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Stephanie Raphaela Ho of Muffinsaurs: Singapore mural artist (Part 3 of 4)

(Yip Yew Chong at work in Amoy Street PHOTO KELVIN CHNG)

A growing group of local artists are going bigtime, literally, with their mural artworks. Find out who they are. 

The Quirky Illustrator
Stephanie Raphaela Ho muffinsaurs.com

How do you jazz up a plain wall? You could paint it a vibrant colour, or use wallpaper, or hang up a few pictures... or you could give Stephanie Raphaela Ho a call.

The former graphic designer is now a full-time illustrator who creates murals, mostly for private residential clients. She has also done some murals in commercial spaces such as eateries and at a vet's clinic. Ms Ho, 28, also does illustrations for commercial clients, such as on food packaging.

"Murals are a way to make walls come alive," says Ms Ho, who started painting them in 2015.

Her style of illustration is "cute, quirky and strange in a certain way," she says, citing examples of animal murals, and occasionally zodiac signs of family members, or food.

Her largest mural to date, is one for Pandan Garden Fishball Noodle café, featuring a mountain of fish and other sea creatures, on a wall that is 3.6m wide.

With new clients, she starts by finding out about the size of the wall and the illustration desired. She declines to reveal her rates, but says she charges according to the size of the wall, the complexity of the work and number of colours used.

After a contract is signed and a deposit paid, she renders a digital sketch of the mural and superimposes it on a photo of the wall. This gives the client a picture of what to expect. Once the client agrees, the work begins.

 

(Take a behind-the-scenes look of the artist at work)

 

She uses odourless paint and mostly works freehand without a sketch. But for more complicated jobs, she draws an outline with a pencil before painting over it.

Most times, it takes her a day to finish a mural, stopping only for lunch or loo breaks.

It sounds quick and easy, but Ms Ho says: "It's really exhausting and can get sweaty, especially when there is no air-conditioning and the sun is shining right at you."

She often returns home at the end of the day with an ache that starts from her right hand and spreads all the way down to her lower back. Her legs ache, too, from all the standing, squatting and climbing up and down a ladder. She gives herself a three-day break in between each project to recover.

But she is not about to give up what she loves doing. "I love the sense of achievement and the feeling of an aching body after each mural. I am kidding about the aching body part," she quips.

"It gives me satisfaction when my clients appreciate what I do and trust me to paint on their walls. I paint on canvas, too, but that is on a smaller scale and less prominent."

As for her dream mural? "To paint animals for Singapore Zoo or a two-storey-high mural of weird creatures on a shophouse wall."

 

Find out more about the other mural artists: 

 

 

Article by Tay Suan Chiang, originally appeared in The Business Times