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Almost Asthma, Toh Bee Suan
Photograph: Almost Asthma

The best local illustrators to keep on your radar

The works of these local illustrators run a creative gamut

By Cam Khalid
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It's no secret – modern-day illustrators are expanding their toolkits, techniques and canvases way beyond the classic sketchpad. Pushing the medium forward with distinct personal touches and unique niches, these Singapore illustrators are also turning their visions into life-size creations – think murals in public spaces. Keep them on your radar via Instagram for a kaleidoscopic scroll, or some much-needed inspiration.

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Almost Asthma, Toh Bee Suan
Photograph: Almost Asthma

Toh Bee Suan (Almost Asthma)

@almostasthma

Wacky, eccentric, and slightly trippy are some adjectives to describe Bee Suan's art portfolio, who also goes under the equally kooky moniker, Almost Asthma. Besides illustrating oddball characters through digital mediums, she also does zines, pins, stickers, fashion pieces, and hand-poke tattoos.

Catch some art: With a dash of whimsical, her vibrant illustration of adorable creatures can be found on the wall of The Substation. While you're at it, ponder on the quote by Cesar A Cruz plastered within the art itself: "Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable."

Stephanie Cahyadi, Tepicurry, Eatmepoptart
Photograph: Stephanie Cahyadi

Stephanie Cahyadi (Tepicurry)

@tepicurry

Sometimes colours maketh the art – and Stephanie's brilliant use of pastel and vivid hues in her colour-popping illustrations oozes that nostalgic feeling of summer and fleeting youth. Besides creating gorgeous posters for a plethora of events, she also creates bold wares such as enamel pins and stickers that screams girl power.

Catch some art: Right before the circuit breaker, Stephanie designed a sunset-boogie poster for Eatmepoptart’s March shindig. She also has an upcoming project featuring a series of zodiac illustrations for a jewellery company.

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Speak Cryptic
Photograph: Speak Cryptic

Farizwan Fajari (Speak Cryptic)

@speakcryptic

Take a stroll down Little India and don't forget to look up for Speak Cryptic's black and white flowers and flying petals along Kerbau Road. Mainly dabbling in monochromatic hues, the visual artist's works are usually inspired by his own observations on current affairs in and around Singapore. He has also been developing a set of characters for his art over the past 13 years in which he applies them to various narratives and forms including paintings, drawings, and even live performances.

Catch some art: His massive, monochromatic mural can be found lining the top half of shophouses in Little India, as well as The Substation.

Mindflyer, Michael Ng
Photograph: Mindflyer/Yell0w/Instagram

Michael Ng (Mindflyer)

@mindflyer

The brains behind Illustration Arts Fest, Michael is nifty in combining quirky doodles with striking colours to make surreal masterpieces like something out of a utopia. He has illustrated both children and adult books, created sculptures and installation, as well as produced animated films. He also designed the cover of our August 2015 magazine.

Catch some art: His eye-catching, cartoonish illustrations can be seen in Holland Village, including The Deer Man.

 

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CENTRE FOR ALTERED TOGETHERNESS
Photograph: Reza Hasni

Reza Hasni

@reza.hasni

No drugs needed (stay in school, kids), take a trip down Reza's technicolour dream where a kaleidoscope of odd characters inspired by emojis, geometry and religion lingers. His neon artworks have been displayed at exhibitions, made appearances at the Singapore Night Festival and on the cover for kids' zine Eye-Yah.

Catch some art: Embark on a virtual, free-roaming journey in his latest online exhibition Centre for Altered Togetherness. Navigate through six illustrated worlds and observe the dynamic relationship between the online and offline world.

Esther Goh, Tiger Street Lab
Photograph: Esther Goh

Esther Goh

@Esther.Goh

Whether through Shell tissue boxes or Maki-San’s packaging, Esther’s signature purple-tinted artworks have definitely found their way into your hands, one way or another. Fusing elements of reality and fiction, her collages of characters and objects juxtaposed against a dreamy coloured landscape is a
maximalist's dream come true.

Catch some art: Something out Carole Baskin's wildest dreams, her tiger-esque mural was created for Tiger Street Lab at Jewel Changi Airport. Esther also designed the cover of Sharlene Teo's debut novel, Ponti.

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Marina A
Photograph: Marina A

Marina A

@mrn.a

Despite mainly getting her hands dirty in paint, Marina also creates digital art and installations. This unapologetic artist relies heavily on symbolism and surrealism to depict her bold vision and to evoke emotion from her viewers. Expect a major ‘80s sci-fi throwback with her use of vivid hues.

Catch some art: Find Marina's attention-grabbing murals at co-working space JustCo, including the ones at China Square and Marina Square.

iShopChangi, Anngee Neo
Photograph: Anngee Neo

Anngee Neo

@illobyanngee

Almost child-like, Anngee Neo’s whimsical art – whether on walls, posters, or children’s books – takes you on a nostalgic trip. One look and you can easily spot her take on old-school cartoons and throwback graphics. Her collaboration with iShopChangi is a great example of her vibrant creations.

Catch some art: Her award-winning animated art has also brilliantly complemented the texts of late President S R Nathan’s The Crane and the Crab, as well as the much-talked-about book, The Phantom of Oxley Castle.

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Andre Wee
Photograph: Andre Wee

Andre Wee

@andre_wee

Whether in 2D or 3D, Andre Wee's art superbly articulates his mental vision and his creations have made rounds abroad. Shadowing that of comics, his short-stroked pencil and pen sketches have recreated scenes of Joo Chiat as well as the interiors and flat plans of occupied offices and apartments.

Catch some art: His visualisation of the year 2030 in Singapore can be found in the August 2019 issue of SilverKris.

Ethos Books
Photograph: Ethos Books

Tiffany Tan (Lovage)

@lovage

With a great eye for detail, Tiffany started as a henna artist before diving into the world of illustrations. Credits to her experience as an artist and a fine arts graduate, her love for botany, anatomy and the whimsical are cleverly fused and translated onto paper via penciling and painting. Call it morbid, we find it hauntingly beautiful.

Catch some art: Besides gracing the cover of Eating Chilli Crab in the Anthropocene edited by Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, her creations including her fine line works can also be spotted at the National Design Centre.

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Lydia Yang, Oak and Bindi
Photograph: Oakandbindi/Instagram

Lydia Yang (Oak and Bindi)

@oakandbindi

It’s a ‘90s nostalgic party with this illustrator's clever use of vibrant colour palettes, gaudy fonts and playful icons – bringing you a plethora of punchy artwork. Her aesthetic is mainly based on street influence, tropical hues and counterculturalism.

Catch some art: You can't miss the artist's latest wall art en route to Two Men Bagel House at Holland Village – it's got a walking bagel and flower. 

Candice Phang, Puffingmuffin
Photograph: Puffingmuffin/Instagram

Candice Phang (Puffingmuffin)

@puffingmuffin

This artist's Alice in Wonderland-esque artwork takes you down the rabbit hole. Candice combines various techniques like watercolouring and digital art to create hallucinogenic characters and personified landscapes that are easy on the eyes. Her whimsical pieces remind us of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine album cover.

Catch some art: Her playful art has been featured in various events including the National Library Board's Press Play event last year. Currently, the artist is selling fabric masks embellished with her adorable designs.

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Tanky
Photograph: Tanky

Tan Kwang Yang (Tanky)

@tanky.sg

The artist mixes a quirky blend of anime and old-school comic art to convey stories, emotions, and moments. Always looking for avenues to take it further, he is currently working on his original comic series.

Catch some art: The cover of our August 2018 magazine is illustrated by Tanky. Marvel at the artwork (and read the past issue) here.

MessyMsxi, Red House Seafood at Grand Copthorne Waterfront
Photograph: MessyMsxi/Instagram

Tan Zi Xi (MessyMsxi)

@messymsxi

MessyMsxi, or Tan Zi Xi’s artwork is anything but messy. Stuck with the nickname given to her while she was studying at Central Saint Martins’, the illustrator has won several awards for her detailed dream-like designs. Incorporating dark humour, storytelling and taboo subjects, her artwork – be it the large-scale murals or watercolour illustrations – is worth a thousand words.

Catch some art: Her watercolour depictions of nature, wildlife and sealife decorate the walls of Redhouse at The Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

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kristal melson - krisonautopilot
Photograph: Kristal Melson

Kristal Melson (Krisonautopilot)

@krisonautopilot

Signing off as Krisonautopilot, Kristal Melson knows a thing or two about intricately weaving in traces of experimentalism and retrofuturism in art. Guaranteed to stop you in your tracks, her work takes a walk on the wild side with surreal characters in a kaleidoscope of bold colours – imagine a meeting of Roy Lichtenstein and Salvador Dali in the setting of Blade Runner.

Catch some art: Her gorgeous art also makes regular cameos in Kult Magazine, as well as the co-working space WeWork.

More artists to follow

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