Playing With & For The Community
Lynne Goh – Artist of the Month: February
This month we look at Lynne Goh’s cutesy illustrations and her addiction to Japanese Manga comics.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself.
With a mind of a designer, a heart of an artist and a soul of a writer, I’m just a girl who is unable to give up her love for drawing and storytelling and is currently doing a bit of dream-chasing while gaining experience from freelancing. A person who is outwardly introverted but inwardly extrovert, I guess I’m full of contradictions. That’s not really a good combination for a personality, is it? [Laughs awkwardly]
I have a small, treasured circle of friends and am very family-orientated. I’m socially awkward but I can become quite chatty with the right topics. To freely express myself, I draw and write fiction (as a hobby). Being an idealist that hangs to the boundaries of humanity by a thread like an anchored and floating, surveying balloon, my works often talks about the whimsical emotions of life, the abstract timelessness of memory and the unspoken matters of the heart.
Pitched character sets for a milkshake company
Inked and digitally colored, 2011
2) How did art get into your life? What kind of artist are you?
I’ve always loved art. [Laughs awkwardly again] I just realize just how very cliché this beginning is but there’s really no escaping such a fundamental admission. The earliest art that sparked my excitement would be my mom’s A3, full-bodied drawing of a Chinese Emperor. The impressive details of the human form and attire, and the fact that one could create such realistic beauty with a mere paper and pencil simply stunned the 8 year old me. Since then, I’m never without my sketchbooks and doodling characters were my favorite. My obsession escalated during Secondary studies when I was introduced to the world of Japanese manga and anime, which plays a major influence in my style.
Unfortunately, I took a big detour to get to where I am today. Long story short, I couldn’t find/wasn’t given a chance to study arts until I managed to switch from being a [Takes a deep breath] Polytechnic Biomedical Informatics and Engineering student to a Graphic Design major in NTU’s School of ADM. There, I indulged in electives such as Illustration, Digital Painting, B&W Photography and especially Graphic Storytelling taught by local comic artist, Sonny Liew, and it aided me in expanding my aesthetic knowledge. Art classes excite me and it still does.
A comic and concept artist? A character and narrative designer? A graphic illustrator? [Laughs] I don’t seem to know what I really am, yet I am all that while searching for my place in society, which is currently open to multiple possibilities. What I do know and can tell you is that I’m a designer who seeks to personify the essence of things and an artist who just doesn’t know when to give up.
3) Who or what is your inspiration?
It’s been given little credit but Japanese and English comic have always been my main source of inspiration and motivation. I’m still enraptured by how they’ve managed to effectively and appealingly simplify the portrayal of life in strokes, shadows and carefully laid-out sequence of visuals and words. The way a comic artist emotionally connects with the audience isn’t very far from how a designer would work to convey a product’s message at its best, which is why I consider concept-building and getting feedback the most essential process of my work.
Similarly, I am in love with the transformed, manga-like graphic illustrations of Chiho Aoshima, Kazuko Taniguchi and Aya Takano, and it spurs me to try and do the opposite; breaking the traditions of the comic-style and fuse it with graphic design. Brands like Jetoy and Rilakkuma also amazes me as to how a mascot can be popularized with a collateral line, something I hope to achieve while experimenting in the combination of both western and eastern illustration style. Additionally, I admire the conceptual intricacies and realism of Renaissance painters, the intimate, soft touches of Vermeer’s and Rembrandt’s works and the fleetingness of impressionist paintings like Monet’s.
“Who Am I?”, Contemporary Comic Book
A series of 6 illustrated storybooks about a forgetful white quilt in search of the different types of emotional memory to ‘color’ its personality, just like everyone.
Penciled and digitally colored, 2011
4) How do you see your place in the arts and what are your main aims and hopes for yourself as an artist in the arts scene?
Reeeeally good question. [Ponders seriously] I’m thinking of making more distinguishable works (I’ve got about 3 new ones planned out) before I try selling/publishing my illustrations and see my brand on the covers of storybooks or stationery collaterals, or even work in an illustration studio. I’m open to intern or teaching positions as well and I’m also going to try and pursue my hobby into publishing a graphic novel. I’m sincerely ambitious I guess and I know I’m still at the beginning phase, but I do want to try my best and excel in what I do and be recognized for it one day.
5) I hear that you were trained in biomedical informatics and engineering. Tell us about your transition into the arts.
Two words; scary and exhilarating. Science was my second career choice but after going through it, I realized just how much I yearned to be part of the arts; I could not do without it. It wasn’t an easy choice to make since many were skeptical and I owed a lot to my parents for my education. When I finally got into ADM, it was liberating to know that I’ve taken that very first important step into doing what I love the most and to use it to make my parents proud.
A greenhorn in arts and design, I had to rebuild my drawing foundation (something I enjoyed the most) and learn from scratch essential programs like Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. Just being surrounded by others who had prior education and skills was daunting; you get intimidated and inspired altogether. There will be some who questions your ability and you will find yourself doing the same, but you need to take pride that this is also part of an artists’ growth and what matters is raising your own standards while being true to yourself. Keeping an open mind to critiques and growing a bit of ‘thick-skin’ to request for help in understanding a problem will also gradually override your fears. Thankfully, my professors, classmates and family were a really enthusiastic, fun and supportive bunch and I’m forever grateful to them for making my choice of choosing arts worthwhile.
6) Has this influenced your art or your goals in life in any way?
Certainly. I’ve learnt that when you’ve put a stake on your passion, you do whatever it takes to see it through. And as naive as it may sound, it has made me want to create works that soothes or speaks to the people’s collective soul, and I seek to make those intangible subjects tangible. Be it a concept art or a character design, my work is always created with their essence in mind and to visually share their story in ways others can relate to. I’m always looking for chances to learn so I’m trying bit by bit to socialize with other like-minded individuals and to challenge myself with competitions. Of course it’d be good if I can earn from it, I just need to find out how to break into the industry. [Laughs] Wish me luck!
Lynne Goh is also open to commissions so if anyone is interested, do drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org