Jason Wee is an internationally renowned artist and writer. We are thrilled that he has agreed to answer our 20 Questions interview.
Jason grew up in Singapore, but spent many years living in the US and Germany. He came back to Singapore to run an art space in Tiong Bahru called Grey Projects, which is an art library, exhibition space and artist residency. He is an editor for SOFTBLOW poetry journal and he was a 2005-2006 Studio Fellow at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Jason has exhibited his art all over the world from Luxembourg to New York to Sydney. In 2008 he won the Young Artist Award for visual arts in Singapore and the 2009 Voters’ Prize winner at the Singapore Art Museum. He has curated several high profile exhibitions and has written scripts for the Singapore Fringe Festival as well as several books. Recently, his work has been exhibited at the Yavuz Gallery in Singapore and with Galerie Michael Janssen in Berlin.
Lets see what he has to say….
- Three words that best describe you.
Bookworm. Excitable. Papa.
- Your favourite quote and why.
My quote of the moment is, ‘The routes that led you from the coast of forgetting to the coast of remembering’, a line from the poet Boey Kim Cheng. I turned it into morse code that formed the basis of a large installation in my recent exhibition, ‘Labyrinths’ at Yavuz Gallery.
- What’s your favourite art medium to create something?
- What do you always carry with you in your handbag/man bag (not keys, wallet or phone)?
A pen, so that I can scribble and sketch whenever I have a spark.
- Favourite song to sing in the shower?
At the moment, ‘Worse in Me’ by Julia Michaels.
- Best arts venue in Singapore and why?
Other than my own? Haha! I like the Independent Archive by the acclaimed performance artist Lee Wen, a grungy beat-up library and event space on Aliwal Street.
- What are your 3 favourite desert island discs?
R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now, Bach Cello Suites performed by Pablo Casals or Jacqueline du Pre and the soundtrack to the movie Gravity by Steven Price.
- What wrecks inspiration and creativity?
Sleeplessness and chastity.
- Name a film or documentary we should all see.
P.T. Anderson’s Magnolia or Tan Pin Pin’s To Singapore With Love.
- Recommend an art book we should all read. Tell us why?
Pulp by Shubigi Rao, a wonderful artist now living in Singapore. The book is about her love of books, and why books remain essential to our culture and the way we, as a species have sought to destroy it.
- What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Grant reports. Groan…
- The greatest thing I have ever done is….
To be a father.
- Tell us about a project/collection you’re really proud of and why?
I am really proud of ‘Master Plan’ (2012-2015), my largest installation, it was the first project I did right after my graduate studies at Harvard GSD, kicking my art practice back into full life again. I knew it was near-impossible to sell or fund it, it was as large as a small house but I managed to do it anyway on my own.
- What’s your favourite Singaporean dish to eat and why?
Laksa. It was my go-to dish whenever I’ve been away for a long time from Singapore. Its creaminess, its spices, the seafood and the noodles, all remind me of the flavours I love here.
- Best advice for getting rid of procrastination?
Make a decision to do something about it within 10 seconds of the thought coming up.
- Who is your favourite Instagram artist?
I don’t follow anyone.
- Which artist should we be looking out for in Singapore?
I like Kray Chen, Sookoon Ang and Lina Adams, who all deserve more attention.
- Who are your biggest creative influences?
I don’t have any one steady set of influences. In the past few years, I go back and re-read the poet Carl Phillips, the writer Roberto Bolano and the artist Adrian Piper.
- A place you love to go to to have some quiet time?
I love our libraries, whether it is the reference section of the Central Library, or the Chinatown library with its focus on Chinese literature.
- Shameless plug for your work or a cause you feel passionately about.
Check out the Indignation Festival, a small but worthy arts event that is entirely community and volunteer driven. Nothing else quite like it in Singapore and too many would like to see it quashed, for all the wrong reasons.
Thank you Jason! To see more of Jason’s work or visit Grey Projects check him out at www.yavuzgallery.com/exhibitions/labyrinths.
Check out more of our artist interviews here.