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Watching Paint Dry

WATCHING PAINT DRY may not be a drag, if you find yourself in the exciting environment of artworks in varying states of completion, that is!

AC43's latest digital series brought together six artists of diverse disciplines in one-on-one, no-holds barred dialogue sessions to exchange stories about their creative processes, visions and perspectives on the broader art scene. Over three Fridays in March and April, three young artists visited the studios of three senior artists, allowing our viewers (via livestream because we are still in a pandemic!) to have a glimpse not only into the exchange of ideas but also the creative spaces of artists in Singapore.

Behind the scenes at Boo Sze Yang's studio

A work in progress of Boo Sze Yang's that will be featured in his upcoming exhibition in June. Keep a look out for more details, folks!

Boo Sze Yang, The Gateway #5, 2015, Oil on linen, 42 x 120 cm

Lim Jia Qi, Snippets Green 1, 2019, Woodcut, ink and pastel on paper, 47.5 x 60 cm

We began the series with the dialogue between seasoned artist Boo Sze Yang and young printmaker Lim Jia Qi. Although it was pouring during the livestream, the atmosphere in the studio was nevertheless chirpy due to the infectious energy of Jia Qi. Each artist discussed their creative processes in detail and shared with our viewers what lies at the core of their art-making, before tackling perennial questions related to art, such as whether art has the potential to change the world. It might have been a heavy topic for a Friday evening, but it definitely was food for thought and left as hungry for more!

Behind the scenes at Tay Bak Chiang's studio

Artist's block? Nothing several bottles of whiskey can't resolve!

Tay Bak Chiang, 别来无恙, 2017, Chinese ink and colour on paper, 60 x 90 cm

Zhang Fuming, Hand Raise, 2021, Woodcut print on paper, 80 x 80 cm, Ed 1 of 2

The following Friday saw the AC43 Gallery team crashing Tay Bak Chiang's studio for the second instalment, which featured the artist in dialogue with another young printmaker, Zhang Fuming. Against the picturesque landscape of Woodlands overlooking the neighbouring Johor, our artists were very candid with their experiences as full-time creatives in Singapore, throwing all Romantic notions of being an artist out of the window. However, as Tay Bak Chiang has had many years of experience under his belt, he offered up several insightful advice to Fuming and by extension, younger artists looking to make a living in Singapore. In his words, "the most important thing is to have sincerity in producing [your] artwork and to finish it to the best of [your] abilities." It was a dialogue that was on the one hand, sobering from the honest realities of art-making in Singapore, yet drunk with good vibes on the other (the whiskey that Tay Bak Chiang had from a previous collaboration with a whiskey company might have helped!).

Behind the scenes at Chua Chon Hee's home-studio

Art literally seeps through every corner of Chua Chon Hee's house. Just look at those racks of pottery and you'll know you're in the abode of an artist.

Chua Chon Hee, 转化, 2016, Stoneware, oxide, slip (cone 7), beechwood base, 19 x 34 x 17 cm

Ben Loong, Vug 2 晶二, 2018, Resinated drywall plaster and gold leaf on polyethylene foam, 18 x 77 cm

Despite this instalment being a pre-recorded video, we ensured that it was kept as organic as if it were a livestream. Which explained the background noises from passing trucks and even a meowing cat (meow!). Indeed, organicism was even at the centre of the dialogue as both artists, who work with tactile media such as plaster and clay, shared their thoughts and experiences drawing inspiration from the natural environment and handling such media in their art-making. It was both of the artists' wishes that such sculptural art forms will continue to grow in popularity and conceptual depth among artists and collectors in Singapore.

It was great fun visiting the artists' studios and bringing their insights to you, our viewers, and we hope that you found it both enjoyable and useful too. If you have yet to catch the digital series, do check out our Facebook (AC43 Gallery), Youtube (artcommune gallery), or IGTV (@ac43gallery), where we have uploaded all three videos with English subtitles. Till our next digital series, exhibition, or initiative, stay safe!

And that's a wrap! Signing off from the team that brought you WATCHING PAINT DRY.


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