The Cultural Medallion recipient reveals her motivations to continue pursuing art despite tribulations
She has held 30 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 100 exhibitions both in Singapore abroad. She was named Woman of the Year in 2001 by Her World Magazine. She was awarded the Cultural Medallion by the Singapore government in 2005. An established writer and artist, Chng Seok Tin doesn’t have to prove herself to anyone else anymore. Earlier last month, she collaborated with Raffles City to turn unwanted lipsticks donated by the public into works of art, and helped raised funds to help special needs children, especially in gaining access to arts programmes.
We caught up with the dedicated artist to see what drives her to continue making art.
What about art attracts you the most?
The fact that it’s never the same. Sometimes it’s terribly difficult, sometimes it’s interesting. It’s multifaceted. There are down times as well. Art is very diverse, and just one aspect of it, say visual arts, or printmaking, you can spend your whole life figuring out how to perfect the craft. The learning never stops. Art simply attracts me.
Where do you derive the inspiration behind your art?
Mostly my daily life. Sometimes I rely on my imagination. I try not to be so abstract that it’s almost impossible to understand. I rarely do very abstract stuff.
How long does it take from conceptualising an artpiece to finishing it?
It depends. This one takes about nine months. It’s really a team work process. Printmaking can takes months as well. I’m quite an anxious person, which is why I tend to want to complete it as soon as the inspiration strikes.
What kind of message do you hope your artwork delivers to the audience?
It doesn’t really have to be a message to be honest. Sometimes it’s really the individual’s personal opinions, his or her own thoughts and perspectives. Whether the audience relate to my art, it’s all up to them. Of course sometimes I try to deliver some message, could be about the society, environment, and even humanity in general. I enjoy philosophy and literature, and try to incorporate them into my artwork when possible.
What qualities do you think budding artists should have? And what are their obstacles in this day and age?
Qualities? I think most importantly you have to have a deep-rooted passion in arts. You have to have the determination to do what it takes. Honestly speaking, a natural flair is essential too. And the drive to work hard. Obstacles wise, being an artist is never an easy path.Whether it’s movie or literature, music or theatre, not one is smooth-sailing. There is no guarantee. All the achievements will take hard work and perseverance, but if you really feel the passion to do arts, you’ll find a way to overcome these obstacles and difficulties. At the end of the day, it’s still hard work and perseverance.
Ms Chng Seok Tin’s lipstick installation is on display at Raffles City level 1 (near Tommy Hilfiger) till May 2018.