Singaporean artist, Kenny Low has created a new series of exciting works that portray Singapore in a new imaginative light. We speak with him in light of his upcoming exhibition at ART SEASONS Gallery, on show from 28 April - 25 May 2018, to find out more about his artistic practice and of course, his thoughts on the local art scene!
You will be presenting your second solo exhibition at ART SEASONS Gallery later this month. Can you tell us a little more about your latest series of works,‘Genesis I’?
Genesis, as the title suggests - is the beginning of a new world. It is a new series of work inspired by nature itself, in particular the sea. It takes place after the rising of the New world where the fight between Rajin and Fujin destroys life. Genesis is the aftermath of this battle, surrounding the survival of three mythical eggs. Hatching, each mythical creature process unique abilities, creating a new world called Galax-sea. For example, Phos emits magical, colourful lights to the sky which causes the clouds to be in all shades of colours.
What inspired the neon colours, along with the exciting display of movement, structural shapes and textures that is prevalent throughout your artistic oeuvre?
When I think of the sea and the unknown creatures that live within, I imagine them to be colourful, huge and powerful. Something which is shrouded in mystery, I wanted my creations to encompass all these qualities.
When I was at Shinjuku in Japan, I chanced upon a dark alley that was brought to life by it's surrounding neon lights. I drew my inspiration from that experience and wanted to create the same effects in my art by using neon colours to bring the mythical creatures to life.
As a child, I have always been fascinated by the pet fishes we had at home. I spent hours looking at the shimmering colours of the fishes as they swim round. I think that had a part in influencing my current series of work.
It was definitely challenging to make building structures come to life, however it is fulfilling to see that the structures transformed into the elegant and free moving creatures - like fishes.
Singaporean Artist, Kenny Low.
A lot of your works are inspired by Japanese art and culture. What fueled this interest in Japan?
It was in the 1990’s when Anime, Manga, J-pop, J-drama was trending and for me, this period has really stuck with me through time. I remember the first anime I watched . I remember the first Japanese song I heard. The visuals were out of the world, it was an incredible experience. Since then, I have been very draw to everything Japanese. From their designs to their culture to their cities. I love every bit of it. And naturally, my art is heavily influence by them.
My art was literally born out of my curiosity and love of Japan. I found out how most of their artists are heavily influenced by the event of the atomic bomb. And how this life-changing experience has caused them to view things very differently from the norm and thus they are able to often create something so refreshing, so out of this world.
The buildings and architecture that we see in your works - (we love the use of the old spiral staircases in, Equinox Dream ) are adapted and transformed from photographs which you personally took. How do you select the structures that you’d like to feature?
There are many things that inspires me. The obvious being the Japanese culture. Other things that inspires me are - nostalgic items and places. I like how Singapore is a country of both the new and old. I like the contrast. I like to put the impossible together. I visit places like Tiong Baru and Queenstown often as I get to relive my childhood there. From there, I take many photos of buildings and structures I like.
In general, I just love how building’s structures look. As a graphic designer I am attractive to the symmetrical lines of a building. Everything is in a grid. I see these grids and lines as a form of graphic.
And these graphics inspires me to create something out of this world. I thought to myself how interesting will it be if i am able to show my audience what I see in these buildings and to give them a new perspective.
I guess thats the artistic side of me working with the graphic designer side of me.
I don't deliberately choose which structures to put together. That is because I find that when I do, the works don't turn out ideal. A lot of the time when I have in mind something, I draw it in my notebook, but not necessarily I would use what I have sketched in my works. Many a time, I am surprised how matching a building with another turns out at the end. I think creating in that way is much more fruitful than telling myself that I have to use this particular building just because it is beautiful.
How has creating works digitally, helped you to achieve your artistic intentions? Were there any challenges that you faced in bringing your ideas to life?
I feel that I have more control creating my works on a digital platform. The same canvas can be work over million times without having to scarify any material. I get to be very precise on my work. A mistake can be undone easily.
Time and creativity are my only enemies. Sometimes I get stuck at a work for too long as there is just no inspiration, other times I tend to overwork on a project. A lot of time is wasted loading a file and moving an object, when the file size gets too big. These issues put a stop to my creativity and momentum.
Have you ever considered working with other mediums? Is that something that you would like to explore?
Yes! I been ask a million times. (haha) I been told that I am limiting myself by sticking to one media. However the time taken for a completion of a digital work is immense. I cant imagine what kind of time it would take to make a work with another media. However I been thinking of working with paper collage. I have also been thinking of turning my works 3D and life sized.
As an artist based in Singapore, what are your thoughts on the local contemporary art scene?
Art itself is not something that is very recognised in Singapore. Though it's pace has picked up in recent years, I would say that we still lack local talents. Maybe art itself has a lousy reputation. Not many people would want to venture into this. We are not as expose to the art scene as compared to the people in Japan. In Japan creativity is embraced. But in Singapore we embrace what brings in the money. And thus not many people are paying attention to art.
What other projects do you have lined up for the rest of the year?
The current series that I am presenting is call 'Genesis I'. And its more focus on the mythical creature- Pactolus. I am looking at coming up with 2 more parts to the same title- Genesis II and Genesis III. In which each series will have more focus on the other creatures.
From 28 April - 25 May 2018, ART SEASONS Gallery will be presenting a exhibition of new works, Genesis I, by Singaporean artist, Kenny Low. For more information, please head to their website here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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