Playing With & For The Community
Based out of Singapore, Test Shoot Gallery (TSG) is a unique visual gallery that endeavors to showcase to the world new and established artists through collaborations across multiple disciplines. Continually changing and evolving, TSG aims to be a platform that merges the diverse expressions in pop culture, art, design, fashion, music, film and photography. This month, Clifford Loh interviews Ashburn Eng, creative director of Test Shoot Gallery to find out more.
SCYA: How is Test Shoot Gallery different from typical test shoots done by photographers for model agencies?
TSG: In Test Shoot Gallery, the images involves designs from fresh graduates and students from various Singaporean design institutes. Fresh grads are more willing to explore other outlets with their clothing before they get locked into a certain view on clothes and how to present them.
My ideas is exploring creativity and using TSG as an online gallery to showcase our local talents through combined efforts of everyone, expressing our work primarily through fashion shoots. Images produced are not created for commercial purpose, nor we are set up to be another online fashion magazine.
SCYA: What kind of environment did you grow up in and how has it affected why you chose to dabble with the arts?
TSG: At a young age, I have always great interest in the idea of creating something, having parents who do not hinder what one wants to do is fantastic as well. They allowed me to do whatever I want.
Art provide reality escapism and has a theraputic outlet for me.
SCYA: What art movements or periods in art history do you think best describe your style and personality?
TSG: I would say the 1920’s flapper girl symbolises my working style and personality. It is a period of time where one wants to enjoy oneself in life, more willing to move on from the past, slgihtly rebellious from the corset limitation and all wanting to enjoy life like there is no tomorrow.
SCYA: Who is/are your greatest artistic influence(s)?
TSG: Katie Grand. For her bravery in exploring fashion and impeccable style.
SCYA: You are pretty young for your age, has it hindered you in anyway?
TSG: Is good to be young, and being young allows you to be reckless and experimental.
SCYA: Do you think working in the Singapore arts scene has limited your creativity in anyway?
SCYA: Knowing people in the arts industry in Singapore, what do you think sets TSG apart and why has it been able to attract so many readers both locally and internationally?
TSG: I would like to think that we are forward-thinking for pushing the boundaries and taking risks to experiment with a new subject for each shoot. The people who appreciate our works on Test Shoot Gallery are slightly edgier and seek differences in life.
SCYA: How has it been possible to amalgamate pop culture, art, design, fashion, music, film and photography into an image production process?
TSG: It is a whole lot of informaiton processing in my perception of fashion styling for photography. It is a mixed up riot of everything that comes to my mind for that moment.
I do find references from great artists in the past and present, and avant-garde performers like Nina Hagen, Grace Jones and Klaus Nomi as muses for my works.
SCYA: What do you think is the best creative work that you have developed thus far and why?
TSG: A series of wearable art made out of various types of papers. This spread have been requested for submissions by notable publications overseas. This series of work have also bagged me two prestigious award from the Iconique Societás Awards.
SCYA: What is the starting point for a shoot, can you describe how you’d usually plan a shoot, from art direction to styling, location selection and models to use?
TSG: There is not a fixed formula on how a shoot should be done. I like the environment to be rather chilled, random, instinctive and pure. I feel the main source of success comes from the art direction, sourcing the right talents and piecing everything together.
SCYA: And lastly, as the director of TSG, what do you look for when recruiting new talents or collaborating with emerging talents?
TSG: Definitely, we are always looking out for new talents to provide new perspectives and also they should understand our starting point and share our aesthetics.
Image Credits: Test Shoot Gallery