Although normalcy has made it almost unnoticeable, there is beauty in what we deem as ordinary. In this interview with Singaporean artist Shirly Koh, she shares her nostalgic photos taken with the Lomo'Instant Automat Glass.
What is your origin story as an artist?
I graduated from LASALLE last year and I am currently practicing.
I always have a keen interest in the arts but my parents aren’t supportive, I hence took their advice to not pursue fine art and instead went to take up a course in graphic design but it really wasn’t for me. For a few years, I stopped all art/related activities and worked in a local Japanese clinic in Singapore and picked up a third language. After growing accustomed to that lifestyle, I cannot help but feel the itch to make something/anything again. The tiny itch grew to become a curiosity, I ended choosing to use the money I have accumulated to enroll in a school instead of backpacking around the world. So here I am graduated, really glad that I made that choice.
How would you describe your art style?
Subtle, gentle, reflective, slow, embracing, meditative
What/Who do you consider as the greatest influence in your craft?
My everyday surrounding - nature, structures, spaces, people and subconscious mind.
Two Zen Classics: The Gateless gate and The blue Cliff Records. Also, Lee Ufan, Sai Hua Kuan, Ko Ushijima, Herman de Vries.
How do you develop your skills and artistic eye?
Observe. Practice, Reflect. Repeat
What is the theme/story behind this shoot?
Shapes and forms, lights and shadows, subjects (structures, people) that I feel an affinity for, thus slowing down to capture that brief moment of beauty and dissect the ordinary.
Tell us a little more about your Lomo'Instant Automat Glass experience. Any challenges or interesting stories?
Lomo'Instant Automat Glass is covered with a nice rubber textured surface and I love it because it is very comfortable to handle on a go. My shots were mostly spontaneous, taken while transiting from place to another, I hence prefer to use the normal lenses which do very well even in a different set of light condition. There is also this quiet anticipation while waiting for the instant shot to develop and the result always surprises me. I learned to let go and allow the Lomo'Instant Automat Glass to do its magic. I had lots of fun using this camera.
Do you have ongoing or upcoming projects that you would like to tell the community about?
I am working privately on two projects.
First one is titled ‘feelings today –‘a visual compilation of my moods in a monthly format. Everyday mood is categorized into: feeling good, feeling all right, feeling not so good, feeling like crap and feeling like dying. Often after one month, the data will be compiled and be reinterpreted in a work with no restriction on the medium, size, and format. The project has been ongoing since Sept 2016. Working on this series makes me think about the importance of slowing down, taking time to reflect on our own mental well-being especially now in our fast pace lifestyle.
The second is to bring closer awareness to nature in our public spaces, with the focus on grass - the most common ground coverage in Singapore. Materials such as soil, grass, and concrete have been playing a significant role in constructing our modern lives yet most of the time we don't pay attention. I am working toward a fun mix-media performative installation by bringing the grass from public to private spaces to hopefully encourage an insightful reflection between the audience and their surroundings. People who are interested to collaborate are always welcome to contact me for more details.
Know more about Shirly's craft thru her blog.