PEBBLES, ART AND THEN SOME
It's easy to lose sight of creativity and imagination when real life takes over and the demands of maturity call. But for artist Ly Yeow, who is blessed with deft hands and a love for illustrating, she tries to keep a childlike spirit close to heart with her adorable series of hand-painted pebble brooches that are colourful, emotional and filled with life.
A jewellery and textile graduate from UNSW, Sydney, Ly's works are a pursuit of wholeness and little stories cooked up in her head. Inspired by cloud watching and her various endeavours in life, don't be surprised when you feel heartstrings tugging as you set eyes upon her beautiful and moving creations.
Seeking inspiration from the depths of her imagination, Ly transforms stone pebbles into intricate brooches through her artistic capabilities. Costing $28 - $35 each, the "Lyttle Adventure" stone brooches are truly unique and come in the right size to pin by your heart.
Here’s what Ly has to say about her work, inspirations and what she thinks of the art scene in her hometown, Singapore.
We've noticed that your illustrations often take on an ethereal yet playful theme. Is there a particular aspect of your life that influences your work?
I am a hopeless romantic and I guess that could have influenced my work in a playful sense. I also look up at the sky once in a while to do cloudspotting for various shapes like a heart, a dog or a pelican with a bag of fish in its mouth. My favourite was spotting an elephant-shaped cloud on a road trip in New Zealand! Sometimes I stare at people’s freckles and wonder if I can trace constellations.
Many artists find it only possible to start on a piece when they've found a source of inspiration. Is it the same for you? What are your sources of inspiration?
Falling in and out of love inspires me. In the past, I was also inspired by cats, unicorns and the moon. Music is my soul food too, as lyrics are a source of great inspiration. I often park myself at a cafe and put on my earphones to drown out the surrounding sounds. Visuals flow without a plan and concept and I will draw what the heart wants to speak. When I’m not feeling inspired, I try to do other things like bake cakes, curl up in bed with a book or daydream over a latte.
How do you see your work evolving in the future?
I am interested in Guerrilla Art and even attempted a sidewalk chalk project in Melbourne. Kids came up to me and we started drawing together with chalk on the ground and it was really fun. I would also love to take on more mural projects where my illustrations can be rendered on a bigger scale. I am now working on an installation piece and a large scale drawing for an upcoming solo show. I am always for pushing the boundaries and taking on new challenges for growth. Exciting times ahead!
Did you ever take proper art classes at a more formal institution or are you self-taught, allowing your talent and passion to drive your illustrations?
I was in the Art Elective Programme at Nanyang Girls High, which provided me with a knowledge of the basic aspects of art. I explored and experimented with a variety of art mediums, such as ceramics, fashion design, jewellery and installations. Those years also gave me an introduction to drawing and colour. I went on to visual communications after, followed by jewellery and textiles design in University. I only started drawing recently after a seven to eight years hiatus. My style of illustration is largely self-taught and I am looking to learn how to use watercolour right now!
How did you end up working with pebbles? Was it something you've always been fascinated with?
I went on a month-long holiday last December and worked in a bed and breakfast lodge where I helped out with household chores and simple farming. The house was literally a minute away from the Great Ocean Road and I went on a lot of morning walks or runs. The first day I went running, I spotted shells and started collecting them till one pocket was filled. I then spotted these flat little stones and was really fascinated. I picked them up and instantly knew I wanted to draw faces on them.
What do you want your audience or fans to get out of your work?
A friend of mine once got teary-eyed after seeing my work as she felt the waves of emotions coming from them! It’s a great feeling when your work has the ability to move someone. So I suppose that’s what I want out if it — for it to be able to stir emotions.
What do you think of the current art industry in Singapore? Do you think it's on par with our regional neighbours or is there a lot of room for improvement?
I think the current art industry is opening up. Pop-up exhibit spaces or cafes that double as art galleries are great platforms for artists here. For those who make handmade crafts, such as myself, there are many weekend markets that allow us to sell our creations. The writer Neil Gaiman said something that I definitely agree with: "When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art." This saying keeps me hopeful and I believe our art industry will definitely get better!
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