Interview With: A Part-Time Artist Who Held Her First Solo Art Exhibition

Adeline Tan
28, Full-time graphic designer & part-time artist

With a great affinity for canines, young artist Adeline Tan recently held her first solo charity art exhibition creatively titled I Love You So Mutt. Having briefly met Adeline, she comes across as demure, soft-spoken and of the introverted sort. Like most artists, she is probably more comfortable expressing herself with a piece of paper and some color pencils. And having an ideal subject matter like the family pet – who does not talk back or need prep talk, this is Adeline’s art from the heart. As the saying goes ‘a dog is a man’s best friend’, women included.

When did you start to draw?
As a kid. My elder brother and I weren’t outdoorsy kids, so on most days we would spend drawing and coloring stuff at home. He would make things out of empty cardboard boxes that my mom planned to throw away. I was fascinated by how he transformed daily mundane unusable things into giant sculptures that looked like robots. I really looked up to him.

Is this your first solo art exhibition?
Yes. I have participated in 5-6 art exhibitions before with other artists., but this is my first solo.

How does holding a solo art exhibition feel compared to a combined exhibition?
More stressful! I am always thinking ‘how am I going to pull this off‘, ‘are people going to buy the drawings‘ and ‘how much money am I going to be able to raise‘.

Why dogs?
Since I was 15 years old, I had a dog named Weewee. I grew up with him. He taught me sacrifice, loyalty and how to cherish my family. Unfortunately, he passed away a year ago from a car accident. Six months after Weewee died, I adopted Dyana from the shelter – Gentle Paws.

She passed away 6 months later from another accident. It was very painful. I wanted to do something for her canine friends who were still at the shelter. I did it with the hope that people would know about them, make a trip to the shelter, befriend them and see these dogs for what they are – beautiful dogs with awesome personalities. Also, I wanted to raise funds for the shelter.

What is it like working with dogs?
It is great being around them. They are appreciative, forgiving and loyal to the core.

Do you have any interesting moments to share during your time of dog drawing?
Three weeks after my dog Dyana passed away, I was drawing in my room when I heard the door suddenly creak. For a second, I thought it was her pushing her little head into my room asking to play. Something she used to do. But then I remembered she was gone for good. That made me sad.

What art medium do you use to create your dog collection?
I used color pencils and some paints.

How long did it take you to finish your collection?
There are 26 dogs in the collection. I did one piece a day, sometimes two. So, it took less than a month to finish.

Do you draw or paint other subject matters?
Yes! I draw my imaginary friend, Yellow. He is a little yellow guy with large eyes and body about the size of an iPhone.

How do you get yourself in the creative zone/mood?
I don’t have a particular way to do so. I just make it a point to be productive every day, even if I didn’t feel like it.

Where do you get your creative inspirations from?
Mostly music and film. Sometimes nature and science.

Who inspires you? Why?
I like UK artist David Shrigley. I love his wit. He did a fully-animated music video with illustrative sequences that had nothing to do with the music. I thought it was impressive.

What would you advise to someone who wants to explore art as a creative outlet?
Just try it. Life is too short to be worrying about failing.

In your opinion, is it easy to make a living as an artist in Singapore?
I’m not a full-time artist so I’m not really in the position to say if it is. However, I would think it isn’t easy because people see buying art as a ‘good to have’ rather than a necessity.

Why haven’t you gone full-time as an artist?
I like to keep my drawings as a hobby without the stress and pressure of delivering a certain piece of artwork.

Are you working on any collections or have plans for future exhibitions?
No, not at the moment.

What is art to you?
Art is a language. A way I use to express myself. Like how some people take up dancing or singing, I draw.

Do you practice eco-living? How?
Kind of…I usually fully utilise both sides of the paper when I draw (if I’m not intending to sell the originals). I also eat less meat, and recycle plastics as much as possible.

If you could play your part saving the planet in your daily life in ONE way, what would it be?
I would store my work and documents digitally, and send used paper for recycling.

Thanks Adeline ♥

For more information on the exhibition or to view some of the art pieces, click here.

All art proceeds from Adeline’s I Love You So Mutt exhibition goes to Gentle Paws dog shelter for abandoned dogs.

For a complete listing of:

  • Women Who Launch interviews, click here.
  • Inspiring Women interviews, click here.
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