It’s been about three months since we arrived in Singapore.
And it feels like I have been in “moving mode” for 10 months. As an expat with children, even though my spouse starts a new job in a new city – we stayed behind to give our son a chance to finish 4th grade in Tokyo to make it a smoother transition for him. It also gave me an opportunity to figure out how to “wind down” my art business in Tokyo and make a plan to “wind it up” in Singapore. First thing I did is to make sure I used up as many supplies as I could while in Tokyo. Second thing I did – make sure to purchase art supplies I knew would only be available in Tokyo!
So far, Japan is the only place I know where they sell colored silver and gold leaf… even the supplier I source my silver and gold leaf from in New York sources a significant amount of their leaf from Japan. The second thing that I wasn’t sure I would find immediately in Singapore are Japanese sumi-e brushes. While Chinese brush painting is the mainstay oriental brush in Singapore – I wasn’t sure if the Japanese sumi-e brushes I was accustomed to would easily be available in Singapore.
Knowing that I would try to meet/visit different galleries/ gallery directors in Singapore, I painted a series of smaller pieces over the summer – 8 x 8 inch wood panels that I could easily pack in my luggage.
As an expat-spouse and mom; setting up my new studio was last on the list of rooms to set up. But, 10 days after we moved; the studio was ready! And I was very excited to have a newly commissioned project to launch myself into.
As we know – finding our way in a new neighborhood means finding a new grocery store, drug store, gas station, beauty salon, etc. It’s no different for an artist. Moving from Tokyo to Singapore not only meant different art supply stores; but also has the potential to transition to different art supplies and products. My usual acrylic oil paints are not as easily available as they were in Tokyo; and in the case of the oil paint I use – available in one store as a special order.
I spent the first 4 weeks in Singapore visiting the various art supply stores – of which I found 6. I figured out where I can source various items, such as varnishes, different oil paint brands, canvasses, resin, etc. I also found an Art Lab where I could paint with peers and became a member. One thing that is not easily available in Singapore are large wood panels – and these are my primary substrate!
I did manage to find a hardware store, upon the recommendation of a fellow artist, that would cut wood panels to the size I needed, no matter how large. And I can special order the canvasses when needed. But as I really only work on wood panels, unless it is a commission where canvas was requested, I will be visiting this hardware store quite often, I think.
Fun facts about Singapore! It is city-state made up of 1 large and 63 smaller islands and home to about 5.5 million people. About 70% of the population is of Chinese origin, with the remaining 30% Malay and Indian. It is a rich diverse culture of people, food, fashion, design and.. ART! I can’t wait to explore!
It’s been an interesting first few months. I have met a few artists who have referred me to other artists – I went to a couple Art Openings and met more artists. Still – there is much to do in getting involved and introducing myself in Singapore. I’m looking forward to learning a new city, a new art scene – and most importantly, seeing how my art evolves under the influence of this diverse culture.