Secret Walls Round 4 is happening in Melbourne tomorrow night, this time with some dude called ELEVEN versus illustrator JESSICA SINGH, who actually pre-gamed for the event by spending two whole years at Central Saint Martin’s art school. I lived vicariously through Jessica in our interview about this magical place of wonder, below, and here’s a clip of Round 3 of Secret Walls, featuring Jack Douglas versus our previous interviewee, Katie Houghton Ward and some upbeat hiphop music.
What made you decide to take off to London?
Mainly I was disillusioned with my course in Perth, and Perth itself! Things were no longer gelling there for me and I was looking for adventure and like minded people. The main reason that tipped me over the edge was that my brother encouraged me to study overseas. He was studying in Cambridge at the time and I just thought I’d go for at apply for uni there!
What’s the biggest difference between living there and living in Australia?
In retrospect, quality of life. It’s very easy in Australia to be comfortable and safe but with that comes boredom and monotony. In London, sure things could get stressful and dirty, but there was always something to do, somewhere to explore and discover and a thriving creative scene. I also found there a greater level of acceptance for the different/the unusual and the multicultural. There I learned to accept my heritage whereas in Australia all I wanted to do was reject that side of myself because it was ‘different’.
Central Saint Martin’s is a ridiculously famous and well respected art college. Were you surprised when you got in? What was it like? Any celebrity sightings?
I was seriously determined to get in.. I spent about nine months to a year working towards my application alone. I knew it was what I wanted and had to do for so long! So I was not allowing myself to think of the possibility that I wouldn’t get in. But while I was waiting for the letter I was thinking.. shit will I really pull this off? When the letter came I was so ecstatic!! But it meant I would be moving to the other side of the world in one month. I was so grateful to all the support and encouragement my parents and family gave me to study at CSM.
Studying there was awesome.. and a lot of hard work. I went into secnd year, so by that time I was solely focusing on illustration. The pathways are VERY very focused and very intensive.It’s basically like sitting in a room for 10 hours a day with very critical, intelligent classmates and tutors. Laying all your work/soul out on the table and getting highly critical feedback. At times it felt like group therapy, seriously. It was very cathartic and very time consuming. I learnt so much from the other people at those sessions. We were also given creative briefs right from the industry, talks and recruitments from illustration agencies which was super useful.
In terms of celebrity yes there were certainly people that knew people, however it was really about getting to know your classmates in the here and now who have now already gone on to do great things!
Tell us some of the best things you learned there.
I guess the main basis of the course was critical analysis. One of the main things I learnt was to be more discerning and to always question, “Why?” My tutor always said be personal to be universal and I’ve found that phrase filters into so much.
What is your aim as an illustrator?
In terms of aim… I really just want to create a world. I guess what I’m trying to do is like flesh out all the parts of my brain and all my feelings onto paper and hopefully connect to others that can relate, that feel the same way. Ultimately I just want to make awesome stuff and make meaningful connections. I don’t mind what happens in between, as long as I am creating what I love!
Do you have any plans for Secret Walls?
I do indeed.. I’ve torn all the posters off my wall at the studio and am beginning to practice. I think I will wear my headphones and listen to specific music. Unfortunately I can’t really give too much away.. you’ll just have to be there to see! I just hope I’m tall enough to reach the top!
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
In the future hmm.. in the immediate feature I’m hoping to put together a limited edition zine based upon a Sylvia Plath poem..and otherwise just tackling projects along the way. Hopefully painting more large scale murals after Secret Walls! I’m really looking at getting into textiles and possibly producing a line of products.. but that may be a little more down the line. Perhaps a move back to the northern hemisphere is on the cards too! I’m itching to head back to Japan, Berlin, and Iceland.
Secret Walls Australia – Melbourne Round 4 – ELEVEN V Jessica Singh
Wednesday 29th August, 2012
The Order of Melbourne | Level 2, 401 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Australia
Secret Walls Website