Could you introduce yourself?
I am Qixuan, also known as Qimmyshimmy, a born-and-bred Singaporean artist/designer. I live two lives. I spend a huge part of my daily life working as a designer, but make art “on the side”. I did not choose to make art “on the side” because I love it less, but I just decided not to depend on my art to feed myself.
What’s your life philosophy? How do you try to apply that to your work?
Keep moving forward! I do not think I will ever make the same artwork twice, unless it is commissioned.
Could you tell us what you think makes you stand apart in the art industry?
Not too sure about this but maybe unexpected subject matters in an unexpected scale. A life-sized bleeding heart sculpture or a decapitated hand made of clay will probably look like a halloween prop, but once you make it 20 times smaller, people will take a second look because it is curious.
How would you describe your art style? Do you feel like it reflects you?
Some people have told me that my style falls under the “creepy-cute” spectrum, also known as kimo-kawaii (gross-cute). My works are usually small, giving them a certain fragility and tenderness, but at the same time, they gross some people out because they can be quite grotesque. So I guess in a way the label fits, though I probably will not let that limit my future works.
Who are the individuals in your work? Friends, family, strangers?
No, my works do not reflect real people. I think my friends and family are thankful for that. haha!
What are a few tips for other artists that might be reading this?
Take your time to find yourself. I spent some years mimicking the style of Mark Ryden and many other low-brow pop surrealist artists who I love, but I never found my own voice till much later on. It is easy to pick your heroes and try to imitate their work (which is sometimes a good way to learn technical skills), but you will never be able to imitate their thinking and fascinations. It is best to start with what makes you tick.
You have such a specific and amazing style that's unique to you, do you ever enjoy experimenting with other styles in your free time?
Thank you so much! I do illustrate from time to time... I like working with pastels, or very soft, malleable materials. I wish I had more hours in a day!
How has Singapore influenced your work?
I used to joke to people that my works are small only because my workspace in Singapore is small. I think Singapore has a huge influence on me as a designer, but not so much as an artist. My art is really detached from reality and my identity as a Singaporean.
If you had to choose any music album that captures the emotion of your work, what would it be and why?
Ah! This is a hard question. To be honest, nothing came to me immediately. I will choose something instrumental. Perhaps... a sinister piece played by a string quartet.
What's one thing that has to do with art that others might not know about you?
I look at surgery videos or forensic documentaries to get inspiration for my works sometimes. People do not know this but they probably will not be surprised. I am not a violent person though. I am fascinated by blood and anatomy but I do not like witnessing pain, so you can be assured that I will not harm a single living thing in the making of my works!
Do you have any rituals you do before you start your creative process for a new project, to get your mind and energy in the right place?
Clean table, clean tools, clean hands.
What’s a typical day for you?
I am back in grad school now so my daily schedule is super erratic. I do not like routines so I always try to mix it around a little bit. But one thing sticks; it always starts with coffee, and ends with wine. Also, reading helps me sleep, and I need 8 hours every night, if not I am grumpy as hell.
Coffee or tea?
What are some of your goals for 2017?
Learn a new language!
What makes you happy?
Quiet rainy nights, quality sleep, fresh warm laundry, a book that speaks to me, hugs and people that smell good.
Any closing comments?