Posted Dec 9th 2008 by

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An interview with
EESHAUNwords by , December 2008

There is a strange little garden located in Singapore. This garden is called ‚ÄòGardenSilly’, and the master of this place is ‚ÄòEeshaun’, possibly Singapore’s answer to Jon Burgerman. He doodles all day and all night, on anything he can get his hands on, from walls to post boxes, chairs to bags, etc, etc, etc. But that’s not all; he’s also responsible for educating the new blood of the Singaporean art and design scene, helping shape the culture and identity of his country.

Hello Eeshaun from Gardensilly, welcome to the world of “Thundeeeeeeer Chuuuuuuunky”, Thanks for coming!!!! How are you today?

Great! Thanks and sorry for having this interview so late.

Please introduce yourself in 3 easy-to-follow steps.

Step 1:
I am from Singapore.

Step 2:
I am an illustrator.

Step 3:
I like bubble tea.

Casey Throw

‚ÄòThrow’ Collaboration with Casey Chen

Your illustrations depict wonderfully colourful and crazy worlds. How much planning do you go through before starting each project, or is it all spontaneous, just whatever comes to mind at that moment?

A lot of it is spontaneous! I don’t try to sketch, but for some commissioned large projects and murals yes, because clients expect to see what I’ll come up with. Not everyone’s a risk-taker, so sketches sometimes serve as a safety valve. It’s like buying insurance.

How does it feel to see your doodles on a world famous, Alvar Aalto vase? You’ve got to say, that’s pretty impressive.

That was actually a one-off customized piece! I think it would be much cooler to have the designs made in editions, so more people could own it. But yes I was lucky to have been asked to draw on one, there’s a lot of synergy between my free form lines and the curves of the vase. When you look at it from different sides, it always looks different, so there are a lot of angles you could look at, and it’s quite fun. It’s nauseating too, if you were staring at it the whole day.

Alvar Aalto vase

The 10 Nike Windrunner Bearbricks are some of my favourites from your vinyl customs. What other interesting objects have you drawn on in the past (other than the Alvar Aalto vase)?

A Tagger bag, a plastic dustbin, trucker caps, a local mailbox, and converse shoes!

Tagger Bags

Which project (personal or commercial) would you say, was the project that sparked off your career?

I think it was actually my website, and the gardensilly characters and comics. I also had some artworks online, so that sort of started everything.

Who/What has influenced your work, during your childhood, and now? And is there anyone you would really love to work with in the future?

During my childhood, I was reading a lot of Akira Toriyama‘s work, so Dragonball and Dr slump were staples in my comic diet. Bill Watterson and Douglas Adams were also some key influences for me in the humour department, and I was reading Saki and P.G. Wodehouse as well. I liked funny and stupid things ‚Äì the Animaniacs and Tiny Toons were quite memorable cartoons. Right now, there are a lot of artists I admire ‚Äì David Shrigley, Jon Burgerman, Jim Houser, and Chris Johanson. Everyday I discover some new artist whose work kind of has an impact on me, but I’d like to work with either Jean Michel Basquiat, Picasso and Miro in the future!

Actually, I was kidding, I’d like to work with a sculpture or architect to realise my artworks into houses or sculptures.

Adidas lightbox

From your collaboration work, I think the illustrations you did with Chiu Kwong Man (for Sex, Lies and Fairytales, UK) back in 2005, blend together quite perfectly. Will there be anymore of this collaborative, awesome-ness, and slightly darker style from you?

Actually we did this book project together, for the Tokyo book fair in 2006/7, and we exchanges drawings and came up with narratives afterwards. My book was called ‚ÄòThe Nut Bunny and how I became one’, and his was something along the lines of ‚ÄòMonkey, Tree, Robot.’ One day, I’m going to make a full illustration out of that book! I think I’m gradually moving towards this slightly dark look, esp the way I’m rendering faces now, but I assure you, it won’t ever look like Iron Maiden’s album art.

Sex Lies & Fairytales colab

You also collaborated with Chia Aik Beng, for the ‚ÄòLe monde est a nous ‚Äì The World is Ours’ exhibitions (along with Kuanth and Sokkuan, who also featured on TC recently). Your exhibition was the last one, right? Can you tell us a little about this project? Was there much pressure being last, and the expectations?

Le monde est a nous was my first ever group show in a proper art gallery, so I’d say it was exciting and scary at the same time. We had a whole year to work on it, but of course nobody did any work until a few months before. There was alot of pressure seeing everyone else’s work, but we just knew that we were going to be different, because aik beng (pixelmunky)’s style and mine were the happiest and cheerful of the lot ‚Äì the rest were much darker, and gothic, if you like. I think we did pretty ok! We had a huge turn out of people that night!

Given a chance, I’d like to make much larger works for my next show.

Le-monde-est-a-nous

Other than being a talented doodle enthusiast, you are also nurturing the next generation of Singaporean artists. Can you tell us a little about your teaching? How’s the Singaporean art/design scene, and the coming new blood?

I’ve been teaching at the School of Technology for the Arts in Republic Polytechnic, for about 3 years now. Its great here, there’s a lot of flexibility in the way classes are conducted, and the students are given a lot of freedom to explore and experiment with ideas. The new blood is always good, but I think like talent, it’s always the few students who are doing really different or crazy things. Most of the time, it’s challenging getting students to do unconventional work. But again, it also takes courage and some self-confidence to break out and be different. Not everyone can do that.

Tiger Translate : Energy

If you weren’t an illustrator/artist/art educator what other profession do you think you would be good at?

I’d be the piano player in the bar.

Have you come across any inspirational/fun websites that you would love to share with our Thunder Chunky audience?

I like Boing Boing a lot. It’s a site of weird techno babble.

And have you seen any up and coming talents that we should keep an eye out for, maybe a student from your classes?

Yes this girl in my school, Vanessa Dora Godfey. But she doesn’t have a website yet, but she makes funny illustration of girls with weird hair and squarish faces. (Here’s a projects she’s working on currently http://bisforbus.tumblr.com/)

What kind of music is playing, when you create your silly doodle worlds?

Its usually jazz or funk!

Finally, what’s the one thing that everyone should do today?

Be happy, and design your own dance move today!

Supergarden Venice Biennial

Please take a step into his ‚ÄòGarden’ and get lost in his world of silliness. Regularly updated, and filled with tonnes and tonnes of new projects, and doodle all the time.

POSTED BY Stephen

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