Behind the scenes – ‘Artistic Journeys’ (part one)

(Watch the episode of Artistic Journeys, Batik here)

For the longest time I’ve been happy behind the camera – doing styling, make-up and the works. So my first time in front of the camera proper was definitely an interesting and fun experience. And not to forget, totally nerve-wrecking due to the need to speak in Mandarin THE WHOLE TIME. (In the past, most of my Chinese was limited to the ordering of food.)

I was first contacted by the casting director, Joscylnne, on my interest on being on the show. To be honest, being on TV and speaking Chinese wasn’t a huge draw for me but the opportunity to fly to Indonesia to learn Batik certainly was! After a few rounds of meeting with the director Eric from filmat36, approval was given by the station and team and work commenced.

In my designs, I wanted to capture the beauty and history of Batik while fusing it with modern aesthetics. After reading up on Batik (the library provided more info than the internet this time), I decided to focus on the Sawat for some of the pieces.

Sawat or “large wings”, represents the garuda which according to legend was a birdlike creature with the body and limbs of a man and the beak and talons of an eagle. In the past, this was a sacred motif that only royalty could wear and not the common people. If I were producing these clothes to sell, I would definitely put the history and meaning of the motif on the hangtag so everyone could learn more about the design and culture. Super interesting!

This was my drawing of the Sawat motif by hand, scanned and digitally coloured with a modern and fun palette:

sawat drawing

The next was my interpretation of the lotus motif which was to be used as a large Batik design as well as a smaller Batik collar piece:

floral collar

The production house wanted casual designs that were a bit friendlier to the masses so I decided to go with ready-to-wear designs for the initial proposal. Here’s a peek at some of them incorporating the two motifs:


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Nothing says trust more than a haircut

A lot of people I know are picky with their hairstylists and how their haircuts turn out. In fact, I’ve noticed that many conversations around hairstylists often involve the word ‘trust’!

So imagine my surprise when my teenage brother asked me to cut his hair last night!


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Make up for TV dramas

A few months ago I had the opportunity of doing make up for two episodes of a Channel 5 TV series called ‘In Cold Blood’. And boy is there a world of difference on set for photoshoots and drama TV!

For TV, the fans and air-conditioning is often turned off and temperatures soar when crammed into a tiny room with intense emotions or when standing in our crazy afternoon sun. So out comes the tissue and powder ever so often to ward off sweat and shine!

Furthermore, everything needs to be dead quiet and still during filming which leads to a whole bunch of people trying to stay out of the way and not cast shadows, but keeping close enough on standby in case anything else is needed when the director yells “cut!”

Scene changes are fast and furious and hair and makeup have to change equally quickly to match the character and script. This and the shoot often lasts way more than 12 hours at a go (and filming for these episodes was two days in a row). Talk about intense!

The fun thing though is that you get to see the story unravel before your eyes so it’s like watching a play live (in disjointed parts. and on repeat). It’s also great to build different dimensions of a character with hair and makeup compared to beauty or fashion looks for photo shoots.

Sharing the end-credits here and kudos to the great team that made this show awesome!

Painting at arteastiq

Things have been crazy for the past few weeks and when they do get crazy, it’s always useful to have a different creative outlet to refresh yourself.

Thanks to Groupon, my friend and I got a session at Art Jam at Arteastiq for only $28 (the usual price is $48 though they have different packages such as two-for-one romantic Mondays). This includes one drink, a 50 x 50 cm canvas and brushes to take home as well as free flow acrylic paint.

They provide books and pictures if you want to pick a reference. Alternatively, you could email them a picture for them to print out on the spot.

Admittedly, this was the first time I have painted on a cotton canvas (or painted properly at all) so the experience was a teeny bit more stressful at the start. Or at least until my favourite whiskey hot chocolate drink was served.

So here’s my first attempt at painting some flowers. The purple didn’t come out as bright as I’d liked cos clearly navy blue + red doesn’t equal to bright happy purple…

Just a quick tip – it’ll definitely be useful to think about where your light source is. Or rather, you should definitely plan how you paint things in advance rather than dab on random gradients which I did! :X

And of course, plan your background before you start! I only decided to paint it a lighter colour on a whim and that resulted in much pain in filling everything in carefully. Love the seafoam green though!

Would have painted the sides of the canvas a different colour if I had more time. When asking my friend if I should paint them in the first place, she quoted her AEP teacher in Secondary School telling her that it should look beautiful on all sides. That definitely applies to many other things in life!

When done, the peeps at Arteastiq staple your canvas frame into a handy box that allows it to dry without touching anything. (The photo actually shows me holding it altogether afterwards cos I got too excited in ripping it open and forgot to take a photo!)

So there we go, my very first canvas painting experience. :) Would recommend everyone to try it out whether you think you’ll be good at it or not just because it’s fun, relatively affordable and a great opportunity to try something new!

Shooting with cellophane and tulle

Collaborated with Irvin and Shiqin from Meese Studios recently to do a shoot for two looks. The first was an outfit made of reflective silver cellophane. The way the lights were set up were perfect and the material looked absolutely electric!

The second look involved lots of tulle in bright contrasting colours with a japonesque make-up look (had mentioned wanting to do this in an earlier post and it has finally happened!). 

The studio at The Pond was one of the coolest I’ve worked in so far. If you couldn’t figure out the above image, there was a trap door from the second floor that allows you to shoot from up top!

Not only was the studio really cool, the make up and dressing area in the back was simply divine.

This has been one of the most fun shoots to date and I can’t wait to play with more material again! :)