Monster Gallery was started as a hobby in my kitchen when I was working in a video production company as a motion graphics designer. It had always been my dream to be able to do art full-time. My plan was to wait till my retirement, then devote my time in doing art full time. So while I was still having my day job, I would work on my art, which was mainly printmaking, during my spare time and on weekends. My first prints were mainly created in my kitchen at home, and it was there that I honed my skills as a printmaker.
It was a combination of luck and perseverance that I finally got the opportunity to start doing my art full-time. It was the year 2007 and there were several online platforms like Etsy which made it possible for part-time and home-based artists like myself to sell our art online to an international audience. At that time, my art were mainly prints on monsters, so I ended up with the name Monster Gallery when I opened my shop on Etsy.
From the beginning, I had always wanted my art to be accessible and affordable to the masses. While the internet made it possible for artists to sell their creations, it also enabled anyone to access and buy art anywhere and anytime. For the first time, I realized that by being able to bring my art to everyone, I was also empowered to bring some joy to people by making my art affordable to all. Printmaking is the perfect medium to allow me to do that due to it’s ability to make multiple copies from a single source.
I have always been drawn to printmaking ever since I took it as an elective course during my foundation year as a design student. I could not really pin down to a single reason why I love printmaking, but what I can say is that I like the way each print always comes out differently no matter how much you try to make each of them identical. Perhaps it is the randomness and serendipity that draw me to it. As a creative person who does not like things to be too rigid and controlled, I guess the randomness and unexpected outcomes in printmaking help to bring out the best in me.
It’s been almost ten years since I started making prints seriously. My style has changed and evolved through the years, for better or worse. When I first started, my prints were mainly about monsters, then I moved on to make prints that were influenced by pop cultures like movies and comics. Lately, I am experimenting with prints that are more abstract and conceptual. For my latest exhibition, I am showing a series of totally abstract silkscreen prints. They are my favourites at the moment as it is the first time I am working on something totally personal without worrying about how these will be perceived by the audience. I believe this is an inevitable stage every artist has to go through and face it head-on eventually. Only by going through that will it bring out the best in you.
Throughout my career as an artist, I have always tried to share and spread the opportunities given to me. I had turned down offers to stage solo exhibitions in preference for group shows so that more artists could have the chance to show their works and the audience could be exposed to more variety of art.
Early this year, I started the Young Printmakers League, a printmaking mentorship programme supported by Noise Singapore to mentor young artists in the hope of nurturing the next generation of creative printmakers in Singapore.