the stops. But such a celebration is certainly a worthy altar for a release as limited edition as this.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label (James Jean edition) is out now.

It’s hard not to be shaken by the current geo-political situation on our doorstep. And while many (if not all of us) are feeling somewhat helpless amid the turmoil, one common hope emerges: Peace.

A symbol recognised worldwide, a circle with an embedded branch, has come to represent this aspiration. Conceived by British graphic artist Gerald Holtom in 1958, it was originally associated with the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Hence its nickname: CND. Holtom’s intention was to convey the image of a stylised figure with outstretched, open palms, symbolising helplessness and resignation in the face of the nuclear threat. The original sketches of this iconic symbol can be found at Bradford University. Holtom, a committed pacifist and conscientious objector during World War II, intentionally refrained from copyrighting his design, making it accessible for all to use.

Earlier this year the US-based design museum, Cooper Hewitt, unveiled its ‘Designing Peace’ exhibition. It explored the unique role that design can play in the pursuit of peace. With more than 30 design proposals, the exhibit showcases how design can respond immediately to urgent humanitarian needs, providing products that aid individuals in rebuilding their lives and restoring their dignity. Creative forces are capable of addressing emergency requirements for secure, healthy and respectful environments. The United Nations, through its Sustainable Development Agenda (Goal 16), lays out a plan for nurturing peaceful coexistence. This exhibition is currently on view at the Museum Craft and Design in San Francisco, USA.

Social Change Through Design

In 2023, Tokyo hosted the World Design Assembly. One of the main themes was the pivotal role of design in driving social change across various dimensions. This includes design for peace, design for social change, innovation, inclusion, and cohesion. It is a thread that has played a prominent role in modern Japanese culture. Since 1983, the Japan Graphic Designers Association presented a project entitled ‘Hiroshima Appeals’ dedicated to creating posters with the purpose of promoting peace. Back in 2015, the Japanese government approved the ‘Basic Design for Peace and Health’ recognising human security as the fundamental principle.

In the aftermath of Japan’s defeat in World War II, the Japanese government harnessed the power of design. Through design, they rebuild the nation through innovative products utilising recycled materials to minimise production costs. Another testament to design’s influence on modern society is machizukuri. This is a process of community design that involves both local authorities and residents, allowing the public to play a part in shaping their own futures.

These initiatives illustrate the ability of design practitioners to reinvent their field. To address the economic and societal challenges that Japan, or any modern nation, may encounter in its history. Let’s embrace the Japanese concept of Kyosei or ‘conviviality’. That's where true peace encompasses not only the absence of violence but also the rectification of past injustices, exploitation and oppression.

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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 Work

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. 

STELLAIRE celebrates Singapore Art Week at La Dame de Pic.

If the recent event at the Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa is anything to go by, I'm woefully out of my element. Camera bulbs flash; people in expensive duds air kiss one another; jazz veteran Alemay Fernandez belts out "Summertime"… the evening reaches a crescendo with a dinner overseen by Chef Yannick Alléno, who has 15 Michelin stars under his belt. To call this evening swanky is an understatement.

Behind the flawless execution of the event is STELLAIRE. The platform that curates "art experiences events" is the brainchild of Harmin Kaur and Michael Lee. Kaur forswore her 15-year career at Goldman Sachs. She is also a Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne and founded Women Venture Asia, which fosters an "inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region". Lee is the founder of Hustle & Bustle. You might remember the brand agency that brought in Dale Chihuly's art sculptures that were shown at Gardens by the Bay and Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.

STELLAIRE's co-founders, Harmin Kaur and Michael Lee

The company wants to "craft and curate exceptional moments in the world of high culture". This affair is where they hope to connect people with "exclusive access to legendary artists and performances, culinary masters, musical prodigies, high fashion creatives and innovators".

If you parse through the jargon and marketing-speak, at the heart are people trying to administer the best that the art and culture world can offer. It might seem out of the realm for common folks. But they are also trying to do good with what they know. The aforementioned shindig at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa? There was a charity auction attached to it. Aside from the exquisite dining experience and entertainment, money was raised. All proceeds go to the Community Chest and the Association Antoine Alléno, a foundation to help victims and their families with moral, psychological and financial support. The charity was set up by Chef Alléno after his son was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

Chef Yannick Alléno, Chef-Owner, Pavillon Ledoyen

That evening's tally? A total of SGD43,038 was raised for the charities. The amount cements STELLAIRE's presence in the realm of making meaningful social impact, on top of hosting a dinner to remember.

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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

Lim Chiao Woon isn’t your typical gallerist. Then again, his gallery doesn’t fit the mould of what an art gallery should be. For one, it is nestled in a shophouse in Haji Lane. Outside, a sign, in all its carnival barker glory, screams “LOVE ART? COME UPSTAIRS”. You follow the nondescript stairway leading up to the second level. Enter through the threshold, and find yourself besieged by a kaleidoscope of colours.

Called “Mr Lim’s Shop of Visual Treasures”, the place sounds like an avant-garde school canteen stall. A cave of wonders, something out of a fairy tale. Lim opted for “Mr Lim” because it’s “unnecessarily dramatic,” he explains. “Like what Smashing Pumpkins would name its album—I wanted an ‘un-gallery’ name. The idea of calling a gallery a shop is to make art friendly to all folks… you know, like your HDB uncles.”

Artworks are displayed all over the place. If there was a rhyme or reason to their placement, only Lim knew. Several canvases are piled on a table near the door, wrapped in brown paper. Tang Da Wu’s “分叶” (“Dividing the Leaf” in Mandarin ), which takes the form of a granite sculpture, sits at the corner of a narrow staircase leading to the loft. A Thierry Noir original, wrapped simply in bubble wrap leans against the wall. Once on loan to the ArtScience Museum, the piece has been sitting there since its return. Lim casually mentions that it has a price of about 40 grand.

That sort of nonchalance is everpresent when you’re dealing with Lim. Attired in a black Sunspel T-shirt, he proffers bottled water—not Evian or any of the high-end liquids but rather a generic container from the local mom-and-pop mart. If you’re ever intimidated by art or by the gallery attendant hovering about you the moment you enter, you won’t be at Mr Lim’s Shop of Visual Treasures. The experience can be likened to a casual Friday: peruse the artworks; engage in scintillating conversation with Lim; take your time.

Lim used to be a copywriter and creative director for BBH, JWT, BBDO—you know, the titans of the advertising world of initialism—before settling on being the regional creative director for the audio giant Bose.

“That was the best. I got to travel around the world—Japan, Australia, India... I flew constantly. It was great.” And despite the levity, a little grimness creeps into the edges of his next sentence. “Then COVID happened and I got sick.”

To be specific, he didn’t get sick from COVID. It was something else.

It was 2020, in the middle of the lockdown, when working from home became the norm. Lim was still with Bose. Maybe it had been happening all the while but he was alarmed at how swollen his face had got—his cheeks were puffed up, eyes were squeezed shut; the capillaries in his mien bloomed red. Was this an allergy? A bad reaction to something he ate? An undiscovered COVID symptom?

Lim visited the doctor, where, after a battery of tests, was told that a tumour was sitting on the top of his heart; and was impeding blood from being pumped into his face. They needed to do a biopsy.

After the biopsy, Lim had to stay in a ward overnight for observation. His physician told him that there were two kinds of cancer that Lim might have. One was lymphoma; “that’s the good one” as it is treatable. The other was more aggressive and would require excision—it had to be cut it out, and that would affect the healthy tissue around it.

Understandably, sleep wouldn’t come. A dark cloud filled his head as he rued the decades given to selling “crap to people”. “I was only 50 and regretted about how I’d spent my life,” Lim says. “The whole night listening to audiobooks—the Bible; the Koran; Thích Nh t [H nh]... until the sun came up and the doctor and nurses came in to deliver the results: good news, it’s lymphoma.”

“I may go through hell with the chemo, but with the 70 per cent chance for survival, I’ll take it.”

It’s always a major event that would change the course of one’s life. For Lim, the lymphoma veered him off the corporate track. The ad world wasn’t an easy thing to relinquish; he loved what he did and the generous remuneration that came with the responsibilities. “But it was too stressful, too hard. I don’t get to see my kids; I don’t get to see my wife. Changi Airport was a revolving door.” After he left Bose, Lim started his chemotherapy.

The thing about Lim is that when he looks at you, he doesn’t really see you. He has retinitis pigmentosa, a chronic hereditary eye disease that slowly causes the retina to degenerate. “It was manageable but the lymphoma messed up my eyes. Inflamed them so I started to lose vision.” 

He had an eye operation the other day—a steroid injection. “This drug is floating in my eye. Like a little snake, just letting out steroids.” He still has his peripheral vision but can only see “sides and bottoms”; a little pinhole in the middle of his eyes that allows him to read, albeit slowly and not for very long. He relies on software to audibly transcribe e-mails and texts. 

Lim can’t articulate how he “sees” an artwork. If he puts his face close to it, he can “sense” most of it. “I’ve to assemble the thing in my mind. Kinda like scanning,” he says, “it’s hard to explain but ‘sensing’ would be a better expression for the process.”

He looks drained; having to explain the worst part of his life to a stranger for the umpteenth time. He doesn’t want people to know about his ailment to avoid being treated differently. But he needs to explain to prevent any misunderstanding. Sometimes the people whom he had conversations with would return and he’d have no idea of who they were. “I go by your general shape,” Lim explains, “I’ve to familiarise myself with your movements and what you usually wear. I have to get your vibe.”

Lim doesn't use the walking cane that he was issued with. It draws too much attention, he says. But he knows that down the road, he might have to rely on it eventually. He is holding out hope though, in the form of stem cell research. “There’s a lot of progress with that, so the cures are coming in. My doctor says that I could be in line for the trial.” As always, he sees something that many aren’t privy to. A silver lining. A small seed of prospect to get him going.

Art became a refuge for him. So, during this period of great stress, Lim returns to this port in the storm and decides to set up his own gallery. His family were supportive. Rental was cheap during COVID, so Lim took up space in Tanglin Shopping Centre and filled it with art that he collected over the years. In the beginning, it was just him and his friends sitting in the store, talking cock and whiling the time away. There was hardly any traffic.

A few months in, Lim decided to put together an art show. It was inspired by a conversation that he had with Ai Weiwei when the latter opined about not being fussed about how his son was doing academically in school. “The world is ok with one additional fool,” he had said. Lim pondered on that. Those were good words to live by. “You’re more concerned about being who you are [and] doing what you believe in... I think it’s something to be said, to know who are the real fools,” Lim says. “ I mean, think of Steve Jobs or Picasso – they are all, at some point, thought to be crazy or not making sense.”

So, into madness, Lim went. He asked Ai if he wanted to be part of an art exhibition called Fools. He agreed and sent in three face masks with prints of his work on them. Ai’s inclusion garnered buzz and made it easier for Lim to approach more artists for the show. In 2022, on opening night, the queue snaked outside of Lim’s gallery. Lim admits that the show was amateurish. “The Straits Times called it a ‘grad show’, which was true. I’m not your usual gallerist. It’s very casual.”

He started selling; the ball started to roll with inquiries pouring in. Lim has hosted several shows since then. He wants to do this for as long as he can. He has moved into this new space in Haji Lane, where foot traffic is abundant.

With the gallery, Lim hopes to promote the local art scene.“I like the idea of being a somebody to a nobody, who will later be a somebody,” Lim says. “It’s not really helping but being part of this journey of a young artist. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Singapore isn’t the most friendly of places for an artist.”

He’s inundated with portfolios from artist hopefuls but he gives them the time of the day. “I’ll try to keep the gates open as long as I can. But I do have some criteria.” 

First, the artist needs to be serious about his work. It can’t be a hobby. A whim of fancy. Art as to be their life’s calling. Second, the work has to be unique, something that he hasn’t seen before. Third, he wants to back and represent promising but less-advantaged artists. “It’s a dumb criterion but they need my help more. Ninety-five per cent of them will quit within the first three years because our ecosystem doesn’t foster or cherish their endeavours as much as other countries,” Lim says. “I want to get them on bigger stages like Art SG or even overseas at Art Basel. It’s crazy expensive and it’s a guaranteed money-losing venture but what are you going to do?”

Lim will still take a cut from any art that he sells (“I still need to pay rent but I take 10 to 40 per cent less than the market rate, depending on the situation.”) but he eschews contracts. Everything that’s said is through WhatsApp, which leaves a digital trail. “Oh, and they are free to leave whenever they want. If you think about it, I’m running a halfway house.”

In the middle of the interview, Nur Syahirah, dressed in overalls enters with two large canvases. She is here to deliver her work through Lim. She got to know him when he attended a LASALLE graduation show. “There were a few artists or students that he was interested in and wanted to put our works in a group show,” Syahirah says.

While she didn’t have any expectations, she sold her first work through the show. Lim is helping her ship her second sold piece (which was the canvas that she lugged in) to another client. “I was supposed to work on an original piece but [the client] looked through my portfolio and wanted an earlier work.”

She’s encouraged by the sale. In other galleries, she reckoned that it would be harder to sell her pieces, but at Lim’s, the process is made easier. If Lim hadn’t entered her life, she wouldn’t know how to begin her journey, let alone, navigate, as an artist.

When it comes to funding, Lim has his savings to fall back on as well as working as a consultant. There is also his sizeable art collection that he began amassing in 2004. “I’ve paintings that I can sell off if I need the money. I’ve some [Takashi] Murakamis, a couple of Shepard Faireys like the Obama “Hope” poster. Those can pay the rent.”

The gallerist in his space.

I ask if there was a piece of art he won’t ever sell. Lim smiles as he gestures for me to wait while he retreats to the back and rummages through a box. He pulls out a milk tin and shows me the underside with Ai Weiwei’s signature. It’s one of the tins from Ai’s 2013 installation “Baby Formula”, which was a map of China made from more than 1,800 tins of baby formula to reflect the mainland’s demand for milk powder due to fears ignited over the safety of its domestic milk powder.

Lim can pinpoint the first time he got interested in art. He was a teenager on the bus and he saw his friend pull out a cassette tape of U2’s The Joshua Tree. He pulled out the liner notes and saw Anton Corbijn’s photos of the band.

“I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I know it’s not art-art but that awakened something in me. I’d go to museums to look at the art and whatnot.”

When Lim entered advertising, he saw that the advertising world and street art public creation were intertwined. “One has a commercial slant and the other is artistic,” he says. “Every creative would like to be a Banksy. He’s the gateway drug to my art collection.”

When pressed on what kind of art catches his eye, he thinks about it before answering. “I think, it needs to have an original spirit. It sounds weird but when you first see something, you can sort of get a sense of its spirit. Art shows you that in an unfiltered way. The whole idea of collecting that essence and keeping it around you? That’s a nice feeling.”

He points to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. It is a philosophy book that’s about finding quality. “But not about finding good or bad quality. It’s a way of... I don’t know, being intuitive? My whole career is about judging things. Advertising is easier because I know the objective and I can match it to the objective. Art is different because you don’t judge it against an objective. You feel it. I find that more liberating and enjoyable.”

There’s regret in his voice as he laments about how he had lost years with them. About how he missed out a lot. But now he’s making up for lost time. His gallery business is a family affair: his sons transport and mount the artwork; his wife sweeps up the space. At home, the kind of paintings that go on the wall, involve a democratic procedure. “We all vote on it. Which is fine because they have to live with looking at it day in and day out.”

Is the lymphoma a Godsend? A Christmas Carrollian spirit of influence? Lim thinks that if it weren’t for the disease, he wouldn’t be managing a gallery. “I needed something like that to wake me up,” he says softly. “I would have stuck with the job, with the whole rat race. You’d want a bigger condo, a bigger car. I wanted an original Ai Weiwei. I wanted a Yoshitomo Nara. The more I wanted, the more I had to work. It’s a dopamine death trap.”

As opinionated as they come, Lim is a firebrand in the local art world. He bitches about the short end of the stick that newer, younger artists are getting. He kvetches about self-censorship or the lack of support from panels and organisations. Art is a luxury we need to afford. And yet, he will not be the one to save the art scene. Not in the way you think. Like the Baptiser, Lim is preparing the way for the artist that will make it big.

“Joseph Schooling, Stephanie Sun, JJ Lin, they are important,” he says, almost declaratively, “because they show parents there is a future in swimming or singing. It’s possible.”

Then, the corner of his lips turned upwards, his tongue fully in cheek, “At least, if one of them becomes a superstar, I’ll get a free painting out of it.” He laughs. “That’s the dream.”

Photography Lavender Chang
Art Direction Joan Tai

The art industry can be an intimidating scene where it seems a small few hold the key in dictating what the rest of the world perceives as “good” or “bad” art. This is where the Affordable Art Fair comes in. By helping people fall in love with art by giving them the confidence to trust their own taste and style, they are also disrupting the business model of art and the stronghold that art dealers and critics have over the industry.

2023 sees the Affordable Art Fair maintain its presence in Singapore as the longest-standing art fair in the region. In November, the F1 Pit Building will play host to the fair, transforming itself into an immersive space where rare art meets a contemporary lifestyle. Singapore’s Affordable Art Fair holds the same ethos from the day it started. Art is not just for the elite, it is for everyone; be it an art aficionado or a budding art collector just starting their personal collection. Affordable Art Fair is the one-stop destination to indulge, explore and elevate your senses with art of all mediums. The Fair removes the elitism known to be held in the art community by presenting artwork from contemporary oil paintings to life-sized sculptures, for every space and budget.

Why the Affordable Art Fair is a Must-Visit:

The fair showcases a plethora of artworks in an environment that is free from intimidation or judgment. The Affordable Art Fair is about celebrating art in a space that is both friendly and transparent. Transparency is particularly applicable for the pricing as all artworks are prominently displayed with their respective prices which are under SGD15,000. 75 percent of artworks displayed are priced below SGD7,500. A delightful selection under just SGD1,000 makes it easier for everyone to find that perfect piece that speaks to both their taste and budget. What sets the Affordable Art Fair apart from other art events is its distinctive presence within the art fair scene, attributed to the Affordable Art Fair’s unique approach to an accessible, vibrant and inclusive atmosphere that encourages education.

The fair is also a melting pot of cultures across 81 galleries as it is comprised of 36 percent local and 64 percent international galleries allowing visitors to experience a more holistic, international collective of art and culture. These galleries are comprised of over 20 different countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and Thailand among many others.

The renowned Art Fair also makes a crucial step in supporting local artists. By choosing art from Affordable Art Fair, you will be directly contributing to the contemporary art ecosystem, supporting artists’ livelihoods, alongside the galleries that champion their work. Therefore, when you purchase a ticket to the Affordable Art Fair, you get the best of both worlds. Not only do you get access to thousands of artworks all under one roof; but it’s also a chance to speak to the experts and gallerists.

"A little talk", 2020, chinese ink acrylic and gold leaf on Korean paper 60 x 60cm. JIEUN PARK

What To Consider When Purchasing Art

When collecting art, it’s good to expose yourself to industry connections and mingle with like-minded individuals to get a better grasp on up-and-coming trends, industry insights and other word-of-mouth hearsays and tips. Being on the ground, your ability to sense and indulge in the local art industry and energy gets more heightened, as opposed to appreciating it off your screen. Colours, techniques, pigments and expressions all come to life.

However, before we purchase art, it is important to understand why we are purchasing it. Would it be included as part of a decorative switch-up in your home? If so, would the piece be featured in your own private space on displayed in an open room? Style, colour, layout and dimensions are all of these are crucial components worth taking into consideration as well. Some pointers as stated by Singapore Art Fair’s Fair Director, Alan Koh are:

Advice For First-Time Buyers

Research is crucial. While the Affordable Art Fair is a prejudice-free space it is important to explore your options. Once inside the space, take your time understanding the different types of artworks on offer from methods, materials, colours and sizes, perhaps even listing out a personal pick of top five or top 10 selections and why you are drawn to those pieces.

Next, always keep a budget in mind. If an artwork that catches your eye is over budget, that does not mean it is off-limits. As Koh explains, galleries might have a smaller piece by the same artist up their sleeve. Or they may offer a payment scheme to allow you to spread the cost over monthly or quarterly instalments. However, if you happen to see a work of art you fall in love with but is out of your budget, keep in mind that many galleries offer a “try before you buy” scheme. You basically borrow work to view it in situ for a specified period, before your commit to that final decision.

“LookOut”, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 50cm. HUANG ZHI YU

Art and The Artist

One of the most exciting parts of collecting contemporary art is learning about established artists or discovering rising stars. Cultural background, heritage, techniques, methods as well as inspiration and motivations are important in drawing you into a piece as these build emotional ties between a collector and the artwork. Do your research into the artist’s background. What story are they saying with their work and does it inspire you? Examine the materials—pencil, charcoal and pastel drawings are both priced and presented differently as opposed to oil paintings or a bronze sculpture for instance.

“Seafood Chowder”, 2023, mixed media on canvas display 25 x 25cm. GABBY MALPAS

Be Open To Originality

Embrace the unconventional and the original keeping in line with the realms of your own imagination and budget in mind. Art is meant to make you think, make you feel something from within. You should not buy an artwork because you think it is what you should be buying. Instead, make sure your heart and head take an equal part in your decision. Collecting art is ultimately about developing and learning to trust your taste. And the Affordable Art Fair is a great place to start.

To register and purchase your tickets for this year’s Affordable Art Fair, click here.

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Originally published on LUXUO.

NIGO and his illustrated zoo.

There are many ways to describe wine other than the palate. One could pontificate about the colour of the grape or how the light hits the glass to give that blood-red hue. You could comment about the presence of sediments or how bright it is, which speaks about the filtration process. But in a rare moment, Penfolds decided to get people talking about the label design. Cue NIGO.

Penfolds ropes in street style doyen NIGO as the brand’s inaugural creative partner. This year-long appointment will lead the creative vision for selected Penfolds projects. A veteran in the fashion, art and music world, NIGO is also a wine collector. When asked about his affiliation with Penfolds, NIGO says, “I have always loved and enjoyed wine, and Penfolds has always been one of my favourites. My creative partnership with Penfolds is a dream project. I am grateful for the opportunity.”

Merch are all sold out loh. The wines are still available.

One by Penfolds

And what is NIGO’s first labour? It’s the One by Penfolds.

One by Penfolds celebrates “oneness”. You know, that old saw about how different and unique people are and the things that bind all of us together. But that expression holds true for Penfolds as its wine is the product of diverse perspectives and regional nuances of each winemaking region.

In his signature style, NIGO designed four animal motifs for the wine labels. Like something out of an alt-Sanrio sketchbook, each animal (crocodile; rooster; panda; bear) represents the four winemaking regions where One by Penfolds wines are sourced—Australia, France, China and America. Limited-edition T-shirts and jackets, courtesy of NIGO’s own Human Made label, accompanied the global launch of One by Penfolds. Alas, those were quickly sold out. But the One by Penfolds range is still available online and at selected restaurants and bars.