Friday, 12 December 2014

Official Charcoal Drawings Website

After spending some time organising myself, I've decided to separate my finer charcoal drawing works from my illustrative commercial work. As such, a new website is born!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Flowers I on display at On Pedder Singapore.

Flowers I is currently on display and for sale at Floral Magic's gorgeous little pop-up store, inside On Pedder, located on the 2nd floor of Scotts Square Singapore. It will be there from today 26th Nov 2014 all the way to mid Jan 2015. It is such a sanctuary of moss and flowers inside a posh shopping mall. Lovely! Many thanks to Floral Magic for featuring my new work!
Flowers I
Nitram Charcoal on Fabriano Roma paper
63cm by 63cm

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Horoscope Illustration for Prestige Magazine Singapore 2013

After a monthly individual release since September 2013, the 12 set horoscopes I illustrated a while back is now fully represented on the pages of Prestige Magazine Singapore. 
Many thanks to the Burda team, especially Catherine, who worked tirelessly with me on this project, while I was in Europe doing my post-graduate. If my guess isn't wrong, this project followed me to 5 different countries, while I lugged my sketchbook, scanner, computer, and wacom tablet etc. around.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

"Tangled up in -." 2014.

Part of the first ever riso print show by Knuckle and Notch. 
Limited edition of 5 prints selling for $25. Only 7 in existence.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Untitled (Still Life). Nitram Charcoal and Willow Charcoal, on light grey Canson paper, 2014

Untitled (Still Life). Nitram Charcoal and Willow Charcoal, on light grey Canson paper, 2014

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Drawings 2013 from the Florence Academy

The Lady of Seine Cast Drawing, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013
* SOLD *

Nude Model Drawing, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013
* reserved *

Nude Model Drawing, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013

Ear Cast, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013
* reserved *
Awarded title Exceptional student work by The Florence Academy of Art 2013

Nude Figure Drawing, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013
Awarded the Best Figure Drawing of the Year 2013

Belvedere, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013

She turns away, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013

Arm, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013

Lady of the Seine, in Pencil, 2013

Nude Model Drawing, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013

Hand, in pencil, 2013

Feet, in pencil, 2013

Nude Model Drawing, in Nitram Charcoal, 2013

Thank you so much for all your encouragement and support, my dear friends. It's been a grand year long journey, and I'm grateful for the opportunity. There's still a long way to go, and I am very excited about it. Please contact me for purchases via this email: 

I am also taking commissions for drawings, do contact me for more information! :) 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

From then til now; Figure Drawing at the Florence Academy of Art, Sweden

It is just fascinating to put them together and compare what has changed through my year in Sweden. The drawing on the left is my very first 3 hour study at the school (in January), the middle drawing is from the first week of the second trimester (in March) done in 3 hours, and the drawing on the right is also a 3 hour study, for my long pose from the 2nd week of the current third trimester (in October).

There has been tremendous improvement in the understanding of proportions and gesture- to make a figure stand in a steady contrapposto. (Oh, how the rib and pelvis had melted together in the first drawing) There has also been a progressive understanding for sight-size, lost-and-found-edges, shadow and light shapes, line variety, focus, form, holding a pencil, and being gentle to the paper. Much to reflect on.

There is still much to be improved, and much to learn, and so far from where I'd want to be. 

Sometimes reflecting helps with thinking forward. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Delere Press: Requiem for the Factory

There has been much joy and anticipation at Delere Press, with the release of its very first book Requiem for the Factory earlier this year: a gentle meandering of a fiction written by Jeremy Fernando, with photographs by Kenny Png, foreword by Lim Lee Ching, and myself, who contributed to the layouts of the book. 

To begin in the form of a paper book, performs a controversial entrance against the tide of digital reading, against the tide of our better senses. Our madness for tradition prevails.

It started with a long process of learning what it means to make a word, a sentence, a text, a book, to print a book, and then to publish a book. Now, it feels as if it only gets longer, richer, and more exciting. We look forward to bringing more beautifully illustrated books to life-inks and images continue to converse on a paper face-as we carry the weight of their correspondence in our hands. 

Dr. Anders Kolle wrote a delightful review of the book on the Singapore Review of Books, and Julie O'Yang on her blog. An excerpt of the book has also been published at the online magazine Berfrois. We sincerely thank everyone who has spent time caressing the pages, and bow in appreciation for those who have taken their time off to send their thoughts of the book on Amazon. 

Thank you. 


As you perhaps inferred, the book is sold on Amazon.


"Requiem for the Factory is a conversation between two forms of writing: language, and light. This occurs in a tale that attempts to explore the relationality of a self to her self through the figure of a factory. Told through an "I" that refuses to remain stable, one is never sure whether this is a moment when the tale is recounted, recalled, or whether it is being told at the moment of telling. And this is why this requiem has to be narrated. What is foregrounded is not only the fact that memory, history, is fictional, but more pertinently that the self-and the "I"-can only be uttered, perhaps even known, through fictionality. This is not to say that the self is imagined-unreal-but that the imaginary is in the very fabric of reality itself. 

This is a tale of two writings that are speaking to, and with, each other, whilst also speaking in their own realms at the very same time. 

Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote that philosophy should be done "dichten", as poetry. Jeremy Fernando manages to give this program a form, a direction. His texts contain many questions: in Requiem for the Factory poetry is aninvestigation, both in a cognitive and historical sense. Without being illustrative, Kenny Png's impressive urban photographs testify (this verb is crucial) to a new possibility of perceiving instead of just seeing. By the same token, Fernando's writing, Png's pictures, and Yanyun Chen's minimal narrative ideographic interventions testify to the possibility of a new narrative: investigating history means telling all possible stories, through different though simultaneous linguistic paradigms. Requiem for the Factory builds up a (hi)story of the possible as a narrative of the possible.

Alessandro De Francesco, poet; and author of RidefinizioneRedéfinition, da 1000m / dès 1000m / from 1000m, and Lo spostamento degli oggetti

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Notes on progression: Everything takes time

This was a 3 weeks and 2 days drawing, which makes 17 days of 3 hours each. 

We don't work on weekends.

51 hours. 

There is little, and too much, to say about progression, aside from the fact that it is changing one step at a time- sometimes a little more obviously, other times less. Each step hopefully moving closer towards the impression of this pixie girl standing before me. A friend of mine asks if there is such a thing as real change, or only a constant becoming? 

When does a drawing begin to feel 3 dimensional, or will it always be confined to its physical frame? How do we create life from graphite and paper? 

The curious thing for me is reviewing this archived progression, and watching my own twist-and-turns as I drew. It feels like reading code, or watching game-decisions that are contingent and tactile, I can see how I was thinking and what questions I was asking myself; how I was playing with light and material. 

In my case, the finishing took the bulk of the time- I stared longer at the model and my drawing, more than drawing itself; there was, in fact, less and less to draw. Between day 11 and 17, the changes are significant, yet actual drawing was very little. It is interesting to think that the momentous changes in this drawing came not at the start, when the charcoal first hit the paper, but rather when I ended the drawing. It could have ended on day 11, instead it ended on day 17. Imagine what it would be on day 23? Or 29? Or 35? 

Yet, what is finish? When does one know that one has finished a drawing when one gets to choose when to put down the pencil?

She turns away
Nitram Charcoal on Roman Paper, 2013

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Vignettes of thoughts: The Florence Academy of Art, Sweden: Best Figure Drawing 2013

Nitram Charcoal on Roma Paper, 2013
5 weeks. 

It has taken me a while to put up this recent drawing on my website. To start, I am deeply grateful and very humbled for having been awarded the Best Figure Drawing in the Florence Academy of Art Sweden for this year. Having only been in the school for 2 trimesters (6 months), I felt unready, as compared to my peers who have been there longer, worked much harder than I have, and draw more beautifully. With the risk of sounding conceited, I even felt a tinge of guilt and probably ended up behaving real awkwardly during the ceremony because I didn't quite know what to think, except a pathetic sort of polite scrambling away. After much processing, now, it serves to kick me in the ass to buck up and keep improving.  Thank you. I am ready to own up to it. Thank you, for this experience as well. 

It is hard to own up to one's creations, sometimes. 

Especially after weeks and weeks of obsessing at the little flakes of charcoal, pushing them round and round, working against nature of gravity, friction, and porous paper, I see every bit of error, cover ups, make overs, scratches, and accidents that have happened in the process of working on a drawing. I see the path I have walked, right down to every pebble I have tripped over, embarrassed for, and tried to hide. I groan each time I see them, and like every obsessive-compulsive person, I see them even if I don't want to. 

Luckily, I have a bad memory.


Unlike most illustrious drawers, I'm hardly attached to my work- emotionally or intellectually. When I'm drawing, I draw. It is within these moments that I am quiet, I am mediating. It would be a stretch to say that I am happy while I'm drawing, or frustrated, or lost. It feels like this moment- I'm sitting in a comfortable chair, staring out of the window to the swaying leaves, cool breeze caressing my hair, and my mind is quiet. 

Perhaps my awkwardness comes from a certain expectation that one who calls himself an artist is supposed to be an emotional being, who tears up his work on a bad day, and weeps out of love for his creation on other days; and for me to come close to this artistry, I should behave this way too. 

But I don't, I never have. 

A prolonged quietness, that is drawing for me; a rhythmic silence like a chilly breeze floating in through the window. 


I had a few friends who have asked why I did not sign my work. I see the value in that, most artists do it, and yet, I am absolutely uncomfortable with it. 

Borrowing the phrase from Taiwanese Sculptor Ju Ming, whose sentiment I share, my works are like my "daughters". For Ju Ming, finding buyers for his work, is like finding potential suitors for his daughters; he hopes for the best match possible, yet some "daughters" he doesn't want to "marry off", and instead, keep by his side. I expand this further: there is no need for me to brand my children with my name. The features are there, the artist's hand is apparent, they tell the story; the works have a name, a history, and a life to lead onwards for themselves; there is the integrity, love, and discipline the artist imparts to each piece of work. And then, the works have their own life to lead. 

Like daughter do. And sons. And they should. 

You can argue that it is for future generations to know whose hand made the work, it is for the archivers who need labels. Okay, I'll sign on the back of the drawing for their sake, scribble my name somewhere like the child from preschool who signs his splatter of paint with pride. 

I am but a vehicle in the process of creation. Just something between an inspiration/an idea/a way of seeing, and the physical world. These works of mine don't come with a signature, I never planned for a layout that included them. Forced at knife-point, I wouldn't even know where to place my name, or how to write it, or in which language. But I recognise my handiwork, and in time, with a lot more work produced and a whole lot more improvements, I hope it will become unavoidably apparent that it could not have been someone else's. Or let them be forgotten because I wasn't good enough, in the Darwinian sense. 

Yes, I know I am being difficult, and I'm being totally obnoxious. 

Please grant me a whole life of creating more and better works than this. 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Florence Academy of Art- Bargue Drawings

Very rarely do we allow ourselves to practice and maintain the act of "getting to know"; we quickly slip into subsuming the Other, swallowing them whole and spitting out the remains of that which we cannot define by our own standards. We assume the whole from the parts we glimpse at, painting out the peripheries with a broke stroke of the unkempt brush; a repetition of past gestures. We let others tell us about the object of our attention, easily. Or, we think we know, and stop observing. 

If you happened to chance at my current musings, and decided to stay for a while, I would like to invite you to take a look at Bargue drawings, and what I have learnt from these lithographs. 

Charles Bargue, born 1826, died 1883. He developed the Cours de dessin with Jean-Leon Gerome, 197 lithographs to guide art students into the depth of drawing, and eventually emerge into the practice of painting in oils. Copying these drawings were the main passage into what it meant to draw in the 19th Century sense- exact copies in pencil and charcoal, focusing on shadow-shapes, values, keying, atmosphere, and most importantly, the flow of light. It reduces the craft to a levelled ground, one where a teacher and a student can compare, with the necessary "right" and "wrong", and a goal which one proceeds towards. What is known as an academic tradition gave room to painters such as John Singer Sargent, to bloom as a high figure in the technique of oil painting in the 19th Century, as well as the violent reactions of the Realist against the definition of elite artwork offered by the academic institutions. Surprisingly, if one searched the list on wikipedia, Charles Bargue's name does not appear, as if history wished not to remember him. It is as if they wished to forget the boredom of academia. Who could blame them. The scandals, the rebels, the vagabonds would please the demanding public more so than the dry surface of "copying nature"- that was the world of the art critique, a world pivoting on credibility. Like paintings stacked to the ceilings in the Salon, art critiques were slaves to attention- that which stood out was the best. The most observed. The most contemplated. The most important. 

Indeed, academic drawing isn't the most interesting subject to talk over cocktail. Few would find joy in discussing the brands of pencils, the softness, and techniques of sharpening them. Or which drawing of the knee was more convincing. Or if a shoulder blade was placed right. Or if the trapezius was attaching correctly. Or how delicious a light shape was. Yet, approaching drawing was, for me, an act of "getting to know", where this enigmatic "life" was found on a flat 2 dimensional surface. I came into school with the question: what makes some art more alive than another? I maintain in this act of searching. It seemed I had to get to know Bargue, and head back into the past. 

What Bargue requires from us is our attention: an awareness to every change of value, half-tone, shape. Which edges get lost, and found; when does a change in plane melt into the other; how does a form turn. It seems to me that drawing is a constant questioning, and a constant maintenance of a levelled state to which we can question whether what we had put on paper will allow us to continue questioning, simply and easily, our drawing to Bargue's own. Questions, lead to questions, lead to questions, und so weiter...

A maintenance of the ground for questioning. 

As students of Bargue's legacy, we cannot assume to know, to have understood, to stop looking, to fake-it - we are not allowed that luxury of blindness. We are not allowed to measure to our own standards, for Bargue is the ultimate, he is the measure. We are placed next to Bargue, to remind ourselves how far we are from him. We are not even given the room to overlook the invisible. Nothing is ignored; we battle against ignorance. At the end, even our guides can't lead us all the way to Bargue, for like us, they were his students. Our subjectivity limits us to Bargue, and yet we struggle on. Every mark made is contingent, is necessary, is urgent. Our eyes must be open to every passage of light. 

What I am blind to, is where Bargue leads me.

I can only discover as I walk forward. 


Foot. 3 Week Study. 
First Bargue Drawing, Pencil on Canson Paper.

Hand. 4 Week Study.
Second Bargue Drawing, Pencil on Canson paper. 

Death Mask of the Lady of the Seine.
4 Week Study.
Third Bargue Drawing, Pencil on Canson paper. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Featured on Berfrois: Lee Kuan Yew’s Death Has Already Taken Place

Death Mask, Yanyun Chen, 2013

by Jeremy Fernando

… the highest function of the sign is to make reality disappear and, at the same time, to mask that disappearance.
— Jean Baudrillard, The Perfect Crime
To conquer death you only have to die, you only have to die
—Tim Rice, ‘Jerusalem’
There is a famous maxim that one must always kill your idols. That the only way to become your own person, as it were, is to free yourself from the shadow of the one you admire, look up to. Singapore has clearly taken this to heart: and has murdered its founding father. Not in the banal sense of attempting to erase his memory, an erasure by censorship, omission, but in a far more sophisticated way: by cementing a version of him, memorialising him — archiving him.
Read the rest here: Lee Kuan Yew’s Death Has Already Taken Place

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Delere Press on Okto

Delere Press was featured on Okto Channel, with founders Jeremy Fernando and Yanyun Chen on book and art publishing. In collaboration with the National University of Singapore, The Hood, documentary team lead by Kenny Png and Victor Tang, Jason and Jaye.

Oh look at our under-appreciated faces... ho!

Video can be found here:

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Moonchild screened at Cartoons Underground!

Cartoons Underground blasted through Boat Quay on the 29th of November with it's amazing set of independent animation from around the world. We were very honoured to have Moonchild screened in the grungy outdoor theatre; and all the wonderfully supportive staff and audience giving us pats on our backs; our friends who came to watch the films with us, laugh with us; and the great weather! Thank you Patrick Smith and Vicky Chen.

Here are some photographs of the event, courtesy of Cartoons Underground!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The pairing of my digital ink and jeremy's digital words... fiction as petra.

Petra is featured in Berfrois, as a partner in crime with Jeremy's new fiction The Squire Goes to the Polls. I am much delighted. Read more here: Berfrois

The Squire Goes to the Polls

[dedicated to the memory of Lebbeus Woods (1940-2012)]

Petra, Yanyun Chen, 2012

by Jeremy Fernando

Save him … was the only thought occupying his mind as he rode in. “He is the last of the noblemen, even if he doesn’t quite seem to know it himself these days.”
“If he doesn’t know it, can he be all that noble?” replied the ass. “Surely nobility would imply that you know what you were doing!”
“Certainly! Why else would he be making those claims to save the nation? Repair the economy in spite of all mathematical fact? He’s all the more noble for marching straight into the unknown.”
“Adderall baby.”
“No wonder you’re just longing for tomatoes”, muttered the rider.
“If you’re unhappy, go ride an elephant.”
... (more here)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tembusu Bemuse is featured on Culturepush!

Let me introduce you to the point-and-click adventure game Tembusu Bemused: The Tree Chapter, a collaborative piece by artist duo Stick and Balloon -Yanyun Chen and Sara Chong- and Tembusu College, National University of Singapore.
“As part of our inaugural artist-in-residence programme, as well as our first successful year of the new college, we experimented with the idea of featuring the college’s quirks and adventure spirit by designing the staff and faculty of Tembusu College as in-game characters, designing our academic study and personal interests into the story as well. Students were involved in naming the characters, debugging the game, and open to the possibility of engaging with their professors in a totally different light.”
Stick and Balloon infused their whimsical art and story-telling with original music by composer Jachin Pousson, animation by Aimee Rusli, and developers Build and Connect & Arul Prasad.
“The story goes with our protagonist Stig receiving a letter from the Tembusu tree to search for Greg, the Master of the school. Stig meets a series of odd professors, each with their own puzzles and problems to solve. And a giant albino millipede!”
Stick and Balloon’s 2011 game Jimmyfish was awarded the “Jury Selection Work” for outstanding works at the 15th Japan Media Arts Festival held in February 2012.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Singapore Maritime Gallery X Multimedia People

Work in action on an interactive surface!