We are delighted to have the inspiring Guo Yixiu answer our 20 art questions.
She is an multidisciplinary artist and art educator. She was born in Singapore and is based there. In her fine art practice, her materials are often derived from objects found within the everyday. Yixiu likes to use materials that individuals can easily relate to. The element of “play” is important in her works and their colourful facades often hide deeper meanings. Her inspiration is always from Singapore, as she navigates and finds her sense of identity.In 2008, Guo was awarded the Gold (with Honors) award in the Singapore Youth Festival, Arts & Craft Exhibition, a Representational Category Award in the 27th UOB Painting of the Year Competition, the Kwek Leng Joo Photo and the International Photo Awards in 2012. Furthermore, in 2013 she was chosen to exhibit at the Singapore Biennale at Singapore Art Museum.
Here are her answers to our art questions….
1. Three words that best describe you.
Adventurous, sensitive, playful.
2. Your favourite quote and why.
“At the end of the day, every decision we make is because we long for love, wish we had more time, and we fear death.” from Collateral Beauty.
3. What’s your favourite art medium to create something?
This is a tough question to ask a multidisciplinary artist! I do like the material, raffia very much. There’s something very unassuming about it and it’s restricted colour palette always presents itself as a challenge so I think I’d choose installations.
4. What do you always carry with you in your handbag/man bag (not keys, wallet or phone)?
A sketchbook to randomly collect scribbles or doodles, a planner and a book on studio habits of the mind for reading.
5. Favourite song to sing in the shower?
The Chinese song 月亮代表我的心 (The Moon Represents My Heart by Teresa Teng.)
6. Best arts venue in Singapore and why?
Someone’s house. When I did OH! Open House, it really opened my eyes to the possibilities and difficulties in reaching out to the community through art. But I quote it very often because that model of presentation often reminds me to look beyond standard platforms in art presentations. Through OH! I really saw that it’s the artist who learns from the world, who gains from it and not the other way around.
7. What are your 3 favourite desert island discs? (you’ve only got three albums to take with you to a deserted island for 6 months so choose wisely).
Khalid by Location (irony? Haha), That’s What I Like by Bruno Mars (to pretend
that the worm I’m eating is superbly delicious) and Let it Go by James Bay.
8. What wrecks inspiration and creativity?
9. Name a film or documentary we should all see.
Collateral Beauty. I don’t know why this film didn’t get rave reviews but I really believe in the idea of collateral beauty. I couldn’t put into words the importance of stepping apart from your pain and how that makes a person grow. The film reminds us that ultimately we’re all connected by the same three things and so much of what was said in film struck me so hard. Especially that quote, “your children don’t have to come from you, they go through you.” I teach in a mainstream school, where issues between children and their families prevail so that really affected me.
10. Recommend an (art) book we should all read. Tell us why?
The Craftsman by Richard Sennett. For anyone who is interested in finding out more about the role of “craft” in society, past to present; its implications and importance in our world today.
11. What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I teach at a mainstream school here in Singapore so the toughest part is learning to let go. I find it difficult to trust life sometimes; especially when you’ve really given your best to some kids or to life in general.
12. The greatest thing I have ever done is….
Having the courage to be myself, trusting my heart by rejecting the moulds that persist within society or the industry.
13. Tell us about a project/collection you’re really proud of and why?
It would have to be “How to Tame a City”. It was a work in which I really enjoyed manipulating the rattan cane. There was a lot of meaning held for me behind that cane. A work that also showed me that my work might some day exist in between the boundaries of design and art.
14. What’s your favourite Singaporean dish to eat and why?
Half boiled egg with dark sauce. I know it’s not a very cool dish but I’m super critical when it comes to my half boiled eggs. It’s a childhood thing for me I think ; licking up my plate till it was clean. It was so silly but I promise I’m not doing that anymore (at least when people are watching..)
15. Best advice for getting rid of procrastination?
Be passionate and have your vision move you.
16. Who is your favourite Instagram artist?
QIMMYSHIMMY! I’m so in love with her work. Big fan!
17. Which artist should we be looking out for in Singapore? (new/ unknown talent)
QIMMYSHIMMY! I don’t think she’s known enough for her work.
18. Who are your biggest creative influences?
The people around me. I think I’m lucky that I’m surrounded by friends who exhibit creativity not only in art, but in their day to day lives too.
19. A place you love to go to (in Singapore ideally) to have some quiet time? (why there?)
Under my blanket. My mind is a theme park. Haha.
20. Shameless plug for your work or a cause you feel passionately about?
One of my mentors, Chris Yap once told me, “Art is Life.” He said it in the context that art must always be connected to the truth in life. In a certain way therefore, life is also an art. We’re all living out the masterpieces of our lives.
Some profound stuff. That’s the end of our 20 art questions interview. To find out more about Yixiu’s work please check out her website www.guoyixiu.com or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read another 20 art questions interview click here.