Singapore’s art galleries cater to a wide variety of tastes. Here, six Expat Living readers tell us where they bought their favourite pieces of art and how they display them in their homes, and another reader provides some helpful insurance advice.
Michelle Lee (Singaporean but raised mostly in Sydney)
“I first came across The Art Fellas at the Singapore Affordable Art Fair held earlier this year. Their booth really stood out with its showcase of beautiful pieces by an artist called Yeo Siak Goon; I ended up buying a piece by him – it’s acrylic on canvas.
I was after an original work by an emerging artist, and Siak Goon’s work was receiving a lot of attention at the fair. Besides being beautiful, I also considered it an investment, with great potential to increase in value.
I choose art based on instinct and what appeals to me aesthetically, particularly works with vibrant colours and elements of artistic flair or skill, or whose artist has a distinctive and unique style. I also need to relate to the piece, and if it tells a story, even better.
I loved this artwork immediately, which is always a good sign. I loved the colours, the abstract forms and the skilful play with shadow and light. It’s a series of three scenes that tell an interesting story about a love affair. It also suited the colour palette of our home.
The Art Fellas are a pleasure to deal with – friendly and helpful. They will try to accommodate your requests where they can and keep you up to date on new talent and pieces that may be of interest to you, and art events that are taking place in Singapore.”
The Art Fellas
46 Kim Yam Road, #02-25
Luciane Becker (Brazilian, has been in Singapore for eight years)
“Patricia Cabaleiro has been a good friend of mine for many years and I’ve always loved her artworks. She has a great energy and is very passionate about her work. Her art studio at Westbourne Road is surrounded by beautiful trees and greenery; it’s a place where I love to be.
My piece by Patricia, Let’s Get Started in Here, is a big, beautiful canvas painted with acrylic colours. The colours, fantastic energy and vibration from this piece fill my family living area with so much light and joy. When I have friends visiting, they always ask what the word sorria means; in Portuguese it’s a happy smile – something I have every day of my life.
Aside from this, I also have some original works by artists from Hong Kong and Shanghai. It was great to live in China and learn about a different culture; I think buying a piece of art from a country means taking a small piece of the culture with you, wherever you go.
I started art lessons with Patricia and found her to be amazing at revealing your inner artist. I never thought I could make an artwork, and now two of my paintings are hanging in my house. My favourite is My Singapore, a canvas where I included all the places I’ve been in this beautiful green city. I feel great about it, and proud of myself!”
Cabaleiro Atelier and Art School
Block 5 Westbourne Road, #01-02
Valeria Solo (Australian, has been in Singapore for almost two years)
“It’s been over four years since I first met Cécile in Shanghai. I attended an exhibition of hers in 2012, and that was the first time I got to explore her paintings.
At the exhibition, I bought a contemporary watercolour painting of two cities – Sydney and Shanghai. It was as if Cécile knew they were two of my favourite cities, and then combined them and painted it for me. I really like the vibrant yet subtle splash of colour; it’s quite restful to look at.
The painting, called Sydney Shanghai, is positioned along the joint wall of the kitchen and hallway in my home. It fits and sits well there.
I like contemporary paintings (cities, abstracts, flowers, landscapes, impressionist pieces) and fine-art paintings. Colour and composition are of course the key drivers for me when I’m selecting and buying paintings. I’m not an expert, but apart from the technical qualities mentioned above, another key for me is if something strikes me as beautiful, intriguing and imaginative. If a picture simply makes me want to keep staring or think beyond the obvious, it’s something worth buying.
Cécile Spirit has beautiful paintings to choose from; I see the love in them. I also like that part of the proceeds from the sales of her work goes to two chosen charities. This is beautiful artwork for a good cause!”
Jillian Foster (Canadian, has been in Singapore for five years)
“I first saw C+S Art Prints in a copy of Expat Living I was given as part of a welcome package from our relocation company. I loved the concept immediately, and I ordered my own soon afterward.
We bought a 70x150cm canvas in black with white text. It’s essentially our family story. It begins with where my husband and I met, and includes our wedding date, and the names of our children and their birthdates. Interspersed are all the places we have lived.
This house has a big, bright foyer and lots of wall space. Our canvas is quite large and fits well on a wall leading into the living room. Visitors to our home are drawn to the canvas right away and it always garners compliments. Often people will ask about our previous homes or comment on the children’s names. It a very personal piece of art and, of course, a memento of the exciting life we’re living!
We recently purchased a new cottage in Canada, and I hope to fill it with some local art. I’ve already been in touch with C+S Prints about making us a canvas for that space, with more of a Canadian theme.
From the moment I started working with Cristina at C+S Prints to create my board, I felt complete confidence that I would get a canvas I loved. She has a great eye and provided me with several different choices before we found the perfect layout. I couldn’t be happier.”
C+S Art Prints
16 Dempsey Road, #01-01
Ryota Takeuchi (Japanese, has been in Singapore for three years)
“When I first came to Singapore, I met with some friends and we were walking around Raffles Hotel Arcade. It was during that visit that I saw Kato Art Duo and went into the gallery to have a look.
I bought a Japanese landscape painting together with a couple of still-life paintings. My wish was to own more vivid and colourful paintings, and it took me a lot of time and effort to find such a piece. Finally, I chose a floral design on a shiny gold background.
Being away from Japan and living in Singapore for a few years has made me miss the culture and scenery back home. This is part of the reason why I acquired these Japanese paintings. I especially like the technique and the traditional approach of the artist, using ground pigments, ink pigments and also sumi ink.
I’m not a professional art collector so I don’t always go around looking for art, but after I bought some pieces from Kato Art Duo, I realised my eyes are always focusing on paintings and objects while I walk around shopping malls and in the city.
I’m very happy with what I’ve purchased from Kato Art Duo. The gallery has an art collection that is very different from other galleries I’ve visited. Not only does it specialise in Japanese artworks that are to my taste, but it also stocks other international artworks with Japanese influences that are very interesting. The range of art is very wide, and I’m sure it will also interest other art-lovers and collectors.”
Kato Art Duo
328 North Bridge Road, #02-28
Maria Moran (Columbian-American, has been in Singapore for a year)
“We first discovered Talking Textiles last summer, and we really admired Deborah’s work; we were intrigued by her use of colour and the different methods she used to create such lovely scenes.
We contacted Deborah and commissioned a piece that would fit well with our décor. She graciously came to our apartment and was able to look at our furniture and colour schemes and suggest different possibilities. We wanted a painting that would not only depict a scene from Singapore but also work in our room. Deborah was able to brilliantly accomplish this. Needless to say, we’ve been thrilled with the result.
We love the piece we chose because of the textures, the colours and the interesting techniques Deborah used throughout. We always love walking into the room and seeing it right away. It is very striking and evokes fond memories of Singapore. I especially like the blue gate and the tropical feel of the piece.
We’ve been most impressed by the variety of nationalities in Singapore. The painting Deborah created for us visually represents the unique mix of cultures that co-exist in this lovely city. There are many stories here behind the people and the buildings, and having a personalised shophouse of our own will help us to remember the happy times we have experienced.”
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David Fu (Indonesian, in Singapore for 16 years)
“I found out about Charles Art Insurance through previous professional business dealings.
We’ve had all type of artworks insured, from inexpensive to high-value pieces, because we can’t be sure when accidents or losses might occur. This means that if such unfortunate events were to occur, we can be assured of getting some sort of compensation. We particularly ensure that our high-value items are insured as it gives us better peace of mind.
Our art insurance covers the risks of loss and damage to artwork due to accidents; local transit risks are automatically covered for most, though overseas shipping risk can be added as an option.
Charles Art Insurance gives the best insurance package for its clients’ needs, as it doesn’t solely represent one particular insurer. You can compare the packages offered by a handful of insurers and pick the ones that suit you best.
I would recommend Charles Art Insurance as Charles gives a very good professional service. He can tailor insurance coverage to meet specific needs, and he will also assist with procedures and paperwork. I’ve been very satisfied so far.”
Charles Art Insurance
This article was first published in October 2015 issue of the magazine.