Unfinished & Abandoned Art in Singaporean Artists’ Studios (via The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore)

What is the difference between finished and unfinished? No one can tell. It’s invisible to us but looms large in the artists’ minds. What the artist sees as unfinished and unsatisfactory may appear beautiful to our naked eye. Here, six local artists unearthed some of their unfinished and abandoned artworks.

Tay Bak Chiang

“This was from 2000 or so, around 16 years ago. At that point in time, I came from a place wanting to explore local subjects. So I drew sunflowers, palm trees etc.. But how do I draw a sunflower? How do I treat the leaves, the lines, colours, and the composition?”, the 44-year-old Chinese ink painter, Tay Bak Chiang quips.

When Tay started on this series of sunflowers, he first studied the local sunflowers. “I went to photograph some of them, did some writings about them to clarify the concepts. Once I familiarised myself with the various states of this plant—which ones are the most beautiful—then I started conceptualising how to draw them. Do I prefer them at full bloom or on the verge of wither? It depends on what calls out. These are things that must be considered. Then I started drawing.”

Tay considered the techniques he could explore and decided to paint it freehand. “This is what we call the freehand brushwork, meaning we just dip the brush in water, ink and draw. It doesn’t matter if [the painting turns out] successful or unsuccessful, it will be completed in half an hour.”

He may have chucked out numerous unsuccessful freehand painting – it’s only normal to him. Yet, he kept this particular piece in hope of redrawing it someday. “It’s completed, I’d say it’s completed. It’s only that I feel unsatisfied with it. And the thing about unsatisfaction is – only I’d know. The lines are not ideal, and the colours are lacking.”


Read more at The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore.

ArtsEquator Radar features articles and posts drawn from local and regional websites and publications – aggregated content from outside sources, so we are exposed to a multitude of voices in the region.

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