We went up close and personal with Jonathan Cai and Grace Ong, student artists from the Artist Development Programme at Pathlight School, to find out more about their work behind the Singapore Exclusive Local Design Series 2017 and their future plans.
1. What inspired you to create the artwork?
Jonathan (J): After knowing that my original artwork, “Gardens by The Bay” was sold and sent to Russia, I began to focus on drawing other Singapore icons.
Grace (G): I enjoy food and I like to depict food in my artwork.
2. We noticed all the intricate details that you’ve showcased in your artwork. Can you tell us which part of the process was the hardest?
J: It’s definitely the windows; there are a whole lot of them!
G: The hardest part of the process was to bring out the different texture of each subject.
3. What's your creative process like?
J: First, I do some research from books or photos. After deciding what to draw, I will use a pencil to map out the buildings/things accordingly. Once the scale of the picture is in order, I will then use different sizes of a fineliner pen to begin working out the details.
G: I start by drawing the outlines, and then add dots and shapes to fill in the intricate details.
4. Who are your inspirations?
J: My mother, who patiently stays by my side, who constantly encourages me when I feel like giving up drawing, and my teachers who believe I can make a mark with my drawings.
G: My art coach at Pathlight School’s Artist Development Programme, and Aunty Lynn who got me interested in drawing.
5. At what age did you start drawing? What made you realise that drawing is something you are passionate about?
J: I started drawing at the age of 4, and surprised my parents and many who had seen my drawing with my ability to draw things with such detail. Since then, I was encouraged by many, and was given the opportunity to be trained in Pathlight School’s Artist Development Programme, and to pursue this special gift from God.
G: I started drawing at the age of 12. I feel especially happy when I draw, and I can express my interests through my drawings.
6. Is there a style to your design? What is it and why did you choose that?
J: Some may call it an architecture drawing, or line work. It happened naturally when I started drawing. I like to create my artwork using pen, and now, I prefer to use black fineliner pen for all my creations. I choose to draw this way because I like details and find doing complicated artwork challenging. I also like black and white.
G: There is no specific style at the moment, I just like to put my favourite subjects onto canvas and hope my style will develop as I mature.
7. Which artwork are you most proud of?
J: It has to be the “Gardens By The Bay”! The original copy and many reprint copies were sold, and the picture is also being adapted into merchandise such as name card cases and multi-purpose pouches.
G: My ice cream and earrings drawings because food and accessories are my favourite subjects.
8. What do you want to achieve from your art?
J: I hope to create more artwork to build up my portfolio, which includes my current interest (drawing architecture and Singapore icons) and attempting different styles of drawing and using different mediums. Although I am not keen to be a professional artist for now, I hope to be able to combine what I do well (drawing) with my passion (develop computer software) to design a software that could help improve the quality of life for many people.
G: I hope that when others see my drawings, they may be inspired by the joy I feel when I created them.
9. What is the best part about creating art?
J: Seeing my finished work being produced into merchandise is one, and the joy of knowing that many others like my artworks and bring them home is another.
G: It is therapeutic and I can be myself.
As part of the collaboration, we are running a charity auction with two specially-designed and one-of-its-kind Thermos® Big Size Bottles. All proceeds for the charity auction will go to Pathlight School’s parent charity, Autism Resource Centre (Singapore), a non-for-profit organisation that supports individuals with autism.