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How I got started as an artist in singapore
I’m often asked how I got started as an artist - some 15 years after graduating from art school in Canberra!
It was the near-death of my father in 2014 that jolted me out of a ‘dream’ that I might one day get back into creating art. After moving to Singapore two years earlier, I was busy looking after my first child, pregnant again and getting used to local life. After finding out that my father had suffered a massive stroke, I rushed to be with him in Thailand. Although he survived, he was left him unable to walk or talk. It was through this shocking experience that I sensed the fragility of life and reassessed my own direction.
Fast forward to me at 38 weeks pregnant, when I participated in Affordable Art Fair Singapore for the first time. The next year, I was fortunate enough to represented by LUDO Gallery, with whom I later on had my first solo show.
Some 15 years after graduating from the Australian National University with a double degree in Printmaking and Japanese, it was an unbelievable achievement for me. I didn’t do it alone, that’s for sure. Friends, family and clients were all incredibly supportive and still are.
My interest in art, and particularly printmaking, stems back to my first memories in life as a kindergarten student in Tokyo. I lived there for a year due to my mother’s academic work, and I spent many happy times visiting temples, flipping though my parent’s books on Japanese woodblock prints and eating savoury seaweed snacks!
I was always creative growing up, and my father and I spent much time doing various craft projects. I enjoyed designing and building my own cubby houses - and had a bad reputation for permanently ‘borrowing’ my father’s tools. At aged 12, I thought I would be a fashion designer or a carpenter.
In high school, I had such a strong desire to learn Japanese that I moved to a different school. I was lucky enough to be accepted into an exchange program to study in Japan, where I lived with a family for a year. During that time, I learned flower arranging, kimono-wearing and how to haggle at temple markets! And I also learned to speak, read and write in Japanese thanks to my lovely host mother, whom I still call ‘Okaasan’ some 25 years later.
In University, I pursued a double degree in Asian Studies and Visual Art, which included studying printmaking in Kyoto. It was a great chance to study Japanese woodblock printing, which I realised was the same technique behind the pictures I had adored as a child.
I moved to Japan after being offered a job with JET program in Okinawa. I spent over six years in Japan as a translator, and I also helped to establish a local fashion label. I eventually moved to Brisbane, where I retrained and worked in interior and building design for several years. When a work opportunity to work in Singapore came up for my family, I jumped at the chance of exploring my ‘other side’. It has been an amazing journey so far, and I’m grateful for the unique opportunities Singapore has given me.