Image: Ode To Art

Wu Qiong is known for his contemporary paintings and sculptures that feature iconic characters with closed eyes, upturned faces and innocent expressions. Having grown up around an artist father and fashion designer mother, he started painting at age six and a half. Inspiration comes from his childhood and state of mind then, he tells, of his dreamy, whimsical imagery. The young artist was based in Singapore from 2003 to 2009 for his studies and work in the art industry, and we caught up with him when he was recently in town to launch the Here And Now series.


Tell us about your new series.

Here And Now is about travel. The collection doesn’t place importance on the destination, but focuses on the journey instead. Life is like a journey; a road you have to travel. I want to express that for whatever we do in everyday life, we should embrace the process and “enjoy the scenery” along the way.


Who are these characters or figures that are always evident in your work?

They don’t actually represent certain people. When I was studying in Singapore, I created an art piece about childhood memories. It was based on dream-like ideas, like flying or sitting on clouds that look like cotton candy. The child-like characters were created then, and I just continued using them. Perhaps they seem like old people because they are dressed in old-fashioned clothes, but they are actually not necessarily old people. Generally, when I’m drawing, I don’t envision fixed characters. They do have similar facial features, though.


What makes your artwork so popular and distinctive?

I really want to connect with the audience, and for my artwork to resonate with them. As everyone’s lives are definitely different, and we experience different things, I don’t draw very specific icons. Instead, I draw out scenarios that are familiar and recognisable, which might make people feel like they can relate to the art better. So instead of drawing the Eiffel Tower or Mount Fuji, for example, I’d translate the idea of travel or going on a journey with imagery of an open sea, the sky or clouds — things that everyone has experienced in their own ways.


Do you still see your art as an outlet of expression for you?

Depending on my mood, the piece could look brighter or darker. Also, what I want to express could be complicated, but I showcase it in the simplest manner so that others are able to study it in that simplicity.


Are you drawn to certain colours, shapes and techniques?

White — I tend to use it a lot. I don’t really like very pigmented and bright colours, so my works tend to be softer in tone.


Do you have advice for young, aspiring artists?

Actually, I’m still quite young myself — I’m only 35 years old! But I would say to just draw what you want to draw, without letting other factors affect you.


Watch the interview with and find out more about Wu Qiong here!


Here And Now by Wu Qiong is available at Ode To Art, #01-36E/F Raffles City Shopping Centre, tel: 6250-1901,