People sometimes pay me to art, grandma

Published on 22 September 2018

By Eleni Sardi

From the stickers on your laptop and the album covers of your favourite singers to the postcards you collect, that printed tee you love to wear, and the mural that is your phone screensaver – you probably touch, see and admire the work of an illustration artist all the time without even noticing.

We spoke to three of them – James Leong, Allison Low and Christopher Chai, who will be presenting works at the Illustration Arts Fest this weekend at LASALLE, to find out more about what they do and why they do it.

Illustrator James Leong, who is also a comic creator and an arts educator, draws upon his various skills and talents as an illustration artist. (Images: James Leong)

What is an illustration artist? An illustrator, an artist, or maybe a designer?

James Leong: I am an all-in-one and more. Having a foundation in art is absolutely important, it propels me to illustrate out of imagination, and based on fundamental elements of design.

Artist and creative producer Allison Low is inspired by human nature. A recent work she did (above) imagines the deep-seated issues which people have as dolls that children cling to. (Image: Allison Low)

What do you like most about illustration?

Allison Low: I like that you start with a piece of paper, some pencils, some tubes of paint and an idea, and after what might seem like a hellish time of trying to get things in your head articulated just right on the piece of paper, you end up with something completely different but still the same. And it all came from a strange place so far deep within yourself that it seems like it’s outside of yourself.

Caption: Freelance illustrator Christopher Chai painted a 30m-long mural of a dragon and fish on the wall of a shophouse in Amoy Street this year. (Photo: Christopher Chai)

How would you explain what you do to your grandma?

Christopher Chai: I draw pictures. Sometimes they’re big, sometimes they’re small. Sometimes there’s colour, sometimes there isn’t. People need art in all forms and will pay for it, you just have to be good enough. There really isn’t much more to it than that.

Honestly though, I still live with my grandma, and to this day I still have no idea how to properly explain to her what I do. People sometimes pay me to art, grandma.

 

The Illustration Arts Fest is founded by the Organisation of Illustrators Council. Details about the festival here.

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