Whether you’re a long-time enthusiast or simply a newbie to the art world, there are plenty of galleries and shops here in Singapore, with artworks to suit all tastes. We asked four EL readers for the scoop on where they snagged their favourite pieces.
Kate Lawes Meier, UK and New Zealand
With my ten-year wedding anniversary approaching, I wanted to find something unique, bespoke and stylish to give to my husband, and I knew that a canvas from C+S Art Prints was the perfect option. For us, art is about an ‘experience’ where we have some sort of emotional connection to how the artist’s interpretation of form, colour and shape make the piece distinctive, or where we have met the artist and have been privileged to develop an insight into his or her motivations and techniques. We love eclectic pieces, and it all comes down to what ‘hits’ us when we see art.
We first saw C+S Prints at an art exhibition a couple of years ago here in Singapore. Cristina from C+S is incredibly talented and, from the onset, she was able to guide me through the process of creating a special piece. I chose a striking 56 x 120 canvas – black with white text – that encapsulates our ‘story’, starting with where my husband and I first met, followed by places, events, homes and, most importantly, the arrival of our three children.
Cristina was meticulous and discerning when working with the text I gave her, so as to ensure that the final layout was perfect. It was as if she had known us for years and the nuances of text sizing and placement were spot on.
What I love most is that it’s such a distinctive, personalised piece in terms of content, and its stylish layout. It hangs in our family room, where we all spend lots of time together. It’s our focal point; it captures our attention at just the right times and we end up having funny chats with the children and visitors about events and moments that it reminds us of.
Evguenia Nekrassova, Ukraine
When my friends told me there was a Russian art gallery in Singapore, I was delighted and just had to visit it. I got the chance to go for the first time when 11.12 Gallery held one of its exhibitions. I loved the interesting works by talented artists, and I also really liked the warm and friendly ambience. The gallery owner, Elvira Sharova, welcomed me graciously and I felt comfortable walking around looking at the art on display; since then, I have become a frequent visitor.
In the past, I visited many art fairs and galleries but found it very difficult to find a piece I really liked. Therefore, I only had family photos and kids’ drawings on the walls at home. But, after visiting 11.12, I wanted to buy a painting for my apartment.
Elvira knew exactly what I was looking for, and showed me Transformation, a beautiful painting by Maria Semenskaya. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. It has vibrant colours, and the girl in the painting reminded me of my sweet daughters. I just love it – in fact, it’s my dream painting, and it now occupies a central place in our living room.
My whole family loves the painting, and it has inspired us to explore the art world. I would say that 11.12 Gallery opened my eyes to Russian art and converted me from an art admirer to an art collector; I hope to buy more from the gallery in the future.
Chantal Waddington, Australia
My husband and I love colour in our home and tend to choose pieces that resonate with us and our experiences, or have some significance to where we are living at the time. We love vintage travel posters, and try to collect them from special places we have visited on our travels over the past ten years. I also love colourful, expressionist images of people, cultures and lifestyles.
We don’t normally seek out particular stores or galleries. Rather, when we see something we like, we grab it – which is what happened when I visited Singapore Trading Post for the first time; I was delightfully impressed and loved the eclectic selection of homeware, souvenirs, gifts and everything in between. The mix of old, colonial and modern-inspired pieces made for a real treasure trove.
I had been looking for something special for my husband’s 40th birthday, and found a really striking painting there; it’s a bold and colourful piece with a modern, Art Deco take on the street outside of the Peninsula Hotel (now, the Peninsula Excelsior Singapore) circa the 1950s, with guests arriving via trishaw and in vintage sports cars. I love the vibrant colours and the story it tells; that juxtaposition of Singaporean culture and the ‘high end’ way of life that the hotel and its guests portray is still evident today here in Singapore.
While there were few spaces left in our home, I was able to hang the piece directly above my husband’s armchair, on a wall that’s pretty much perfect for it; the colours are bright enough to catch the eye when entering our apartment.
Catarina Longman, Brazil
I first became familiar with artist Patricia Cabaleiro’s work when a friend of mine did an art workshop at Cabaleiro Atelier and Art School two years ago. Then, when Patricia exhibited her work at the Embassy of Brazil in Singapore earlier this year, I fell in love with and bought a painting called Meditation IV, acrylic paint and mixed media on canvas.
I love the lively colours and the energy it sends out. The shapes and colours can be interpreted as many things, and that’s another thing I enjoy about abstract art. It’s a happy painting, and I like that for my home. It hangs in my living room, facing the dining table; it was an empty wall and the artwork fits perfectly there – it really brightens the room.
I like many different art forms and don’t follow art trends; I buy what I genuinely like – pieces that inspire me somehow. Apart from Patricia’s painting, I have picked up small pieces from my travels in Asia, and I have some artwork from my aunt, Ana Longman, who is a great artist from my hometown, Recife; she does paintings on porcelain, as well as lithography.
I also own a small ceramic sculpture by Francisco Brennand, a famous artist from Pernambuco, as well as a Chinese painting on rice paper from Deise Cavalheiro, another Brazilian artist based in Singapore. I was thrilled to be able to add Patricia’s Meditation IV to my collection of meaningful pieces.