Friday, June 18, 2010

Get to know the artists: Paul Wang

Paul Wang is one of the artists for our upcoming Tiong Bahru Sketches: Outside - In Exhibit. We found Paul online, through the Urban Sketchers Singapore website. We asked Paul if he were interested in having an exhibit with us and he roped in Tia, Don and Drew for the exhibit. When Drew had to back out, Paul and Tia were able to rope in Miel. And in just a little more than a month, the four of them created the works for the exhibit.

Paul is a man of many talents. He graduated with a Diploma in Interior, Architecture and Design in Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore where he was awarded a certificate of merit and the course gold medal. He is a lighting and stage designer with an impressive list of projects including the internal and external lighting for The Esplanade (Singapore), 40 Nassim Hill (Singapore), Kuriya Fine Dining (Singapore) and Xin Tian Di (Shang Hai China) and stage, costume, props and lighting design for True Deep Blue and The Origins. He is currently an adjunct lecturer at the Temasek Polytechnic in Interior Architecture and Design, Environmental Design and Retail and Hospitality Design.

It is understandable then that for the exhibit, Paul's works include sketches of interiors. His works are vibrantly colored and bold. His strokes are spontaneous but at the same time, sure.

Below are excerpts from an interview with Paul.

When did you start sketching and what hooked you into doing it regularly?

My mother enrolled me in a private art class when I was in lower primary. The class was held every Saturday at the art teacher’s flat. He will take us kids out to different location for drawing lessons too. I cannot remember how long this went on for. When I enrolled into Temasek Polytechic I started following TIA every time she went out sketching. Then the sketching became sporadic when I graduated and work took over. However I started sketching actively again last December after a long hiatus.

This year I joined the Singapore Urban-sketchers with encouragement from TIA and I found that I am not alone. Going out as a group of like minded sketchers is always very inspiring. There are plenty of interaction and exchange of ideas and techniques on location. This is all very enticing and definitely impetus for me to continue sketching. Everyone has an interesting voice and a unique way of telling stories through their sketches.

Tia is your teacher. How does it feel to sketch with your teacher, and now to exhibit with her?

I am actually elated to be exhibiting side by side TIA. She immediately said yes when I invited her to join me for this exhibition. She is now a dear friend and mentor to me. She has always been quietly providing encouragements and new avenues to express myself. I like sketching with her because we are always bouncing new ideas off each other. I would often watch her sketch from the sideline to pick up new techniques and important tips. She definitely has impact on my sketching techniques.

You used crayons in some of your works. Can you tell us how did you come to use them in
your sketches and why?

I like using crayons and pastels for my sketches because they make good sketching mediums due to their portability and ease of use. No water, no mixing and diluting. I can sketch and add colours all at the same time. They promote a lot of spontaneity and experimentation. Stroke by stroke the sketch evolves. The colours are layered on top of each other and often become more and more vibrant. These days I like mixing crayons on top of my ink and watercolour sketches to create a different dimension.

Your sketches use vibrant color. Often they are a little different from the real thing. Is there any particular reason why you choose the colors you choose?

Colours to me are effective ways to convey ideas and messages. Colours draw the viewers’ into my sketches. They are also like sign posts guiding the viewers’ to the focal points and ideas I try to create in my sketches. The colours I choose are not just based on what my physical eyes see but also what the ‘eyes of my mind’ see and feel. I also use my body to observe and picked up nuances when I am sketching on location. The spirit of the place is what I try to depict using colours.

What do like about sketching the most? Do you do other art media too?

Sketching is very mesmerizing and liberating for me. I put myself in an environment with a blank piece of paper and ask important questions like “What do I really see here?” I make myself fall in love with I see in front of me. I get to decide what I really like about the particular location and what stories I want to tell on that particular day. To me that is almost God-like. I get to create a whole new universe on my blank canvas. I often cannot predict the end result when I sketch and splash colours across the paper. Sketching is a very snappy experience; all the highs and lows with plenty of anxieties are compressed into a few mere minutes. There is also a time and space constraint much like live theatre. The experience cannot be duplicated once over. I feel liberated when page is finally filled and the creation is over. Then I am able to step back and view the finished sketch like a new born child. Sometimes the results are not so satisfactory which keeps me coming back. That is what I like about sketching.

I like photography as an alternative way to observe the world around me. Photography like sketching is fairly instantaneous and requires a quick response. Photographs are often very honest down to the details and you cannot easily alter real time photography. Quoting the famous German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 'God is in the details’.

Here are two samples of Paul's work for the upcoming exhibit to whet your appetites.

Paul Wang, Kelvin's Chair, 2010, ink and watercolor on paper, 21 x 13 cm.

Paul Wang, Tiong Poh Street, 2010, Ink, watercolor, crayon on paper, 13 x 21 cm

To see more of Paul's work, join us at the opening reception on June 30, 7pm, at the White Canvas Gallery!

1 comment:

  1. Paul describes the art-making process perfectly. Looking at his work always makes me want to chuck the day's plans, get out and draw! I'm a big fan of his work and so appreciate being able to vicariously join him and Tia, daydreaming of sketching on the other side of the world. Greetings from New York!