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Interview with watercolor artist Janet Chui

Janet Chui is a watercolor artist in Singapore who paints mythological, visionary and fantasy subjects. Last year, she created a deck of inspirational cards featuring her artwork and writing, and very recently this was converted into a mobile app. She is now working on artwork for another deck of cards, and this is a Tarot deck featuring angels. We have conducted an interview with Janet.

Why did you choose to paint mythological and fantasy subjects?

I've loved myths, folk tales and fairy tales for much of my life, and the art I admired most were book illustrations and paintings with flying figures, angels, and fantastical beasts. Not only were the stories engaging (whether they came from the books or I imagined them myself) but I was also captivated by the idea of painting things that were not seen in "normal" reality. There was an innate challenge and attraction in making these things real by painting them.

How do you share your painting process via videos? What kind of content interests your audience the most, and how often do you upload a new video about painting?

I think my painting videos capture the unique quality of watercolors, where you have to let water, pigment, paper, and gravity do the work that would normally be done by careful shading and blending in other media. I speed up the painting process in my videos, and produce a painting video every few months. My audience has to like art that is fantastical, or that tells a story, or inspires them to create a story around the unusual elements. I'm glad that most people who look at my work immediately know that there is always more to what I've depicted. They either pick up on the symbolism or they are interested in asking me or finding their own meaning in the painting.

Are you influence or limited by your environment (Singapore)? As a watercolor artist, do you think it is a place that liberates creativity?

My own development as an artist in Singapore was not easy. Growing up, I was asked: "What is the point of this? What is it worth? Why are you doing this? What is this?" Art was frivolous. When one is young, these questions are hard to answer and it's easy to feel attacked and devalued. I'm older now, and these questions are still asked of creatives in general. For me, I think I've persisted simply because I could not stop painting, and I've become braver in my answers and defending art-making. Creativity needs nurturing and spaces for making mistakes, learning, and trying new things. One thing that has changed over time in Singapore is that people can more easily see the worth of creativity now, but still lot to learn in how creativity can be fostered.

How do you feel having your oracle deck of fantasy art being recently converted into a mobile app?

My first oracle deck was self-published, so it's been gratifying to work with Indie Goes to deliver the artwork and inspirational messages in an app that someone can use any time they like! I've already received feedback and confirmed that the Self-Love Oracle Cards app is reaching more people through this medium; people I didn't think would appreciate my deck of cards have found the app helpful because it's so easy to use. It's been another way to put my artwork in an interactive format that makes it more accessible. Since I struggled for most of my life trying to make my art "useful" in this sense, it's been very satisfying to combine and share the art with life lessons and messages about self-worth and self-care.

What are some of your upcoming projects?

I'm working on a Tarot deck for Cico Books featuring angels! I've always loved angels (and Tarot cards) so there's so much that I love in this one project. I'm in the middle of creating the artwork for this angel Tarot deck, which will be out before the end of this year (2017). After that, there will be more cards and books coming, and I hope to share some of the work-in-progress at my website.

Interview with watercolor artist Janet Chui Reviewed by JaamZIN on 6:11:00 PM Rating: 5
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