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Samantha Lo (SKL0) On Life And Art

Samantha Lo (SKL0) recently launched her book, Greetings from Singapore – a postcard book documenting her journey from 2011 till today. A discussion was held at BooksActually, where she shared some honest views about her life as an artist, and ending the 'Sticker Lady' chapter—


On Labels,

"Prior to the arrest I was working at a creative consultancy. I was studying, got a degree, I was doing my website. I got arrested two days after getting my degree. I also had plans to set up an agency and do the things I was good at. I ended up cancelling that idea. I quit my job. I couldn't figure out what I could do because I was just so lost. I was known as someone who covered the local scene, then I became a vandal... A day later, I became an artist. That term stuck but I never saw the 'artist' label as something to be taken lightly. It took me a year or two to really come to terms with that title.  In fact, it was something that I was uncomfortable with using because everyone else was using it."

On Dealing With Perceptions,

"I received a lot of jobs and commissions. At the same time, many people were calling me a sellout and other things. But it's my life! I didn't budge, kept working and took whatever jobs that came by. Design work, painting... If I didn't know how to do something I'd ask for help from the people around me. It helped that my friends were artists as well. I needed the money to pay the fines but I made sure everything that I produced were still honest."

On Struggling,

"You know what's the worst thing? Knowing what you want to express but not knowing how to share it. You can't seem to turn to 2D or 3D mediums, and you're supposed to be an artist. I couldn't find my medium, and that was the difficult part."

On Art Appreciation,

"Everyone needs some time. We lead busy lifestyles here. Take someone who is busy putting food on the table—do you think they have the time to look for art? No. We are a very young nation. We have economic progress to think about, and rightly so. We have to be safe, first and foremost. It's like Maslow's Hierarchy—you have secure yourself with basic needs before turning to other things for enlightenment. As a nation, we may not be there yet and it's fine. We just need time. It would be great if the environment around us is able to enhance this experience. That means giving ourselves some time to experience the arts if we can afford it. I want to see that happen eventually—people becoming comfortable enough to look for art."

On Treating Yourself,

"When things happen, you just have to roll with it. Be kind to yourself. Deal with your problems in a healthy manner. Even if you have some unhealthy coping mechanisms, give yourself some time."

On Being Singaporean,

"Everything I did in the past, was to make Singapore feel like Singapore. It was also a way to connect, by putting things out on the street."

Finally, on being optimistic...

"It's a good thing that they chose the photo of me carrying a cat... At least they know I love animals."

More about Greetings from Singapore here
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