Lim Qi Xuan, born in 1991 is better known by her moniker, QimmyShimmy.  She is a Singaporean artist and designer. Often exploring the tactility of flesh and the human body, she breathes life into her intimate sculptures through polymer clay.

Her works blend the hyper-realistic and surrealistic, displacing little figures next to found objects, creating a tension between the imagined and reality. Threading the fine line between horror and beauty, her works are both repulsive and alluring.  We wanted to know more about her and her work below.

1. What is the biggest challenge for artists on the Singaporean arts scene?

I think the size of the local art scene can be quite limiting, especially for artists that are making works that are different and unfamiliar. I never knew there was space and an audience for my art until I left the country. The perks of this is that the scene is quite cosy and artists can make connections very easily, but at the same time, it can be a little claustrophobic.

2. Who are your biggest influences?

I have many influences, from filmmakers to painters. I do like the works of pop-surrealist painter Mark Ryden a lot since I am sixteen, and I am also always drooling over the aesthetics of Wes Anderson films. I think it is really hard to say who is my biggest influence because it changes all the time.

Ma Cherie, QimmyShimmy

3. Finish this line, ‘in five year’s time I want to be making/doing…..?

I want to be inspiring young local artists! I am not sure if I will join education (which I find extremely meaningful), or to find my own space to help other creatives.

4. What’s your biggest personal challenge as an artist?

Self-doubt. I am quite active on my social media handles and can be quite articulate in real life, so people usually do not expect me to have so many insecurities. But I definitely do with my work!

5. How would you describe your style?

Creepy-cute! I did not come up with that, but many people say the about my works. My works usually encompass both beauty and the macabre, so people find them endearing and repulsive at the same time.

Gumball, QimmyShimmy

6. Outside of Asia which country would you like to visit on an art tour or to do a residency?

Actually my work has had more exposure outside Asia than within! I have had shows in the Netherlands (where I am studying), Portugal and the United States, which were all amazing experiences. I would love to spend some time working in France or Italy.

7. How do you take risks to reinvent your art/stay fresh?

Think before saying no! I learnt this from years working in the design field, when I have clients with really crazy ideas and expectations. Often, it is easy to say “no, that is impossible”, but if you hold back and try to solve the problem in a unique manner, your methods change and the unexpected will come to you.

8. How do you promote yourself?

I will not call it promotion, but I do share my works on Instagram! I think social media is really useful in putting your work out there and connecting with people who appreciate what you do.

9. Who would you love to collaborate with?

Set designers! Costume designers! Filmmakers! To be honest, any kind of collaboration would excite me because there are so many people out there with amazing skills to breathe fantasy and magic into reality. 

10. What is your favourite art medium?

Definitely sculpting! I illustrated and painted a lot when I started doing art, but never found a unique voice till I started sculpting.

11. Where do you get your inspiration from?

From everyday objects, from stories I grew up with, from strange conversations and everyday nonsense. It is really hard to pinpoint where I get most of my inspiration because we, as people living in the digital age, process so much information everyday.

Head Pops, QimmyShimmy

12. What advice would you give anyone wanting to break onto the arts scene in Singapore?

Be sincere in what you choose to do. Follow your fascination and try not to get distracted by the other thousand things that are around you. We live in a very saturated environment where many things are happening, and we are always expected to wear many hats at once. That makes it very difficult to find your own voice, which I find most essential in pursuing an artistic career.

13. What’s the most effective social media platform for art?

I would say Instagram. After all, Instagram is the most visual social media platform. And there are heaps of interesting people there and I discover new artists to obsess over all the time.

14. What drives you to create?

This is also a tough question to answer because I would like to say it is an inbuilt and innate trait. But there is also a thing called deadlines which drives me very hard to create.

15. How do you get people to engage with your art?

People react to things all the time, just look at the comment section on Facebook! I think social media is a highly-engaging platform which has potential as well as danger for artists. I would definitely like to have more shows and engage with people in real life.

Thank you QimmyShimmy for an insightful artist interview. If you would like to learn more about Qimmyshimmy’s work please visit her here or follow her on Instagram @qimmyshimmy. For more artist interviews please click here

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