We chat with the up-and-coming Australian artist on Singapore's creative scene, plus her favourite places to get inspired in the city
We simply love meeting cool and creative new talents – and picking their brains on what keeps them going on our fair isle. That’s why we were pumped to meet Skye Jefferys: an emerging artist from Melbourne who now calls Singapore home. She may be new to the art scene here but we reckon we’ll be seeing more of Skye and her stunningly vibrant works soon enough. In the meantime, get to know the talented lady: her artistic style, her take on the Singapore art scene, and her favourite spots in city to eat, shop, and get inspired.
Hi Skye! What brings you to Singapore?
I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia. My husband and I share a desire to live overseas with our young family and to expose them to another culture, another way of life. As luck would have it, a job opportunity for my husband arose just at the right time. He works in education and it was something he’d been interested in for a while. So eight months ago, we gathered our courage and resolve, packed up the whole house, and jumped on a plane to Singapore with our two kids!
How did you get started in art?
I come from a family of creatives. My siblings were my initial source of inspiration as I am the youngest of three. Growing up, my brother made sculptures while my sister was always either lettering or painting a coffee table. Now they both have successful careers in Industrial Design and Interior Design respectively. And there is also a strong independent streak in our family – a desire to pursue our own passion – which comes from my Dad.
I studied Graphic Design at university but soon after entering the workforce, it became clear that it was not the right fit for me. I didn’t have enough freedom to explore and experiment. Once I took up a Graduate Certificate in Visual Art, I became obsessed with paint: its materiality, its possibilities, and limitations.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I create paintings that are non-representational and that combine gestural freedom with vivid colour. I also make mixed-media collage works which allow me a place to experiment with new ideas and materials.
I relate to abstraction as a means of re-working and re-imagining experiences of the world, and so my practice is constantly evolving. Each painting informs the next and I work on three or four canvases simultaneously, transitioning colour from one work to the other. My interest lies in the nature of the paint itself, the act of painting, of pushing paint onto the canvas, drawing, layering, adding, subtracting, building and finally allowing a composition to develop from this engagement with my medium. It’s a very natural process that comes from a place deep inside me.
What’s your take on the Singapore art scene?
It’s really robust and engaging although I would love to see some more emerging, younger artists exhibiting. Singapore Art Week is a wonderful initiative and it was incredible to see how the whole city gets behind it. I keep missing out on some great Art Talks and the LA SALLE Public Lecture Series – tickets sell out quickly and I’m slow off the mark!
Are there any local talents who have caught your eye?
I saw a few standout talents at Art Stage this year, but they were mainly Korean. I was really drawn to the sculptures of Min Sung Hong, Kim Eun Ju’s stark and monochromatic still-life works, and So Yeun Lee, another Korean artist who lives in Germany and produces some intriguing self portraits.
Where can we see your work?
I’m still finding my way around the Singapore art scene and getting to know as many people as I can. But I’m aiming to hold an exhibition later this year – it’s just a matter of finding the right gallery or platform to hold a show. In the meantime, I’ve just started a blog (skyejefferys.blogspot.sg) to document my art.
Ok Skye, spill! What are your top spots in Singapore to…
Everywhere! I see beauty everywhere in this city. When I’m having trouble with a particular painting, I go out and explore Kampong Glam, Little India or Chinatown. I look at the tiles, the rugs, the fabrics, the people, the colour, and I come home with fresh eyes. Artistry Cafe on Jalan Pinang is also a personal favourite. I come here to be inspired by other artists while I sip tea from a beautiful handmade clay mug made by ceramic artist Francis Poon.
Oh, I don’t really shop! You should see my wardrobe, it’s shocking. But I recently discovered Shiva Designs Bespoke and I couldn’t leave without making some purchases.
I’m not into the vegan, raw or paleo diet but I seem to enjoy eating at those kind of places! Afterglow at Keong Saik Road has an awesome menu like the raw chocolate salted caramel fudge. Another great place is Loving Hut in Joo Chiat. I get the same thing every time I go there: the soba noodle salad bowl with tempeh and an avocado smoothie. It feels like you are eating goodness and your body thanks you for it! Baker’s Well is my local bakery on East Coast Road and it does the best gluten-free bread anywhere in Singapore. It’s completely family-run with fresh, homemade baked goods every day.
And finally, what is Singapore’s best kept secret?
I haven’t been here long enough. Ask me again in a couple of months!
Thanks, Skye. Don’t forget to invite us to your first exhibition!