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Meet the Creative Studio Artists: André Wee

ByEva Liu
Meet the Creative Studio Artists: André Wee

A Better Tomorrow - André Wee. Image courtesy of André Wee.

A month after launching the Creative Studio, a four-month residency program at Straits Clan, the Artling chats with four artists on their inspirations, practices, and residency experience. Today, we talked to artist André Wee to better understand his artistic journey and aspirations for his time at the Creative Studio. Read on to see how André overcomes challenges that arise when exploring the new frontier of augmented reality art.

What excites you the most about this opportunity?

The chance to get to work alongside and meet some of the industry’s most talented and upcoming artists, designers and advocates from the residency and through the Clan. We’ve already had a couple of sessions where we got to meet with Clan members and exchanged exciting conversations about Art, technology and our thought on the practice. I look forward to seeing the other artist’s works as the weeks progress and the many wonderful conversations to be had with them and the Clan members.

How can the residency support your art practice?

For one, I currently work from home and am constantly surrounded by the noises produced by 3 condominiums being torn down at the same time. Being at my studio space while on residency helps me get away from all of that as it creates a conducive environment that easily has me tapping into a flow state, getting immersed in the works I create. As most of my work tends to occur behind a canvas or a screen and through social media, I do feel that working in a space where I can now engage with people face to face, enriching.

Can you give us a little hint on what you will be working on during this period? 

Augmented reality stuff!

How do you feel about Singapore’s art scene? How do you navigate it?

It isn’t really a big one -in that almost everybody knows pretty much everybody else. While the community is small, it definitely has been growing strong and I am excited to be a part of it. I find that in recent years, I have taken a slightly different role in the local art scene and how I navigate through it. Instead of focusing on just my own art, I am very much invested in nurturing a community based on staying curious and a generation of artists who aren’t afraid to experiment with newer approaches to their art.

Who are your biggest artistic influences? What is it about their work that influences you? Is there a theme/philosophy/social issue that is constantly explored in your work?

Eiko Ishioka. I love all the work that Eiko produced throughout her rather illustrious career, ranging from costume design to advertising and graphic design for stage, screen and print. What inspires me most about her is the her adaptability of her Art and vision. She was always able to create a visual identity that was recognisable as hers regardless of her chosen medium or platform. What was even more impressive was how she was able to excel at every one of them.


Hashtag - André Wee (Available on The Artling)

What does a day-in-the-studio typically look like? Do you bounce ideas off of the others’ ideas or is it more of a solitary process? 

Taking full advantage of my access to the studio and the many cozy corners found at The Straits Clan, I start most of my studio days bouncing between these spaces, drawing the busy clan members and staff while sipping some much needed coffee. When I do return to the studio, I catch up with the other artists and then bounce random ideas off them and find out more about their processes behind their craft. I then proceed to work on my 3d works in isolation with my headphones on till the end of the day.

André starting the day with sketching and a cup of coffee at the Straits Clan. Image courtesy of André Wee. 

Can you tell me one fun fact about yourself? 

Just before the lockdowns started last year, I had just returned to Singapore and began my quarantine. In quarantine I ordered a couple of 2nd hand broken gameboys through the mail and got into the hobby of not only refurbishing them but also modifying them with modern screens and usb-c charging ports. This hobby led me deeper into the retro-tech world and I now also build and develop Art in the form of gameboy games that can be played on these retrofitted devices.

Instead of a house full of lockdown baking or gardening tools, I ended up with too many gameboys at home.

What are some challenges that you faced in venturing into the world of interactive storytelling using a combination of 3D and 2D technology? 

The work involves a ton of trial and error before it reaches a point when it works. This is largely due to some of the technology being new or never used in the way I am sometimes intending it to. Challenges always arise when finding a way to make an architectural software make a portrait or a 2d illustration into a 3d animated 2.5d one in virtual reality. Ha.

What do you see in store for the future of bringing art and technology together?  How do you adapt to the constant changes and developments? 

In my opinion, Art and technology have always been intertwined together, from intaglio printmaking which was derived from engraving techniques by goldsmiths to the first “camera”, the camera obscura. I believe that the introduction of technologies such as Augmented reality art, Virtual reality and AI generative art only add to what we can already achieve and help us do even more. I do feel that being open and curious to experiment with these changes help open our eyes to newer frontiers in Art and Technology and adapt us to whatever comes next.

We hope you enjoyed getting more insight into André's practice. Find out more about the creative studio here
Too excited to wait for André to finish his residency? Click here to browse more of his works. 

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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