Some months back, we got to know another very cool Singaporean artist who came back from Parsons and we are honoured to feature her as our special guest this month! Introducing Victoria Woon.
Tusitala: Please tell us more about yourself, and how old are you?
Victoria: I'm 24 years old. I left Singapore when i was 19 to study in New York City, I graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2010. I mostly do drawing and painting, I prefer to work with traditional media. I am currently apprenticing to be a tattoo artist, and just did my first real tattoo last week!
T: Was there a point in time you realised you have passion and talent in drawing/illustration/painting? Share your discovery journey with us.
V: I've loved art for as long as I can remember, ever since I was a kid. I went for art classes even before I went to school, and all the way from Primary1 until I finally graduated from college, I would draw all the time in school when I was bored or uninterested in class. I opted to study Art as a subject whenever I could, and decided pretty early on that it was not just what I wanted to study in college, but what I wanted to do with my life. It never occurred to me that there was anything else I should be doing. Fortunately for me, my parents have always been extremely supportive and encouraged me to pursue it.
T: You study illustration in Parsons, what is life like in New York?
V: I graduated from Parsons in 2010, after studying there for 4 years. New York is one of my favourite places, it's actually awfully hard to describe because there is just so much that I could say. It's a place where I could never feel bored, I would say it has to be one of the most fun cities in the world. Lots of interesting and crazy people and things to look at, everywhere you go. So many things to do. I had the time of my life when I was living there.
T: What was your graduation plans?
V: After I graduated, I spent the summer in NY and moved back to Singapore in August 2010. I did a lot of painting when I was in NY, and I wanted to experiment with doing larger scale oil paintings, and I did that for about a year. I also took the opportunity to travel, as well as spend time with my family and friends who I hadn't seen much during my time overseas. A few months ago I started an apprenticeship as a tattoo artist, something I've wanted to do ever since I was young. I would say it's really a dream come true, I am having such a great time, the guys I work for are wonderful and tattooing is incredibly challenging but so much fun! It's really a complex world, and if I thought I was fascinated by it before, now that I'm actually doing it and I'm learning more and more about it, it just gets better and better.
T: What are you reading right now? Tell us some of your favourite books.
V: Today I just finished reading Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia: Volume 1. There exists an extremely complex system of tattoos amongst Russian criminals and prisoners, all of them extremely symbolic. It's pretty amazing. Some of my favourite 'normal' books are Flowers for Algernon, Brave New World, White Fang (favourite book of my childhood), The Little Prince, A Clockwork Orange, Good Omens. I could go on and on. I also love graphic novels, my favourite series is The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Watchmen, Fables…
T: You have some beautiful works here. Pls tell us the story behind a few of them?
V: Most of the time I draw what interests me, that I find fun to do and that strikes me visually. I love to paint animals, most of all deep sea creatures (they're probably some of the weirdest looking creatures you will ever see), and more recently I've been working on some paintings of outer space.
For example, the painting that's titled Pandoctelopus, I was really amused by the idea of chimaeras, where you take a number of different animals and sort of splice them together. Octopuses are my favourite, and I like pandas and antelopes too so I just sketched until I came up with an animal that I thought looked funny.
To be honest for most of my paintings I don't think too hard about what it means or represents, there isn't much of a 'story' behind most of them other than that it was something I wanted to do, thought would look cool and be fun for me to do. I enjoy painting and making art, I tend to feel bored or depressed when I don't.
T: What is your story that you want to tell others if you have to say it one sentence?
V: I'm sure people say and hear this all the time but I'll say it anyway because it is true — Do what you feel passionate about for it will make you happy, and don't forget to have fun along the way, but never take advantage of or hurt others.
Thank you Victoria for sharing with us. We wish you many more awesome illustrations and tattoos to come! You rock! Meanwhile, visit her website for more of her cool works.