Zooming in on creativity

Two standout artists from Noise Singapore Festival 2016 tell us more about their creative processes.

Anna Fernandez

Published: 19 August 2016, 12:00 AM

It all started with an Instagram trend he spotted two years ago.

Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of slicing a whole image into multiple Instagram posts, photographer and graphic designer Ng Wei Jiang decided to take it further.

Wei Jiang told Youth.SG: “I didn’t like how some people were posting multiple cutouts of one whole image. Every time I saw those kinds of posts, it was an individual piece that didn’t really make sense. I thought I could try something different; [to] create a whole collage while each individual piece still represents something,” said the amiable photographer.


Wei Jiang uses Instagram’s grid layout to create unique collages.
Photo credit: @orhganic on Instagram


His clever use of Instagram’s grid layout slowly gained traction online. His iconic ‘Urban Afro’ collage was even featured in multiple magazines, including two German ones.

Wei Jiang, 24, is one of the local artists whose work is featured in the Noise Singapore Festival, which is in its 11th year.

An initiative by the National Arts Council, the Noise Singapore Festival is a platform that showcases Singapore’s young talents in all mediums, including art, music, and photography.


German magazine polka featured Wei Jiang’s iconic collage.
Photo credit: Wei Jiang


While each square in his creations is taken individually, Wei Jiang shared that he often found it challenging to combine the photos into a seamless collage.

He explained: “Thinking of the concept does not take long. It is the collection of suitable images that is the tougher challenge.”


Wei Jiang’s works are featured in the “best of show” display.


If you have seen his Instagram feed, you might have noticed a monochrome theme in his works. Why is that so, you ask?

“I’ve been working with black and white for a long time and it helps in putting more focus on the shapes and lines of my subjects in these works,” added Wei Jiang, with a thoughtful grin.

Wei Jiang was not the only artist whose work stood out in a sea of 300 pieces.

MaryAnn Loo, 33, is one of the artists commissioned for the festival’s collaboration with EZ-Link. The fine artist and illustrator paid tribute to two of Singapore’s iconic landmarks: the Merlion and the Marina Bay Sands.


MaryAnn Loo is one of the three local artists selected to design the national day ez-link card series.


The bubbly artist, who prefers to work with mixed media, said: “I’ve always liked this scenery of the Merlion with the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer in the background, so that was the picture I used as my inspiration for this piece.”

“The painting is a depiction of two unique icons of Singapore’s past and present, and set against a colourful luminous sky, it symbolises the nation looking toward a bright future ahead,” added MaryAnn.


MaryAnn’s colourful twist to Singapore’s beloved icons.


Keeping with the theme of the festival, ‘Uncharted’, MaryAnn used acrylic paint to re-create the iconic landmarks, which took her between six to eight hours to complete. The colours she used for the piece, which she entitled ‘Mer-Friend’, are reminiscent of the vibrant colour palette she uses in most of her whimsical illustrations.

“There’s a positive uplifting sense that I like to convey using the colours that I’ve chosen,” explained the passionate artist.


One of MaryAnn’s past illustrations.
Photo credit: MaryAnn Loo’s Facebook


Before we ended our chat with the two youth artists, we asked them for their tips on getting their creative works recognised.

MaryAnn, who has been applying to Noise Singapore Festival since 2014, said: “If it appears that somebody has overnight success, it’s because they have been doing a lot of consistent small steps. They get what they deserve eventually, because they put in the work at the beginning.”

“So, wherever you are at, if you haven’t reached the “overnight success” point yet, it means that you still need to just take small steps. Work on it a little bit every day, even if it’s just an hour a day. It’s better than not doing it at all,” added the outspoken artist.

For Wei Jiang, he encouraged budding artists to pursue their passion, no matter what setbacks they may face in the process.

The easygoing artist said: “Do not lose faith in what you’re doing. You have to enjoy what you’re doing and keep working at it because your works won’t get noticed overnight. You have to keep building and improving.”

Check out Noise Singapore Festival’s anchor exhibition at Capitol Piazza, which is running till 30 Sept.

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