Terence Tan and his artworks...

1. What does your work aim to say?

Beautiful scenes are aplenty no matter where we are, it's about how we decide to appreciate or present them. I prefer to exhaust a subject that others might find ordinary or uninspiring with a painterly eye. Emphasizing on aesthetics, I focus on the reconstruction of the existing topics or scenes to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation can become multifaceted. By composite layering of many images one on another, juxtaposing and nestling them within layers, an illusion is created, to spark conversations about the factual realities.



2. Who/What are your biggest influences in your artsyle?

Cubism, Surrealism and Abstraction art movements, pioneered in the earlier parts of the 20th century have significantly influenced my art style, in particular Picasso's art.  His innovative approach to simplifying complex forms and creating abstraction from reality captivated my attention and imagination.  I love avant-garde thinking that challenge traditions and conventions.  It inspires me to adopt different approach to image making.  My goal is to convey a feeling of movement and energy in my art, resulting in multi-dimensional images that mirror the rapid pace, often chaotic nature of modern life.  Viewing from different angles can reveal a dynamic representation of the subject matter.



3. When and how did you start to create your works using this composite layering technique?

The Singapore Arts Society hired me in 2016 to capture an arts festival event, where I had the opportunity to observe and document the creative processes of well-known local artists in various fields, from traditional painters to sculptors. Their techniques and processes fascinated me, and I began experimenting with incorporating some of these methods into my photography. Through extensive research and trial and error, I developed a composite layering technique and started producing my own portfolio of works using this approach.



4. Tell us about your process for creating your artworks - how do you to achieve the layering effects?

Sometimes, it may start with a place or subject of interest.  Then, I will do some research on locations which best suits the topic.  For example, it could be on the topic of Peranakan architecture/culture.  Once that is established, I will do location visits, walk the grounds, get inspired by the ambience and appreciate the intricacies of the place or subject of interest.  I will gather possible images to form up a layered image that I have in mind to tell the story of the place or subject.  Finally, the images are compiled, reviewed and composed using digital layering techniques on a computer. 

Surprises might happen in the process and very often, I end up with a totally different image than I originally envisioned.  This is what I loved about this technique.  It never ceases to delight me, much like a painter doing a piece of artwork.  The resulting artwork conveys a lot of emotions, mood at the moment, feelings, anxiety, technical skills, etc.  It is exhausting  physically and mentally but satisfying.  Finally, my artwork gets printed on high quality fine art paper with probably the best commercially available printing technology, or some refer to this as Giclee prints, signed and numbered in limited editions.



5. What is important to you when creating your work, is it the art context or your ideas/feeling?

I have to physically be at the location to “feel” the place and draw inspiration from its surroundings.  The activities, people & structures are all taken into consideration as the vision of the image start forming in my head.  Once I have that, then I'll start to work on how I want the aesthetics or context to be like for this particular piece.  Hence, the idea, feeling and art context are important elements in my creation process.

6. Where do you find inspiration for your work?  How have your personal histories, stories and experience molded you as a person and a photograher?

I am born in 1970. It was the early years since Singapore's independence in 1965. I had the privilege to experience growing up in rural Singapore, and through a turbulent nation building period and then the transformation to a global metropolitan that it is today. Ever since I picked up photography, I seek to capture this fast changing landscape around me. This evolved further when I learnt this interesting way of making images in 2017. Hence, I immediately set out to developed my “Garden of Eden Collection”, which is my tribute to Singapore's journey and development from a rural town into a modern global city and also as an alternate way to read and capture the beauty of the land.

I have since expanded the same thoughts and concepts to wherever I travel, providing and alternative read to the many different cities and cultures that make up our global village. Because of the way the images are created, it requires very deep thoughts of the place, people and activity, hence resulting in a much more meaningful experience for me, as oppose to “just taking a nice picture”. I feel it just pushes me up a notch in story telling through my images.

7. How have you developed your career?

From the modest beginning of creating the images out of sheer curiousity, I founded ARTINSPR (art inspire) in 2017, an online art gallery, (www.artinspr.com) focusing on limited edition fineart artworks. I have created an extensive collection of works on iconic local subjects and scenes as well as overseas. My works are now collected by private individuals and corporations.

Collectors of my artworks includes The Artyzen Hotel (Singapore), The Capitol Kempinski Hotel (Singapore), Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, TAKE-TWO Asia Pte. Ltd. (eGames publisher)Eaton Vance Asset Management (a global asset management company with Singapore operations), etc.

I have also participated in group and solo exhibitions and continues to lookout for such opportunities.  An avid traveller, I continue to be inspired where-ever I go in creating unique and stunning works to add to my collection.




8. What’s your background?

I studied Electronic Engineering in Singapore Polytechnic.
Worked in:
* Hewlett Packard as a Technical Specialist after finishing army in 1992
* Unicorn International, selling security systems for buildings
* Delteq Computers, selling computing hardware solutions to corporations

Photography started as a hobby for me and after some years of learning and practice, I decided that it was the thing I want to do and I decided to become a professional photographer in 2007.

In 2015, I had an opportunity to work on a photography project organized by the The Singapore Art Society. It was to photo-document the various activities, artists' workshops and exhibitions. They include artists from many fields of art creation. There were painters, illustrators, sculptors, calligraphers, etc. I became fascinated with the many facets of artwork creation in the process.

The fascination led me to explore creating images using some of the art painting concepts in my photography. I started experimenting with this new found method of creating images using layering of images in digital post production. In time, I begin to derive my current body of works, titled Garden of Eden and World Cities Collection series using my own unique way of composite layering of images.

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