Ang Ah Tee’s ‘Gondolas By The Canal” was more than just an inspiration. Adeline saw the painting and fell in love. Her thoughts stressed about the affordability but her heart tugged at her to not leave the gallery without it. A quick plan for installment and a phone call to her husband later, she walked out of Sun Craft with a wide smile and an artwork under her arm. The passion and quest to collect 2nd generation Singaporean artists had begun.
So your love affair with art started at Sun Craft?
Actually my love for art really started with my first visit to the Uffizi in Italy during my student days in the UK. It was a mesmerizing experience after which I was inspired to explore the museums in Europe and in London. Although I am currently focused on collecting local artists, I still subscribe to art magazines to keep touch with the Western art world and frequently order art books from Amazon.
Tell us about your collection of 2nd gen local artists.
I collect for the love of art and not for commercial reasons, so fine art and the artists’ techniques are very important criteria. I appreciate fully the commitment that the 1st and 2nd gen local artists have put into honing and developing their craft over the years.
The paintings of the 2nd gen artists display techniques that are reminiscent of the great European oil and acrylic painters. Ang Ah Tee’s paintings have soothing warm tones, accentuated by skillful brushstrokes of vibrant acrylic.
Tan Choh Tee, the Matisse of the East, is one of my personal favorite. I like how he applies controlled, strong individual brushstrokes to depict the peaceful landscapes of Singapore landscapes. His brushstrokes have changed over the years; they seem to get more free as he ages. One of my favorite pieces is this painting of greenery, no one seems to like it but I love it especially knowing how hard it is to paint something like that. He’s somehow managed to breathe life into the painting such that it doesn’t look like a homogenous block of green by introducing spots of colour, layering different hues and shades of green, giving the painting texture and depth.
Terence Teo, the owner of Cape of Good Hope Gallery, does wonderful abstract paintings, including one of Tembusu trees in the Botanic Gardens. He stuck to a dark palette, using traditional Chinese ink and colour but in a modern abstract concept.
I can’t afford the prices of 1st generation artists and have been really focusing on 2nd generation artists instead. Recently, I’ve started looking to 3rd generation artists’ works due to affordability!
“Do you also collect works of younger artists?
I haven’t collected many works of younger artists as I feel that they are priced quite expensively for their age/experience. That said, however, my recent favorite piece is a drawing by Vincent Leow, who can be categorized as A 3rd generation ARTIST I believe. I rarely buy contemporary works but this one really attracted me. It is oil on paper of a gardener working with his hands. I guess the implicit idea of toil and labour spoke to me.
I recently bought a Mick Saylom painting from Art Loft titled ‘Helium Parade. It is something different from the other pieces in my collection but I like the movement in the painting. It’s fun and I appreciate the fine lines and details by the artist. I thought that it would be something that my boys would appreciate as it reminds them of a balloon man! There is a more satirical underlying tone to the piece, as if the artist was trying to tell us how we are all puppets and being played by society.
How has art influenced your family’s life?
Art has definitely made me poorer! On a serious note, the aesthetics of art does play a part in enriching my life. I react to each painting differently every day, and somehow, things seem more complete with a visual-emotion stimulation.
My kids seem to understand without us having to tell them that our art collection is expensive, they draw and scribble all over the wall, on the table pedestal, but somehow they keep off the art pieces! My four year old son likes drawing and he uses blu tac to stick his own drawings on the wall, alongside our art pieces.
We used to bring the boys to Art Stage and Affordable Art Fair. However, they are getting too restless recently so we don’t bring them along when we are catching up with museum and gallery exhibitions.