BMW YAAS II: The Singapore Edition: David Chan, Donna Ong and :phunk

BMW Asia’s involvement with STPI was a natural culmination of efforts and shared vision to nurture the next generation of artists who have the potential to add vibrancy to the arts scene here. At STPI, each artist spent two weeks working alongside STPI’s workshop team exploring new ideas and print techniques to create fresh, innovative and cutting-edge works for this exhibition.


The managing director of BMW Asia, Mr Johannes Seibert, said the company has always been an avid supporter of the arts. “We are pleased to see that the artists we have supported from the last Series are doing well. We strongly believe that talent should be supported and nurtured, which is why we are once again supporting the second series and specifically focusing on local Singaporean talents. We hope this initiative has provided inspiration and opportunity for the young local artists as they develop their careers”.


BMW YAAS II features Singaporean artists David Chan, Donna Ong, and :phunk studio. The artists were invited to spend two weeks at STPI to search new ideas and print techniques in order to create daring, inventive, and cutting edge works. They were challenged to discover an unfamiliar technique using the resources at STPI. Working closely with STPI’s workshop team, each artist was given the complete artistic freedom to study a specific print medium in order to increase their own personal creative boundaries and produce works unable to have been completed alone.


David Chan’s theme of “Hybrid Society” extended to STPI’s studio where he created specially flocked screen prints for his fine drawings of baby hybrid hummingbirds and flowers. For this particular series, Chan focused on the anticipation felt by expecting parents and providers who await the birth of their hybrid hummingbird baby. The hybrid baby is symbolic of innocent newborns that are eager to greet the world and feed on the nectars of life. The flower is a metaphor for a parent’s need to care for and provide for their unborn child. In the center of each flower is candy, representative of the sweet nectar located within a flower. The candy appeals to the baby even more, with its bright colours and border of luminescent glow-in-the-dark ink. As the hummingbird babies mature, they are each greeted by a flower as they are birthed into the world. Chan’s art is an extension of himself and of his beliefs, combining wit with sensibility. His art is meant to inform, it demands reaction, reflection, and self-criticism, and serves a purpose other than aesthetics and decoration.


As an installation artist, Ong pushed two dimensional prints into three dimensional multiples at STPI. Made out of Japanese paper and acrylic, her new body of works is a diorama of a mysterious underworld of caves and quarries, symbolising a hidden realm of secret desires. Ong’s works are based on dreams and fascinations that evoke curiosity and stir the senses. She fashions objects and contraptions which bewilder yet intrigue. Her pieces delve deep into the imagination of fantasy and the sublime.
:phunk studio is a homegrown name that consists of a quartet of artists, Alvin Tan, Melvin Chee, Jackson Tan, and William Chan. Influenced by both the east and the west, :phunk studio visualised a robotic theme park fusing Hong Kong pulp fiction, Japanese manga, and Western pop culture into a series of complex silk screened prints that are brightly coloured and strangely hypnotic. The robots are full of character and spunk, inspired by a song by the French electronic duo, Daft Punk. :phunk studio is known for their graphics that challenge the definition of “art” and the way art is presented. Their works are a response to today’s pop culture and the trends that are constantly changing with the world. :phunk studio’s role, as artists is to innovate, inspire, inform the public regardless of the type of media chosen. Their art is meant to communicate messages effectively to society, messages that come from :phunk studio’s observations of history and happenings of the world around them.