‘Your Story’ is a collaboration between SquareFixed Photography (@squarefixedphotography), alongside various creative individuals in Singapore, in hope to spread more awareness of the local art scene and to inspire more individuals on their creative journey.
To kickstart our ‘Your Story’ Series, we are privileged and honoured to have with us Singapore Artist, Celine Chia Hui Xuan. Celine is a cheerful and friendly artist, and the following is an excerpt of our interview prior to our studio photoshoot.
When Did You Start Your Art Journey?
I (artist Celine Chia) started learning art when I was three. My mum signed me up for
art classes under Art Vision Enterprise. Under the guidance of my art teacher, I build
up my foundations of drawing, colouring and painting techniques. These classes
were vibrant and engaging and there was no limits or restrictions to what you can
learn. Every class was different, and I got to try out different styles of creating art.
How Did You Discover Your Unique Art Style?
Although I get my inspirations from platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube videos and
Instagram explore page, I adapt, innovate and improvise, and recreate my own
unique artwork. One of my interest is in hyperrealism. As such, whenever I look at
objects (eg. Food, sceneries), I see the subject as more than just an object. I see it
as a mesh of colours, blending and intertwining together. This is why you see a
greater depth/layer in my artworks.
Why Did You Start Ccmonstersart?
Art has always been my passion. Adding colours to life is my company’s brand motto
and I live by it each and every day. I believe that art has the power to influence and
foster communities. Just take a look at singers and musical artists for instance. They
have their own audience and fan base. Even opera and theatre art have their
supporters. All these artists started somewhere. Ccmonstersart was my beginnings
in this field and I intend to commit to making it a renowned brand.
Why Did You Decide to Start a Business And Open
Your Own Art Studio?
It all started during the Covid-19 lockdown. During this period of turmoil, I
volunteered for online art classes to teach the elderly. At the same time, since there
was no graduation ceremony (class of 2020), I decided to do up customised
explosion boxes for my peers. The explosion boxes took off and there were many
fellow graduates who expressed interest in my crafts. Thus, I created a Carousell
account and Instagram account (@c_line_crafts) to sell my works of art.
After the lockdown, I got the opportunity to meet up with the elderly (my students)
and they showed appreciation to my lessons. To me, it was a really fruitful learning
experience and I felt inspired when I see the elderly picking up a new hobby. They
made me feel that it is possible to build a career around art.
Around this time period, my previous art teacher reached out to me and asked if I
wanted a space to conduct my classes. This was how my studio came into fruition. I
started trial classes with my own peers and improved myself based on their
feedbacks. From the positive feedbacks, I gained more confidence and proceeded to
conducting my own personal classes.
How Do You Feel About Being An Artist in Singapore?
I feel that it is definitely not a path that is made for everyone. There is no easy way or
shortcut to reach your desired goal. I have came across many creative people who are not in this industry, simply because of the social stigmas surrounding it. There is this fear and prejudice that their works will not be accepted by the general public.
The art community is relatively small in Singapore, and they do not have as much
presence/influence to make an impact. In spite of all these hurdles, I believe that
Ccmonstersart will definitely succeed and propel the arts industry forward.
Your Biggest Motivation to Keep You Going?
Initially, my friends were my source of motivation. They were the ones who first
started following my Instagram page and seeing my works of art. As I continued posting
and updating my content, there were actually random followers who relate and
appreciate my works of art. They even reached out to thank me for the works that I
have put out. It came as a pleasant surprise for me especially since I did not expect
this to happen.
As I transitioned from being a freelance artist to a full-time artist, my relatives gradually started accepting and becoming more receptive towards my career. Even as I educate my students during art classes, I learn alongside them by reading up as well as doing up my own samples.
To me, it is definitely rewarding to see how far they have progressed since their lesson with me. Teaching actually helps me to self-actualise and I understand myself and my teaching style better. I put in extra effort to make my classes engaging and entertaining. I choose to be different from the corporate franchises and allow my students to let their creative juices flow. I do not restrict or impose anything on my students and this in turn allow the students to express themselves better. This enables them to absorb and perform better.
Do You Have Any Advice For People Who Want to Start Their Creative Journey?
Have an end goal in mind and work towards it. If you are hesitant or have doubts,
take small steps. This can be as simple as posting an art content on your social
media or work on a personal project. It is okay to start off as a side hustle and work a
full time role to sustain yourself.
Here is the undaunting truth that no one wants to tell you about – do not expect any
support or grants from the government. It is important for you to be able to manage
your finances before committing full time. If you have all these in check and still have
a passion towards the arts, you have my full support.
Every step goes a long way. Never forget the reason that made you take the first
step. There will definitely be circumstances where you feel that your efforts are futile.
In fact, there are times where I felt that for every step I take, I am moving two steps
backwards. At times like this, my advice for you is to push on, you may not see your
results in the short run, but it will certainly be worth it.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Take a leap of faith and
Do check out Artist Celine Chia Hui Xuan's Instagram (@ccmonstersart) or visit https://ccmonstersart.com/blog/ for more of her work. All photographs are taken by SquareFixed (@squarefixedphotography).