Tell us more about your practice as a Designer.
I’m the co-founder of a design studio called Swell where we specialise in printed matter. Basically, I design books for a living and I love what I do.
We participated in the Singapore Art Book Fair 2023—in fact, we’ve participated in since its inception—where we launched the third issue of our self-initiated zine series, GLOBAL!. Each zine explores the vernacular of different regions and localities in Singapore, and the latest edition focuses on Geylang Serai.
Besides that, we do academic works for art-based institutions, and I teach graphic design part-time as well. Teaching is instrumental to my work as practice and theory comes together; all or either would be no fun.
How do you translate the essence of a place onto paper?
That’s the fun part about zines—you can do anything you want with them! They give us the creative license to play around with a limitless medium of print, right down to packaging and even scent.
How has Singapore’s art scene changed in the last 12 years you’ve been in the field?
The art scene has seen a revitalisation and an influx of interests. There’s definitely a bigger appetite and vocabulary for the arts now, which is something that I’m very happy to see! This is especially so in the younger generation who don’t confine themselves to their own areas of interests, but are open to different tastes.
Where do you see Swell in the next ten years?
Exactly where we are today. It’s not that we’ve already made it in life, but I think being able to produce books in this day and age is already a blessing, so having a sense of monotony in this aspect is nice.
For GLOBAL!, however, we plan to make it more educational instead of just visual- and verbal-vomit. And considering its title, I think it’s time we do an edition overseas. Bangkok would be a nice place to start.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love rock climbing. I was introduced to the sport by a client and it’s been a downhill ride ever since—not uphill because it’s pure obsession.
As much as I can, I’d prefer to climb outdoors as it allows me to connect with nature and be present because when you’re on the wall, you’re truly alone. Otherwise, I usually climb at OYEYO Boulder Home.
I also like to spend time with my two-year-old Whippet, Jupiter. She has an Instagram account, @jupiter.the.whippet, and it’s full of memes because I’m quite the boomer (laughs).
Tell us more about your interest in photography.
I shoot, develop, and print my own photographs in large format. Trees and water are my main subject matters and it takes about 75 minutes to get one shot.
I really like this format as it’s more intentional, as compared to shooting digitally, and each shot means a lot to me. Since it’s so costly and time-consuming, I value every moment of the process even if the final photo turns out ugly. I don’t do much with the photographs afterwards because it is what it is, but I would love to publish a large format photography book one day.